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A display at the Heritage Collection Museum

Anguilla, the most northerly of the British Leeward Islands, retains the laid-back character of a sleepy backwater. It's small and lightly populated, but the islanders are friendly and easy going. It also has some of the finest beaches in the Caribbean.

The interior of the island is flat, dry and scrubby, pockmarked with salt ponds and devoid of dramatic scenery. Anguilla's main appeal to visitors is its beautiful fringing beaches, aquamarine waters and its nearby coral-encrusted islets, which offer great swimming, snorkelling and diving.

The island had almost no visitor facilities just a decade ago, but it made a decision in the 1980s to develop tourism with a slant toward luxury hotels and villas. It has since become one of the trendier top-end destinations in the Eastern Caribbean. Inexpensive ferries shuttle between Anguilla and bustling St Martin, making Anguilla easy to visit as a day trip.

Facts for the traveller
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Off the beaten track
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