The laid-back pace of life in Anguilla attracts many visitors each year, especially those that want to stay away from the mass tourist traps that plague the rest of the Caribbean. The pristine beaches, calm towns, and welcoming local atmosphere make any trip to Anguilla a vacation to remember.
Anguilla is a fairly small island, but it has its fair share of interesting locales. That is why knowing where to stay in Anguilla is an important piece of information you should have when planning your vacation.
Why You Should Visit Anguilla in 2023
Anguilla feels like a unique destination in the Caribbean. It is far away from the rat race, the massive cruise ships, and the crowds.
Instead, you get to enjoy the quintessential Caribbean vacation — white sand beaches, rum cocktails, and gentle waves lapping at your feet. The beaches are definitely the main draw for visitors to Anguilla.
The white sand stretches of coast are world-famous, including beaches such as Rendezvous Bay and Shoal Bay. The beaches, both on the Atlantic coast and Caribbean coast, are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing, and almost any other type of water sport.
Aficionados say that Anguilla is one of the best places in the Caribbean for water sports. Anguillan culture is also a great attraction of the island. You can try traditional Anguillan delicacies such as Johnny Cakes and seafood at every place from beach shacks to upscale restaurants.
Take in the fun-loving atmosphere of the island by visiting reggae or calypso bars for live music or indulging in rum cocktails on the beach. With less crowds than many other Caribbean islands, it is easier to enjoy the local culture.
Anguilla is also a great destination for sports lovers. The small island punches above its weight when it comes to hosting live sports events such as cricket matches and boat races, which you can check out if you are a fan of those sports.
If you are more hands-on with your sports, you can try your hand at hiking, sailing, or book a resort with sports facilities for your active vacation. The island is unique in the Caribbean thanks to its laid-back culture.
The island doesn’t feel the need to chase visitors with raging parties, massive cruise ship ports, and tourist traps. If you want to get away from it all, and feel true elegant relaxation, then there is no better place to visit than Anguilla.
The 4 Best Parts of Anguilla
- Meads Bay: Best area for first-time visitors, resorts, luxury travel, and families
- Shoal Bay Village: Best area for beaches and water sports
- The Valley: Best area for transportation, shopping, and nightlife
- Sandy Ground: Best area for budget travelers and relaxation
The Best Areas & Hotels in Anguilla
Anguilla may be small, but the island packs a mighty punch. Make sure that you make the most out of your Anguilla vacation by staying in the right place.
Whether you are into pampered resorts or more off-the-beaten-path, budget-friendly travel, are traveling on your honeymoon or with your whole family in tow, Anguilla has a town for you!
1. Meads Bay
Meads Bay is one of the most famous locations in Anguilla. This stretch of beach boasts one of the most beautiful shorelines in the Caribbean, which is part of the reason why it is home to clusters of amazing resorts.
Meads Bay welcomes diverse groups of travelers, from romantic couples on honeymoon to young families to families with older kids and teenagers. There is something for everyone in Meads Bay.
Meads Bay is where most people stay when visiting Anguilla for the first time. It has all the amenities that you would quintessentially associate with Anguilla — beautiful beaches, high-end resorts, and a laid-back culture.
Plus, the location is convenient — on the coast and close to transportation hubs West End Village and Long Bay Village. The area around Meads Bay is compact and packed with amenities that you can easily explore.
The focal point of the area is definitely Meads Bay Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand that is perfect for all sorts of water activities. The area is also full of other amenities, from natural features such as a pond to decidedly less natural activities such as a water park.
Meads Bay is home to many of Anguilla’s most famous hotels and resorts. Stay in one of the all-inclusive resorts and you won’t have to worry about a thing during your vacation, from your meals to how you will get to the beach each morning!
Some resorts even offer kid-friendly perks such as babysitting services and playgrounds. However, Meads Bay is definitely a destination that you will have to save up for. Most of the accommodation options are resorts, which are pricey.
You can stay in more affordable apartment rentals, if you find them, but you will have a hard time swimming because so much of the beach area is divided up into private beaches for the resorts.
Things to Do
- Go swimming, snorkeling or relaxing at Meads Bay Beach.
- Get away from the rat race at Meads Bay Pond and try to spot local bird species.
- Treat the kids to a day at Anguilla AquaPark.
- Enjoy the luxurious amenities that your resort has to offer!
Where to Eat
- Have seafood on the beach at Blanchard’s Restaurant and Beach Shack.
- Treat yourself to dinner with a panoramic view at Ocean Echo Anguilla.
- Enjoy authentic local Caribbean fare at Mango’s.
- Try some of the international options, such as the Mexican restaurant Picante.
Meads Bay Budget Hotels
- Carimar Beach Club is one of the few somewhat affordable options near Meads Bay. Enjoy stunning rooms with ocean views, a lush garden, and tennis courts where you can stay fit.
- Have your own space by renting the apartments at Turtle’s Nest Beach Resort, and still enjoy resort amenities such as a pool and complementary rum punches.
Meads Bay Mid-Range Hotels
- The Malliouhana Resort Anguilla passes for mid-range by the standards of Meads Bay. Amenities include luxe rooms, a private tennis court, plenty of organized activities, and beach access.
- Elegant Tranquility Beach Anguilla has beautiful views, bike rentals for active visitors, and excellent service.
Meads Bay Luxury Hotels
- Removed from the bustle of Meads Bay, the luxurious Cap Juluca pampers guests with elegant suites, a private beach, and organized sports and water sports that are included in your stay.
- The luxe Four Seasons Resort & Residences Anguilla is the definition of excess — one pool is not enough, the resort has three. Guests can also enjoy multiple fine dining restaurants, snorkeling tours, play areas for children, and everything else you could imagine.
2. Shoal Bay Village
Shoal Bay Village is in the northeast of Anguilla. It is far quieter than Meads Bay, making it a favorite retreat among people that are put off by the hustle and bustle (and crowds) of most traditional resorts.
The nature around Shoal Bay Village is more untouched than Meads Bay, making it a favorite destination for those who are beach purists and enjoy water sports. The main attraction in Shoal Bay Village is somewhat obviously the beach of Shoal Bay.
Once you look at pictures, you’ll probably see why. The water is a clear turquoise color, and the sand is pristine white, almost pink. The beach stretches on and on, providing plenty of space for swimming, tanning, and anything else you may want to do while you are on vacation.
In fact, this two-mile-long beach routinely tops lists of the best beaches in the world. Plenty of people visit, but there is plenty of space for you to do what you planned as well.
The pristine stretch of beach is perfect for trying your hand at water sports. The water is so clear that it is a favorite spot for snorkeling in Anguilla. Shoal Bay Beach also has a coral reef just off shore, so you will have plenty to see if you put your face underwater!
There are plenty of vendors and tour operators in the village that allow you to rent equipment or take lessons in kayaking, paddle boarding, and more. Shoal Bay Village also has stuff to do on land.
There is a lively stretch of bars and restaurants that line the beach and offer meals, live entertainment, and even beach chair and umbrella rentals. You can refresh yourself with a meal break while swimming and come back at night to dance the night away.
Shoal Bay Village is a great vacation destination, but some families may find it lacking in activities for children. We recommend it primarily for couples and adults in search of a relaxing beach vacation.
Things to Do
- Relax on the beautiful shores of Shore Bay Beach.
- Try your hand at snorkeling and check out the coral reef.
- Book a treatment at Malakh Day Spa.
- Dance the night away at the local beach bars.
Where to Eat
- Have a quiet seafood lunch at Tropical Sunset.
- Check out some local specialties at Gwen’s Reggae Bar.
- Enjoy beachside tacos and rum punches at Olas.
Shoal Bay Village Budget Hotels
- Nestled inland from Shoal Bay Village, the guesthouse The Hidden Cottage provides guests with spacious apartments, laundry facilities, and great service.
- Stay like a (pampered) local at the B&B Anguilla Modern Farmhouse, which welcomes guests with spacious rooms, a shared kitchen area, lounge, and garden, and laundry services.
Shoal Bay Village Mid-Range Hotels
- Save money by staying in Island Harbour, a little bit away from Shoal Bay Village, at the Moonlight Cottage, where you will have the whole property and balcony to yourself.
- Renting your own space at the Shoal Bay Villas, where you get to enjoy spacious suites and apartments, babysitting services, and even snorkel equipment rentals, is a great way to enjoy Shoal Bay.
Shoal Bay Village Luxury Hotels
- There is nothing more luxurious than renting your own villa, which you can do at the four-bedroom Sandcastle Pointe Villa, which also has mini-golf access, a private pool, and private service.
- Get pampered at the Zemi Beach House and enjoy resort amenities such as a pool, hammam, kid’s club, and organized activities, all right on the beach.
3. The Valley
The Valley is the capital of Anguilla and its central district. If you’re picturing a bustling city when you think of the capital, you’re wrong — this small town is just as laid-back as any other part of Anguilla.
If you’re just doing a quick trip to Anguilla and are transiting quickly to other islands in the Caribbean, this is a great place to stay since it has the island’s airport and is its main transportation hub. The Valley may not be a big city, but it has amenities that you would expect from any major town.
It has a small but delightful historic core with old colonial buildings, perfect if you want to take a walk away from the beach. There are also plenty of options for transportation and entertainment. As with any other place in Anguilla, The Valley is close to the beach.
The most beautiful nearby beach is Crocus Bay Beach, which offers great opportunities to swim and enjoy other water sports. The Valley is a great place to stay in Anguilla, but if you are staying for longer, you may want to check out other parts of the island.
There are prettier beaches with better nature in more remote areas (although by the standards of most of the rest of the world, even The Valley is extremely relaxing and pristine).
Things to Do
- Check out the historic buildings, such as the 18th century Wallblake House.
- Laze on the shores of Crocus Bay Beach.
- Climb to the ruins of Old Court House for amazing views of the island.
- Get a unique souvenir at the craft shops and galleries in town.
Where to Eat
- Have delicious local grub at the Sunshine Shack.
- Try local barbecue from the shack called Ken’s Pork.
- Have award-winning local specialties at Da’vida Restaurant.
The Valley Budget Hotels
- The guesthouse Bel Ti Pias offers guests air-conditioned apartments, parking, and a terrace, in a building that prides itself on sustainability.
- The guesthouse Tropix Getaway Anguilla has elegant, air-conditioned apartments, laundry facilities, and a balcony with sea views.
The Valley Mid-Range Hotels
- Most accommodation options near The Valley are vacation rentals, such as this Oceanfront Home with Stunning Caribbean Views, which offers guests four bedrooms, wifi, and a great location near the beach.
- Rent an entire villa at Easy Corner Villas and enjoy your own space, but still have hotel amenities and services such as an airport shuttle, a shared garden, and a BBQ.
The Valley Luxury Hotels
- The Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club is one of the best resorts in the area, with amenities including spacious suites with Bose speakers, a spa, tour desk, several restaurants, two golf courses, and so much more.
- For true luxury, rent the entire ten-bedroom Sandcastle Villa, with a fully equipped home including gaming systems, a lush garden for privacy, and luxury amenities such as a private infinity pool.
4. Sandy Ground
Anguilla is beautiful, but it is difficult to deny that much of the island is expensive. You will likely pay a premium price for accommodation, especially if you want to be close to the beach.
The one exception is Sandy Ground, close to the capital The Valley, which is a more affordable part of Anguilla. Here you can enjoy the same beautiful beaches and nature that characterize the rest of the island, without paying the premium prices you may find in Meads Bay or other locations.
Sandy Ground is located alongside the beach beside Road Salt Pond. The water is beautifully clear, and the sandy shores are also pristine. It curves around the bay, which provides a protected area for swimming and snorkeling.
A popular activity is to take a boat out a bit further and go fishing in the bay. The village of Sandy Ground itself is a very laid-back place, with plenty of family-owned restaurants, beach bars, and not much else.
The best thing to do here is to kick back, relax, and enjoy your vacation. For some people, the lack of amenities is relaxing, but others may find it a bit dull.
If you are looking for resort-style accommodations, Sandy Ground is also not for you as most accommodation options here tend to be villa or home rentals. For more luxurious experiences, try a different part of the island.
Things to Do
- Go snorkeling, swimming, or fishing on Sandy Ground Beach.
- If you visit in August, check out the local Anguilla Summer Festival, with boat races, music, and festivities.
- Visit Road Salt Pond, a protected wetland area, and go birdwatching.
- Take a day trip to another nearby beach such as Katouche Bay Beach.
Where to Eat
- Try local seafood at the traditional beachfront Criss Conch Shack.
- Enjoy the fish at Roy’s Bayside Grill.
- Have a drink at Elvis’s Beach Bar.
Sandy Ground Budget Hotels
- The IRIS RESIDENCE guest house provides guests with entire apartments, including kitchenettes, beautiful views, and a great location on the beach.
- LittleLux Living, a bit further out in George Hill, offers guests richly furnished apartments or studios, a balcony, and a patio.
Sandy Ground Mid-Range Hotels
- Edward’s Guesthouse is a fresh, locally-owned guesthouse with spacious rooms, free wifi and parking, and the option to rent cars or bikes to get around the island.
- The Suite is a guest house offering spacious apartments, perfect for families, with additional amenities including a balcony and parking.
Sandy Ground Luxury Hotels
- The JC Comfort Suit and Villa offers spacious suites for guests, along with shared amenities including a kitchen and washing facilities.
- For a more luxurious stay, head south towards Rendezvous Bay and stay at the White Sands Anguilla-Sea and enjoy a spacious home, outdoor dining area, and even a hot tub.
So, Where Should You Stay in Anguilla?
|🏆 Best for First-Time Visitors||Meads Bay|
|⛱️ Best for Beaches||Shoal Bay Village|
|🎉 Best for Nightlife||The Valley|
|💲 Most Budget-Friendly Area||Sandy Ground|
Anguilla, a small British independent colony in the Caribbean Sea, is probably what you might picture when you think of a Caribbean vacation.
It has it all — beautiful turquoise waters, perfect sandy shores, a relaxing pace of life, and delicious rum punches on the beach. Many visitors find it far more relaxing than other parts of the Caribbean due to the relative lack of crowds.
Anguilla is a small island, only about 16 miles long and 3.5 miles wide. No matter where you stay, you are just a short walk away from the beach. Plus, no matter where you stay, it is fairly easy to explore other parts of the island by renting a car or even just hopping on a bike and pedaling through the gentle terrain.
The ease of getting around the island takes the pressure off of choosing where to stay somewhat, but you still have to choose the right area or village for your stay depending on your budget and preferred activities.
Most visitors to Anguilla are most familiar with Meads Bay because this is the premiere resort area in Anguilla. It is also a popular destination for visitors with families due to the many resort amenities on offer.
If you want beautiful beaches but want a place that is a bit further from the hustle and bustle than Meads Bay, then Shoal Bay Village is the place for you. This area boasts a beautiful beach that is also very popular with water sports athletes.
If you’re just popping into Anguilla for a quick visit, you should stay in The Valley, the capital. That way, you can be close to your transportation options but still take in everything Anguilla has to offer, from souvenir shopping to beautiful beaches.
Finally, Sandy Ground is the most affordable area of Anguilla with a laid-back atmosphere consisting of guest houses, villa rentals, and family-owned restaurants.
With such a great atmosphere, the most stressful part of your vacation to Anguilla will be figuring out which part of the island is your favorite!