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Anguilla - Amazing or just as nice as the rest of the Caribbean?

Anguilla - Amazing or just as nice as the rest of the Caribbean?

Old Oct 19th, 2009, 08:25 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Anguilla - Amazing or just as nice as the rest of the Caribbean?

My wife and I are planning a 7-10 day trip to the Caribbean. We are down-to-earth people who enjoy being comfortable but don't seek out "luxury" resorts per se. We enjoyed the low-key non-resorty St Croix and found it to be reasonable in terms of cost with lots to do and see besides the beach (which we both enjoy but not to the exclusion of other things). I have also traveled to Curacao, and Puerto Rico and enjoyed them in a similar way as St Croix. We are looking to splurge somewhat for this trip so have looked into flying into St Maarten, and spending half of our vacation in St Barts or Anguilla, but wonder whether $500 a day is really worth it (if we can even find something around this price on the beach in mid-February at all!) Other options are to return to where we've been, stay in St Maarten the whole time or choose a moderately priced island like St Lucia or Aruba. In short, what do St Barts or Anguilla offer to justify the expensive cost of food and lodging that my research shows to be the norm - are there any "deals" to be had? Thanks so much, and I'd be glad to share details about where we've been with other travelers if so asked....
TheIsland2TheIslands is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2009, 09:36 PM
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Both St. Bart's and Anguilla have reputations as being "expensive" islands and as such $500/day for lodging, while doable on each island, is on the lower end of the scale. Whether that price is "worth it" to YOU depends entirely on YOUR standards. If you are very "budget minded" travelers who constantly counting your pennies then you probably wouldn't enjoy your stay on either island. If, on the other hand, you are not "stretching" your budget so much so that you have some ability for descretionary spending then you'll probably enjoy either island.

Anguilla has 35 spectacular white sand beaches and 80+ restaurants (some very expensives). If your idea of a great vacation revolves around sitting on a nice beach and dining at great restaurants that Anguilla is the island you should consider.

St. Bart's has nice beaches (but not as spectacular as those on Anguilla), a French/European flare, lots of sophisticated shopping and more gourmet restaurants than you can ever possibly want.

For some these islands are definitely "worth it".

Lastly, while some resorts on both islands do offer "specials" they are all relative. In other words, you won't find 5-star accomodatioons for 3-star prices. As the old adage says, you get what you pay for!!!
RoamsAround is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2009, 05:46 AM
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I answered your St. Barth post.

Judging by your choices of islands in the past, I stand by my recommendation of staying in St. Martin and day trip to Anguilla and St. Barth.

Everyone has different tastes, and that makes it subjective.

It sounds like you like choosing moderate priced islands, so stick to them, and use day trips to determine if you'd enjoy more upscale islands.

I have been to plenty of the mid-range islands, and most of the upscale ones. Of course, I generally prefer the upscale ones. (no peddlers on the beach, pampering, luxury, etc)

For my tastes, I enjoy the flat dry islands that have neon turquoise water and bright white sand, so that makes Anguilla one of my favorite islands in the world. I liked St. Barth, but it's not my general tastes, so for me not worth the money.

You'll find people with opposite tastes of mine. Again, what something is worth to someone is subjective. (and based on affordable)

Anguilla is, for me, one of the nicest islands in Caribbean.

On the other hand, while you didn't have it considered, you may want to check out Turks and Caicos. The beach is one of the best in the world, and while overall it's considered one of the pricier islands, the mid-range affordable resorts are still really nice. Add full kitchens, and you can save on eating out. (Although the restaurants are really good) They are running some really good specials, like free nights during peak seasons.
blamona is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2009, 06:10 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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It is hard for me to make direct comparisons, because I have not been to most of the islands you mentioned visiting before (except a quick visit to San Juan while on a layover), but I did want to offer a couple of thoughts regarding Anguilla.

I consider myself to have a mid-range budget and mid to slighly upscale tastes for hotels (i.e., I like 3+ or 4 star rooms but do not need or want the constant attention from staff at 5 star hotels/resorts), so I don't seek out luxury properties either. I visited Anguilla in April, and prices then are a lot lower (some mid-range places I considered were almost half as much in April as they were in February). If your dates are flexible, you may find much better deals during "shoulder season" (usually beginning in mid-April). In addition, there are some places, even in February, that should be considerably less than $500/day, but you won't get a luxury property and may not be right on the beach. I stayed at Sirena Resort (which has a dedicated beach area on Meads Bay but does not offer ocean view rooms) and believe that regular rooms there are in the $200s in high season.

Back to the question of whether Anguilla is worth the higher price, I think it depends on the person. I loved Anguilla, but my top priority for a Caribbean vacation is great (white sand, turquoise water, not crowded) beaches with some choices for accommodations and dining. If you aren't a beach person and don't care that much about fine dining (although Anguilla does have some less expensive dining too), Anguilla may not be worth it to you. From what you said in your post, it sounds like great beaches are not that important to you, and that you might be looking for more diversity in activities than you will find in Anguilla.

I think that staying on St. Martin for all (or most) of your trip with an easy day trip (or stay overnight)to Anguilla (and St. Bart too) might be a good option for you.

The other islands you mentioned that you are considering are very different from St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Bart, and each other, so I'm having a little difficulty understanding what you really want out of your vacation. I've been to St. Lucia, and it is a very lush island with rainforests, a volcano, and mountains. It is beautiful, but completely different than flat, coral-based islands (e.g., Anguilla, Aruba). I haven't been to Aruba, but it is more geared towards people who are looking for nice beaches and a more developed (i.e., Americanized) environment with familiar chain hotels, restaurants, duty free shopping (it is a cruise ship port), casinos, and nightlife. With respect to development level, I think that Aruba and St Maarten (especially the Dutch side) are pretty similar. Topographically, St. Martin is more lush and hilly than Anguilla or Aruba, but it is still not like St. Lucia.

I hope this helps.
beachdreams3 is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2009, 08:50 AM
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As I've said many times on this site, look at www.sbvillas.ai We had the 1 bdr. ocean view suite and it was one of our best vacations.

It's on stunning Shoal Bay East beach. A bit older, but you can get a balcony or terrace RIGHT ON the sand. Higher end "Ku" is right next door with a restaurant. There are many beach lunch restaurants in walking distance and "Zara's (about a 10-15 minute walk for dinner is great.

We did rent a car for the many outstanding restaurants on the island. No shopping except hotel shops.

St.Barth's is another place we loved---but we do like the French influence. We've been there 3 times for the day and rented a car, drove all over the island to beaches and lunches. The hotels are lovely with beautiful views. It's VERY expensive, has some of the best shopping in the islands(different but again pricy) and restaurants.

St. Martin is nice but a bit too busy for us.

I'd choose Anguilla or I agree with blamona as Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos is our new favorite.
TPAYT is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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You've gotten some good advice already. Just want to add our experience. We've travelled to many islands in the caribbean. White sand beaches and non-touristy are our priorities. Anguilla is towards to the top of our list and Curacao (although a nice destination in its own rights) is more towards the end of our list. The beaches on Anguilla are pretty much unmatched as are the restaurants. The food is just amazing (and pricey as compared to other islands). If you are looking for a romantic, quiet destination this is it. The only other islands where the beaches are up to par with Anguilla are the bahama out islands in my opinion (eleuthera, abacos etc). And they are generally a lot cheaper. However the restaurant selection is nowhere close to what you could find on Anguilla. Also the bahama islands are cooler than Anguilla in the winter months (best time to go is April onwards). So bottom line it depends on what you are looking for in a vacation. Sorry can't comment on St Barts. Have not been there.
mnag is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Since some of your previous islands are a bit more mountainous have you thought of Nevis? It certainly is a bit more decadent than other island - very non touristy I felt. Not the same beaches at all as Anguilla but some really lovely mid / high accomodations or you can go up to the Four Seasons (Princess Di seemed fond of this one). Plus lovely St.Kitts is a short ferry ride away for other island ideas. These suggestions again are NOT Anguilla....which I do think is beautiful but totally different. They also are not at all similar to Puerto Rico and really only share topography with St.Croix - I found St.Croix really Americanized (i know obviously it is a US island....) and less Caribbean.

Best wishes in findind somehing right for you!
Caribheart is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2010, 04:29 PM
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I have also been to many islands in the Caribbean and I would Highly recommend staying in Anguilla for at least Part of your vacation. My husband and I stayed in St.Martaan for 5 nights and anguilla for 7 days and it was wonderful. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world this is for you! Anguilla is actually a very relaxed island and isn't as stuffy as most people assume.
We enjoyed exploring the island and chartering a sail boat to go to the small surrounding island for the day which was wonderful the sail boat is called the chocolate and was very affordable. only $60 per person and there was only 1 other couple on the boat. There are also other low key activities the normal horse back riding etc. but you cant beat the beaches.
Lodging: We stayed at Frangipani which is a gorgeous old mansion turned boutique hotel. There were only 12 rooms but it still had the amenities of a large hotel. restaurant, bar, Pool, rental boat, hobbie cats and more. We went in November but got a great deal of $250 per night and well worth it including breakfast! Fill up on breakfast because you are going to pay for the rest of your meals.
I would say food was at least $40 per person for dinner Drinks extra. They have a couple of local places that are great for lunch pizza $3.00 etc. We just spread it out.

I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions. I did just check on Frangipani site and the rooms still start at $250 per night (its rated #1 on Tripadvisor)
Melissast21 is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2010, 09:36 PM
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Depending on your tastes, I'd recommend Shoal Bay Villas as well. The location is primo!! We checked out many of the other resorts/beaches as we explored the island and I thought Shoal Bay East was, by far, the nicest beach on the island.

Anguilla is great because it is low-key and has a great Caribbean vibe. You don't get that same Caribbean vibe in the Turks & Caicos, though I do feel you get it a bit in the USVIs. The British Virgin Islands might be another option for you.

Good luck!!
jlbowers7100 is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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I agree on Shoal Bay. SBV is very nice and you should also check out Ku. Although, Ku will only be open until the end of August. Great location and you could do this on your budget. I do have to disagree on staying in St Martin and doing the day trip to Anguilla. Anguilla is such a magical island, there is no way to experiance this doing a day trip. There are so many amazing beaches. It also depends on your standards for beaches. If you do not mind large hotels on the beach than you may like Provo. However, St. Martin does not have great beaches. Carribean-hotels is offering a great deal on Ku right now for the beachfront rooms and the dining around the island really is worth it.
If you are doing a day trip to St. Barts you almost have to fly as the ferry ride has a reputation for being extremely rough.
zeus123 is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2010, 06:25 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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I agree with the Anguilla recommendations and I would add Nathan's Cove, Carimar and Serenity to the lists of places to stay. In addition, there are lots of very reasonable & good places to eat on the island. Some are takeout & some eat in but Anguilla's legendary chefs are everywhere!
MaryD is offline  
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