I’m baaaack! It has been quite an eventful past three months. You’ll hear more about my travels to Colombia and a three-city tour on the West Coast later, but for now, I owe you the rest of my review on Anguilla. In case you missed Part One, be sure to check that out HERE first before reading on!
In the last blog I wrote about the top three things I loved. While there’s more where that came from, I do want to share some things to know about Anguilla before you go. And let me be clear, you should definitely go!
Historically, Anguilla hasn’t been easy to get to from the States. Prior to January 2022, most commercial airlines did not fly directly into Anguilla. You had to fly into Saint Martin and take a ferry. For most, you will have a stop in Miami, because there aren’t a lot of direct flights into Saint Martin. Fortunately, now American Airlines has direct flights into Anguilla.
Flying during a pandemic also means that you have to adhere to ever-changing covid requirements and restrictions. This can be cumbersome if you’re traveling to two different countries. Our travel to Saint Martin at the time required vaccination or a negative covid test with one set of paperwork (even though we were just stopping through). Our arrival in Anguilla required a whole different set of paperwork and another covid test upon arrival. Needless to say, it was a bit overwhelming, but in the end, worth it.
Getting around the island
I’m typically not someone who likes to drive on vacation, especially considering I don’t even like driving at home (don’t judge me). However, I truly enjoyed the driving experience in Anguilla, goats and all! Yes, goats roll deep in Anguilla so you have to share the road with them, and chickens occasionally too.
Another thing that will take some getting used to is “left is right, and right is wrong.” Yep, they drive on the left side of the road here. That motto I learned as I was getting my temporary three-month license helped keep me on the “right” side of the road though.
As mentioned in part one, the island is pretty small, so nothing is really far away. It’s also fairly easy to learn your way around, despite not all the roads having street signs. The great news is Google Maps works really well here and in the event you lose your way, someone is always ready and willing to assist you.
And you’ll likely need assistance at some point. I mentioned in Part One that the Sunshine Shack was a little hard to find. That’s because the roads that lead there weren’t necessarily roads that we’re used to by American standards. It was more like dirt pathways with very little signage and unfortunately, that was one of the few times Google Maps failed us.
If you aren’t willing to brave the Anguilla roads, taxis are also an option. But if you plan on visiting all the places we did and you’re staying longer than a week, a rental car is the most economical option, despite the crazy gas prices. I recommend Romcan Car Rental. And if you’d like to get around with a group and don’t want to have to worry about drinking and driving I recommend Olympus Chauffeur Services. Tell Marc at Romcan and Glennis at Olympus I sent you!
You can spend your US dollars in Anguilla, but make sure you bring a lot of them…Anguilla is not cheap! There are some things that you can get a deal on in Anguilla, like lobster and chicken, because they’re in abundance there. However, Anguilla imports most of its merchandise so you end up paying for it.
While a fair share of the island is underdeveloped, it is definitely an island geared toward luxury travelers. Many of the resorts and hotels are considered luxury and come with 5-star prices to match. That’s why I recommend that if you are traveling with a group, villa rentals are the best route to go.
Also important to note, if you are an American Express lover, you’ll want to bring another form of payment. Most of the establishments outside of the luxury properties don’t take Amex. It’s just too expensive for independent business owners, including grocery stores.
Beyond the restaurants and beach shacks
Speaking of grocery stores, you’ll definitely want to visit one, especially if you’re staying for a week or longer. The largest grocery store chain there is called Best Buy, which has stores on both the east and west ends of the island. They were ok, until we found a smaller market closer to our house, Syd and Pete’s, and a larger (and nicer) store J.W. Proctor closer to the end of our stay. They both surprisingly had better prices and a larger selection of some of the items we needed. While many of the items here were still more expensive than what we might find back home, it still saved us money to cook some mornings and nights at home.
Bring insect repellent
As the weather is pretty consistent in the 80s all year round, the mosquitos here are relentless all year round. For someone like me who clearly has blood that mosquitoes like, it was not a fun experience unless I was doused in repellent. One night I thought I was outsmarting them by covering my entire body (except my head) in sheets and long pants and sleeves. I woke up to a mosquito bite on my cheek. Disrespectful. I recommend bringing or buying insect repellent as soon as you arrive to avoid becoming a giant mosquito buffet.
Remember in part one when I said I was already planning how I could get back to Anguilla before I left? That’s because I fell in love with so many of the country’s unique establishments, beyond the beach shacks, of course.
- Village Bakehouse
This delightful little French bakery had the best croissants, breakfast sandwiches, and pastries. I also loved the quaint outdoor seating and friendly service. There’s also a small wine shop next door that had some of my favorite Rose.
- Anguilla Salts and Sands
The name says it all. This boutique shop specializes in honoring and preserving Anguilla’s rich salt-mining history as well as the sand from its beautiful beaches. Their delicious natural flavored salt and jewelry and accessories made from real Anguillan sand make awesome souvenirs. They also have a cute patio in the back that shifts into a small lounge for Margherita Thursdays.
- Lit Lounge
If you are looking for nightlife on the island, Lit Lounge is the place to be. This two-story outdoor bar and lounge on the beach is perfect for anyone wanting to enjoy a good cocktail and listen to some popular R&B, hip hop, and reggae. After 11 pm it turns into more of an outdoor club, living up to its name. Also, all ages are welcome!
- Zemi Beach House
I absolutely loved this boutique resort on the east side of the island on my favorite beach, Shoal Bay. It was the vibe for me. Mom and I enjoyed lunch at the property and took a tour of the spa, which I will definitely visit on my return visit to Anguilla.
- Other Noteworthy Resorts and Hotels
I recommend that if you opt to stay in a villa that you patronize Anguilla’s beautiful resorts for at least a drink, if not a meal or a spa visit. Cap Jaluca, Aurora, and the Four Seasons all offered a unique experience of the island.
As you can see, there’s a lot to love about Anguilla. And I’m sure I didn’t even experience half of what the beautiful island country has to offer. That’s why I’m planning a return visit as I write this. When I do return to my sweet home away from home, know that a part three to this blog series is sure to follow.