The first day we arrived from St. Martin, we settled into comfortable chairs by the infinity pool at the Frangipani and were enjoying cocktails when hotel manager Scott came up to introduce himself. Before we knew it, we were booked on a cruise with a few other guests the next day. Trust me - our arms did not have to be twisted far at all! This was an incredible way to see not only Anguilla but the outlying islands as well. And who doesn't love a fabulous day on a boat in the sun? :)
First stop - Prickly Pear Cay, which is a nature preserve. Really nothing but a small bar (read: thatched hut) and restaurant on a pristine beach. Allan makes a mean frozen cocktail - bring cash. He doesn't mind if it's wet :)
We obviously weren't the only ones here, but it sure felt like it. Apparently day-trippers come over to Prickley Pear from St. Martin, but I wouldn't let that dissuade you from taking a visit.
Interacting with the wildlife
On to Sandy Island. We didn't eat here, but apparently they have incredible food, especially fresh lobster. We chose to enjoy more cocktails from the boat and chat with Scott and watersports head Rasharn about Anguilla.
Oh, just another day...
Cruising on, we found our way to Little Bay, which is only accessible by boat. There is a rumor of a rope that you can climb down to access Little Bay from land, but we didn't see a rope, nor would we recommend that option. If you don't have boat access, you can also kayak/paddleboard from daVida in Crocus Bay.
Pelican Rock stands clearly out of the water in Little Bay, with an approximately 22 foot drop into the water that people can jump off. I never thought it would be something I'd consider, but after everyone on the boat went, I knew I'd regret it if I didn't. In way of warning, the only way up is over tough volcanic type rock hanging on to a ancient rope - if it were more comfortable I probably would have come back down this way! As it was, I picked the easier option. Glad I did it, but I never need to again!
Climbing Pelican Rock
Oh, I will never forget that climb...
Shipwreck in Sandy Ground on our way home - tired, a bit sunburned, but all VERY happy.
Much of the rest of our time on the island was spent in our rented jeep, exploring and experiencing all the beaches. We would highly recommend renting a car (a Jeep if you can!) while you are in Anguilla and Ronnie Bryant is the guy to do it from. His company can drop one off for you at the ferry terminal so you don't need to take a cab to your destination, and it's extremely easy to get around on the island. You will want your own transportation to get to all of the beaches, as well as the evenings if you plan on going to restaurants or enjoying nightlife. Other options are not so plentiful.
Sea Feather Bay, looking towards St. Martin
Savannah Bay, which we THINK is our favorite beach on the island (it's still under debate...)
Most of the time we were here, we were the only ones :)
And if you get thirsty, there is a fabulous little restaurant called Nat's Place where you can get a delicious rum punch and seafood straight from the water.
The East End area and a view of Captain's Bay
East End into Island Harbor
Shoal Bay East
This wonderful restaurant, I am sad to report, has since closed in this location. They have, however, relocated on Shoal Bay East so I am excited to update their information/photos on our next visit! Gwen's is an institution on Anguilla and a place no one should miss! I'm sure the new location will be just as amazing.
This is what used to be the outdoor dining room :)
After Gwen's, we moved to the other side of Shoal Bay East. This is probably the busiest beach we saw on the island. We parked our car at Elodia's Beach Bar and found a couple of lounge chairs for a modest fee (I believe it was $10 for the day). I stayed in my lounger to read and relax while my husband made his way through the beach bars that lined Shoal Bay. He really enjoyed the walk and said the only bothersome thing he experienced was a lot of construction - this may obviously vary by time of your trip.
Cove Bay, with a view of St Martin
Sunset over Meads Bay, from the Frangipani beach
The Sunshine Shack on Rendezvous - run by the delightful Garvey. As long as you are drinking or eating there, beach chairs are free. It's a wonderful way to waste several hours...
Maundays Bay, home of Cap Juluca hotel. It. Is. Gorgeous. If I was REALLY splurging, I'd look at staying here.
The water around Anguilla is usually incredibly calm, but occasionally you will see some big surf! The hotel in the background here on Meads Bay is the Viceroy, another luxury resort. The Viceroy is far too large and modern for our taste, but they do have a nice friendly bar on the beach to stop by!
Just one example of the amazing fresh seafood you can get on the island. This restaurant, On Da Rocks, appears to be permanently closed, but there are so many options for a seafood lover! The crayfish is not to be missed.
Locals in a friendly sailboat race
Back on Shoal Bay
Sunday afternoon live music at Gwen's. I am thrilled to see this has continued at the new location, because there is nothing like live reggae sitting on the beach with a fruity cocktail in hand.
This is The Scratch Band - Tap (Gwen's husband) is the lead singer
Meads Bay really can't be beat for sunsets :)
So in the end, if you love having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world virtually all to yourself, you will see Anguilla as the paradise we did. I just don't think any other Caribbean island quite compares to this little jewel. I can't wait to head back in March - stay in touch for our updates from our second trip to the island with our 6 year old daughter!