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About Anguilla


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Anguilla is the northern most island in the north/south group of Caribbean islands that form the Leeward/Windward chain. It is located just north of Sint Maarten/St. Martin and just east of the British Virgin islands. It is approximately 16 miles long and about 3 miles wide.




Anguilla's main business is its tourist industry, although it doesn't resemble the tourist industry of most Caribbean islands. No cruise ships can enter Anguilla and no casinos are allowed on the island. And although there's a restaurant in The Valley, the island's capital, that displays the Subway logo, it's the only place approximating a fast food chain you'll find. The benefit of all this is that Anguilla has a reputation as an island where the lifestyle is private, quiet and low-key. Celebrities who come to Anguilla are known to leave their bodyguards at home!

What attracted us to Anguilla were its friendly people and its nearly 100 restaurants, not to mention 32 of the most beautiful beaches in the world!

Anguilla has been a British Overseas Territory since 1980. A good description of the island's history can be found at the following site: http://search.creativecommons.org/?q=History+of+Anguilla&sourceid=Mozilla-search

Getting to Anguilla

There are two main ways to get to Anguilla from the US. One is to fly to San Juan and take American Airlines/American Eagle to AXA (Anguilla). The other is to fly to St. Martin and take a short ferry ride to Anguilla (see below). There is also direct service from Paris to St. Martin, and from London through Antigua.

If you fly to St. Martin, exit Customs and catch an $18 cab in front of the airport to the Marigot dock. The cab ride takes approximately 25 minutes. Once at the dock in Marigot, check in for the ferry to Anguilla and then pay the $5 departure tax at the adjacent window. Ferries run roughly every 45 minutes until 7 PM. The $15 fare is collected on board during the 20-25 minute ride. Once in Anguilla, complete the Customs and Immigration form, go through Customs (and probably open your suitcase), and catch a waiting cab. Fleur de Sel is located about 3 kms from the main traffic light in The Valley, the island’s capital, just a block west and a block south of Best Buy market. The cab fare to the house from the ferry is about $20. The villa is painted bright yellow; you can’t miss it!

Things to Know about Anguilla

Dress on Anguilla is fairly casual… shorts and blouse/golf type shirt, khakis, sandals. Most people wear cover-ups over their bathing suits, particularly if they are eating lunch at a beach restaurant or going into any of the stores. For dinner in any of the nicer restaurants, women would do well to wear white or black slacks or a skirt and a blouse. Neither ties nor sport jackets are at all necessary.

Driving

The most important thing to remember in driving in Anguilla is to KEEP TO THE LEFT!

With the possible exception of the traffic circles that are called “roundabouts”, this “driving on the wrong side” is not too difficult to get the hang of. When it comes to the roundabouts, however, CARS IN THE CIRCLE HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. So if a car is coming into the circle as you are, and it is on your right, that car has the right of way. As you approach a roundabout, if you plan to go left, get in the left lane and signal your left turn. Look to see if there is a car coming from the right. If not, you can proceed.

If you want to go around the roundabout, get into the middle or right lane (on the left side of the road!), check to see if anyone is coming from your right, put on your right signal, and proceed. If you are on the circle, you have the right of way technically, BUT it is always best to be cautious.

Unless otherwise marked, the speed limit on the island is 30 MPH and we have seen police give tickets.

At night, many Anguillans drive with their high beams on, so be careful and drive slowly and don’t be in a hurry. IT’S ALSO A GOOD IDEA NOT TO TRY TO PASS! In addition, many pedestrians walk with their back to the road and they are often extremely difficult to see. So, it’s important to be careful about where you are relative to the middle and edge of the road.

Last, but not least, there are a handful of stoplights on the island. It is not legal to turn on red.

And if you rent a car while here, you will need a temporary Anguilla license. You can purchase a temporary license that’s valid for 90 days at the rental car agency for $20. You will need your home license to obtain one.

Restaurants

There are reputed to be over 100 restaurants on the island. You will find everything from small trucks selling local fare on the street corner to upscale restaurants offering fine cuisine. Because everything has to be imported, prices are not cheap. Note: Unless indicated otherwise, service is included in the price. Here are some of our favorites:

At/Near Sandy Ground:

  • Veya– is located on the road down to Sandy Ground just beyond the roundabout. It is a lovely location, open air, with flowers all around. The chef and her husband moved here in December 2006 to open the restaurant. On Wednesdays, they offer an Indian three course meal, and on Fridays, a Thai dinner. The regular menu offerings, which are just great, are always available. They have a nice, albeit not inexpensive, wine list.
  • Barrel Stay – is located in Sandy Ground. This is a restaurant worth getting a bit dressed up for. The food has a French orientation and it is reliably good. They are particularly known for their soups. Jill, the maitre d’ is very welcoming. Reservations are suggested here.
  • Johnno’s – is a Sunday noon must, as there is a jazz group that plays there every Sunday from about noon til about 3 pm. Their fish sandwich is good, as is their hamburger. The setting is great to enjoy the music. The sailors moored in the harbor tend to congregate here.
  • Luna Rosa – This lovely, open air Italian restaurant sits high above the water just west of Sandy Ground. It is a great place to go for a drink/dinner at sunset. At lunch, the view of the neighboring snorkeling islands is terrific!

West End/Shoal Bay West:

  • Trattoria Tremonto – is located at the far western tip of the island. The food is wonderful and Italian music fills the air. Alan, the owner, is an alum of Washington College, the same college that Sallie attended! We love to go there for lunch (it’s a somewhat long ride for dinner) and then spend the afternoon lazing under the palm trees on the beach in front of the restaurant (no charge if you eat there).
  • Blanchards (Mead’s Bay) – faces north on one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Food is very expensive, but good. If you haven’t read the Blanchards’ book At The Beach, it’s a must read if you’re coming to Anguilla.
  • Mango's (Mead’s Bay) – great grilled fare, and plenty of fish. The menu also offers several grazing options.

In the Valley:

  • Koal Keel – a very nice, casual, restaurant located in a 18th century building just north of The Valley in Crocus Hill. It can be reached from Fleur de Sel by going straight through the stoplight in town, halfway around the circle (north) and up the hill about one mile or so on your left. Food and service are great. It specializes in tandoor style cooking, although the fish and chicken breast are delicious. The restaurant also has a patisserie, a vintage rum room and a 15,000 bottle wine cellar. Reservations are a good idea.
  • Andy's – located just to the left of the main light in town, very casual with great fish, hamburgers and excellent specials like pork tenderloin in a mango sauce. Covered outdoor dining.
  • Ciao – located next to the Shell station just past the light in town, has good pizza, fish, burgers and specials like steaks and salmon. Very casual with an outdoor patio out back.

Shoal Bay East (great beach for lunch time sunning):

  • Gwen's Reggae Bar – It’s a little difficult to get to, but a great place to while away the afternoon in a hammock ($5). The food is fair, but you can walk to the left around the tip of Shoal Bay and find half a dozen other casual restaurants. A reggae band plays from about 2 pm on Sunday’s. There is also a nice beach just in front of the restaurant.
  • Madeariman – at the foot of the road to the beach. Lots of choices and reasonably priced.
  • Ku – Pretty location just to the right of Madeariman, slightly more expensive. Fish and chips are particularly good.

Others:

  • Hibernia – is located east of Island Harbor on the north side of the island. The French-Thai food is terrific, albeit quite expensive. We usually go for lunch as the roads up there are narrow and not well marked. There is also an Asian influenced art gallery on the property.
  • Smokey’s – is on the southern side toward the western end of the island at the end of Cove Road. It is situated on the beach and serves the best lobster salad on the island. The curried lobster wraps and grilled fish are also great. Service is very slow and music is played at lunch on Saturdays, which is when we usually go. If you eat lunch there, they will let you sit under the umbrellas on the beach free of charge.

Saturdays

A favorite thing to do on Saturday is to stop and pick-up a take-home dinner of BBQ ribs and/or chicken. This is quite a Saturday tradition and there are numerous roadside stands where you can make your purchase. Our favorite is Ken’s across the side street from the People’s Market just west of the roundabout in the Valley. Ken actually cooks both Friday and Saturday, and his “shack” is continuously packed with a line of diners. Be sure to slather whatever you get in the homemade BBQ sauce.

Sundays

A great thing to do on Sundays is to go to Johnno’s Restaurant (See Restaurants) in Sandy Ground (north west part of the island), have lunch and listen to music (and swim if you want). The food (hamburgers, grilled fish, sandwiches, drinks) is great and the atmosphere is typically Caribbean.

Another alternative is to go to Gwen’s Reggae Bar just east of Shoal Bay East, on the northeastern part of the island. The food is not as good as Johnno’s, but you can rent a hammock and snooze in the trees as you listen to Reggae music. And the beach there is one of the best on the island.

Beaches

Each of Anguilla’s 32 beautiful beaches is accessible by the public. If you go to a beach at a resort, be prepared to bring your own beach chairs, towels and umbrella as you will not be able to use the resort’s. At the public beaches like Shoal Bay East, however, you can rent beach umbrellas and chairs for about $10 for the day. Restaurants at the beach, including at the resorts, are open to the public.