Saturday was a special day in many ways. It was the first weekend after block two, it was the weekend before Arif’s birthday, and it was a beautiful day. Chris, Arif and I gathered together and decided a special trip was needed to celebrate all these. Saturday was the day we went to Anguilla, a British island located right off the coast of St. Martin. To get there, we drove from the Dutch side, to the French side, and took a 30-minute ferry to Anguilla. I think I just set a new personal record for going through three countries and back within one day.
The ferry terminal in both Saint-Martin and Anguilla is small, not much bigger than a small house, but had everything an international border would have: metal detectors, customs, departure tax, and of course, taxis and car rental dealers shouting out prices to all who got off the boat. The lines were short and after a 30 minute ride on a small boat, traveling internationally had never been easier.
I had always heard that more and more, the celebrities and the rich are finding Anguilla to be the new destination. But when we arrived in Anguilla, it was nothing like what I expected. Anguilla is very rural, and far less developed than St. Martin. There weren’t luxurious villas everywhere as I had expected. Chickens and Goats roamed the roads, and the locals set up barbeques in their front yards. Everything was very quaint and quiet.
We rented a car for $30 + $20 temporary Anguillian drivers license that lasts three months. As the island is considered part of Britain, the driving was on the left and the drivers seat of the car was on the right. I was so confused. Lucky enough, Anguillian traffic is virtually non-existent, saving me from the several times where I accidentally took the wrong lane.
Go left.. now take a right here.. go straight…. hmmm. As we tried searching for the downtown of The Valley, the capital and main city of Anguilla, we kept driving in a loop, only to see a few buildings spread out here and there. Then, we realized, OH, we WERE in the capital!
Unlike St. Martin, Anguilla is relatively flat, but it rises like a plateau out of the ocean. Many parts of the shoreline meet the ocean at cliffs. We descended down one of these cliffs to reach Crocus Bay, where conchs lay out in the sand waiting for beach-goers to pick them up.
In the evening, we headed to Shoal Bay, one of the nicest beaches in Anguilla, and apparently voted one of the top 10 in the world, according to the locals. The sand is fine and white, and the waters were blue. Although it was a Saturday, hardly anyone was on the beach, and we we felt we had a large part of the beach for ourselves.
Although Anguilla may not have casinos, duty-free souvenir shops, and high-rise resorts like St. Maarten, its seclusion and rural charm is its appeal. It is no wonder celebrities come here to play, unbothered by crowds you often see in St. Martin. I had a great time in Anguilla. In a way, I had seen the Caribbean as it was meant to be.