This was our fourth trip to Anguilla; each one we add a couple days and now we are up to 2 weeks! Easy direct flight IAD to SXM which arrived early. We usually try to avoid Saturday travel but that is the only day United has a direct flight and the hassles of Saturday travel are much less than the hassle of connecting flights.
We arrived ~1:00 and since we do carryon only made it through customs quickly and got a cab to Marigot. Previously have done the shuttles but on the advice of several people here decided to try to public ferry and we love it! Quick cab ride, easy customs, inexpensive and a smooth ride over to Anguilla sitting on the top deck. No more shuttles for us.
Our rental car from Sandy Feet was in the lot and we went directly to The Roti Shack for a snack and the first of many Carib’s then on to Best Buy for some provisions before going to Shoal Bay Villas. We chose SBV on the advice of people here (thanks Beachfan!) for our first trip and we absolutely love it. The rooms are comfortable and clean, the staff is wonderful, the view is amazing and we think the price is very reasonable. An added bonus is that it is very close to Madeariman’s which has great food and our good friends Jeannette and Lucy who make everything better . We had several lunches and dinners here and not one disappointment, from really good pizza to a grilled swordfish steak with a leek sauce that is one of the best meals we had on the island.
We pretty much settled into a routine, I get up early for the short trip to Le Bon Pain soon after it opened and picked up whatever was ready because it’s all delicious. The croissants, danish, fruit puffs, quiche, egg sandwiches or just the baguette and butter are all great. There is usually a wait but I enjoy it chatting with the locals and other tourists. Back to SBV for breakfast on the beach or on our balcony.
The days were spent relaxing and reading on the lounge chairs, chasing the shade and bobbing in crystal clear water and snorkeling or just looking at the beautiful view. It never gets old. We had planned on taking a lot of day trips to other beaches but I have a theory that the gravitational pull is stronger at SBE than anywhere else because I had a difficult time getting my butt out of my lounge chair.
We did make a few trips out, lunch at Da Vida and some time at Crocus Bay. We’ve been here several times and can never get past the seafood salad which is making my mouth water just writing this and a trip to Anguilla wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Blanchard’s beach shack. Went snorkeling at Little Bay with Jr on his glass bottom boat which we definitely will do again along with other trips he makes. Visited the Anguilla Heritage Collection Museum on the East End which I would recommend for anyone interested in the history of the island. Doesn’t count as a trip out but a massage by Dek Nur at Jepun Bali at SBV is wonderful, we each had two.
We enjoyed joining a group of fellow tourists staying at SBV who gather each day on the beach before sunset for cocktails to chat and to look for the green flash when the sun sinks over the water. Great way to end the day on the beach.
The other restaurants we visited:
Veya – great service, fine dining, not rushed. The shrimp cigars were possibly the best thing I ate in 2 weeks! The butter poached lobster and the grilled snapper also excellent.
Straw Hat – ditto from above. Now I’m thinking the tuna flatbread might be a tie with the shrimp cigars. The seared tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes and the grilled snapper both also excellent.
Cha Cha San – was ok but not worth the drive from the east end. The staff was good but we can get better Asian food in Maryland.
Ken’s BBQ – probably the best bargain on the island. Order of ribs, order of chicken, fries, garlic bread and johnny cakes for breakfast - $13 and it was all pretty good.
Elodia’s – a couple of lunches here all good, better than the last time we visited
Gwens – food ok and expensive but don’t think most people go for the food, it’s the rum punches and the scratch band! Fun place!
Hanks – decent food, surly waitress
Elite – 2 dinners here, both times there was only 1 other table. The food was really good, homemade pasta and bolognese sauce or a shrimp and garlic sauce both very good. We were told the chef formerly worked at Trattoria Tramonto
Artisan – 2 dinners here as well, possibly the best pizza I’ve ever had and I love pizza. The only place we visited that was at full capacity, totally full both times.
Falcon Nest – 2 more dinners here, really fresh seafood right on the beach and a really fun place. Great place to meet and talk with the locals.
Tropical Sunset – pretty good food, had fun talking with the waitress who also works at Veya
It went by pretty fast but it was a wonderful two weeks. As I’ve seen from other posts here Anguilla isn’t for everyone but I sure had a smile on my face the entire time. The beaches are fantastic, it’s hard to find a bad meal but as others have said, it’s really the Anguillan people who make it a special place for me. We had a woman come over to us at the gas station after she finished pumping her gas to say hello and ask if we were having a good day and if we were enjoying our vacation; waitresses from who we learned their life stories before we had finished our meals; housekeeping staff who would give us a hug when we saw them; locals who would join us at our table just to talk, and many other examples of the warmest, friendliest people I have ever encountered anywhere.
Have our reservations made for next year!