Explore Anguilla Travel Article

Exclusive Anguilla – small in size but big on food

Explore Anguilla article written by Travel Writer & Editor Linda Jackson

Looking for a luxury resort in the Caribbean with excellent cuisine, or a gourmet destination favoured by celebrities? Then head for the exclusive Caribbean island of Anguilla where you’ll find a sea so turquoise you’d love a dress to match; soft sand whiter than white; flora so vibrant it’s dazzling, and gastronomy so delectable that taste buds go berserk. It won’t take you long to explore Anguilla. The island is just sixteen miles long and three miles across at its widest point. It is a complete gourmet surprise and a popular Caribbean vacation island for foodies, so take time out to explore Anguilla restaurants – you’ll be rewarded.

The most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean, Anguilla is a luxury retreat for the rich and famous.  Shaped like an eel, from which it derives its name (anguille in French), this peaceful coral island lies 150 miles east of Puerto Rico and nine miles north of St Martin. Known originally as Malliouhana (the sea serpent), Anguilla was inhabited from around 2,000 BC by Arawak-speaking Amerindian people; colonised briefly by the British in 1650, and fought over with the French for around 150 years.  Forced into an unwanted union with St Kitts-Nevis in 1825 until 1967, it was not until 1980 that Anguilla finally became a British “Dependent Territory”, free of any tie with the other islands.

Explore Anguilla beach cafés and restaurants

Now with a population of around 12,000 and a select tourism industry, Anguilla boasts around 100 restaurants, ranging from roadside barbeque shacks and beach cafés to fine international dining in luxurious settings. The island has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean and some of the most exclusive villas you’ll find anywhere, although inland the island is flat and cloaked with small trees and shrub – as you will discover when you eventually explore Anguilla.

Luxury Caribbean hotels

The Government has concentrated on developing quality tourism as opposed to quantity so mass tourism has been avoided so far.   Accommodation has mostly been built on the westerly tip so consequently restaurants have sprung up in the western end, but there is a good culinary trawl across the island with surprisingly good food available whether at a beachside grill or high-end restaurant.  Eating out, it appears, is one of the most popular tourist ‘activities’.

Renowned hotel spa resort in Anguilla

Where better to stay to get a true taste of the island than at CuisinArt Resort & Spa – a renowned hotel at the forefront of Anguilla’s epicurean scene, with its own hydroponics (a word derived from Greek, literally meaning ‘working water’) and organic farm, herb gardens, and fruit plantations.

Friendly Caribbean hotel

How nice to be welcomed by a glass of fruit punch and a wide grin from the doorman before being led into the airy lounge, on the exterior walls of which cerise bougainvillea grew in profusion, from where a picture-postcard vista stretched through the lobby, across the swimming pool and down the length of a water feature to the umbrella-shaded beach bar and shimmering turquoise Caribbean Sea beyond.

Caribbean luxury resort with lovely gardens

Lizards basked on the sun-baked paths, scurrying away at the sound of footsteps, while guests basked serenely beside the pool.  The fragrance of frangipani and orange blossom fused with the scents of the herb garden, and silver, coconut, date and royal palms rustled in the ever-present trade winds.  In the evenings, honeysuckle and jasmine filled the air with their heady perfume while minute tree frogs chirped the night away in the beautiful landscaped gardens.

Explore Anguilla hydroponics farm

In the room a complimentary bowl of baby tomatoes awaited, a sweet and delicious taster of the phenomenally fresh salads that were to come – all grown in the resort’s hydroponics farm, an impressive on-site complex created and managed by Dr Howard M Resh, author of several books on the subject (www.howardresh.com), who gives guided tours of the farm to hotel guests.

Caribbean cooking classes

Tuesday night is lobster barbecue night, the succulent lobsters just begging to be accompanied by the extraordinary fresh salad. It’s very ‘foodie’ at CuisinArt. You’ll relish every scrap. There’s a food and wine experience not to be missed when a six-course menu is expertly paired with the Sommelier’s choice from the resort’s extensive wine cellar. And there’s fun and creativity on tap, for adults and children, if you fancy joining a ‘hand’s on’ cooking class under the supervision of the chef.

Explore Anguilla eating out places

Hotel guests don’t often wander from this culinary heaven but when they do, they don’t wander far; everywhere on the island is just fifteen minutes away.  For a mix of Caribbean and international flavours pop into Tasty’s Restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner – it’s casual and colourful, the walls are frescoed.  For a snack lunch in a contemporary art gallery eat at the Art Café; but for a touch of style and sophistication dine by candlelight at Blanchard’s at Meads Bay, you’ll be surrounded by lush tropical gardens and enjoy panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea.

Relaxing luxury spa resort in the Caribbean

It’s all about relaxing, and eating, on this tiny island, but you should get out and about and explore Anguilla. Start the day with a beach power walk and explore the island by bicycle. Take a self-guided tour of Anguilla’s arts and crafts galleries scattered around the island and sign up for power Pilates or for aquatic conditioning.  Go diving, snorkelling, or fishing; take a sunset catamaran cruise, or play golf on the golf course.  But to really chill out or work out, pay a visit to the Venus Spa & Personal Training complex, or wander through the beautiful resort gardens and take afternoon tea on a shaded bench in the fragrant herb garden.

For details of activities when you explore Anguilla, and things to do in Anguilla, go to the Destination Adventure Guides section of Active Caribbean.

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