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First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

Chicago, Illinois
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789 posts
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First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

First of all, thank you to everyone on here who’s offered feedback for me; this was extremely helpful in organizing our first trip to AXA. We booked our flights and hotel at Rendezvous Bay (“RBH”) several months in advance and counted down the days we had to thaw out from a cold Chicago winter.

We headed to AXA on a Saturday a.m. and arrived SXM about 20 minutes late, so we did not make the 2:45 GB ferry we arranged for. We knew this may happen, so we grabbed our bags and headed up where a GB rep was waiting for us to take us to the next water taxi (3:45). We then zipped over to the ferry terminal and had a drink at the little bar in front to kill some time before the water taxi departure.

We arrived at AXA without issue a little later and our rental jeep that RBH arranged for us was waiting for us in the parking lot, so off we were! We were not aware that RBH didn’t have signs for their hotel on the main road, so we missed the turn a few times and discovered we were to turn at the signs for Sunshine Shack and Anguilla Great House. As we proceeded down the road, there were signs for RBH. I loved that this was a little off the main road, as I always say there’s great things at the end of a dirt road in the Caribbean! We checked in and received a lovely welcome Rum Punch and checked into our room….spacious, clean and right on the beach. We couldn’t have been happier with our choice of where to stay.

Our first night, we kept it casual and went to Elvis’ for nachos and drinks. The nachos were huge and really good. After a few drinks with such a long travel day, we turned in by 9:00!

Sunday was our first full day and we enjoyed breakfast at our hotel (included with the room rate) and walked down the beach to Sunshine Shack where we relaxed, had a few drinks and some lunch (great ribs and chicken!) FYI: Sunshine Shack cooks at their own time frame and lunch is ready for all when it’s ready. Be there to put your order in or you may not eat as food is not made to order as most places do. We listed to the live music and made our way to Dune Preserve, which was a really chill bar with more live music. We grabbed a sunset cocktail at the Four Seasons Sunset lounge which was beautiful. For dinner, we ended up at Ocean Echo. My husband didn’t care for it, but I thought it was good (I had crayfish and he had something else—lamb?)

Monday we had some friends coming over from SXM, so we scooped them up at the ferry terminal and headed to Bamboo Beer Box for one of the best pina coladas I’ve had. We made our way down to Straw Hat and had a great lunch and chatted over cocktails. Mead’s Bay was choppy and I wouldn’t not have been comfortable getting in the water—in fact, I heard the red flags were up the following day. However, Rendezvous Bay in front of our hotel, the waters were as calm as a lake! We grabbed dinner at Roy’s which was casual with great food.

Tuesday we explored a bit of the east side of the island and headed over to Gwen’s, where chairs were taken by 11:30. We got in a quick swim at the stunning Shoal Bay and headed back to our hotel where we had chairs with our room. We made our way down to Dune Preserve for lunch which was great. We zipped over to the Malliouhana for sunset drinks and I discovered the frozen mojito. Wow, was it good!! Valentine’s dinner at Blanchard’s which was delicious.

Wednesday we had a day arranged on Chocolat, which turned out to be a perfect day! We met at the dock by Johnno’s at about 9:15 and headed to Prickly Pear (lunch was included) and then to Sandy Island where I discovered the guava colada, which I still dream about. LOL! We were back by about 3:30, so spent some time at our beach before heading off to Cap Juluca for our beach bbq. We had a drink at a different bar in the hotel first and learned they did not take Discover (hardly anyone on the island does) and their system was down so were not taking debit cards. The bartender would not even attempt to run our card as a credit card and I am pretty sure it would have worked. So we paid cash for our drinks and left since our other cards were back at the room and it seemed like a lot of work to go get a different card and head back. I didn’t want to work that hard to give someone $75/pp for bbq (though I’m sure it was really good), so we headed to Mango’s instead. And wow! Mangos impressed and was the best meal we ended up having on the island.

Thursday we did a little exploring and found “the arch” in the morning and then spent some time at our place enjoying the beach. We ducked over to Smokey’s at the Cove for lunch which was good, but the inflatable water park was a horrid view and had I known it was there, we would have passed. Also at Smokey’s was a large day trip boat from SXM with what looked like the cast of Jersey Shore on their booze cruise. We were happy to head back to our place. I enjoyed the frozen mojito and ambiance so much at Malliouhana, we returned for a pre-dinner cocktail. Then for dinner, Picante---more great food!!

Friday morning, we checked out of our hotel and headed back to SXM (there were tears out of me as we were on the water taxi over), and geared up for a few nights on the stunning and quaint island of Saba. Another spectacular island that was much different than AXA.

We’re now in the process of determining how we can do AXA again in November without breaking the bank right before the holidays. We bought the Anguilla Card before we left and had we remembered to use it the first several meals, we would have saved money. We did break even on it though!

Thanks again to everyone who was so helpful in the planning of this perfect trip. The time on AXA was not enough (is any island trip EVER long enough?!) and I believe we found our go-to island! Each place was better than the next and I cannot comment negatively on one thing. Everything was wonderful and the people were some of the most friendly we’ve encountered.

I’m happy to expound on anything if anyone has any questions, but that’s the long and short of it! :)

Mystic, CT
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for Anguilla, The Valley
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1. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

Amber I'm so glad you enjoyed so many of my favorite places! You certainly packed in a lot in a short trip. Smokey's was crossed off my list as soon as the water park went in!

Edited: 12:30 pm, March 02, 2017
London, United...
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2. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

A super trip report.

So glad you were able to do such a lot and get a the flavour of the island. No visit is ever long enough - we are coming for 4 weeks but I know we'll return home with a " to do" list for next time.

Thanks for posting :)

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3. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

You did great for a first timer! Thanks for the report.

Rhode Island, USA
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4. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

Great trip report, makes me excited about our upcoming trip. Like you we also missed the road to The Place/RBH a few times until we realized the sign to SSS would take us there. Did you find Prickly Pear and Sandy Island busy with folks from the neighboring islands? We really hate to leave peace and quiet for loud and crowded if we can help it.

Glad you found the "arch". it's also on our list of things we missed on our first trip along with sunset cocktails at Four Seasons. .

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5. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

I love all trip reports, but appreciate "first timer" trip reports a tad more right now as I take notes for our upcoming first trip in a couple of months. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

Chisago City...
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6. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

Sounds like a great trip! I have to agree that you did great for a first timer.

As far as going back in November... 1) low season rates at RBH means the room will be about 30% less than you paid in February, 2) The Anguilla Card is good for a whole year, so you don't have to buy another one if you come back in November - yours is still good, 3) you sound adventurous enough to handle the public ferry next time, so that'll save you about $130 on the transport to and from SXM. Just sayin' :)

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

Susan, we did see a huge boat at Prickly Pear with a ton of people on it, but they seemed to be only snorkeling so the beach was not crowded. Sandy Island wasn't overly crowded either. Both were great!

JenaRussel, that's our thinking--we still have the Anguilla Card to take advantage of and are comfortable doing the public ferry this time around. We'd like to stay at RBH again, but even if we need to scale back a bit on that end, we were looking at The Fountains and that looks great too for the price point!

Our November trip is shaping up to be taking off the day after Thanksgiving and coming home the following Sunday, so for a total of nine nights. Sigh!

Annapolis, Maryland
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8. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

Thank you for the insightful trip report! And thank you and Mstvl for the heads up about Smokey's. I think I'll take a pass as I'm visiting for 8 says and there are plenty of other beach options.

New York
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9. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

Thanks for sharing you trip experience with us. My husband and I will be staying on Anguilla for the first time in June.

Orlando, Florida
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10. Re: First Timer Trip Report (visited 2/11--2/17, 2017)

Wonderful trip report and I hope you are able to make a return visit in Nov!

Can you or anyone please tell me how to find the "arch"??

Edited: 6:06 pm, March 02, 2017