Living in Anguilla

Iyna Bort Caruso

Anguilla is where people retreat for an authentic Caribbean experience. No jumbo jets, no mega cruise ships, no casinos. And that means no swarming crowds. Life is high end and laid back in this corner of the Lesser Antilles, an easy 20-minute ferry ride from St. Martin.

Celebrities enjoy its private-island resort feel, and home buyers with residency status enjoy tax advantages. Tourism and financial services drive the economy of this British Overseas Territory whose population couldn’t even fill Yankee Stadium.

Traversing the island takes less than a half hour. Just 16 miles long and three miles at its widest point, any one of its 33 gorgeous white sand beaches is never far away.

Some are pocket-sized, some are giddily expansive, some are remote but all are considered Anguilla’s greatest assets. Shoal Bay Beach, often name-dropped among the world’s best, has a bonus off-shore reef that draws divers and snorklers.

International buyers who hold non-belonger status--those who have no ties to Anguilla by birth, marriage or ancestry--need an Alien Land Holding License to purchase real estate in Anguilla. Beachfront property is restricted, although rocky coastlines are not.

Western Anguilla has seen the greatest amount of development in recent years and is the site of the island’s championship golf course as well as its most exclusive resorts and estates.

Anguilla’s traditional West Indian architecture has evolved into an eclectic mix of Mediterranean, Moorish and modern home styles. Gated vacation homes, villas inspired by the natural surroundings and palatial residences built of concrete, granite and marble incorporate elegant open spaces. It’s no surprise. A sunny climate and a mean temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit lend themselves to outdoor tropical living where balconies and terraces are enjoyed year-round among magnificently landscaped grounds.