The Caribbean is a place many people dream of visiting. It has white sandy beaches, tranquil waters, friendly locals and that unique Afro-Caribbean feel famous the world over through its music of reggae and famous people such as Bob Marley. When you think of this part of the world, one thing comes to mind, relaxation. You can find beach homes in anguilla, or private villas on the British Virgin Islands, you can swim with sharks or dive into caves. This part of the world has a lot to offer both the thrill seeker and those who simply love the ocean. Each of the many islands, archipelagos and reefs have different things to offer different people, it all depends on what you want from your trip. Some islands are quite famous such as Jamaica and Barbados, while others are lesser well-known such as those which make up the US Virgin Islands or the already mentioned Anguilla.
This is both due to their relatively small size and the large competition that they are up against, but these islands have just as much to offer as the big ones. A unique culture, beautiful weather and landscapes and a well-developed tourist industry. Here I have compiled several facts about the island of Anguilla to show you what else there is on offer in just one of the Caribbean’s numerous islands.
The history of the island dates back over 4000 years to the first Amerindian who inhabited the island. It’s possible to see some of their early petroglyphs in underground caves on the island, a perfect day trip for a history buff.
The original settlers farmed and fished on the island until the arrival of British colonisers in the 1600’s. For the next 400 years, the island went through stages of colonisation briefly by the French but mainly by the British. The British introduced plantation farming, slavery and other facets of colonisation of the time.
Modern-day Anguilla is now an independent territory of the United Kingdom with some independent governance.
Due to the influence of Britain, most of the island's population speak standard English although it is hugely influenced by both African languages descended from slaves and immigrant populations. You can also find French, Spanish and different versions of Creole on the island. English should be fine on the island though and you will have no issues getting around.
The second major language as a version of creole native to Anguilla. Creole is a mixture of native English and African languages which have fused to become their own unique language. You can find other versions of Creole throughout the different island in the Caribbean.
The population of the island is in the region of 15,000 people with most of the population being African, late descendants of slaves to the island. In the minority are both white and Asian populations. You can also find a large population of immigrants from neighbouring islands and Mexico. This large population of immigrants is and was due to a shortage of manual labour to help support the building of tourist infrastructure on the island as the native population wasn’t large enough to support the growth of tourism on the island. This is one of the main reasons for the large variety of languages infused in such a small population.
Due to the mass plantations and arid soil of Anguilla, most of the land was or has become unsuitable for farming. This lead to a huge import economy of the island as they must import, food, oil and almost all other items necessary for a functioning and healthy economy, for this reason, the island has had to come up with some unique but not uncommon ways of generating income.
It has become a tax haven as it has no capital gains tax on individuals or corporations meaning many companies have shifted their tax base to the island. Other monetary forms the island incorporates to generate income include offshore incorporation and management, offshore banking and captive insurance. In this way, the island has made itself a popular destination for large companies and wealthy individuals.
The offset of this has been the huge increase in tourism to the island, primarily luxury travel. This added benefit has made the island the go-to destination that it has become. You can find beachfront villas, world-class resorts and all the amenities to go with this.
Having hosted the world travel awards in 2014 and being voted the leading luxury island destination of that year didn’t hurt its reputation especially going up against places such as Mauritius and the Maldives.
Being a relatively small and secluded island getting to and from the island can be a little difficult especially as the airport is not serviced by direct flights from Europe or the United States. But there are other ways around this.
There is a regular ferry service from Saint Martin island which takes around 20 minutes. This is the most common service and the port at Blowing point also serves Anguilla airport to make travel a little easier if you do need to catch a flight.
The airport on Anguilla has regular flights to other islands within the Caribbean, its closest major airport connection is to Puerto Rico which is where many visitors begin and end their journey.
This list was to show you that even the smaller Caribbean islands can still act as your go-to destination.