Everyone dreams of visiting the islands and nations of the Caribbean. Countless travelers head there every single year on flights and cruises, with the beautiful beaches, non-stop sunshine, amazing island cuisine, and gorgeous scenery helping to make these locations some of the most desirable destinations anywhere in the world.
The islands of the Caribbean are true havens for beach-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. They’re the perfect place for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, and other forms of beach recreation, with locations like the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas proving that paradise really can be found right here on Earth.
Of all the many Caribbean destinations, St Martin is a wonderful one to choose. A unique island, split into two halves, one controlled by the Dutch and the other owned by the French, St Martin sits in the northeast part of the Caribbean Sea. Many travelers to St Martin spend their time relaxing on the beaches and enjoying juicy cocktails at their luxury hotels.
You can also organize some fun day trips from St Martin and actually see a whole other island during your Caribbean vacation. St Martin is situated a relatively short distance south of Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. Read on to learn how to plan the dream day trip from St Martin to Anguilla.
All About Anguilla
As previously stated, Anguilla is a British territory under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. It's home to quite a small population of around 15,000 people and measures up at just 16 miles long and 3 miles wide at its widest point.
The main town of Anguilla is The Valley, which also serves as the island's capital. The island was named Anguilla from an Italian word which translates to 'eel' in English, due to its long and slender shape.
Most people on Anguilla speak English, so it's a popular place with tourists as it's easy to talk with the locals and get around. The island is also known for its unique cuisine, blending elements of classic Caribbean cuisine with French, British, and African influences to create some truly special seafood dishes.
Anguilla is especially popular with tourists due to its extraordinary beaches like Rendezvous Bay and Shoal Bay, as well as a few unique landmarks like Big Spring Cave, which features petroglyphs on the walls dating back to prehistoric times.
Getting to Anguilla from St Martin
St Martin isn't too far from Anguilla, so it's easy to hop from one island to the other. You could choose to fly to Anguilla, and flying is very popular as a way to get around the Caribbean and visit different islands. However, due to the very short distance separating these two islands, it makes much more sense to take the ferry. A daily ferry service runs from St Martin over to Anguilla.
It only takes 25 minutes to make the crossing, and the best part of all is that the ferry port is just five minutes away from SXM St Maarten Airport. The ferry is equipped with free Wi-Fi, as well as restrooms and free drinks. The prices for the day trip can vary, and you will need to pay a non-residents tax when leaving Anguilla, so it's important to be aware of this and plan out the day trip accordingly in order to match up with your budget.
If you're over on the French side of the island, you don't necessarily have to go over to the airport to get the ferry. You can take a different ferry direct from Marigot to Anguilla. Again, you'll have to factor in the additional costs of taxes. Whichever St Martin port you leave from, you'll arrive at the Blowing Point ferry terminal on Anguilla. There, you'll have to go through immigration and customs, but this process usually doesn't take long.
Important Information and Things to Do at Anguilla
- Getting Around Anguilla - Since you'll be arriving at the Blowing Point ferry terminal, you may want to immediately rent a car from there and head off around the island in order to get away from the crowds of tourists and find a quieter spot to enjoy. Renting a car is generally considered to be an essential part of a day trip to Anguilla as some of the best beaches are quite far from the ferry port. You have to buy an Anguilla drivers license as part of your car rental, but you can get a short-term license for a very small fee.
- Things to Do - The main thing to do on Anguilla is visit some of the more than 30 beaches on the island. Some are best-suited for watersports, others are calmer and more romantic, perfect for couples to walk hand in hand along the soft sands. Some of the best beaches on the island include Barnes Bay, Shoal Bar, Road Bay, and Rendezvous Bay.
- Best Time to Visit - Like many Caribbean destinations, there's not really a bad time to visit Anguilla, but visiting at certain times of the year will present you with certain opportunities and advantages. If you visit between April and November, for example, you might see some sea turtles come ashore onto the beaches to lay their eggs. Visiting in the summer months will also give you the hottest temperatures for sunbathing and swimming, but visiting in spring or fall is a good way to enjoy a quieter experience.