ohmj10_destinations21Deserted beaches and modern amenities lure jet setters to AnguillaÂ’s welcoming shores.

Situated due east of Puerto Rico in the heart of the Caribbean, Anguilla is a quick 20-minute ferry ride north of St. Martin, but with only 15,000 people scattered across its 35 square miles, it might as well be a world away.

A Greek influence pervades the island, evident in the often blindingly white architecture that juts out against the azure sky. Long-time residents say Anguilla hasn’t changed all that much since the advent of tourism in the 1980s, which is why many are attracted to the island. Anguilla feels quaint and old-fashioned in some respects—the people are among the friendliest in the Caribbean—yet it’s not out of touch with the modern world. Plus, the glitz factor is pretty big; the airport can only take private planes, and Uma Thurman, Denzel Washington, and Robert DeNiro are occasionally spotted.

But if ogling celebs isn’t your thing and you’ve had more than enough beach time, there’s plenty else to do here, especially on an island where boat racing is the national sport. Regattas are held all year long, but there’s also plenty of opportunities to reel in a wahoo, swordfish, or a yellowfin, as long as you’re up for the battle. —By Lisa Rogak, Photographs by William Boyd

The Essentials: Anguilla

1. Where to Stay
The CuisinArt Resort & Spa recently added six new villas—three are oceanfront—each with its own private pool, solarium and outdoor patio, and fully-equipped kitchen.  800-943-3210, cuisinartresort.com. Also be sure to check out The Viceroy Anguilla which opened in December; guests can choose from two beaches and three swimming pools. 888-622-4567, viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/anguilla.

2. Where to Eat
With almost 100 restaurants, Anguilla is the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Don’t miss Scilly Cay, where Eudoxie “Gorgeous” Wallace has been dishing up just-off-the-boat seafood for
25 years. 264-497-5123, scillycayanguilla.com.

3. What To Do
With 33 beaches, Anguilla attracts visitors with one thing on their mind—tanning. However, the island is also known for its love of boating and yacht races, as well as a great fall jazz festival. anguillajazz.org.