Anguilla is one of my favourite places in this world to visit. My family has been frequenting the island since I was six, so I hold plenty close memories with Anguilla. I've seen the island continue to flourish and grow, yet still with all of the same amazing people. It's one of the qualities that makes Anguilla different from other tropical islands, the locals truly create relationships with returning travellers which results in a special bond. Of course, the food is fresh and delicious, the beaches are breathtaking, and my favorite part: the nighttime. At night, the world is so quiet, it is a mix of mystery and magic. I've been a night owl since I could walk and Anguilla makes it even harder for me to hit the hay. Trust me, go lie on the beach at midnight.
Now onto the nitty gritty on how to do Anguilla right.
BEFORE YOU GO
Boat or plane? Aha, the great debate on how you're going to get to set foot on Anguilla. I've done my fair share of both flying and boating. What I do recommend? Well, there is several variables when picking your transport poison- weather, time of the year, and general functioning of either St.Maarten or San Juan. I've done both and neither won ever goes 100% smoothly. Toss a coin. I personally prefer flying to St.Maarten, then taking a private boat over to Anguilla. You bang immigration out of the way whilst still in St.Maarten, which at the end of the day is just one less thing to worry about.
When I was wee-tiny, there was only three or four resorts to choose from. Now, you have your choice of small, big, or villa. My favorites are located in Meads Bay- the Malliouhana and the Viceroy. The first of the two is my OG home on the island. The Malliouhana just got a head to toe makeover and has turned into a beautiful corner of Anguilla meets St.Tropez. Think striped yellow umbrellas and mirror tiled floors. The Viceroy is a bigger and more family-centric property with multiple pools and restaurants. Be sure to venture over to the other beach and the Half Shell beach bar. It's quieter and has killer vegan options. Honestly, it comes down to what you want out of your stay.
On my last trip there, my mom and I went out to Sandy Island. It's a tiny island about a 15 minute boat ride from the main island. The second you leave the dock, you're transported to a magical little snippet of the Caribbean. In addition to Sandy Island, there is several other small islands that make great day trips for beach-goers, divers, and all of the alike. Most hotels also offer bike tours which is a unique way to see the island other than car or boat.
One of the struggles of eating plant-based is the lingering worry of making sure a restaurant will have some choices. Out of my surprise, Anguilla came in clutch with the eatery. I started each morning with a big bowl of oatmeal and a plate piled high with fruit. For lunch, we stuck with Half Shell and Bamboo (at the Viceroy) and ventured over to the Malliouhana one afternoon... yet, this gal came down with a 24 hour virus, so that day is a hazy blur. As for dinner, Straw Hat, Ocean Echo, Veya are popular for a reason. Veya cost a pretty penny because of the cab ride, but the banana bread alone is worth it. Care for some more options, head over to my ultimate travel guide.