Anguilla is a very special island because of its pristine beaches, delectable and diverse restaurants, and its friendly residents. The beaches here are like none I've seen before, and you certainly have your choice of which one(s) to visit as there are more than 30 on this small island.
It is enough of an extra effort to get to Anguilla that it seems to keep the masses away. Although there are full-service, large resorts on the island, we prefer staying at smaller hotels/villa resorts and venturing out to restaurants and beaches. With the beach bars in Sandy Ground, Shoal Bay East and now on Meads Bay, there are plenty of opportunities to hang out and mix in with the locals, which is what Caribbean charm is all about.
Although Anguilla is one of the more exclusive and luxurious islands in the Caribbean, we find locals to be friendly, welcoming and helpful. In grocery stores, farm stands, shops, restaurants, etc. we have never felt like outsiders. Anguilla really has something rare and special!
What We Love:
- The gorgeous beaches
- The food, food and more food (and drinks, too -- I looove my rum punch...)
- Plenty of options for beach bars with local flair
- Friendly, helpful people
What To Know:
- There are lower-priced options for accommodations and dining, but generally speaking, Anguilla is an expensive, exclusive island
- It takes some extra effort to get there, and flights and scheduled boat transfers are expensive (a more budget-friendly option is the public ferry)
Anguilla is a short boat ride from St. Martin and there are a few operators that make the trip regularly throughout the day. We've used Funtime for our visits. If going through them, make sure to get confirmation. Or, instead of booking yourself, go through your hotel or villa manager. A newer service is GB Express which is comparable to Funtime.
A more budget-friendly way to get to Anguilla is to take the public ferry. It delivers you to the same dock as the shuttle services, you just don't get the concierge-type attention as the shuttles (drinks on the way over, help with your luggage, dealing with passports, etc).
Where To Stay
Our Go-To spot is Carimar Beach Club. On an island with so many high-end resorts, Carimar is a great value. It's right on beautiful Meads Bay, it's small, the units are all condo-style with full kitchens, the staff is friendly, helpful and just as "full service" as a big resort would be. We were initially scared off by the lack of a pool because we were traveling with young children. But once we hit that beach, we don't even think twice about a pool!
Meads Bay Beach Villas is another good option as far as set-up/layout, but higher-priced. There are only 4 units, each is free-standing and has its own pool. Each unit has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen and living room. Meads Bay Beach Villas is also right on Meads Bay.
Where To Eat
Oh, goodness, where to start with this one? Anguilla is full of incredible restaurants, but here are our favorites:
Elodia's -- Shoal Bay East; Good for lunch, spending the day at the beach
Smokey's at The Cove -- Cove Bay; Kid Favorite; Good for lunch, spending the day at the beach
Sunshine Shack -- Rendezvous Bay; Good for lunch, spending the day at the beach; limited menu
Blanchard's Beach Shack -- Meads Bay; Kid Favorite; Good for lunch or dinner; well-priced, eat-in or take-out
Ocean Echo -- Meads Bay; Kid Favorite ; Good for lunch or dinner
Jacala -- Meads Bay; Kid Favorite ; High-end; Better for dinner
Flavours -- South Hill; Well-priced dinner
What To Do
Junior's Glass Bottom Boat - Shoal Bay East
Eat (see list above!)
Relax on one of the world's most beautiful beaches
Shop at Irie Life
Go Horseback Riding with Seaside Stables
Moonsplash Music Festival - March
Anguilla Regatta - May
Anguilla Lit Fest - May
Anguilla Summer Festival - July-August