Tucked away in the Northeastern Caribbean lies the inviting, intriguing and truly incomparable Caribbean island of Anguilla. The British Overseas Territory, renowned for its powder-white beaches, turquoise waters, culinary scene helmed by some of the Caribbean’s most talented chefs, and outstanding accommodation, lies refreshingly off the beaten path.
While the island may sound reclusive, it’s anything but elusive. Anguilla is an enduringly popular Caribbean destination for Canadians fleeing the chill of winter and the tyranny of the snow shovel. It’s no surprise as to why: Anguilla’s friendly populace is every bit as warm as the climate. Anguilla has enjoyed bumper visits in 2023, with tourist arrivals up 20% on last year, putting it on track to exceed the previous record set in 2019.
As the island gears up for the busy winter travel season, that success is evident in a flurry of investment by resorts, hotels and villas in expanded amenities and experiences, a renewed commitment to sustainable travel, and expanded service from partners like Air Canada. Eager to discover exactly what’s awaiting when you next step foot on Anguilla’s pristine shores? Read on below for a what’s new, and who’s who guide to Anguilla in 2024.
Regal Renovations, Exciting Openings
Aurora Anguilla, located on beautiful Rendezvous Bay, is slated to open its new Entertainment Park in late 2023, complete with a world-class tennis center, pickleball courts, climbing wall, beach volleyball, clay bocce and basketball courts, a 9-hole mini golf course, and a stunning family-friendly pool complex. Elsewhere on the resort, accommodations feature spacious suites, multi-bedroom villas and estate home options in the resort’s Merrywing Bay area, perfect for larger families or groups travelling together.
Home to Anguilla’s only golf courses, there is also a new clubhouse for the 9-hole Avalon Links short course which opened in November 2022, to complement the redeveloped Greg Norman-designed 18-hole International Course.
The new Cap Juluca Spa by Guerlain is set to open at Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel in Spring 2024. The new CAD $11 million spa facility is inspired by the Arawak Indians, Anguilla’s earliest inhabitants, who celebrated the renewal and rejuvenation of each new day and will offer a full menu of exclusive Guerlain treatments.
At Four Seasons Resort & Residences, wellness specialist Melissa Fox will be offering her signature facials during her residency from December 17 – 22, 2023, while Stefanie DiLibero, founder of the legendary Gotham Wellness in New York City, will be in residence from December 26 – January 1, 2024. On the culinary front, famed TV personality and celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian will take over SALT, their signature main restaurant, from December 19 – 22, 2023.
Food and Drink
The island’s reputation as the ultimate culinary destination in the Caribbean remains unchallenged. The third annual Anguilla Culinary Experience (ACE) will take place from May 23 – 26, 2024, where international guest chefs will work alongside local chefs across four days of parties, dinners, barbeques and tastings at various resorts and restaurants.
Anguilla’s grande dame, Malliouhana, celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2024. A new wine program is on offer, led by James Beard award-winning sommelier Shelley Lindgren, offering elevated wine experiences at each of Malliouhana’s signature dining concepts.
Local restaurants continue to be among the most popular dining spots. Tasty’s POV, overlooking Sandy Ground and led by chef Dale Carty, has expanded its menu to include sushi, alongside his signature menu using the finest fresh and local ingredients and flavours served in colourful and traditional Caribbean surroundings.
At Arawak Beach Club Mediterranean-inspired tapas is now on the menu at their new eatery, Arawak’s Taverna. With indoor and outdoor tables, diners will enjoy dinner with a view of Island Harbour, followed by cocktails around the firepit.
MUSIC AND FESTIVALS
In addition to the return of ACE in May 2024, Canadians seeking more of an active vibe will be pleased to learn that a host of established annual festivals will be returning for 2024.
Island legend Bankie Banx will be bringing Moonsplash music festival back to the iconic Dune Preserve beach bar from March 22 – 24, 2024. The lineup is yet to be confirmed, but with the likes of Maxi Priest, the FAB 5 Band and Big Mountain among recent headliners, it’s sure to be another memorable weekend.
The island will be celebrating 50 years of carnival with Summer Festival 2024, taking place from August 1 – 11, 2024. The island will be a kaleidoscope of colour for ten solid days of non-stop festivities ranging from the J’Ouvert parade set to a soundtrack of soca music, to the spectacular Parade of Troupes, calypso competitions, beach barbecues and the Miss Anguilla pageant.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND ACCESS
Anguilla’s new Blowing Point Ferry Terminal opened in January 2023, welcoming travellers arriving by private charter and public ferry. While the island does not permit cruise ships to dock, construction is also set to commence on Anguilla’s first yacht marina in December 2024 to expand its welcome to those arriving by smaller marine craft.
For travellers arriving by air, Phase Two of the expansion of Clayton J Lloyd International Airport is well underway, with the construction of a new Cargo Facility starting in November 2023. The third phase will comprise a new terminal, slated to begin construction in January 2024, and the final stage will be a runway expansion to accommodate larger aircraft.
A new FBO terminal operated by Lloyds Aviation Services is slated to open in 2024, and over at the Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten, a key gateway for Anguilla, the new Departure Hall and expanded Check-In Hall are both scheduled to open this winter.
American Airlines, the first carrier to inaugurate direct service into Anguilla from the US mainland, is currently operating daily direct flights from Miami International (MIA) to Anguilla (AXA), with two flights on Saturdays. The schedule will increase to twice-daily service from December 20, 2023, and continue through the summer of 2024, with connections to Canada available. For Canadians seeking more direct access, Anguilla remains accessible from Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL), with flights available every week courtesy of Air Canada and enticing packages offered by Air Canada Vacations. With direct flights as short as four hours to Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten, the warmth of Anguilla feels closer than ever