We have been to Anguilla several times as it is a short (but sometimes bumpy) ferry ride from Marigot on St Martin. It is a very different island from our home base of St Maarten. While St Maarten/St Martin, having been formed via volcanic action, has mountains, OK, hills of about 400 m surrounding the old crater, now lagoon, Anguilla is a coral sandbar with a maximum height of about 100 m. The two islands are the same size, a little less than 40 square miles, but Anguilla has one-tenth the population and fewer tourists spread across more habitable land. There are no income taxes so the government exists by taxing the tourist industry and imported goods. Consequently, everything is a bit more expensive and the tourists are few, but wealthy, especially at the luxurious resorts on the western end. The eastern end has some hotels that are bargains (relatively) and the beaches are less crowded.
Dog Island and Prickly Pear are smaller islands near Anguilla. The story is that during WWII the British Navy was keeping the British islands safe for democracy and used the feral dogs for target practice and ate the prickly pears to prevent scurvy. Thus, today there are no dogs on Dog Island, no prickly pears on Prickly Pear Island, and the British Virgin Islands didn't fare too well either.
We took the ferry to Anguilla in December of 2006 ($3 departure tax and $12 for the ferry, each). They leave every half hour or so, Caribbean time, from before tourists should be out of bed until about 7PM. After about half an hour, we were debarking at Blowing Point and waved through immigration and customs. Yes, there is customs here and you shouldn't bring too much into the country as the major share of government income is customs duty. That customs duty affects everything on the island. Expect prices that are 25 to 75% higher than on St Maarten. We hopped into a $20 cab ride to Cap Juluca on the SW end of Anguilla.
The resort spans all of Maundays Bay starting with the restaurant complex and main building on the east, six multiple unit villas, George's Restaurant on the beach with the public pool, six more villas, and then six more villas with private pools at the far western end of the bay. Given the trade winds, the western end of the beach usually has more breeze and surf, but the private pools are conveniently shielded from the wind by the villas. The beach is beautiful, aided by the lovely view of St Maarten rising up in the distance. Our one bedroom villa was almost as large as our one bedroom condo at Sapphire. There are all the usual resort amenities spa, water sports, fitness center, tennis shops, media room, etc. Even the island's only golf course is fairly close. In theory, there is no tipping as they add 10% to the room bill and 15% to the food bills. A nice touch, as long as service remains good, and on our two days we could not have been happier with every employee we met. I'm sure they are trained, but they all made eye contact, said hello, and asked how you were doing. If you had any problem, they could help.
On our first evening we dined at the resort's premier restaurant: Pimm's. It's a lovely place with large tables spaciously arranged, many on the water and via the raked dining area, all have a nice view of the well-lit shore. We started with a soft shell crab tempura on a crabcake, and moved on to a veal chop with navy beans and a fois gras jus and swordfish with yucca puree and a carrot vinaigrette sauce. We had a 2002 Beaune de Chateau Premier Cru. The food is complicated, quite good, and expensive at $225 with the tip. The import duty mounts up. While we dined, we noticed a sting ray patrolling the waters in front of the restaurant.
We went to Kemia, the more casual tapas restaurant on our second evening. A La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2003 opened up nicely in the warm evening. The sting ray returned with a smaller friend. We started with an fish stew featuring octopus and Asian flavors along with warmed tuna slices encrusted with black sesame seeds and a dipping sauce. A Moroccan beef kefta was then enough for us. Our three small plates and wine came to about $125.
Breakfasts were included in the room price and on both days we made the short walk over to George's for the full breakfast although a continental breakfast was available in the room, if desired. The breakfasts were quite nice: eggs benedict, eggs any style, omelets, crabcakes, and much more. As in the other restaurants and throughout the resort, service was quite good, friendly, and informed.
While we were there, the room rate was $625 per day including breakfast and many activities, which we eschewed. The day after we left, it rose to $1100 for the holidays and then dropped to $945 until 12 April. What does one get for this? I'd have to say friendly, attentive service and privacy. You don't have to leave the resort for much of anything and there aren't many people there. The pairs of beach chairs were placed about 25 feet apart along the length of the beach. All three restaurants served good food, although while the prices at Pimm's were staggering, the food at SXM's best restaurants is just as good. The views may be better, the tables may be larger and more widely spaced, and there may be fewer people on Anguilla.
This is a good spot for snorkeling and windsurfing, but can get crowded. There are few amenities save a bar at the hotel above the beach.
Sorry, we've never been there and can't find any info.
This really is an island with amenities (bar, restaurant, gear rental) about two miles from Road Bay. If Global Warming keeps going, this low-lying spit won't be here much longer. There is a ferry that heads back and forth hourly to Road Bay.
Jump to: Beach Map
This is a bit tough to get to but has a restaurant and good snorkeling. The dramatic cliffs that protect Little Bay start here. You can get a boat from here to Little Bay.
The Palm Grove Restaurant is located on this beach. They supply beach chairs and umbrellas and provide a drinks along with a standard grill menu consisting of ribs, chicken, and fish. There are several boats on the shore and every once in a while the locals head out for a bout of fishing, pushing their colorful boats into the water in search of jack. It is a beautiful tropical beach, but on the windward side of the island.
This is another difficult beach to reach, but the snorkeling is quite good.
This is another center for commercial activity. The views of St Martin are great and you can snorkel but there isn't much beach.
The ferries from St Martin come in here and the views back to St Martin are great. Heading east or west from the ferry dock finds small beaches and there are restaurants nearby.
This usually deserted beach has no amenities.
This large beach has good swimming and snorkeling, but watch out for sea urchins. This is where Cap Juluca is located.
Another pretty beach with a cafe and good snorkeling.