WHY WE LOVE IT
No more than three miles wide, Anguilla (pronounced ann-GWEE-la) is all about beaches—33 of them—each one a powder-perfect vision in white.
This British Overseas Territory in the eastern Caribbean’s Leeward Islands is a slice of the old-time Caribbean—no cruise ships, high-rises, all-inclusive resorts or casinos.
The 12,000 residents are warm and friendly—and generally conservative, as people on most English-speaking Caribbean islands tend to be.
Even with the go-slow pace of development, there's an abundance of super-luxury resorts, villas and guesthouses (mostly low-rise and on the intimate side), plus some of the best spas and restaurants in the West Indies. Expect chic but without attitude.
Underwater marvels to explore include the 18th-century Spanish galleon El Buen Consejo and nine ships deliberately sunk to create an artificial reef.
WHEN TO GO
Popularity brings a long high season, from November through April. Look for bargains from May through October, when cooling trade winds keep things comfortable, but bear in mind that peak hurricane season runs from August through October.
WHAT TO PACK
Bathing suits, polarized sunglasses, sunblock, camera, U.S. passport, U.S. dollars in small denominations (accepted along with the East Caribbean dollar), binoculars (if you’re a birder), loose or drawstring pants (after all that food). For evenings, bring "smart casual" clothing.
WHAT TO BUY
Local Pyrat rum; silver replicas of devotional medallions from El Buen Consejo; straw hats from the Old Manse; model boats; paintings and sculptures from more than a dozen galleries.
Contact the Anguilla Tourist Board in the U.S. at 246 Central Ave., White Plains, N.Y. 10606; 914-287-2400 or (toll-free) 877-426-4845. In Canada, it’s at 1875 Old Waterdown Road, Burlington, Ontario L7R 3X5; 905-689-7697 or (toll-free) 866-348-7447. On the Web, go to anguilla-vacation.com
Available on weekdays only, marriage licenses cost US$284 (unless you’ve been on island for two weeks, in which case the price is just $40) and take two working days to process. Official ID is required; if you’re previously divorced, you'll need an original copy of the decree, and if widowed, your previous spouse’s death certificate.
If you're thinking about getting married on Anguilla, contact the wedding coordinator at Cap Juluca (capjuluca.com) or the CuisinArt Resort & Spa ( cuisinartresort.com). See Sleep for more about these resorts.