Day (4): Taking day trips from St. Martin is easy, and we had originally planned on going to St. Barths for the day, but we quickly found out that catching a ferry to Anguilla was the cheaper and faster option ($20 + a $5 port tax, each way). We made a quick breakfast in our apartment, grabbed our passports – necessary for British Anguilla – and took a cab to the Marigot port.
We hailed a cab in Anguilla and got SO lucky with our cab driver – talk about an amazing host for our day on the island. Meet warm and funny, Sam.
My mom has this funny sprint she does from the sand to the water every time she goes to the beach, out of sheer excitement and joy derived from seeing the water. Shoal Bay, known as the most beautiful beach on Anguilla, exceeded expectations. When we walked up to the beach, I was in full-on “Anne Corrigan Beach Bolt” mode. Scattered palm trees, snow-white sand, and the dazzling, postcard-perfect turquoise waters greeted us as we said goodbye to Sam and made our way down the beach.
Sam, our personal Anguillan fount of information, gave us an impromptu tour of the tiny country and stopped off at some points of interest. The highest point in Anguilla is 213 ft. and as Sam puts it “if there happens to be a tsunami, well…you just had your last Christmas.”
We first stopped at Elodia’s for food and drinks, served by our adorable waitress, whose official nickname is Smiley (I wonder why). We opened a tab and started in on the famous rum punches, served with lime and cinnamon on top. Thus began our Anguilla darty (day party).
Being on Anguilla basically felt like being on a Pirates of the Caribbean set (further enhanced by Coco continuously humming the POTC theme song). Despite living on the beach, I had never been somewhere so tropical, complete with fallen coconuts and endless stretches of empty beaches. We rented snorkels ($10 from the beach bar) and headed out to sea. This was all after several rounds of rum punches, and I remember my past snorkeling experiences being a lot easier…
We then met Sam (who brought us extra towels) at our pickup spot and headed back to grab the ferry to St. Martin. We had to sit in the Captain’s seat – he turned out to be our new BFF and Haley got seasick. Great fun.
For dinner we decided on Moroccan, an ethnic food I have never had and was dying to try. Le Marrakech is located in Marigot and tucked into a courtyard down a side street. Amazing food and ambience.
Day (5): The next day, we headed up to Loterie Farm, a nature reserve, complete with a zip-line, hiking trails, and a treehouse restaurant and bar. After much complaining and confused map-reading, we miraculously made it up to the breathtaking Chewbacca Lookout and had sweeping panoramic views of St. Martin and the surrounding waters. Drinks in the treehouse lounge after were warmly welcomed.
Side story: Our Bob Marley-blaring cabbie who took us to Loterie Farm heard Coco complaining about her sunburn in the backseat. He then stopped traffic, got out of his car, chopped off some aloe vera growing on the side of road, and gave it to her to rub on her face. An amazing taxi driver, a nice guy and a mobile island apothecary.
That night we ate dinner at Tai Chi, an amazing Thai restaurant in Orient Beach, and had a few post-dinner drinks at a tiny tiki bar right on the beach. It seemed to be a locals-only spot, and singing and dancing all night with a bunch of St. Martin locals on the beach was a fantastic way to end the trip.
Day (6): The next morning on our way to the airport we stopped off at Maho Beach, a small beach right at the end of the airport runway. I truly couldn’t believe the spectacle that was Maho Beach. People lined up along the base of the runway to be blown away by the jet engines of the planes taking off. I saw grown men roll into the water like bowling pins, beer bottles, shoes, and dignity flying off into the wind. Although it’s quite touristy – lots of cruise ships unload here – it’s a great spot to get a laugh and see both propellor planes and commercial airliners land and take off on the famously short St. Maarten runway.
We flew out of St. Martin 5-10 pounds heavier, sad to leave all of our new friends, and missing paradise as soon as we were wheels up.