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This article was written on 19 Jun 2010, and is filled under To: Anguilla.

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Discover Anguilla – Tourism and Attractions

Welcome to Anguilla!

Welcome to Anguilla, an island north of St. Martin known for its serene atmosphere, great cuisine, and a wonderful local music scene. With blindingly white sand and crystalline waters, Anguilla’s beaches are among the best in the Caribbean. The island’s sparkling beauty ensures that you will be coming back for more.


History and culture

Anguilla owes its name to its eel-like shape (anguille is French for “eel”). A fort was built here by the Dutch in 1631, but its location remains unknown. The island became a British colony in 1650. Unlike most Caribbean islands, Anguilla has little history of slavery because the thin soil and scarce water doomed attempts to cultivate sugar or cotton to failure.

In 1824 Anguilla became a part of St. Kitts, much to the Anguillians’ discontent. Two requests for direct rule from Britain were made, but went ignored. Eventually, in 1967, the discontent boiled over: St. Kitts’ policemen were evicted from the island, a referendum on self-rule was held, and independence was proclaimed. In March 1969, 100 British paratroopers were parachuted onto the island and a truce was signed shortly after. The Associated State of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla was disbanded in 1980, and two years later a new Anguillian constitution was adopted.

Most of Anguilla’s 10 000 inhabitants are of African descent, but there is also a sizeable minority of Irish descendants.. The island doesn’t bear the scars of slavery and instead of cultivating sugarcane Anguillians have specialized in fishing. Tourism is the backbone of Anguilla’s economy, but it is carefully regulated by the government in order to protect the island’s natural beauty. Anguillians are known to be proud and friendly. Treat them respectfully, and they will gladly welcome you in their home.

Sights

There are remarkable old photographs and local records and artefacts at the Heritage Museum Collection. Check out the historical documents of the Anguilla Revolution and the photographs chronicling island life.

For centuries, fishermen have been heading out to the sea in the brightly painted, simple hand-made boats that line the shore of Island Harbour. The Gorgeous Scilly Cay restaurant serves delicious lobster and Eudoxie Wallace’s knockout rum punches on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Along the shore of Sandy Ground, Anguilla’s most developed beach, you’ll find little open-air bars and restaurants, as well as several boutiques, a dive shop, the Pyrat Rum factory, and a small commercial pier. A ferry service takes visitors to tiny Sandy Island, just 2 mi (3 km) offshore.

Take a tour to Wallblake House, the only surviving plantation house in Anguilla. Built in 1787 by Will Blake, it has recently been completely restored.

Dating back from the 1790s, Warden’s Place is a great example of island stonework. This former sugar plantation greathouse was the residence of Anguilla’s chief administrator and now houses KoalKeel restaurant and a sumptuous bakery upstairs.

Beaches

Anguilla’s beautiful 30-plus white-sand beaches are the island’s main draw. Covered in powdery-white coral sand, Shoal Bay is one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean. There are restaurants, shops, a water-sports center, and even a beachside massage service. Another good beach is Island Harbour, a slender beach surrounding mostly calm waters. Captain’s Bay is peaceful and isolated, but swimming is not recommended, due to potentially dangerous undertows.

Activities

Most visitors come to Anguilla for its dazzling white-sand beaches and fine cuisine. If you’d rather spend your time under the sea, you can dive or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters. Other water sports include boating, sailing, and fishing. Horseback riding along the scenic Gibbons nature trails or any of the island’s miles of beaches is great.

By Michael Young, writer for Cheap All Inclusive Caribbean Vacation.

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