We could literally see Anguilla from our room in Grand Case, Saint Martin, and the Bonds are never ones to pass up the opportunity to visit a new country or territory, so we decided to take a day trip to Anguilla.
The ferry to Bowling Point, Anguilla departs from Marigot every 45 minutes and cost $20 one-way each. We paid on-board and in cash going to Anguilla. The return trip is the same, but I would recommend verifying the departure times at the end of the day to make sure you don’t miss the last one! Travel time is 20 minutes and the sea can be choppy, especially during a rainstorm like when we traveled. It’s important to note that there are departure fees to be paid $5 leaving Saint Martin and $7 leaving Anguilla so make sure you have enough cash.
Tourism, second to offshore banking is the most important contributor to the economy of Anguilla. Many livelihoods are dependent upon tourist expenditures and thus it’s a destination you can have an impact on.
Getting Around Anguilla
Even though the island is only 16 miles long and 3 miles wide, it’s not easy to get around unless you have your own transportation. The best way to see the island’s beaches is to rent a car, which we did. Our recommendation is to rent a car from Andy’s Auto Rentals who we were referred to by a pair of travel bloggers we know and follow. The shop is located directly across from the port. The rates are good and the service quick and friendly.
The cool thing about driving around Anguilla is that it's on the left side of the road, a bucket list item for some I’m sure. Oh and you get a temporary Anguillian driver's license!
Driving around the island was easy and convenient. The roads are in good condition and Andy’s reminds you a million times to drive on the left! As long as you concentrate on which lane to turn into at intersections or from round-abouts you really won’t notice the difference. Renting a car allowed us to cover two different parts of the island and explore two of the island’s best beaches.
Where to go in Anguilla
Shoal Bay Beach
Shoal Bay Beach, ranked as one of the top ten beaches in the Caribbean, is the reason you travel to the Caribbean. You come here to spend hours enjoying the soft white sand, warm turquoise waters, and sun. The drive from the port took no more than 20 minutes to reach the beach. We parked in a small parking lot ($5) not far from the beach. Make sure you have cash on you to pay for parking and umbrellas if you need them. We spent an ideal couple of hours lounging around under umbrellas (available to rent for $10 - two umbrellas, two chairs, and a table).
The beach offers some decent snorkeling, but during our visit the visibility wasn’t great because of the rain earlier that day. Nonetheless the water is a stunning shade of blue, warm, and well it's impossible to be disappointed.
Should you get hungry or thirsty there is a restaurant called Madeariman Restaurant at the beach with a wide selection of food and drinks.
Meads Bay Beach
Meads Bay Beach, also located along the north coast of Anguilla, west of Shoal Bay beach is equally stunning, with pearly-white sand and turquoise water. We parked in the parking lot outside of Blanchards Beach Shack (free) and walked the short distance to the beach. Meads Bay Beach also has umbrellas and tables that can be rented from Blanchard’s Shack. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day then driving from beach to beach on a Caribbean island.
Anguilla has a total of 33 beaches to explore making the island the perfect destination for those who love soft white sand and turquoise waters. As stated above, make sure you rent a car so you can fully explore the island.
Where to eat in Anguilla
Blanchards Beach Shack
Conveniently located on Meads Bay Beach this popular beach shack restaurant serves a wide selection of Caribbean and American foods and drinks. I had the Jerk Chicken on a roll with a side of fries and Carrie the Street Tacos (Blackened Mahi, Roasted Shrimp, and Jerk Shrimp). We accompanied our meals with a glass of homemade rum punch! The food was delicious and just what we needed to continue hanging out at the beach.
Anguilla suffered extensive damage in September 2017 from hurricane Irma, which battered the island. Damage was reported and the rebuilding process began immediately. Don’t let the hurricane’s impact put you off from visiting the island. The island is dependent upon your visit and the beaches are open and ready for travelers. As always with traveling be patient as everything might not be back to the way it was, but your travel will have a positive impact on the local economy.