No two Caribbean islands are alike, which is why we like to combine more than one island in our trips whenever we can. Barbados, St. Barts, and the Virgin Islands are among our perennial favorites, but when it comes to a multi-island trip, there’s a pair that beckons. The short trip from St. Martin to Anguilla is not only fast but fun, so it would be a shame to ever visit one without the other. At the same time, they’re each worthy of their own vacation—so why not turn that one-week vacation into two (sorry, boss!) and enjoy the best of both worlds? Good thinking; now let’s go!
Stop 1: Sunny St. Martin
St. Martin has been a favorite island destination of ours for a long time. It’s now gradually recovering after being badly damaged just a few short months ago when September 2017’s Hurricane Irma ravaged the island. Travelers that have already been back say the locals are as welcoming as ever, and the island is as beautiful as it once was. It’s of course much quieter than before, as post-hurricane shuttered restaurants slowly get back up and running, including some of the traditional and high-end options. This also means that during a visit, you won’t be among throngs of tourists, and who doesn’t love a lack of crowds? For one, you can count on just about any beach on the island for a relaxing day in the sun. And when you want to turn it up a notch to get your water sports on, you can turn to expert-led snorkeling to spot a wealth of diverse marine life or jump on board a catamaran tour.
Stay in Style
St. Martin attracts return visitors year after year, who come for big family getaways, friendcations, or romantic escapes. For those seeking cool breezes and sunshine, some of St. Martin’s homes blend indoor and outdoor spaces so seamlessly, you’ll forget which one’s which. Now, a small selection of Luxury Retreats’ homes on the island are ready once again to open their doors to invite travelers to stay.
Switch Gears With a Quick Island Hop
There’s one more thing we absolutely love about St. Martin: When you get tired of all the island has to offer (just kidding, that could never happen) you can easily switch gears and take your vacation to a new destination, even if just for a few hours. You can make a number of quick island hops from St. Martin. All can be done in 90 minutes or less—and they’re all worthy of their own vacation. A trip to St Barts can add a little glamour to your life after just 30 minutes on a ferry, and the small Dutch island Saba is a little-known secret for the off-the-beaten-path seeker. Our favorite trip from St. Martin (hint: we already told you what it is) happens to be Anguilla, the charming little island a few miles north.
Ferry Easy: Getting from St. Martin to Anguilla
Sure you could take a public ferry or even a semi-private, but let’s face it, the best option for getting across the Anguilla Channel is to call ahead and book a private charter. Free of other guests, this option allows you and your loved ones to board the ferry at your convenience and enjoy your privacy, and maybe even a Carib beer for the road! And hey, if you’ve always wanted to own a boat but never acted on your fantasy, the Anguilla-St. Martin ferry can be all yours, if only for half an hour at a time.
Stop 2: All About Anguilla
Anguilla tends to fly under the tourist radar, and we happen to be thankful for that! We’ll share the secret with you: Anguilla is paradise. Sophisticated and quiet, there’s no better place to get away from it all. It’s so close to St. Martin that you could do a day trip there and back and not even miss a meal. Still, we think it’s worthy of much more time than that.
Our first order of business would be to post up at one of the island’s most exclusive beach houses. We’re picturing a place like Sandcastle. Why? It has a massive swimming pool with a view of the ocean, its own fitness room, and a fenced-in playground where the kids can go nuts playing on the swings, slide, rock climbing wall, and lookout fort. Oh, and it has its own private stretch of sand on Anguilla’s north coast. If that’s not your thing (can you sense our sarcasm?) then you might prefer Villa Amarilla, an estate with a beach vibe featuring an alfresco shower, barbecue, and alfresco dining, and its own outdoor spa area. Stay here and get access to private guides for snorkeling or scuba trips, fishing, and glass bottom boat tours.
By now, your trip from St. Martin to Anguilla will have already been made worth it. But there’s so much more to do! Oftentimes, our favorite thing to “do” in Anguilla is nothing at all. Find a small sandy cove like Little Bay Beach and lay in the sand for as many hours as you feel necessary. Then grab a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard, and set off on a slow journey without any particular destination. Do plan to head back to shore before sunset to spend some more peaceful time on the secluded sand stretch, and snap some pics of the Insta-worthy cliffs that surround the tiny beach and its azure waters. When you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll find that Anguilla has more than 100 restaurants to choose from, despite its diminutive size. We recommend Hibernia, a southeast Asian inspired spot overlooking Island Harbour. Get the crayfish and Tom Yam Pla because these dishes, just like Anguilla, are worth the trip from St. Martin.