A quick ferry ride from St. Martin, this coral and limestone island in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles is where sun-seekers go to get away from it all. Anguilla has been steadily recovering from last year’s devastating hurricanes, with much of the island’s attractions and resorts expected to be fully operational by November, so there’s never been a better time to discover its quaint towns, rich history and pristine, white-sand beaches.
Enjoy a breakfast of fresh papaya on your beachfront veranda at Shoal Bay Villas before sinking into the powder-soft sand below. Spend some time beachcombing or floating in the clear, bathtub-warm ocean waters.
Lunch on grilled snapper with rice and peas at Gwen’s Reggae Grill. Refueled and refreshed, hop into your rental car for a short drive to the Heritage Collection Museum (set to reopen by the end of the year). Curator Colville Petty can tell you about Anguilla’s peaceful revolution and separation from St. Kitts and Nevis in 1967, and what it’s like to live on this British Overseas Territory.
It’s a quick drive to Hibernia Restaurant & Art Gallery to dine outside with stunning views of the Caribbean. Owners Mary-Pat O’Hanlon and Raoul Rodriguez meld flavours from their native France with those of Thailand to create a menu of delightful fusion dishes such as grilled mahi-mahi served with bok choy and shiitake gratin.
Stop by Miss Mabel’s food stall across from the National Trust Building in The Valley, the island’s laid-back capital. Enjoy a breakfast of Johnny cakes, coconut drops or conkie dumplings, sweet corn tamales with spices and raisins, wrapped in a banana leaf.
Drive to Sandy Ground for a sailing, snorkelling and cultural tour with SunKiss Adventure Living. The tour begins with a visit to some of the Amerindians’ (Anguilla’s original inhabitants) ancient sites, including a cave with petroglyphs. The tour continues with a boat trip to Sandy Island, a picturesque offshore caye where you can bask on the silky sand or snorkel with the parrotfish.
Back on Anguilla, it’s a quick car ride to the Dune Preserve. This open-air bar complex on Rendezvous Bay is the place to hear reggae pioneer Bankie Banx perform some of his hits on Wednesday and Friday nights. The chill music and beach-shack vibe encourage visitors to “lime” (hang out) with locals over a couple of bottles of Carib Lager.
Fuel up for the day with the Farmers Frittata (made with local vegetables, goat cheese and pesto) at Straw Hat Restaurant, located near Long Bay Village. Then it’s a quick drive up Route 1 for some retail therapy—island-style. Peruse wooden bowls and trays by local sculptor Courtney Devonish at Devonish Art Gallery and then cross the street to admire the driftwood-carved pelican heads and turtles at Cheddie’s Carving Studio.
Wander down Cove Bay’s pretty beach to Anguilla Watersports and rent a clear-bottom kayak to paddle at leisure into neighbouring Rendezvous Bay. Paddle over to the Sunshine Shack for a frozen banana colada—happy hour and dessert, all in one.
Also on Rendezvous Bay, CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa’s acclaimed Tokyo Bay restaurant is the place for reimagined sashimi, sushi rolls and ramen. Try the melt-in-your-mouth tuna tataki before enjoying a bowl of spicy pork ramen in kimchi broth. Don’t miss the Rendezvous Roll, which marries poached lobster with seared foie gras, truffle butter and caviar.
[This story appears in the September 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]