Trekking in Anguilla: Day 1
We love travelling to the Caribbean! With so many islands to choose from, we usually picked one that offered the most beaches, restaurants, cultural activities, shopping and nightlife. We looked for action even while away on vacation. But this time, we were exhausted and ready for a different type of island. One where relaxing on the beach and enjoying the restaurants WOULD be the prime activities. We immediately agreed upon Anguilla. We had been curious about it since a brief day trip from St Martin years ago when a taxi driver fulfilled our request to see “the best beach you’ve got” by driving us to a magnificent stretch of white sand. Although it was a grey and dreary day, that afternoon at Shoal Bay (East) was one we had never forgotten. For this trip, we were ready to relax on that and the other 32 beaches of the island while recharging our weary souls.
Day 1 (Saturday)
As is standard when travelling with hubby, we took the first plane of the morning. We left the house at 4:30 am. I am a good wife (way too early for me).
We reached St Martin at 2:50 pm island time (daylight savings is not practiced in the Caribbean, so they are one hour ahead of us in the fall and winter). Without any checked bags to hold us up, we got through customs by 3:30 pm. Hubby arranged for our friend, Happy Harold – the undisputed king of St Martin tours – to drive us from the airport to the ferry terminal in Marigot. The thirty minutes ride was made all the more enjoyable with cold beers and dreamy stories of island life.
Ferries depart to Anguilla every 45 minutes (island time – so be prepared for a delay). But, you must go through customs first. From the St Martin side, this entails first purchasing a $15 ferry ticket then paying a $5 embarkation tax at another window. There was no line when we arrived, so the whole process took about 5 minutes. Almost thirty minutes after the scheduled departure time (our second reminder that we were on island time), we boarded the small ferry with about 25 other passengers and were on our way. Thirty minutes later, we reached Anguilla. Customs on that side was easy enough. Each person fills out a customs form plus 1 immigration form per household. Within minutes, we were in a taxi ( a taxi kiosk is conveniently stationed right outside of the ferry terminal) and on our way. The ride cost $14.
At 5:30 pm, our taxi pulled up to La Vue, a two-storied, golden-yellow building draped in azaleas. At less than $200 a night, we figured it would keep enough money in our pockets to afford a rental car and to splurge on some of those famous Anguilla restaurants. Plus, we loved that it is locally owned.
La Vue B&B – our home for the week.
The kitchen was stocked with fruit, bottled water, OJ, milk, bread, butter and cheese. Cereal and jams were left on the counter. A toaster, coffee maker, tea kettle, plenty of pots and pans were also at our disposal. It was pretty convenient.
Our compact kitchen turned out to be quite handy.
The fridge was stocked with fruits, cheese, butter, milk, juice and water
Cereal, bread, jams and useful kitchen appliances were also provided.
The ocean view room (make sure you request ocean view) opened to a small balcony which overlooked a turquoise bay and ocean with sailboats and yachts bobbing in the water. It was a fabulous view to start the day with.
Our room at La Vue
The view from our balcony
For our first evening and only Saturday on the island, staff recommended the Pumphouse, a former salt mill that now housed a restaurant decorated with historical memorabilia and which showcases a local band most nights of the week. There were no cabs to be found. Fortunately, one of La Vue’s owners, Kirk, offered to give us a ride. Now that’s customer service!
We reached the Pumphouse at 6:30, but there wasn’t much going on yet. We settled into a table near the stage and started one of the three courses we would share. First, came the chicken wings, ordered mild and with sauce on the side, our usual. Funny that mild still managed to burn our tongues and numb our lips. Next was a shared order of ribs. They were standard as far as ribs go but the grilled veggies on the side were unusually good. We ended with a brownie sundae. It wasn’t as moist as we would have liked, but certainly satisfied my sweet tooth.
Presidente Beer and Off Spray – what a way to start the night!
Round two: Presidente and rum shot for him, rum punch (fruity with a hint of sour – pretty good) for me.
First course – chicken wings with deceptive “mild” sauce on the side.
Hubby thought the ribs were tender and tasty. I really loved those veggies!
By about 9PM, the reggae band began to play.
After hearing a few songs, we moved onto another restaurant, Ripples. Turns out hubby had a hankering for fish and chips. We both agreed it was pretty good.
When were ready to leave, the staff made several calls for a cab, but again, no luck. Travel tip – pre-arrange a cab when heading out for the evening. Fortunately, our waitress (who was also a real estate agent) offered to give us a ride. We gave her some money for her troubles then returned to our room.
Tired from the long day of travel, we settled in for the evening with smiles on our faces. We were already loving Anguilla (so much so that we never had time to post this blog until we were back home).
Continue to Trekking in Anguilla: Day 2