I wanted to share my recent trip to Anguilla with this forum because I relied heavily on and enjoyed reading the trip reports of others. I've always said I wouldn't return to the same place twice but with Anguilla, I'm in love. Beautiful beaches, delicious food and warm, friendly people... a beach vacation trifecta. We loved it so much I am already planning a return trip next Summer with my children (teenagers).
My husband and I visited to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We arrived in SXM and chose the private ferry to get to the island worry-free since we were first-timers. It was very fast and easy, and we enjoyed rum punch on the way over. But at $500 it's not necessarily worth it. Be prepared for lots of tipping. I think our bags changed hands many times by the time they arrived to the hotel, airport to shuttle, shuttle to ferry, ferry front to inside the boat, boat to taxi on Anguilla, porter to our room. I was prepared for this and had plenty of money ready to go. For our return trip, on the public ferry I believe we tipped one person. It took longer but it was pretty easy.
We stayed at the Malliouhana in a Jr. Suite and it was a gorgeous property with friendly staff and excellent service. We had the coconut yogurt, fruit and granola every morning and it was delicious. I highly recommend getting a car and exploring the area or you will surely miss the true charm of the island... the people. Google map/directions got us everywhere we needed to go.You just have to adjust to driving on the left and metric system. Most of the car rental companies will deliver right to your hotel and they let us leave ours at the ferry terminal when we departed. We used Hertz. We didn't have a bad meal while we were here and we loved how each beach had different character. I'll briefly tell you my favorite things and generally what we paid as a reference but I did review each place separately.
Mead's Bay- beautiful, calm water perfect for snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boards. Soft white sand. Decent snorkeling by the cliffs by Malli.
Blanchard's Beach Shack - So delicious and the most reasonably priced food we found. Our favorites were the street tacos, blue cheese burger and mani BLT. Of course, the chocolate chips cookies and pina coladas were yummy, too! $20-40 for lunch for two depending on whether or not we ordered cocktails.
Veya - We thought it was very good and some people we met said it was the best tuna they had ever eaten. The cocktails were not good at all. I tried two different options and didn't like either. We had 4 drinks, 2 appetizers, 2 entrees and 2 desserts and spent about $250. The only time we took a cab was from Malli to Veya and back and it was $62 not including tip. This was our least favorite food but the open treehouse feel and live music was nice.
Traditions Sunset Cruise - This was our favorite thing we did all week. Deb and Laurie are outstanding hosts and the food was gourmet and wonderful. Can't recommend enough.
Picante - Corn cob appetizer, guacamole, and seafood enchiladas. Incredible and more moderately priced. We paid about $95 for 3 drinks, 2 appetizers, 2 entrees.
Rendezvous Bay - Beautiful beach, windy. Tons of huge starfish everywhere. Easy to spot while snorkeling. Garvey's Sunshine Shack was a great place to have lunch and use their beach chairs. Delicious ribs, reggae music and great service! Ribs were $20/each for lunch and came with rice, slaw, and salad. Drinks about $8-10.
Shoal Bay East - Another perfect beach! Plenty of options to rent chairs and have lunch. We opted for the Tropical Sunset Bar. It was pretty good. We had coconut shrimp and rum punch. I think we spent about $60 here including a few drinks.
Artisan - Very sweet owners, caramel popcorn appetizer, caprese salad, pizza, and delicious sea salt caramel gelato. We met one of the owners of Elvis' Beach Bar while there. We had watched his dog at Shoal Bay East dig and bury a coconut and then find it and rinse it in the ocean and do it all over again. It was too cute. It was funny to figure out it was his dog we had watched all day! 3 drinks, 2 appetizers, two pizzas, 2 gelatos was approximately $115.
Dolce Vita on Sandy Ground - Sprocka was playing while we were here, we loved it. Bellinis, Caprese Salad, Gorgonzola gnocchi appetizer and seafood pasta in white wine butter sauce, sorbet. Insanely good. $200+
We had reservations for everything but nothing is too crowded this time of year.
Tropical Sea Spray Gift Shop - We just loved visiting with Pamela and her partner, the owners. We bought a few gifts and came back twice for their White Sands smoothie with rum... not on the menu... ask for it... you won't regret it. She actually mentioned several of the names I've seen on this forum regularly that she enjoys visiting with while on the island.
Iris Life - This is a great t-shirt shop with another sweet lady who works there. I wish I had caught her name. There is a really cool look-out by the store in front of La Vue. Gorgeous view of Sandy ground with the boats... great pic.
The west end was dealing with some seaweed issues while we were there, specifically SBW and Maunday's Bay. Cap Juluca was still beautiful to see and they had worked very hard to clear it up. It wasn't too bad in my opinion, nothing like 2015 when it was terrible all over the caribbean. Savannah Bay/Junks Hole was covered in seaweed.
I just can't say enough great things about Anguilla! Don't be fooled by the scrubby landscape or the half-completed houses. This place is paradise with hidden gems everywhere. 11 months until I return!