Fifty-one years ago, my family made the West Indies their home. My grandparents moved there from New York for an entrepreneurial life in the Caribbean and never looked back. Le sigh.
The West Indies have always been where I feel the most at home - the sun shines brightly, the salty wind licks against your skin, and the fruit is tangy and sweet.
When my husband and I began the terrifying journey to decide where to get married, Anguilla was our obvious choice. The food is exceptional, with plenty of island access to European wines and cheeses, the weather is gorgeous for most of the year with very little rainfall, and most importantly, getting to Anguilla is convenient and cost-effective to travel to, considering how remote it feels.
1. The Beach at Cap Juluca Hotel in Maundays Bay
2. A Boat Charter to Sandy Island for Lunch and Rosé (or Rum Punch)
3. A Catamaran Sail to Prickly Pear Island with Bluebeard Charters
4. Jumping off the rocks at Little Bay (short travel by boat)
5. Golfing at CuisinArt
Live Music at Bankie Banx Dune Preserve (Bankie Banx is the “Caribbean Bob Dylan”)
WHERE TO STAY
Cap Juluca – the best beach, white glove butler service, exceptional food and new renovations. A romantic and family friendly location
Viceroy Anguilla – the best place to watch the sun set, perfect for the traveler who likes the modern Euro party vibe. Best for a new romance getaway or fun friends trip.
Malliouhana – Newly re-opened, this was once the top destination for celebrities visiting Anguilla. Great food from a Michelin-star chef, Elle Décor-style furnishings and the best pool on the island.
Anacaona Boutique Hotel – the best deal ($170/night April to mid-December) in the heart of West End’s fantastic restaurants and swanky hotels.
1. Veya (Sandy Ground - Island Fusion - Fine Dining, Dinner): Known by many as the "Treehouse" restaurant for it's set up, this is everyone's island favorite - which is saying a lot, considering the cuisine available. Try the Morrocan-Spiced Shrimp "Cigars" or consider the tasting menu!
2. Picante (West End Village - Caribbean Taqueria – Casual, Dinner ): Fantastic Mexican with a Caribbean twist aka fresh seafare! The vibe of this place is wonderful and the food matches, making it one of the top go-tos for any hungry bellies.
3. Jacala (Meads Bay - French Caribbean – Fine Dining, Lunch, Dinner): A delicious French restaurant right on the water with a gorgeous beach and your not-so-typical large lounge bean bag to soak in the sun after enjoying your rosé. Great for lunch!
4. Blanchards (Meads Bay – Fusion – Fine Dining, Dinner, Casual, Lunch): We haven't met a person who went to Anguilla and didn't love Blanchards Beach Shack! It has a wild hodgepodge of casual cuisine, from Greek to Mexican to Hot Dogs to straight American BBQ. All very delicious and with prices like, "$8.91," you will be chuckling to yourself while digging your toes into the sand. The restaurant, which is separate, has a deliciously fresh menu for a more romantic evening.
5. Mangos (West End Village – Seafood – Fine Dining, Dinner): A stunning beachside restaurant with candlelight and fine dining linens. Expect to watch the sunset from Adirondack chairs on the beach and taking your time to delight in your meal!
6. Dolce Vita (Sandy Ground - Italian, Fine Dining, Dinner): It's safe to say this is the best view of the yachts that come to moor off Anguilla's coast. The setting and clientele for such a sight is a perfect match, in a Caribbean way. For phenomenal saucier work, spiny lobster, and an airy gnocchi to pair with your Nero D'Avola, this is your Friday night.
7. Sun Shine Shack (Rendezvous Bay, - BBQ - Casual, Authentic, Lunch): If you are looking for some authentic, Caribbean-style grilling, get thee to the Shack! It's a brightly painted wooden hut on the beach, where all of your hunger will be satiated with a plate of chicken with rice & beans or a sunny cocktail, whichever your preference. All served up with big Anguillan smiles.
8. B & D BBQ (Long Bay Village – BBQ – Authentic, Casual, Lunch, Dinner): A true local experience where you eat on plastic tables under a makeshift tent. Do yourself a favor and grab some johnny cakes, the ribs, and a Carib beer or Ting soda. If you don’t mind bones, treat yourself to the whole fish feast and don’t forget the rice and beans!
9. Falcon Nest (Island Harbour – Caribbean – Authentic, Casual, Lunch, Dinner): All I can say is wow. The rice and peas, the potfish straight from the wharf, the french fries. This place is a local favorite and it’s easy to see why once your plate arrives.
10. Trattoria Tramonto (West End Village – Italian – Casual, Lunch, Dinner): Italian food with a surprisingly authentic gravy (red sauce) and a wide range of comfort food such as calamari. Sit back and enjoy the gorgeous view of the sunset with a great glass of wine.
WHEN TO GO
Anguilla is a Fall, Winter or Spring destination, but an insider tip is that in mid-April to late May, the weather is still gorgeous, but considered, "Off Season," so large discounts apply to most accommodations. It also never hurts to sunbathe without many passersby and walk directly to your table at the best restaurants!