Trip report - Anguilla in late-June

Jun 27th, 2005, 11:04 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2003
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Trip report - Anguilla in late-June

We just got back from Anguilla a few days ago, and I figured I'd post my report.

Very smooth trip down on American from BWI to San Juan to Anguilla. Got us there around 3:00. Picked up a rental car from Island Rentals... a hundred-yard walk from the terminal... and came back to pick up my wife and the luggage. Studied the map for a while and got us to Shoal Bay, about 15 minutes away, and checked into Shoal Bay Villas.

Shoal Bay Villas was exactly what we were looking for... directly beach-front, great coral for snorkling about 50 yards out from the most perfect beach, a couple of mellow beach bars a short walk away, well-equipped kitchen in the unit, and a small table on the balcony overlooking the beach. We had the "penthouse" unit, but it was only minimally more expensive than the regular ocean-front rooms. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and mentioned that there would be considerable renovation going on in late-summer, early-fall this year. Only down-side was that just the bedroom was air conditioned, so the living room / kitchen got a bit warm in the summer heat. Always a breeze flowing through, but a warm breeze.

Turned out that only one restaurant on Shoal Bay was serving dinner during the off-season - the Serenity Restaurant on "Upper Shoal Bay" - and we decided not to go out in the car. Walked way down the beach to Serenity and had a wonderful meal with the place all to ourselves. The chef (a charming 30-ish Italian) came out to tell us about his menu and specials. We settled on two specials: grilled assortment of seafood - fish, shrimp, lobster, mussels, scallops with garlic and lime juice - and the tastiest Spagetti Bolognese (with porcini mushrooms) imaginable. A couple glasses of good wine, and escaped for $80 after tip... not bad for an upscale place on Anguilla. (We could have spent a lot less by ordering off the menu.) Waddled back down the beach... better part of a mile... and sat on our balcony to watch the stars and listen to the quite-calm ocean.

The next day started with a trip to Albert's super market in "The Valley", about 10+ minutes away. Good selection; reasonable prices. Stocked up on essential, plus beer, sodas, and a bottle of surprisingly cheap rum (entry-level Appleton's). Across the parking lot is Fat Cat Gourmet, which specializes in frozen prepared food, cooked on premises. Got some chicken curry and conch soup there.

Back to the beach to get back in the ocean. It lived up to all the cliches: gin-clear, swimming-pool-calm, bathtub warm (well, maybe luke-warm). As I said, coral heads were right off from the hotel's stretch of beach. Nice chairs and umbrellas for relazing on the sand. Never crowded (though it reportedly gets rather busy in-season). Lunch at Uncle Ernie's beach bar. Good ribs; excellent mango colada.

Rather than give you a tedious day-by-day for the rest of our week, here's the outline:

-Best snorking was at Little Bay, accessed by a short boat trip with Calvin ($12 p/p) from Crocus Bay harbor.

- Nice sail out to Prickly Pear Island and Little Island on the catamaran "Chocolat". Excellent owner/skipper, a native Anguillan named Roland. Six-hour sailing/snorkling trip with lunch and open bar... a pricy but reasonable $80 p/p. We were the only passengers.

- Several lunches at the Roti Hut near the airport. Roti = West Indian (with East Indian origins) burrito. Tried it with chicken, shrimp, and conch. All good. Served with salad and yummy fried plantains.

- Another good lunch at Tasty's lunch van in The Valley. Very full platters with lots of sides for a cheap price. Shrimp creole for my wife. Stewed goat (try it!) for me, along with a bowl of lobster & corn soup.

- Explored lots of beaches. Liked Meads, Rendezvous, and Savannah best (after Shoal Bay, of course).

- A good lunch at Gwen's on Upper Shoal Bay. Combo of grilled ribs and chicken for me, sauted snapper for my wife.

- Sunday afternoon and evening reggae concert at Elodia's beach bar, a little ways down Shoal Bay from our hotel. Local group that sounded fine. Listened at the bar for a while, but mostly while in the water out front and from our balcony at the hotel (drinking our own beer and making our own blender drinks).

- Nice lunch at E's Oven, a mid-price island food place a ways weat of the airport. Excellent lobster salad for me; conch creole (a bit too chewy) for my wife.

Easy trip back, with piece-of cake customs in San Juan (FAR smoother than Miami!).

That's it. Great trip.
BaltoTraveler is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:03 PM
  #2  
 
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Your trip sounds great. I'm considering going to Anguilla at around this time next summer. We'll probably fly into STM to save a little money. It seems like it was very quiet when you went, which is what we'll be hoping for if we decide to go.
mah1980 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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To correct and clarify a couple things: The catamaran "Chocolat" is skippered by Rollins (first name), not Roland. I must have misunderstood him when he said it, because the website has him as Rollins.

Calvin takes you to Little Bay for snorkling and will come back to pick you up at exactly the time you specify. Not to be missed.
BaltoTraveler is offline  
Jun 28th, 2005, 06:19 AM
  #4  
OT
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Nice report. Just under 6 months until we arrive for our annual holiday on our favourite island. That is the busy season, and Shoal Bay East can get really "crowded" with beach chairs out from Maderiman's up past Shoal Bay Villas and lots of day visitors to Gwens and Eliodias in particular.

Have heard great reviews of Serenity, last time we were there they were waiting for a new chef, perhaps we will try it next time.

Did you go anywhere else for dinner?

We like Roti Hut too, but often over Christmas it is closed, we like lunching at a beach place like Ernies, Le Bar or Smokeys on the Cove.

My friends got back last night, and they reported it to be very quiet compared to Christmas and late April when they ususally goes.

Thanks for posting.
OT is offline  
Jun 28th, 2005, 07:28 AM
  #5  
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OT -

The only other dinners we did were a couple late-afternoon beach bar things, before they closed around 6:30. Made our own food in the kitchen for the most part. We considered driving to a fancy place (Straw Hat, Hibernia), but decided to save our money. The restaurant at Serenity was basically it for "going out to dinner".

It gets dark early on Anguilla... around 7:30 on the longest days of the year... and we got into an "early to bed, early to rise" mode. So a big lunch could hold us for the rest of the day, supplemented by drinks and snacks in the evening.
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