ANGUILLA! This was one of the islands we were most excited to visit. Why? Because JB holidays here. And Harry Styles.
But for reals, we knew a bunch of famous people have recently been to Anguilla and we wanted to see why!
To get to Anguilla you can either take a private plane or if you’re not a super fancy pants, then you fly into St. Maarten and take a ferry over to Anguilla.
We did a quick overnight in St. Maarten. We stayed at the Sonesta which is at a fun location right next to Maho beach. This beach is literally right next to the airport so it’s become quite the experience to see giant airplanes flying 50 feet over your head. Or you can watch the planes take off and feel the sand hit you like a thousand needles going into your skin. It’s cool. But doesn’t feel good.
That night we stayed in St. Maarten there was some sort of stomach virus going around. Yikes! So although the Sonesta is an all-inclusive, there were no buffets or kids club. They were overly cautious with the hand washing and antibiotic hand soap, which was probably a good thing. We didn’t let the kids touch anything. Lucky, we made it out alive with no sicknesses. I can’t say too much about St. Maarten because we were there for a very short time and didn’t see much besides a very Spring Break-y area. So, we were glad to leave the virus inflicted island of St. Maarten and get to Anguilla.
A 25 minute boat ride took us right to the arrivals boat terminal to Anguilla. As soon as we got to the island we quickly were able to see what all the fuss was about! Its beautiful, small, quiet, and a great escape. I seriously loved the fact that there were fewer resorts and that cruise ships and casinos are not allowed on the island. Although there are many great mid-market hotels, we were able to enjoy some incredible luxury hotels!
We first stayed at the Viceroy Anguilla. It is a gorgeous, contemporary property that had every amenity you’d need. For the Gees, we mostly take advantage of the gym, sports court, pools and kids club. Our kids LOVED the kids club. Dorothy spent almost all day there. So many toys, crafts and activities that she’s really been missing out on! It was Spring Break and there were a lot of kids at the resort, but it proved to be a FANTASTIC family resort! In addition, the views and beaches were perfection. :)
Dorothy will tell you her highlight at the Viceroy and in all of Anguilla was Mermaid School. Estelle is a mermaid. She is a very kind gal from France who has lived all over the world. She had some incredible stories, but more importantly, some beautiful mermaid tails to choose from. Dorothy went with the blue sparkles and I choose the yellow tail. Dorothy is still a beginner swimmer, but she was in absolute heaven. She taught us how to swim like mermaids and even gave us some shells and jewelry to wear. Dorothy never wanted to take off the tail and wanted to do mermaid school every day after that.
One thing that we did a lot of in Anguilla was EAT! There were so many amazing restaurants! To name a few:
All the food was so fresh and yummy!
We were able to stay another week at the CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa. The CuisinArt is right up my alley with their hydroponic farm. So much of their food is generated right there in their greenhouse. When we arrived to our room we had a large bowl of freshly picked cherry tomatoes. Later on in the week, I was able to get a tour of the hydroponic farm and then go directly up to meet with their chef at their on-property Italian restaurant, Italia. I seriously had a blast with their Italian chef. He taught me how to make handmade pasta, gnocchi, meatballs, pesto sauce and a marinara sauce. Everything was incredible. The freshly picked ingredients made it that much more special.
As you can see, we tend to choose destinations with water. And Anguilla had some of the clearest water along with THE most beautiful beaches! Every beach had the softest sand that seemed to be perfectly groomed, although we learned that it’s natural! As far out as you walk, it’s just soft sand with no rocks or coral.
We’re always excited when a water activity can be family friendly. A snorkel day at Small Bay was such a fun activity. A 10 minute boat ride took us to a secluded beach with some great snorkeling, and a giant rock perfect for jumping. Garrett is, of course, all over that. Another great family-friendly water activity was our day spent at Sandy Beach. It is a tiny little island about 15 minute boat ride from Anguilla's shore. They have a great bar and grill, sandy beaches and an incredible view.
We did our very first wreck dive! Without the kids. :) We saw 2 giant eagle rays, a giant hermit crab and a bunch of garden eels. So, thank you to Schoal Bay Scuba for an awesome trip!
We had 3 awesome highlights from our time in Anguilla.
1. As a service activity we visited the Aria Foundation. Aria Foundation is currently group of 8 or so special needs kids. It’s part of the regular school but these kids get their own space where they can play and learn too! Many of the kids couldn’t walk or talk, but they were the sweetest kids! I was so happy to take Dorothy to interact with them and explain to her that even though some kids can’t see, speak, hear, walk or play like us, we love them all the same.
If you ever make it out to Anguilla, PLEASE look up the Aria Foundation. They were so welcoming and had the kindest teachers and staff.
2. Sports day. We had heard that Anguillians don’t take sports lightly. That became very clear when we went to the annual primary school race day. Many people take off work to go watch the kids run track. There are 7 different schools on the island and each school has a color. Everyone is decked out representing their school color. The kids are elementary school ages so no one is over the age of 11. There were a few races where a handful of littles age 5-7 all sprinted 80 meters. It was the cutest thing ever! When the little girls ran this event, the crossed the finish line and just kept going! The adults had to run after them to stop them… by then they had ran a good 180 meters.
3. Our timing worked out perfectly allowing us to be in Anguilla at the same time as the Festival Del Mar. The whole island comes to celebrate with all things of the sea! Boat races, crab races, swimming races, volleyball tournament, fishing competition and a TON of seafood! It was so fun to see all the beautiful little boats. We enjoyed a great lobster lunch in the sand as we watched the locals dance and celebrate.