Anguilla Main

If beaches were the measure of an island's wealth, Anguilla would be one of the richest places in the West Indies. Even though it has more than 30 strands, plus several more on nearby cays, the isle's beach riches are not so much about quantity as quality. The sand on most of the beaches here is a truly powder-soft mix that can be blindingly white, making that blue, blue sea appear even more vivid.

So why has this small, laid-back island been so slow to develop? There are upscale resorts, fine restaurants, and a couple of nightclubs, but no casinos, golf courses, or duty-free shopping. An Anguilla holiday showcases the S factors: sun, sand, sea, and solitude.You could add snorkeling at the six marine parks, scuba diving the several wrecks, and shopping in quite a few new art galleries. But the sightseeing is limited, and the interior of the island is fairly featureless.

In the end, Anguilla's appeal lies in those incomparable ribbons of white sand – Shoal Bay, Rendezvous Bay, and others – where you can finish off a day in the sun with music and dancing at a low-key beach bar while looking forward to an instant replay the next day.