11 Things to Love about Anguilla, BWI

Elena Bazini Anguilla Viceroy
It was nothing short of amazing to have a professional photog (and all-round great soul) document our Anguillan adventures. Photo credit: Elena Bazini http://www.elenabaziniphotography.com

Earlier this month, we spent five sun-soaked days helping our friends celebrate their wedding in Anguilla, a beautiful Caribbean island in the British West Indies.

Anguilla is a charming 35-square mile island with ridiculously beautiful beaches, amazing food and one of our favorite resorts, The Viceroy.

So if you’re looking to fall in love with a new drool-worthy destination, here are a few reasons we fell for Anguilla:

  1. The Viceroy: #VillaInAnguilla

Viceory Villa Anguilla Pool
A view of our private pool and oceanfront villa. #stoopidlucky

I will go ahead and get the obnoxious bragging out of the way. The bride & groom organized renting one of The Viceroy’s 5-bedroom Villas for the 8 friends that flew down for the wedding. And the place was ridic — the full-size private pool, butler service, huge kitchen and private beach were the perfect setting for the wedding ceremony, debaucherous pool parties and of course, late night skinny dipping.

If the Viceroy’s pools, restaurants and common areas weren’t equally as indulgent, we would have never left our Villa.

Viceroy Anguilla wedding villa
The bride and groom from our villa’s balcony.
  1. Beach, please! White sand, turquoise waters and horses?!

Perfect pillowy soft sand, a light breeze, and azure water that stretched to the horizon made this beach one of the best. Granted we visited in what they consider low season, but the beaches were nearly empty and made me not miss our shared sand situation in Zihuatanejo over Christmas break.

One of my personal faves was that the local reggae icon, Bankie Banx, exercised his horses on the beach. Seeing him and his horses gallop through the sand and then swim in the ocean was one of the cooler things this animal lover has witnessed.

Anguilla horses beach Banksie Banx
Bankie Banx running his horses on the beach.
  1. Best beach BBQ

Sure white table cloths and wine lists are nice, but there’s nothing better than finding a local joint with fresh, local food on the beach. Smokey’s was just the BBQ-sauce stained place we were looking for and served up grilled lobster, ribs and the local favorite, crayfish, on plastic tables in the sand. Nothing on the island of Anguilla is cheap, but the vibe and food were some of the best money we spent.

  1. Water obstacle courses, what the?!

When we first heard about Smokey’s BBQ, people mentioned there was an American Ninja Warrior-like obstacle course in the ocean out front. Wait, what?

Yep, open to both kids and adults (the kids conveniently cleared out right as happy hour came to a close), for an entry fee you will have more fun than you ever thought $20 could buy. Our group of almost 40-somethings fell, flipped and flung our way through the course, laughing uncontrollably. Maybe happy hour had something to do with it.

Anguilla water obstacle course
The crew in front of the water obstacle course.
  1. They speak English and drive on the left

Anguilla is part of the British West Indies so they speak English which is convenient for weary travelers and ethnocentric Americans alike, but they drive on the left so at least you feel like you are experiencing a little foreign flair.

  1. Get your ride on

Anguilla Viceroy bikes

The Viceroy Resort is quite spread out, but our Villa came with three golf carts as well as our personal favorite, beach cruiser bikes. We pedaled are way home from the pool and, throughout the week, probably burned off at least one half of a tropical drink.

The Viceroy also offered an Island Bike Tour where we loved touring of some of the key sights of the quaint island. Near the end of the bike tour we also stopped at a delicious (and usually crazy crowded) French bakery named Geraud’s that had pastries and quiches galore!

 

  1. The “cuisine capitol of the Carribbean”

Getting out of the resort and experiencing new restaurants is one thing that defines a SheShe vacation, and we were definitely impressed with the food of Anguilla. Straw Hat featured high-end island cuisine on the beach, Jacala boasted premier French food, and Blanchard’s is another spot featuring unique spins on local food. Or if you can’t help but think you need margaritas and Mexican on your south of the border vacay, make sure to check out Picante which was reasonably-priced (in Anguilla terms).

Be warned, taxis can be crazy expensive so take a walk down the beach on your first day and scope out some walking distance restaurants.

  1. Fabulous locals and island vibe

Island life is enviable no matter where you are, but the people of Anguilla had a no hurry, no worry vibe that I wish I could’ve bottled. If you want to get to know some locals and get some dancing in, head to The Pump House where live bands play cover songs that are tragically wonderful.

The Pump House Anguillla
The local band was gracious enough to let our wedding party take over the party.
  1. Eastern time zone

The practical traveler in me likes to choose destinations that don’t take longer than a day to get to, and another bonus is if it’s close to your current time zone. Although we had to take 2 flights and a charter boat to get to Anguilla, at least we weren’t fighting jet lag too.

10 . The Biebs

Yep, the smut tabloids were right, Justin Bieber spends the holidays in Anguilla. The house he rents is giant and surrounded by cameras and a fence, so don’t plan on sneaking in to witness any dick pics in person.

  1. Benjamins

Anguilla welcomes the US Dollar for every transaction which is convenient and confusing (why not the British pound in BWI?) Regardless, my typical travel tip remains, bring triple the amount of cash you think you will spend. Foreign countries rarely accept credit cards like they do in the US and shit is expensive!

How not to sound like a clueless American:  Many people confuse Anguilla with Angola, which is in Africa. They are not the same place.

Viceroy Anguilla sunset
The view from our Villa on the last evening.
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