Honeymoon in Anguilla

Aug 26, 2013 by     6 Comments    Posted under: Caribbean, Travel
Anguilla Honeymoon - Shoal Bay East

Anguilla Honeymoon – Shoal Bay East

After many long years of searching and waiting, I finally found a good woman that loves cooking, gardening, eating, entertaining, camping, laughing, and goofing off as much as I do. We’re two peas in a pod. And to top it all off, she’s the kindest and sweetest girl I know, next to my mom that is. My sweet love’s dream honeymoon was one of white sands and turquoise waters in the Caribbean, and I wanted to give it to her. Trouble is, there are so many islands from which to choose!

Initially, we looked at Jamaica, and were pleased with the great resort deals and the beautiful beaches there. But as we researched more, the thought of risking being mugged or murdered if we left the resort didn’t sound like our idea of a choice honeymoon. We looked at Grand Cayman, but the resorts were overpriced and had an abundance of “old people” decor. Saint Kits, Antigua, Bahamas, US Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, St. Martin…. all were beautiful choices, each with their own allure. But we wanted a honeymoon of relaxation, good eating, and quiet beaches. And that is what led us to Anguilla; the perfect honeymoon destination.

Anguilla is a small, fairly barren island, only 5 miles off the shore of the very popular St. Martin. Both are roughly the same size (35 square miles); but where St. Martin is packed with tourists and 75,000 citizens, Anguilla is less known and only has 13,500 people living on it. The beaches are beautiful on both islands, but Anguilla’s Shoal Bay beach is ranked as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Both islands offer some of the best resorts in all of the Caribbean; St. Martin with La Samanna, and Anguilla with The Viceroy. Additionally, both islands have incredible food scenes….. a high priority for the two of us foodie freaks. And though St. Martin is known as the food capital of the Caribbean due to its unique mix of French and Dutch territories, everything I read about the food in Anguilla was nearly as good as what was said about St. Martin’s dining, just on a smaller scale. So it was with much consternation that we came to our decision to honeymoon in Anguilla. The combination of food, perfect beaches, the incredible Viceroy resort, and the casual and relaxed privacy that Anguilla offered was just perfect to resist. Besides, if we wanted to spend a day in St. Martin, it would only be a 20 minute boat ride to shore to go eat our foodie hearts out.

Getting to Anguilla

There are a few flights you can book that will land you on the Anguilla airport runway, but they are a total waste of money and I do not recommend taking them, as they first fly you into St. Martin or another nearby island to then change planes and puddle jump over to Anguilla. Instead, book your flight straight to St. Martin and enjoy the ever so exciting beach landing there! You literally come in only about 30 feet above the beach (as well as the beach pedestrians there) to make a very quick and fast stop landing. Loads of fun! I caught the entire experience in the video below from the start of landing to stop and taxi. Pretty quick!

Airbus_A330_at_SXM_St. Maarten

Airbus_A330_at_SXM_St. Maarten

From the airport, simply go through immigration, grab your bags, and walk out front. There are rows of taxis there and helpful workers to grab one for you. It’s a quick 15-20 minute car ride to Marigot Ferry Terminal, where you can grab a delicious lunch at one of the many delicious restaurants there before taking the public ferry to Anguilla for only $20 per person. The ferries aren’t a luxury cruiser by any means, but they are clean and fairly comfortable, and only take roughly 20 minutes to get to Anguilla.

If you’d rather spend a bit more money, you can also take private charters directly from the airport to the immigration dock on Anguilla. These run about $75 per person, and will save you a little time, but the “deck hands” insist on taking your bags for you and then make a big stink about how hard they worked for you and how you need to tip them. They will not leave you alone until you give them some cash. It’s terribly annoying, especially when you could just put your own damn bag in the boat.  We took the private charter back to St. Martin on our way home and got a deal of $75 for both of us.

Anguilla Charter Boat Ride to St. Martin

Anguilla Charter Boat Ride to St. Martin

Going through Anguilla Customs

The ferry docks right at the Immigration and Customs office. You walk off the dock and step right into the building. Our first impression was “these people are so nice”! Seriously, they were so helpful and genuinely happy that you came to their island. They joked with us, welcomed us, and told us about the island with big warm smiles. They didn’t hand us all the forms we needed to fill out the first time, so we had to go through the very short line twice, but they were so inviting that we barely cared. Passports stamped, they escorted us through customs and out to our taxi. Quick, easy, and mostly hassle free.

Should You Rent a Car or Take Taxis on Anguilla

Our taxi driver was awesome. He had been driving taxis for over 30 years, and had been all over the world. But after his global driving, he went back to his home of Anguilla. He loved his island, and told us all about it. He gave us some great local insight to the dining scene, and was a very pleasant conversationalist during our 10 minute cab ride to Viceroy. However, taxi fairs are $20 per trip on Anguilla, plus tip. That can add up very quickly, especially if you want to try different restaurants and visit all the different beaches Anguilla has to offer. Car rentals are $45 per day, and are completely worth it, especially if you factor in being able to drive to the grocery store and stocking up on a case of bottled water, saving over $5 per bottle when compared to restaurant and hotel water charges.  But some of you may be concerned about getting lost while doing your own driving, but at only 13 miles long and 3 miles wide, that’s nearly impossible. Especially since there is only one main road that goes the length of the island!

We loved having our own car, if nothing else just to explore the island! Some of our trip highlights came from just driving around and finding hidden destinations, or talking to the locals we met along the way, or looking at all the houses in varying stages of construction, or spotting cows and goats along side the road. When going to Anguilla, definitely rent a car.

Anguilla Road Cow

Anguilla Road Cow

Anguilla Goats Near Ferry Port

Anguilla Goats Near Ferry Port

Anguilla Driving - House

Anguilla Driving – House

Anguilla Driving - Large House

Anguilla Driving – Large House

Anguilla Driving

Anguilla Driving

Anguilla Prettiest Yard with Flamboyant Tree

Anguilla Prettiest Yard with Flamboyant Tree

Being a British territory, driving is done on the left-side of the road. This was the most difficult thing about driving around Anguilla. But after a day of doing it, it was no longer an issue at all. I only nearly killed us once. Not bad out of 6 days on the island.

Anguilla Driving on Left

Anguilla Driving on Left

Where to Stay on Anguilla

Now that is a good question. There are plenty of small boutique hotels on Anguilla, like Frangipani Beach Resort. We met another honeymooning couple who were staying there, and they loved it for the small 19 room intimacy it provided. When going back to Anguilla, we may take a hard look at booking there ourselves.

But there are also giant over the top resorts on Anguilla to choose from, like Cap Jaluca and CuisinArt (both of which offer very traditional Caribbean styling and decor), as well as the incredibly beautiful Mediterranean luxurious concrete behemoth…Viceroy. Viceroy offered everything I hoped to give my bride in beauty and sex appeal, so I threw caution to the wind and booked our once in a lifetime “millionaire” stay at Viceroy. It was all I could have hoped for and more.  I will be posting a full review soon.

 

Dining and Eating, the Best Restaurants on Anguilla

One thing about Anguilla that you will quickly discover is that there are restaurants everywhere. You will also discover that most of them are very good. There seems to be a high concentration on Anguilla of skillful chefs and cooks that know how to serve up perfect food. There is no way that we could have eaten at all the different options during our week stay. So rather than try, we attempted to seek out the best. We researched several blogs and travel guides, and asked every local we came in contact with. Some focused on local Anguilla cuisine, others served different international fare, and others still focused on unique Caribbean fusion. Several restaurants came up again and again, so we made our short list and dove in. We still couldn’t fit them all in, but here’s the list of the ones we did get a chance to eat at. I will provide a detailed review of each in subsequent posts:

  • Smokey’s – an absolutely awesome beach-shack type restaurant right on the beach at Cove Bay for lunch and dinner. They serve up some more traditional Anguilla cuisine, like their famous Goat Curry (completely out of this world delicious) and seafood salad, as well as BBQ ribs, burgers, and more. Free beach lounge chairs for lunch customers, you can lounge in the sand and water for hours and enjoy delicious pina coladas from their bar.
  • Dulce Vita – a fantastic Italian restaurant which came highly recommended by all, with gorgeous beach-front dining and perfect sunsets at dinner. Fresh made pasta, amazing original sauces, and perfectly prepared seafood.  Dulce Vita is a perfect choice for a tasty romantic sunset meal.
  • Viceroy Aleta – an immense breakfast buffet spread, beautiful to behold, and may be worth experiencing. But be prepared to around $70 for two.
  • Tasty’s – an island favorite among tourists and locals alike for breakfast, lunch, and dinner located right on the main road of Anguilla. Tasty’s is the creation of local chef Dale Carty, who was born and raised in Anguilla, studied the culinary arts in France, and has been featured in Bon Appetite magazine. Tasty’s focuses on local Anguilla Caribbean food, and serves it up in the most tasty manner possible.
  • Veya – a highly rated restaurant that deserves its praise. Veya sits in a thick grove of trees with a bit of a tree-house feel. Veya is so popular that if you want to eat there in the high season, you’ll need to book your reservations a year in advance! Veya serves seafoods and steaks with a Caribbean fusion flare that is not to be missed when visiting Anguilla.
  • Straw Hat – most told us to eat there. Straw Hat had some great unique ideas well worth the effort, but they failed on execution. The tomato pie was fun, but needed some improving. Good value on the island for breakfast and lunch though.
  • DaVida Bayside Grill – DaVida has a main restaurant which is only open during the high season. The rest of the year dining is at the next door Bayside Grill, located right on the beach on Anguilla’s northern peninsula with perfect centered views of the sunset. Tables in the sand, palm trees overhead, and sailboats in the sea, this was our most romantic dining experience on Anguilla. Simply beautiful, and absolutely perfectly prepared food. The quality and perfection of food that came out of DaVida’s small 4-burner kitchen was astounding. Order the crayfish tails….best on the island.
  • E’s Oven – also located right on the main road of Anguilla, E’s Oven came highly recommended by the locals, but received mixed reviews by the “regular” tourists we met. Those tourists are idiots, because E’s Oven is delicious and has great prices. Do not miss the chicken at E’s Oven.
  • On Da Rocks – literally built over the water looking out on Scilly Cay, On Da Rocks is known for $5 crawfish on Saturdays. Grilled to perfection and served with a tasty beurre blanc sauce, On Da Rocks is well worth a visit to gorge yourself on amazing Anguilla Crawfish.
  • Picante – a small Mexican restaurant near Viceroy on the west end, Picante is a fantastic change when all the other Caribbean restaurants start tasting the same. They actually serve some fantastic Mexican food. Do not miss the Seafood Enchiladas!

The Amazing Beaches of Anguilla

Most people don’t seem to know much about Anguilla, but those that do come back again and again because of the pristine picturesque beaches there.  The island has 39 of them!  And nearly all have offshore coral reefs which create extremely calm waters, despite what the trade winds may be doing.  The island itself is made up of coral and limestone, so many of the beaches are comprised of the same.  However, some of the beaches, like Shoal Bay East, are made up of the crushed skeletal remains of small coral and crustaceans.  This gives the “sand” a vibrant stark white color, but also an incredible “baby powder” soft texture.  Seriously, it was like walking in pure powdered sugar.  Absolutely amazing!  This white sand stretches out at a gradual decline into the clear blue water, making for the most vibrant turquoise colored water I’ve ever seen in my life!

Anguilla Shoal Bay East White Beach

Anguilla Shoal Bay East White Beach

Anguilla Shoal Bay East

Anguilla Shoal Bay East

Rendezvous Bay is a close 2nd in beauty.  It offers a long expanse of bowed turquoise ripples on ivory bliss, along with a beautiful view of St. Martin’s green mountains.  And though not as white or soft as Shoal Bay, the sand here is still very white and felt just like brown sugar!  We found a secluded access by taking a side road while driving about, and were so pleased with Rendezvous Bay that we spend hours laying on the beach and picking up seashells in the water with our toes.  What a great time we had….a joyful honeymoon couple laughing and playing like kids in the ocean.

Jothan and Sadie at Anguilla Rendezvous Bay

Jothan and Sadie at Anguilla Rendezvous Bay

Anguilla Rendezvous Bay White Sand

Anguilla Rendezvous Bay White Sand

Anguilla Rendezvous Bay View of St. Martin

Anguilla Rendezvous Bay View of St. Martin

Another favorite of ours was Cove Bay, home of Smokey’s restaurant.  Cove Bay is stunning, also with great views of St. Martin.  But it was also the busiest beach we played at, mostly due to the charter boat excursions from St. Martin that stopped there for lunch and relaxation.  We spoke to several in the boat groups, and they all said the same thing, “we’re staying on St. Martin.  St. Martin has great beaches, but they are nothing like Anguilla’s.  The sand is so different here, and the water is so calm!”

Anguilla Cove Bay

Anguilla Cove Bay

Anguilla Cove Bay Lounging

Anguilla Cove Bay Lounging

And our final favorite was just in front of Viceroy, Frangipani, and Straw Hat restaurant….Meads Bay.  This beach was gorgeous, and the water seemed to be more crystal clear than the rest.  However, the sand was more like typical Pacific Ocean brown sand, and the water was much more choppy than any other we experienced on Anguilla.  It made wading more difficult, but wow what a view at sunset!

Anguilla Meads Bay at Viceroy

Anguilla Meads Bay at Viceroy

Anguilla Meads Bay at Straw Hat

Anguilla Meads Bay at Straw Hat

 

How Expensive is Anguilla

We went during the off season in summer, so we only paid about half the normal price at Viceroy. But even still, Anguilla is a spendy destination, possibly more than other Caribbean destinations. There are no natural resources on the island, and agriculture is nearly non-existent (except for small community gardens of lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and some corn). Goat and seafood is readily available, but nearly all other meats are imported. You can expect to pay $50-$90 per meal for two (not including drinks), and most items at the local grocery stores are expensive as well. Just build your travel budget accordingly, eat everything that looks good, and enjoy yourself despite the high price. Anguilla is well worth it.

6 Comments + Add Comment

  • It is so refreshing to read a piece on Anguilla from someone that has a brain and uses it, I must thank you very much for the review in detail along with pictures that you wrote about Anguilla, for once someone wrote the correct information, from getting here to food and the rest of it, I must say I am very happy you enjoyed yourself also your wife. Being previously married to a Chef and traveled the world and eaten in some of the best restaurants, we do have some talented Chef and good food on the Island. For someone who visited the Island for the first time you hit the nail on the head. Please do come back again and I would be happy to assist you further in any way possible, thank you . Best regards Andrea

    • Thanks for the comment, Andrea. Writing about Anguilla has been a pleasure, and our time there was an even bigger one! I have a couple more days and adventures on the island to talk about, so please check back to read them too. I will also be writing detailed reviews of each of the restaurants we dined at. Everything was so great, I feel indebted to write about it to give Anguilla and its mighty restaurants some extra exposure to the world.

  • Great pictures, Good info. Best of luck.
    Jeff

    • Thanks Jeff

  • Well that’s it, I need to go there.

    • Ha! Just wait until you read my upcoming detailed food reviews of Anguilla. You’ll be booking your trip soon me thinks. :)

I love hearing from my readers, so please go ahead and leave a comment!


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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.