This year I discovered Anguilla for the first time and fell in love. It's secluded, it's incredibly tranquil (at the right time of year), the food is delicious, and the views are outstanding. I love it so much that I’ve rounded up the best things to do in Anguilla so it's simple for you to enjoy without all the planning!
How to Get There:
Anguilla is really a hidden gem, and what comes with being a precious stone... difficult to get to. I didn’t know the effort that it took to get there, so each step came as an (unwelcome) surprise. Now that I know the steps, and best ways to get around them, I’m more than excited to make the journey again. Depending where you’re flying from, you’ll likely get a direct flight to Saint Martin/Sint Maarten (SXM). Since Hurricane Irma, the airport is only operating at partial capacity, so be prepared for incoming and outbound delays. MAJOR TIP: when you arrive inside the airport, you’ll likely encounter a huge line. To the left of that huge line is a lesser known line for people travelling on to either Anguilla or St. Barths - get in that line! You’ll then get into a taxi, which will take you to the French side of the island to get onto a ferry to Anguilla (20 minute ferry ride). This can be a bit of a process since the port is on the other side of the island (hello traffic), then wait for the boat, then you arrive with a large group of people who all need to clear customs (this took us a long time). We learned that you can take a charter boat, which is a bit more expensive but worth the faster and easier travel time. We used Funtime Charters on the way home (you can use it both ways). They pick you up at Blowing Point in Anguilla then take you, and about 10 people, to the port right next to the airport in St. Martin. They even provide transport to and from the boat (from the hotel and to the airport) so you don’t even need to find a taxi or transfer money. This is a much faster process. However, asides from being a bit more expensive, it also doesn’t have as many departure times, so you may end up at the airport earlier than necessary (like us). As for when to travel, it is extremely busy at all the times you think it would be (Thanksgiving and all major holidays) but when we went in May it was almost empty (in an exclusive, not abandoned kind of way).
Where to Stay:
There will never be a shortage of incredible places to stay in Anguilla. The architectural style is very Mediterranean - think big white arches and stunning views of the beach from every angle; you’ll feel like you’re in Greece. I stayed at the CuisinArt Resort, which no, does not have anything to do with the kitchen appliances. It was so beautiful - everything from the views to the rooms and food. It is on Rendezvous Bay, which is full of white sands and crystal clear blue waters. My favourite part of this beach is the breeze - you have a constant breeze to break up the intense heat. This can sometimes stir up the sand, but it allows you to be outside all day without absolutely melting. On the other side of the island is Meads Bay - the water is as flat as ice since there is no breeze. While it might be calmer than Rendezvous Bay, it is MUCH hotter. The benefit of staying on this side of the island is that most restaurants are on this strip, whereas coming from CuisinArt is a bit of a trek and added expense in comparison. Along Meads Bay you have: Frangipani Beach Resort (gorgeous but very small, so book in advance), Four Seasons (this is on a rocky part of the beach so I wouldn’t recommend it if you enjoy a large beach), and Malliouhana. The other main hotel on the Rendezvous side is Belmond Cap Juluca, which has breathtaking architecture and a secluded beach.
Where to Eat:
Last, but certainly not least, are the restaurants. I was blown away by how good the food is in Anguilla. We tried a mixture of restaurants situated inside hotels and more local spots. They both offered incredibly fresh seafood and very unique menus. The food is definitely Caribbean style, but with a French influence. Be sure to make reservations, even when its low season. They seem to prefer it and will be much happier to see you if you turn up with a reservation than if not. Some of our favourites:
Veya - it feels and looks like you’re eating in a treehouse in the jungle.
Jacala - located right on Meads Bay beach (they even have beach chairs for lounging after) the food is a sublime blend of French and Caribbean.
Cobà - situated inside the Four Seasons and overlooking vast waters, you can’t beat this view from above.
Blanchards - great cocktails and fresh fish - perfect for lunch or dinner.
SandBar - a very fun local spot right on the water. Great for when you’re craving something fried and tasty.
Café Celeste - at the Malliouhana, we didn’t have time to try it but heard amazing things.
Straw Hat - at the Frangipani Resort. Probably one of my favourite restaurants on the island - perfect mix of incredible food and beach front eating.