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Travel Well: Anguilla

I’ve been saying for years that Anguilla is the best kept secret in the Caribbean. Lately, I’ve noticed that the secret has gotten out, and although I’m a little sad that I’ll have to share my favorite beach destination with the world, I am glad that travelers have discovered this gem. Anguilla, which is comprised of a main island and several offshore islets, is the less-crowded neighbor to St. Maarten. When I went to Anguilla the first time in 2012, I instantly fell in love. This year, when I was trying to decide on the perfect way to celebrate my husband’s 26th birthday, I knew that a trip to Anguilla would definitely be the icing on the cake (especially since he had never been). We spent 5 days on the island with another couple and it was absolutely perfect. I’m excited to share my tips on where to stay, dine, shop, and play in one of my absolute favorite destinations.

My picks for where to stay, dine, shop, and play in (and around) Anguilla

Stay: I have to admit, every time I visit Anguilla, I stay in the same, exact villa. Rum Punch Villa has my heart and I can’t see myself ever staying anywhere else. With its beautiful, plush views, breathtaking outdoor space, and friendly staff, Rum Punch Villa is the perfect destination for a girls trip, a group couples’ vacation, or a fun-filled getaway for the entire family. There are other villas in Anguilla that are just as gorgeous and, if you ask me, villas are definitely the way to go on this beautiful island. If you have your heart set on a hotel, I have heard amazing things about the Viceroy, Cap Juluca, and the CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and have visited their grounds for dinner or drinks.

The exterior of Rum Punch Villa

The exterior of Rum Punch Villa

Rum Punch Villa's outdoor seating area and infinity pool

Rum Punch Villa’s outdoor seating area and infinity pool

Anguilla's crystal clear water

Anguilla’s crystal clear water

Anguilla's breathtaking views

Anguilla’s breathtaking views

Dine: There is no shortage of world-class cuisine in Anguilla. From local Caribbean fare to luxurious 5-course meals, there’s definitely something for everyone. The seafood is fresh and delicious, so I usually opt for that wherever we go. Here are my favorite restaurants in Anguilla:

  1. Dolce Vita: Dolce Vita serves up delectable Italian cuisine. They are famous for their lasagna and the fame is well deserved.

Dolce Vita's lasagna

Dolce Vita’s lasagna

  1. Barrel Stay: I love dinner with a view and Barrel Stay serves up delicious food in a laid back atmosphere with breathtaking sunset views of Anguilla’s Sandy Ground.

The view from Barrel Stay

The view from Barrel Stay

  1. Blanchard’s: Blanchard’s is probably the most famous restaurant in Anguilla. Since it’s grand opening, the restaurant has won awards for their top of the line wine list. Blanchard’s is a must visit during any trip to Anguilla.

The delicious ahi tuna tartare at Blanchard's

The delicious ahi tuna tartare at Blanchard’s

  1. Straw Hat: Straw Hat introduced me to my all-time favorite frozen cocktail, the BBC (which stands for Bailey’s, banana, and coconut).Located on Meads Bay, Straw Hat is a memorable restaurant with live music, delicious cuisine, and beautiful views.

My favorite drink, the BBC

My favorite drink, the BBC

  1. Veya: I love finding new gems in places that I’ve been before and I’m so glad we discovered Veya. We went there for my husband’s birthday dinner and it was absolutely perfect. Although I love a beach view, at Veya you feel like you are dining in a tree house and it is just as breathtaking.

Celebrating my love's 26th at Veya

Celebrating my love’s 26th at Veya

Shop: If you’re looking for shopping, a day trip to the neighboring island of St. Maarten is a must. The boat ride is about 20 minutes and there’s a shuttle boat that leaves just abut every half hour during the day. The culture of St. Maarten is interesting in that it’s the smallest mass of land shared between two different countries. There is a Dutch side of the island and a French side and for shopping, Marigot is the place to go.

Play: A trip to Anguilla can be as exciting or relaxing as you want it to be which is what I love about the island. If you want to spend your trip lounging at your villa enjoying the beautiful views and cool ocean breeze, you have that option. If you want to get out and about and explore Anguilla and it’s neighboring islands, you can do that as well. This trip, we did a little bit of both.

  1. Explore Anguilla by tiger boat: My husband absolutely loves jet skiing so when I found out about tiger boating, I knew we had to experience it. We had a blast exploring Anguilla by water on our miniature speed boats. We saw the island from a totally different perspective. On top of the thrill and excitement of being out on the water, we also visited a beautiful beach that is only reachable by boat and made a pit stop at Sandy Island, a gorgeous island that houses a restaurant and bar.

Ready to explore the island!

Ready to explore the island!

Tiger Boats Anguilla
Tiger Boat Selfie

Tiger Boat Selfie

Beautiful Sandy Island

Beautiful Sandy Island

Sandy Island's restaurant and bar

Sandy Island’s restaurant and bar

  1. Waste a day at Scilly Cay: I was tempted to put Scilly Cay with the restaurants, but honestly, it’s so much more than that! You can spend a whole day at Scilly Cay, a private island that’s home to a family owned restaurant that serves up the best grilled chicken, lobster, and pasta salad you’ll ever taste. I’ve been to Scilly Cay multiple times and each time, Eudoxie and his family make me feel right at home. You wave your arms from a dock and are picked up by a small boat that chauffeur’s you over to the island. It’s totally laid back and it’s easy to waste a whole day, not only feasting on grilled goodness and sipping on rum punch, but also swimming in the beautiful waters around the island as you vibe to tunes by the live band.

Boat ride to Scilly Cay

Boat ride to Scilly Cay

Gorgeous Scilly Cay
Grilled lobster and chicken...YUM!

Grilled lobster and chicken…YUM!

Enjoying Scilly Cay's beach

Enjoying Scilly Cay’s beach… Rum punch in hand!

  1. Visit Aqua Park: Aqua Park is the largest inflatable waterpark in the Caribbean. While at first glance it may look like it’s just for kids, it’s definitely worth a visit for adults as well. It was my first time experiencing a waterpark in the middle of the ocean and there’s nothing like it.

Enjoying a day at Aqua Park

Enjoying a day at Aqua Park

Aqua Park Anguilla

I’m happy to share that my husband loved Anguilla just as much as I do. We had an amazing trip and I’m already counting down until our next visit. Just like Turks and Caicos, I could go to Anguilla annually (and maybe never leave).

Have you ever been to Anguilla? If so, do you love it as much as I do? If not, what part of the gorgeous island are you most eager to experience?

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