For our last post about this most recent Anguilla trip, we wanted to highlight two special activities we participated in.
The first was a sunset cruise with Calypso Charters the first night of our trip. My husband and I had taken a day cruise during our first trip to Anguilla, and we knew just how special it can be to see this beautiful island by boat. Our daughter was a little less excited as she really isn't into fast boats - the ferry over from St. Martin was pretty aggressive for her - and she was unsure this would be better. My husband and I were picturing a more serene ride and told her we'd be going a lot slower. Turns out we were only right in a few parts... These boats move pretty quickly too! They cover a lot of ground in the short time you are on them, so parts of the ride are very fast - keep that in mind if you have worried little ones!
Our charter took off from the dock at Cove Bay, so we got to enjoy some beautiful views of St. Martin while we waited.
Starting to get the hang of this boat thing a little :)
Shipwreck on Sandy Ground
The oldest hotel in Anguilla, located in Sandy Ground, is currently being renovated and will soon be open for guests again.
The destination for our cruise was Little Bay, which again is only accessible by boat. Sometimes you will run into several charters here waiting for sunset, sometimes it is only your boat :) We were lucky to only have a few friends join us.
This is Pelican Rock, which rises 30 feet out of the bay. If you look very closely, you can see the rope you can climb to the top, and the right side is where plenty of tourists jump off each day. We did this on our last visit and you will never get me up there again! But it's a great thrill for those who like that sort of thing :) We absolutely could have gone swimming from our charter boat on our sunset cruise, but opted to stay dry and enjoy some complimentary rum punch (the adults anyway!)
The beach at Little Bay
Looking back toward Crocus Bay
Not our MOST picturesque sunset, but honestly - you can't complain for one minute about watching this from the water.
Pelicans and other birds frequent these rocks surrounding Little Bay- can you spot one?
Our daughter with Captain Craig...
...and first mate Carey after our trip back to Cove Bay. They were both wonderful with her and made sure she had a very special trip.
We really enjoyed our experience with Calypso Charters and would highly recommend them for anyone looking for a charter boat in Anguilla. They also run private ferry services from St. Martin (which we used on this trip) as well as several unique charter options.
Our second special activity of this trip was Festival del Mar in Island Harbor. Obviously, your ability to experience this for yourself depends on the time of year you visit, but if you are on island for Easter, please be sure to check it out! We had done some research about it before we left and knew it was a festival for locals and tourists alike celebrating Anguillan culture and their connection with the sea. SO much fresh seafood is available - if you want crayfish or lobster during festival time, get it here, because it will be sold out on the rest of the island! They also have live music for most of the day and sailing races of all types.
You want to approach from the west side of Island Harbor (coming from Shoal Bay East) and parking is available for a small fee in a few areas surrounding the festival. You'll want to have cash on hand to buy food. Even our very picky daughter, who won't touch seafood, fell in love with Johnny cakes (fried dough) and enjoyed herself thoroughly.
The colors of the water in Island Harbor are simply ridiculous.
So much deliciousness...
Myra, lobster chef extraordinaire!
My husband and I split this guy
Warming up for the sunfish race
Any good festival has live music!
Our daughter playing with local children. We just loved watching her make new friends on this trip.
Start of the official sunfish race. These kids take this very seriously, most of them having learned when they were tiny children. We watched with the eventual winner's father and it was very obvious that winning this race is a huge point of pride.
We again felt so fortunate at Festival del Mar for Anguilla's safe and welcoming culture. While I can't speak to the festival after dark (the party goes on pretty late!) we felt it was a very family friendly atmosphere and would absolutely take our daughter back. She's still begging for more Johnny cakes!
So to wrap up our summary of Anguilla with kids... Although we were uncertain about how much Anguilla had to offer the little ones, it turns out that they enjoy it just as much as we do. I was impressed over and over again by how our daughter was taken into the Anguillan peoples' arms and hearts and how you could just see her falling in love with the island and everyone there. It gets me really excited to further branch out and continue exploring the world with her. Having these unique experiences and learning about different cultures is priceless and we will never forget the memories.