Anguilla travel guide
Beyoncé. Paul McCartney. Denzel Washington. Expect to keep good company if you’re holidaying in Anguilla, which has become something of a hangout for the rich and famous in recent years.
Though not the most accessible Caribbean island (geographically and financially speaking), that is precisely why this British Overseas Territory is so appealing for the jet set. There are other reasons, of course. Anguilla also lays claim to some of the finest beaches in the region, as well as some of the most luxurious hotels. Suffice to say, it’s not the place to be penny pinching.
That said, some visitors do just that: favourable tax rates have earned Anguilla a reputation as a place to squirrel away the dollars. However, the island’s true riches lie below the waves, where you will find spectacular coral reef formations and a staggering diversity of marine life: from stingrays to sharks, turtles to tropical fish, there’s as much to see on the seafloor as there is on the shore.
Sailing is another popular pastime in Anguilla and it doesn’t take long to navigate the tiny island and its eight largely uninhabited cays.
If it sounds like a playground for the rich that’s because it is, but that’s not to say more wallet-friendly options don’t exist. There are a range of holiday villas and midrange hotels to suit more modest budgets. A night out needn’t cost the Earth either: potent cocktails go for reasonable prices in Anguilla’s ubiquitous beach bars.
Those who like their food are in for an unexpected treat. The restaurant scene is excellent and there is a surprising range of cuisine, from fine French fare to local dishes. Don’t leave without feasting on buttery Anguillian lobster.
For the culturally minded, Anguilla has many galleries showcasing local art, not to mention a delightfully eccentric museum. Wherever you are though, those beautiful beaches are only minutes away.
91 sq km (35 sq miles).
14,764 (UN estimate 2016).
164 per sq km.
British Overseas Territory.
HM Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, represented locally by Governor Christina Scott since 2013.
Chief Minister Hubert Hughes since 2010.
Last updated: 17 February 2019
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Anguilla was severely impacted by Hurricane Irma on 6 September 2017, but the process of recovery is progressing well. All services have now resumed: the power network is fully-functioning, the island’s airport and port are operational and hotels and restaurants are back open for business.
The hurricane season normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Centre and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders.
Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory. There is therefore no formal British diplomatic or consular representation. The local authorities deal with all requests for emergency assistance.
UK health authorities have classified Anguilla as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre.
Most visits to Anguilla are trouble-free. However, cases of robbery and other crimes do occur.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Anguilla, attacks cannot be ruled out.
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Safety and security
Crime levels are low. However, you should take sensible precautions such as:
- locking doors and windows at night and securing your car when you leave it.
- avoid isolated areas, including beaches after dark.
- don’t carry large amounts of cash or jewellery.
- valuables and travel documents should be left, where possible, in safety deposit boxes and hotel safes.
- don’t offer resistance if an armed robbery is attempted.
There is no public transport except taxis but car rental is widely available. You will need to bring your driving licence if you plan to rent a car and obtain a local driving licence from the car rental company at a cost of US $25 (which is valid for 3 months), and car hire costs approximately US$50 per day. Most rental cars are automatic. If you want a manual one it is best to order in advance. Driving is on the left, the same as in the UK. Take care when overtaking as most vehicles are left hand drive. Observe speed limits and do not drink and drive.
All airlines require early check-in times for passengers and luggage. Check-in times should be confirmed locally as inter-Caribbean flights do, on occasion, depart earlier than timetabled. All items of luggage are subject to search.
As Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory there’s no formal British diplomatic or consular representation. The local authorities deal with all requests for emergency assistance.
Following the impact of Hurricane Irma, the UK government is providing interim and long term assistance to infrastructure re-building, but this won’t impact visitors to the island, which is open for business with levels of security at pre hurricane norms.
In an emergency, dial 911 for a local emergency response.
Hospital: Telephone: +(264) 497 2551
Victims of crime should contact the Royal Anguilla Police Force: Telephone: +(264) 497 2333.
Marriage, Birth and Death registration enquiries: Judicial Department Telephone: +(1 264) 476 2377
Immigration and Visa information: Anguilla Immigration Department Telephone: +(1 264) 497 3994 email: Immigration@gov.ai
Passport Information: Anguilla Passport Office Telephone: +(1 264) 497 7394
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Anguilla, attacks can’t be ruled out.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Local laws and customs
Anguilla is a separate legal jurisdiction to the United Kingdom and has its own laws.
There are harsh penalties if you are caught with drugs of any kind.
Topless/nude bathing is not permitted.
You should observe the customs regulations on the importation and exportation of agricultural products and the protection of marine and animal life. Some marine and animal specimens may not be taken from the island. If in doubt, check with the local customs authorities.
There’s no provision for marriage or civil partnerships between same-sex couples. Hotels and resorts are generally welcoming, regardless of sexual orientation. Local attitudes can be conservative and some people may not approve of public displays of affection between same-sex couples. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Anguilla as a visitor but accommodation must be booked prior to arrival
You must hold a valid passport to enter Anguilla. Your passport must have at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your date of entry into Anguilla.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each overseas territory page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in overseas territories. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the local territory government.
UK health authorities have classified Anguilla as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
There is one small hospital, one private day-hospital and 3 clinics on the Island. Patients requiring major surgery may need to be transferred to a neighbouring island. Scuba divers should note that there are no facilities on the island for treating decompression sickness. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
The hurricane season in the Caribbean normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation and the National Hurricane Centre.
See our Tropical Cyclones page for advice about what to do if you are caught up in a storm.
Most major credit cards are accepted in local shops, hotels and restaurants. The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$). It is pegged to the US Dollar at around EC$2.7 = 1 US Dollar. US Dollars are widely accepted. The territory has modern banking facilities, including ATM machines.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizens Advice website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.