Living on St. Maarten v.s. other Caribbean Islands definitely has it’s advantages. We have a beautiful and busy airport with direct flights arriving from, and departing to destinations like New York, Miami, Atlanta, Paris and Amsterdam to name a but few. Besides that, St. Maarten/St. Martin is unofficially the gourmet capital of the Caribbean and another unofficial title we have is that of being the Vegas of the Caribbean. I mean, seriously one just cannot get bored living here. Yet, for us islanders even this perfect little rock can become quite mundane.
Personally it hits me especially in the summer months, when things slow down a bit. My feet get itchy and I start suffering from “Rock Fever”: that urgent desire to get off the island and see something else. Suddenly you remember another reason why St. Maarten makes a perfect home base. We are a swim away from fancy island destinations such as St. Barth and Anguilla. I say a swim away because I know of at least two persons who have actually done that swim. There are also other islands in the immediate neighborhood like Saba, St. Kitts and Nevis and good old St. Eustatius or Statia for short.
Day trips are ideal to get out of that rut called everyday island life and to de-stress. Believe it or not we islanders all have busy lives. I, for example run a hostel, give event advise, blog and take care of my 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 husband. At the end of the day I’m simply exhausted. Sometimes I don’t get to see the beach for weeks.
For my first Day Trip guide I pick tranquil Anguilla.
Anguilla might be small, much smaller than St. Maarten in fact but what it lacks in size it definitely makes up for in beauty. A day trip to this small and tranquil English island will leave you wanting more once you board the ferry back to St. Maarten.
Take the ferry leaving from Marigot, capital of French St. Martin. It is the closest point to Anguilla and the ferry ride is less than 30 minutes for about $25 one way. Missed the ferry? Don’t worry. There is one every half an hour. So take a stroll in Marigot while you wait or sit in the air-conditioned departure hall.
Once in Anguilla we always like to rent a car. The excitement of driving on the opposite side of the road is enough to make me feel like I’m in some distant country. I’m a bit of pro now but in the beginning it was quite an adventure trying to remember not to drive on the right. Getting in the car and finding yourself in the passenger seat rather than the driver’s seat is also quite hilarious.
Our first stop is always Meade’s Bay. In my opinion it is the most beautiful beach on the island. Guides will send you to Shoal Bay, which has been named one of the three most beautiful beaches in the world. Since then most people flock to this beach leaving Meade’s Bay tranquil and quiet (most of the time). It is just lovely. It is home to a few hotels and the popular Blanchards Restaurant, a great place for a snack and some beers or complete meals of course.
I myself prefer to head on to Sandy Ground for lunch though. It’s a cute little fishing village with a more local vibe and home to my favorite restaurant on Anguilla: Johnno’s. A must have on their menu is their fish. It’s always fresh and you can have it either steamed, boiled or fried, with either rice, fries or my personal favorite “funchi”, which is an island variation of polenta. Hot damn, their food is so awesome, I’m getting hungry just writing about it. And try their home made hot sauce….if you dare.
But first I take a swim in the crystal clear water in front of the restaurant, rum punch in hand of course. The food always takes a bit long since it is prepared fresh and cooked to order. But once you are floating around in that nice water you will have trouble getting out anyway. Float around with your beer or beverage of choice until they call you for your food. Make sure not to pollute the beach and throw your garbage where it belongs. Look out for star fish. These beautiful creatures can be found practically on every beach on Anguilla. Please be considerate though and do not take them out of the water.
At the end of your meal you will suffer from what I call LFF or “Local Food Fatigue”. My advise is to go for a stroll all the way to the right end of the beach, where you will find a small bar with the best Mamajuana shots. This delicious yet potent drink originates from the Dominican Republic and is concocted by soaking a tree bark and herbs in rum, red wine and honey. Word to the wise: keep it to a minimum. Remember that you still have to drive back to the ferry terminal.
At this point in the day it’s about time to start heading back. So you drag your lazy ass off that bar stool, teary eyed and sorry to leave behind such beauty and peacefulness and you start the drive on the opposite side of the road back to the ferry terminal. By now most of the car rentals are closed so you just leave the key under the matt as advised and you check in before hopping back onto the ferry, where you will undoubtedly sit and reminisce about a perfect day on beautiful Anguilla.
There is so much more one can do while in Anguilla for the day. But I will leave that for a next post.
What is your favorite thing to do in Anguilla? Share your experience in below comments.
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Much <3, TTIG