Anguilla, a relatively flat and long Caribbean island a few miles off the coast of its larger neighbor Saint Martin. It is known for its soft white sand beaches, voted among the best in the world, handful of upscale resorts including a Belmond property, and supposedly its food too. I did not really now about it until I first visited St. Maarten and was told that its a easy place to visit from there. I came upon these shores in April 2022 over Easter Weekend as part of a Greater Antilles island hopping trip.
Unfortunately due to severely delayed flight into SXM, once again thank you understaffed Florida Air Traffic Control, my over all time in Anguilla was cut short, and I wasnt able to explore as much as I had hoped. But the Airbnb I found and managed to book was exceptional and one of the coolest AirBnBs I have stayed at with one of the best hosts.
Getting There and Around
Nowadays you can fly nonstop from Miami with American Airlines on a 3 weekly flight. Otherwise your real only option is to fly into Sint Maarten SXM airport. From there you can either fly at $200++, the world’s shortest commercial flight from SXM to AXA (Anguilla airport), or take the 20 minute ferry.
There are 2 ferry options. The Ferry from St. Martin Airport to Anguilla is $75, exit tax paid separate, and is the most convenient as the charter companies take you on a short van shuttle from airport to the dock across the street, and from there you board the small speedboat to Anguilla ferry dock. Operated by 2 charter companies, Calypso Charter and Funtime Charters. You can book tickets in advance online up to 24 hours before departure, or on arrival after you exit baggage claim (these days they sit outside the arrivals hall). Advisable to book advance. The much cheaper, $35, public ferry leaves from Marigot Bay on the French side of the island, which requires a taxi or bus ride from the airport (paid separately). I would say its worth paying the extra for the ferry from the airport docks, unless you are staying in Sint Maarten or Marigot Bay before or after your trip to Anguilla.
If you are staying more than a night, I would recommend renting a car in Anguilla. They drive on the left, as it is formerly British, but the steering wheels are a mixed bag of left and right, so just be aware. The roads are well paved, mostly, and the island is relatively flat. If not, you can arrange for transfers through hotels or AirBnBs, or book a taxi cab as well. I had a super short stay, and my AirBnB hosts were kind enough to pick me up from the ferry dock and drop me off at the airport on my departure, and I just walked to the restaurant for dinner on my only night there. Had I had more time, I would have booked a taxi to take me further out to a few restaurant/bars and if I was staying longer, I probably would have rented a car.
Credit card is widely accepted here. But have some cash handy in case, USD is used.
Hotels and resorts in Anguilla are quite expensive. The most basic hotels can run a minimum of $200/night with the likes of Belmond running $1000+/night, especially during peak season. I checked out Airbnb, and options were limited as most had been booked already. But I stumbled across this listing: Summer Breeze/ Sea View Studio for $90 rate + cleaning and other fees = $175/ night. I messaged the hosts explaining my last minute / standby nature, they were very understanding and accommodating and once I was sure I could make it to Anguilla, I confirmed the booking and coordinated with the hosts.
The house is built by Kinou and Manfred, a Portuguese and Austrian husband and wife. Husband worked in film production. Their daughter grew up in Anguilla after they chose to settle down here. The house is brand new, and the container Airbnb was completed right as COVID hit, so they just started taking guests this year after Anguilla reopened, and I was lucky to find an available date.
Pictures and description don’t do this place justice. Kinou and Manfred and created a beautiful, peaceful, relaxing haven in Anguilla. What more do you need? It’s clean, comfortable (no, really, the bed and pillows were fantastic), stunning views and more. It’s simple, but perfect. Sure the toilet and indoor shower is in a separate building but it’s literally like 5 steps away, you’ll barely get wet during a Caribbean rain shower, which happened on a few occasions in my short stay. The only thing to note is tap water here is not that good to drink as its rain water, so be sure to ask the hosts for extra bottles of water, which they’d happily supply, or get your own bottles at the grocery store if you are staying longer and also plan to cook meals.
Kinou and Manfred were both super gracious, responsive and accommodating. Manfred was able to meet me at the ferry dock and also drop me off at the airport on departure. They truly do everything they can to make sure your every need and comfort is met. Wonderful people who have created a wonderful place.
Sunset over Sandy Ground, Anguilla
Dinner at Tasty’s Restaurant. Within a 15-20 walk from the airbnb, and a popular spot with locals.
Johnny Cake and Rum Punch
Anguilla Lobster Bisque
Snapper fillet with butter sauce, rice n peas and veggies, quite delicious
After dinner I returned to enjoy the evening breeze and starry night from the container home. Kinou and Manfred stock a mini bottle of champagne in the fridge for guests to enjoy, so I had that.
Breakfast, took out some seafood pasta and conch fritters from Tasty’s the night before, but the Manfred was so nice and offered to make me breakfast too, he was quite concerned that I didnt have anything to eat.
After breakfast, Manfred had to clean the container house before the next guests. But he let me relax at the main house, which was so nice. He just said feel free to sit and relax anywhere and help yourself to water or fruits from my kitchen. What generous hospitality!
Manfred then took me to the airport and I checked in for my Anguilla Air Services British Norman Islander 15 minute flight from Anguilla to St. Barths. NOTE: You also have to pay a $36 exit tax and security fee when departing Anguilla, by credit or cash.
Anguilla is a lovely place to visit. It is very laidback but not terribly on island time either. Despite it being home to many wealthy people, and some very upscale resorts, it is quite a down to earth place compared to many of its neighboring islands. It is also just as pretty, and you get views of the mountains of St. Maarten across the ways. I dont think I got to taste enough of the food to really judge it properly, but what I did have was not half bad. And of course, my time here was made extra special with the incredible Airbnb experience.