Sure, there are more than two dozens islands in the Caribbean where you could spend your first vacation as man and wife. But I've been reading up on Anguilla, and it's my pick for a laid-back honeymoon on an amazingly pristine island. Here's my top ten reasons why:
1. Its intimate size. Anguilla is just 16 miles long and 3 miles wide, with a total of just 35 square miles. Its small size means that you can get to know the island intimately on a short stay here.
2. The pristine beaches. Explore twelve miles of stunning white-sand and coral beaches on Anguilla. Of the 33 distinct beaches, you can choose from hidden bays or busy strips. Rendezvous Bay, the longest stretch of beach, particularly conducive to romantic strolls beside the ocean. Shoal Bay is full of action with beachside restaurants, catamaran rentals and boat-ride outfitters.
3. The nightclub and music scene. Calypso, reggae, soca, jazz, steel drums... you'll hear it all coming from nightclubs like the Dune Preserve, The Pumphouse and Johnno's. Local bands play often on the weekends.
4. A range of accommodations. Choose from luxury properties like the CuisinArt Resort & Spa, or more smaller, boutique lodging, like Sirena on Mead's Bay.
5. Options for water sports. Snorkeling, scuba, deep-sea fishing, sailing, parasailing, swimming and more in the gorgeous turquoise waters.
6. The friendly residents. Everything I've read about this small island highlights the incredibly accommodating and gracious folks who live and work here. It's likely you'll be greeted with a smile from everyone you encounter, including your hotel concierge, scuba instructor or taxi driver.
7. Its proximity to St. Maarten. Anguilla is generally peaceful and laid back; St. Maarten is a bit more hopping. Check out the shopping and nighttime entertainment on this neighboring island via a short, 20-minute ferry ride.
8. The food. Sample a fusion of Caribbean, Mediterranean, Italian, American and Cajun flavors. You can't stay on Anguilla without sampling the always fresh seafood!
9. The option to keep busy or do absolutely nothing. Anguilla offers an opportunity to truly get away from it all after your wedding. You can retreat to hidden beaches, lie poolside for hours or nap to your heart's content -- and no one will bother you. On the flip side, if you want to rent bikes, hike the island, parasail and hit all the restaurants, you can do that, too!
10. The sunsets Head to a beach on the west side of the island to watch sky at dusk -- gorgeous hues of pink, purple, orange and gold. An ideal way to end the day.