Lay of the Land
Located just north of St. Martin, Anguilla’s flat, scrubby landscape offers a stark contrast to the volcanic peaks of its neighbor. The small island, which is just 16 miles long and a few miles wide, rises 213 feet above sea level at its highest point, has no rivers or streams and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south. The majority of its luxury properties are clustered on the island’s West End. The Four Seasons sits on serene Meads Bay on the northwestern (Atlantic) side of the island, while Cap Juluca is on the southwestern shore facing St. Martin. Although the western area gets more visitors than the rest of Anguilla, don’t miss a chance to check out the East End’s Shoal Bay. Many say this lovely beach is the island’s best.
Keep in mind that all beaches in Anguilla are public, so to get the most out of a visit, try out beaches aside from the one in front of your hotel. Meads Bay and Shoal Bay both have relatively calm water (depending on the season) and are great for children. Rendezvous Bay can get a bit rougher, but is still fairly calm, although not to the same extent as Cap Juluca’s Maunday’s Bay, which also faces the Caribbean but is more protected than Rendezvous. Captain’s Bay on the East End isn’t recommended for swimming, but it’s a beautiful spot to watch the Atlantic surf, and you’ll probably have the place to yourself.
The best way to arrive is via neighboring St. Martin (flights serviced by United, American and JetBlue). The five-minute hop to Anguilla’s airport in a small plane also affords a spectacular view of the island. If you choose to take the 20-minute boat ride from St. Martin, you’ll still have to go through customs at the ferry terminal; no direct service to the resort exists. Taxis are the preferred method of transportation for travelers. Ask your hotel to call one when heading to another beach or restaurant and make arrangements with a taxi driver to pick you up after dinner; cabs are hard to come by later in the evenings.
When to Go
Peak season in Anguilla lasts from December to April, when there is very little rain and the temperature hovers around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Many hotels are closed during September and October (hurricane season is June-November).