Anguilla, a little British West Indies isle — population 14,000 — is favoured by jetsetters who seek seclusion on its 90 square kilometres, studded with five-star resorts and about 150 millionaire villas.
Here are the best ways to save money on hotels, restaurants and activities on Anguilla.
Arrive by Funtime Sea Shuttle’s 25-minute service from St. Martin/St. Maarten.
US$70/person, with free drinks; funtime-charters.com
Where to Stay
Canadian expat Mimi Gratton of Blue Sea Anguilla recommends Lloyds Bed & Breakfast as a budget-friendly stay. Tip: Summer is the cheapest time to travel here.
US$99/single occupancy; 264-497-2351, lloyds.ai
Anyone whose previous experiences of the Caribbean have taken place behind resort gates will find Anguilla liberating. Given its low crime rate, tourists can safely roam the low-lying, dusty roads crisscrossed by goat herds and lined with naturally formed salt ponds, cinderblock homes, churches and tucked-away villa entrances. Buy a three-day (US$15) or three-month (US$25) temporary driver’s permit from any car rental agency or negotiate a day rate with taxi drivers, such as Wilmoth Hodge (264-584-4616; email@example.com).
Things to Do
Anguilla’s screaming deal is the John T. Memorial cycling race, a 132-km event held in July that attracts pan-Caribbean competition for a grand prize of $1,000. For a US$25 entry fee, riders stay free for three nights at a host hotel, inclusive of breakfast and two dinners.
Where to Shop
Using X-Acto knives and chisels, Cheddie Richardson of Cheddie’s Carving Studio whittles away at driftwood to reveal its inner seabird, stingray, eel or shipwrecking siren. The self-taught sculptor’s pieces, priced from a few dollars to US$5,000, are in private collections worldwide, including Queen Elizabeth II’s.
Where to Eat and Drink
Sipping “Duneshine” (a fermented ginger drink) while listening to reggae recording artist Bankie Banx at his Dune Preserve beach bar is the ideal sign-off for a laid-back trip to Anguilla. Keep an eye out for celebs in the audience of this Swiss Family Robinson-style tree fort cobbled together from driftwood and shards of old wooden Anguillian fishing boats.
Calgarian Denise Carr rose to become one of the Caribbean’s first female executive chefs working at a five-star resort, the CuisinArt, which she left to open SandBar, a tapas bar in the nightlife area of Sandy Ground, with husband Josh Proctor. The nibbles are all $15 or less and they’re so yummy that it’s hard not to keep on ordering plate after plate.