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Anguilla in the off season: small budget but high expectations!

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Anguilla in the off season: small budget but high expectations!

Old Jul 7th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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Anguilla in the off season: small budget but high expectations!

For a family of four I don't think Anguilla can be considered a bargain destination but there are ways to cut the cost. For this trip our budget was about $5000 for 9 nights; a week on Anguilla with a night in St. Martin at either end. Our son leaves for university this fall so it might also be our last family trip...

We love the beach and about 20 years ago my DH and I spent a weekend on Anguilla so we knew what to expect beach-wise and research showed that restaurant bills could easily swallow our entire budget!! So.... the hunt was on for inexpensive accommodation for 4 with cooking facilities.

Here's a brief description of the logistics of our trip

Wed Jun 24th Boston to SXM via Atlanta on Delta. (flights for four $1680 approx)
We had a 5.50am flight so we left home at 4.15am and left the car in central parking ($240 ouch!)
Flights were on time and there were a few spare seats so we had two rows of seats between the four of us
Coffees at Logan plus huge smoothies for lunch at Atlanta came to $25 we arrived in SXM around 2pm.
Traffic was awful and the journey from the airport took forever. I'm sure when the new road is complete it'll be a piece of cake but for us an hour in the taxi was an ordeal $30
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 04:08 PM
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Hmm, couldn't edit so posted instead....

First night at the Sonesta Great Bay on an all-inclusive plan $300.
We arrived, checked in and went straight to the pool swim up bar. My 18 year old had a mojito in hand in the blink of an eye and my DD ordered a mango daiquiri without alcohol with a big smile... the all-inclusive was definitely the way to go!

I reviewed this hotel stay on Tripadvisor but it hasn't posted yet.

Next day Anguilla: taxi to Marigot $25
Ferry $84 (fare, departure tax, bag charge)

Arrival... taxi to Hertz to pick up rental $30
car rental for one week $260

Apartment for one week $1190. We stayed at K's Kove (owned by Gratel Webster)which is a minute or two from Island Harbour (very close to Hibernia ...for the foodies! ...we didn't eat there!!

We were pleased with the apartment. It was spacious with a large bedroom and large balcony with sun loungers and table for 4. The large main room had 2 love seats, a chair, TV, in the living area. The kitchen had everything we needed plus a table for 4. There was a twin bed in the living area and Gratel provided an extra rollaway bed for my DD.

The pictures on the website are accurate but the apartment was more spacious than we expected.

http://www.axa-villas.com/
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 04:28 PM
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nice start. Looking forward to the rest!
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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Return ferry to SXM $70 departure tax, $60 fare
Lunch in Marigot $50
Taxi to hotel $40
Last night at Radisson SXM $220 approx including breakfast.
Stunning pool and practically deserted.
Dinner at La Locanda $120
Taxi to airport $45

Home around 2am on July 4th!

For those 'doing the math' this totals $4469 without tips and significantly without meals on Anguilla... which I left out but basically we blew our budget at Gerauds!
What can I say the pastries were worth it... the cost and the 20 mile round trip to buy them!

Other than daily pastries at Gerauds or Le Bon Pain when our favourite was closed; we ate out at Elodias, Mingz (Chinese in the Valley) and a few local vans. Plus we shopped at Best Buy and ate in 4 or 5 times... grilled chicken with spicy mango sauce over pasta was a hit. Great guacamole with mahi-mahi rice and beans was also good.

The final total was about $5200 and included a couple of t-shirts from Irie Life, 6 or 7 postcards and stamps.

More importantly the beaches were wonderful!

Next beaches, snorkeling and why we love low season...
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 04:38 PM
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ej, Thanks for your comment. I wish I could wax lyrically like you!
I lost count of the books you read on Anguilla but I noticed that you mentioned 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' which I also took to Anguilla. I didn't manage to finish the book but I'm enjoying it! In my defense I did spend a minimum of 3 hours a day swimming and snorkeling. Plus I had to cook LOL!

more tomorrow
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 06:04 AM
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Can't wait to read about the beaches!
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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mnag, the beaches are the reason we went to Anguilla!

On vacation we tend to follow the rule 'another day, another beach' but Anguilla has so many perfect beaches we decided to just find a couple of beaches we liked and stick to those.

Our favourite type of beach is quiet or preferably deserted with shade and decent snorkeling. Powder soft dazzlingly white sand with crystal clear warm water were bonuses that Anguilla has an abundance of.

Upper Shoal Bay East... this is where Gwen's is located. We liked this beach and apart from one or two walkers we had the beach to ourselves for the morning after we arrived. We found most of the beaches had little to no surf while we were there; just ripples when the breeze picked up so after day 1 we left the boogie boards at 'home'.
The sand on this beach is perfect and although it's a fairly narrow strip with little natural shade there are a few places with umbrellas dotted about. The massage place next door to Gwen's opened up around 10am and set up a table under the palapas. It looked like a nice place to relax just a few feet from the gently lapping waves... so nice in fact that my son had found a plastic lounger there and fallen asleep! One of the women preparing the massage table went up and said 'Good morning' to DS but got no response until she tweaked his big toe!
We left around 11am as it was getting hot and we needed to buy some provisions. We didn't return to this beach as we didn't see many fish after a brief snorkel.

That afternoon we explored further and found Crocus Bay and then drove to Limestone Bay. The view from the road above Crocus bay was beautiful but we weren't that impressed with the beach. Limestone Bay turned out to be a favourite. I noticed this beach doesn't appear on the Fodor's map of Anguilla that I have but it's a little gem. The road to the beach is rocky but the bumpy ride is worth it as we had this beach to ourselves and on other visits we were joined by a couple of locals and once just a solo female tourist.

The snorkeling was very good on both sides of the little bay and we continued swimming along the western side of the shore and found a very tiny cove we named Secret cove.
My son quit snorkeling when he acquired an eyebrow ring as now his mask doesn't fit comfortably but even in the shallow water he was able to watch as fish nibbled his toes.
This was my DD favourite beach and she enjoyed making sandcastles and even a sand mermaid sculpture from the soft sand. Again not a great deal of natural shade. There's a tree with a rock to sit on and the cafe (Limestone cafe) was closed every time we visited.

On the right side of the bay we saw a series of little caves along the shore and lots of fish. One tiny cave was filled with yellow fish. It was literally chockablock with fish like a rocky can of sardines which seemed to ooze fish as the tide ebbed and flowed.

We're ready to move into one of the gorgeous houses on the cliff overlooking this beach!

more later
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 08:11 AM
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Here is one of my Tripadvisor hotel reviews for this trip

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...St_Martin.html
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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Another beach we really liked was Captain's Bay.. This is difficult to reach by road especially if you take 3 or 4 wrong turns as we did. The unfinished rocky road was bumpy and we were pleased to 'get there'. We shared this beach with a couple of tourists and one other family... 10 on the beach in total.

There was a beautiful house on the cliff above the beach that looked like a ship crossed with the Guggenheim (the walls supporting the house and garden were concentric circles).

Snorkeling here was very good. Tons of fish, lots of variety but the numbers overwhelmed me at times as visibility was reduced by shoal upon shoal of fish.
I did see a small white ray about a foot across (it seemed partly translucent and had a sheen that I hadn't seen before).

The beach was as always perfect but with no shade. We found many shells on this beach and in the water just where the waves broke close to shore. The water got quite deep here relatively quickly. We noticed many crabs scuttling across the rocks at each side of the bay.


Shoal bay (east)
We ate a very leisurely lunch here one day as Elodias provided welcome shade from the midday sun. They started serving lunch at 12.30 and we probably hung around from around 12 until 2.30 when we went back in the water and saw most of the customers that day. A total of 16 including us.
we arrived at the beach in the morning with our pastries and were in the water for a couple of hours before lunch. we saw JR's glass bottom boat come and go.
A local family were attempting to teach a small boy to swim but he wasn't keen. He was very excited to see the boat and raced along the shore to greet it.

We snorkeled at the reef straight out from Elodias and my DH saw a leopard spotted ray and many fish we'd seen before but generally the snorkeling was much better (large fish) at Limestone bay.

This beach is very beautiful though. There were more people than we'd seen on any other beach we'd visited but not more than a dozen in sight at any one time. Off season is very quiet!

The food at Elodias was OK. The fries were good but my mahi-mahi sandwich was small with not a lot of fish. The kids had burgers and my son could easily have eaten our entire order on his own but as the bill came to about $80 including 15% service charge it was beyond our budget and I promised him a substantial dinner chez nous that night!

We met a friendly brown dog on this beach too.

Rendezvous bay next
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 10:41 AM
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I will have to finish this at the weekend as we leave for NYC and Newark, Delaware tomorrow for my son's college orientation.
Time to pack!
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Old Jul 9th, 2009, 04:35 PM
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The House at Captain's Bay is owned by the daughter of former Senator Brooke of Massachusetts and the last vacation spot of Brad and Jen before their divorce.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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NM, that's interesting. The house was lovely!

Rendezvous Bay was also a beautiful beach and again we saw very few people. Perhaps it was because we went early? We picked up pastries at Gerauds and got to the beach around 8.30 am. We saw a total of 4 other people on this beach during the 2.5 hours we spent there.
The beach is a beautiful long white sand crescent dotted with mainly low level white condos/ hotel buildings that reflected the sun's glare and dazzled us.
We didn't find good snorkeling conditions but we found a few shells including a large sand dollar that I broke before we left Anguilla.
We ate lunch at Roti Hut. This tiny restaurant is squeezed into a brightly painted quintessential Caribbean cottage complete with shutters and red tin roof. We all had chicken rotis. Not very spicy even though we'd requested spicy but the chapati wrap was very good.. it was freshly made, thin and delicious. The filling was OK and both the kids enjoyed their first rotis but DH and I have eaten better. The rotis were served with salad and fried plantain and with sodas the check came to $48. Everyone was full so this place got a thumbs up.

We really enjoyed Anguilla and the slogan from Cap Juluca sums up our thoughts 'tranquility wrapped in blue'. We found a very peaceful place to relax and unwind with incredibly beautiful beaches.
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