Tag: "Anguilla"

Where would you go on solo holiday?

A while back Sharon wrote a travel plan for visiting Anguilla alone. Rereading that plan got me thinking and now I’ve been thinking about solo travel for the past few days. Mainly because I am jealous. I’ll be home with the dogs while my wife visits family in Korea about a month from now. She takes lots of vacations from me (admittedly she deserves them for putting up with me). She took that trip to Hawaii, she has been to Beijing, she has been to Hong Kong (that one is even since I went to Hong Kong without her).

My wife is usually meeting friends or family. I also want to meet some old friends that I don’t see often. But when it’s my turn to take a trip without wifey, I think I might do something by myself. Visiting friends and family is good too, but so is alone time and meeting new people. There are certainly places for it in Europe. They have tour operators specializing in singles holidays for solo travelers where they give you more structure or more free time depending on what you want. Some people take these holidays year after year, and each time they meet some new people an see some familiar faces from previous trips.

It may be a result of too much studying, but I might try to start off by writing objectives for a solo vacation. Then I would plan activities that align with those objectives. Just like I would while writing training materials to make sure trainees achieve their goals. Although I certainly realize it may be a little sad that I am trying to plan a vacation based on the instructional design process I am studying in school.

I will meet new people.
I will meet a friend I haven’t seen in a while.
I will move and shake and exercise and be active.
I will see something new and beautiful.
I will spend some time alone.

I think my solo vacation will be a European one. I have a friend who promised to take me swimming in the Danube in Vienna. She would probably introduce me to some locals. That takes care of objective 1 and objective 2. And the swimming helps with objective 3. Plus I have never been to Vienna so there is objective 4. After a few days in Vienna, Rothenburg is next.

Rothenburg is a walled medieval city. All the stone buildings here should also be beautiful and I’ve never been to Rothenburg. I like medieval towns and I think I could walk around for a few days and relax while taking in the sights. This would achieve the fifth objective, spending some time alone. I probably have to avoid certain times because Rothenburg is a tourist destination. I have nothing against tourists, but I don’t like crowds.

Riding a bike around Anguilla sounds good too, but I don’t know anyone there and it would be fun to meet at least one old friend and one new friend during a solo holiday. Where would you go on a solo holiday? Would you try to meet new people, old friends, or be by yourself? Would you see something new or see something again? How much physical activity would you aim for?

Travel Plan Idea – Going Solo to Anguilla

Hurricane season is winding out and winter is just around the corner in many parts of the world. Why not head down to the Caribbean for a fun-filled vacation in beautiful Anguilla, a favorite vacation spot for celebrities and anyone who loves the sun, sand, and sea. Expect daily temperatures between 78-82 with an occasional early morning shower.

Day 1 – Leaving San Juan, Puerto Rico at 1:25pm on Cape Air, a small aircraft, but perfect for the short flight of one hour, 20 minutes nonstop. Average ticket price – $159 and up. (Ticket prices vary widely and are subject to change, but packages are always available.) Take a waiting taxi at the airport to the Arawak Beach Inn in the East End for real Caribbean atmosphere and check into the ocean front room overlooking the island from the balcony. For the solo traveler, there’s an appropriately named package, Me, Myself, and I. For $539, four days, three nights, you’ll get a full breakfast and two free dinners. Also included is your choice of a 2-day car rental, or a private boat excursion and picnic lunch to Scrub Island, where the beach is yours for as long as you like.
(Note: Other rates are $99/per night thru 21 Dec.)

Tonight’s activities – Have dinner at the Inn’s Café where the menu includes everything from burgers and pizza to full course meals of fresh seafood, baby back ribs, and two side orders. Avg price – $18. You’ll probably want to listen to the reggae music you’ll hear at the Inn or in most other places on the Island. Visit the Arawak Boutique and find some cool things to wear, suntan lotion, and other gifts and items typical of the Caribbean.

Day 2 – Out and About

After breakfast, time to explore Anguilla and the best way to do so if you’re traveling solo is to rent a bike or scooter, as rental cars are much more expensive. Bikes rent for $10/day and scooters for $27/day (weekly rates available). The terrain is mountainous in some areas, but there are loads of bike trails and the island is only 16 miles long, 3 miles wide. Of course, you can pay about $40 for a 2-hour guided tour by taxi, but seeing the island with no set itinerary sounds like much more fun.

On the way check out the views from Crocus Hill at 213′ above sea level, stop in the Old Valley part of town to see some lovely old buildings such as Warden’s Place, Rose Cottage, and the Wallblake House, the only plantation house that remains, and Ebenezer’s Methodist Church. Call ahead to arrange a visit at the Heritage Collection Museum, located across from East End Pond, where Colville Petty the curator will impress you with his vast collection of artifacts, books, and photographs, as well as his remarkable knowledge of Anguilla history.
Hours: 10am-5pm, Mon-Sat. Admission: $5

After spending most of the day exploring the island, a good choice for an early meal is the Palm Grove/Nat’s restaurant for lobster, crayfish, or chicken. Nat’s hot sauce is delicious – consider having a rum punch with your meal. Relax in the casual atmosphere and cool sea breezes from Savannah Bay.
Hours: 11am-4pm, 7 days a week. Reasonable prices.

Return to the Arawak Inn, have a cold drink in the bar, and off to bed.

Day 3 – The beaches are waiting, all 33 of them, but take advantage of the private boat excursion offered by the Arawak. Had enough of the tropical sun, then head back to the Inn and Island Harbor, a small, quaint fishing village where travelers like to relax at the Pelican Bar. Picnic tables and umbrellas are set up in the sand in front of the rustic bar where you can order tropical drinks and food. Patrick the owner and Brian are happy to prepare anything posted on their chalkboard from fresh fish to burgers, chicken, and ribs from the BBQ -.Try the Johnny cake, a fried cornmeal type biscuit well known in the South and the Caribbean. For the best in local cuisine and casual, friendly atmosphere, the Pelican Bar is a perfect choice.
Hours: Daily except Thursday, 10:30am to closing. Prices: $6-$10 main orders, beer $2, cocktails $5.

Day 4 – Day Tripping

After breakfast, catch the ferry from Blowing Point Cove to nearby St Maartin, a 20-minute ride for $15 and a $5 departure tax. No reservations needed; bring your passport. Ferries leave every 45 minutes, 7am-7pm, no vehicles permitted. Do some shopping at this duty free port, popular with travelers worldwide. You’ll find great buys in diamond jewelry and guavaberry liqueur to music, furniture, leather goods, and handicrafts. Recommended shops include Boolchand’s, Caribbean Gems, and Plantation Furniture and Antiques.

Return in the afternoon in time to splurge on fine dining at the upscale 5-star Da’ Vida on Crocus Bay, where the atmosphere, the food, and the service are delightful. Owned and managed by David and Vida, his sister, the restaurant is a huge place covering 17,000 sq ft on the family owned land and beach. With live music, luxurious interior, and valet parking, this is no doubt one of Anguilla’s finest. Relax in the bar/lounge before dinner, which is perfectly prepared and served by courteous, friendly waiters.
From appetizers to entrees of seafood, veal, lamb, and beef, the food is outstanding. Dinner hours – 6pm-9:30pm. For a less expensive meal, you can order tapas in the bar/lounge from 4pm-9pm. If you prefer some activity before eating, you can rent a kayak here and paddle to Little Bay nearby. Gift shop onsite.
Dinner Prices: Expensive, but worth it. Avg entrees from $30-$45.

Day 5 – Last day – What did you miss?

A swim encounter with the dolphins might be fun, but $84 seems pricey for only 15 minutes. If you visit in November, the Tranquility Jazz and Golf Festival is a popular event. Daily all day & evening, usually three days, but couldn’t find exact schedule for 2012. Golf: $150/round. Concerts at the Cuisinart Resort: $50
Bring your camera and wander down to the beaches and coves for some incredible views. Spend a few hours in a local café, listen to the island music, and just people watch. Do whatever you like for the vacation is ending all too quickly.

Day 6 – Saying goodbye to friends on Anguilla; leaving for San Juan at 3:05pm on Cape Air, arriving 4:25pm.

Sharon L Slayton

Discovering Celebrity Travel Destinations – Anguilla

Travelers from every country often choose to vacation on a Caribbean island, where the climate is warm and moderate, the beaches are sparkling white sand, the people are friendly, and the atmosphere is inviting. If you want to go where the celebrities go, one of the most popular islands is Anguilla, a small eel shaped island, 16 miles long x 3 miles wide in the British West Indies. Located east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, just 6 miles north of the island of St Martin/St Maarten, Anguilla has played host to many of the rich and famous including Brad & Angie, Uma Thurman, John Malkovich, Robert de Niro, and Ethan Hawke. Even so, it is a vacation destination that should be well within any traveler’s financial planning powers.

Accommodations: The Anguilla Great House resort on beautiful Rendezvous Bay offers 35 large rooms with all amenities, private porches, and views of the sea. Enjoy a variety of water sports, soak up the sun, or just lounge on the beach or beside the freshwater pool at this popular resort. Dine on local Caribbean specialties or try an exotic tropical drink in the open-air restaurant. Open 7:00am for early morning risers. The staff will help you arrange other excursions such as dolphin watching, scuba diving, horseback riding, day & evening cruises, as well as bike and scooter rentals to explore the island on your own.

Seasonal Rates: 1 Oct – 15 Dec 2010 – $210 garden view, single or double; $240 ocean view. 16 Dec – 10 Apr 2011 – $290 single garden view, $310 single ocean view; $310 garden double, $340 ocean double.

Lloyds B&B, a favorite of David Letterman, provides a genuine Caribbean atmosphere near the beach at Crocus Bay, and a short walk to the commercial center, restaurants, and art galleries. It has kept its elegant, old-fashioned charm since it first opened in 1959, and entertained numerous dignitaries and world leaders including the 1973 reception for Prince Charles. Each room reflects a different décor from the traditional and the romantic to the secluded and the inspirational.

Reasonable Rates: $99/single, $145/double (includes breakfast & taxes)

If you’re looking for more private accommodations, consider renting a villa on Anguilla. These range widely in price, depending on size, number of people, and any extras such as a personal chef or dining vouchers, massages, and other services. Couples can splurge on a 5 or 7 night package for $2400 or $3360 at the Jasmine Villa. The Panarea Villa offers a 7-night package for 1 to 3 bedrooms, from $2755 to $3245. Another highly recommended place is the upscale Bellamare Villa on Shoal Bay East, considered one of the 10 best beaches in the world.

Rates: Averaging $800 to $1500 per night, depending on the season.

A $10 million real estate development is ongoing at Crocus Hill, which will bring jobs and increase revenue to the economy. These villas will be environmentally friendly and maintained by a condominium association in keeping with the natural beauty and appeal of Anguilla.

Restaurants: For the ultimate dining experience, visit Santorini at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa, owned by Conair, and located on Rendezvous Beach. With over 860 varieties of wine and a cellar of 4,000 bottles, they offer dinner 5 nights a week – Tuesday is lobster buffet and Friday a Caribbean buffet. They even have luncheons twice a week where guests choose their own produce from the resort’s hydroponic garden.

Hours: 7pm to 10pm, closed Tues, Fri, & Sun.

Prices: Average $95p/p. Under 12, $48.

We need to include the award winning Pimms restaurant at the very exclusive Cap Juluca resort on the southwestern corner of Anguilla, which features 18 private resort villas. (Rates of $1500 a night are definitely out of range for most travelers, unless you’re a celebrity of course.). Renowned Johnny Clero from Savoy & Claridge fame is the culinary expert at Pimms, serving gourmet cuisine such as Kobe Beef and Lobster Ravioli, with manageable prices of $30 to $36.

If you’re looking for the casual open air beachside restaurant, go to Gwen’s Reggae Grill at Shoal Bay East, one of Rod Stewart’s favorite places. After a delicious meal of barbequed ribs or fish, homemade coleslaw, a glass of rum punch or Caribbean beer, you can grab a hammock and relax beneath the palms.

Hours: 8am to 5pm, Mon thru Sat. 8am to 7pm, Sundays, live music 1:30pm to 7pm.

Prices: $12 to $14 – from the grill, $10 to $20 – sandwiches & salads, $8 – kids menu. Seafood is somewhat more expensive.

Other recommended restaurants: Blanchards, Tasty’s, and the Straw Hat.

Things to Do: Besides sunbathing, swimming, diving, fishing, golf, and tennis, Anguilla offers horseback riding on the beach and over the island. Rates at Seaside Stables: $60 1 hour; $40 ½ hour, $75 private rides, $85 moonlight rides. (first time and advanced riders.) Two rides daily; call for times – 1-264-235-3667 or e-mail seahorses@caribcable.com

Swim with the Dolphins: Dolphin Discovery offers several programs including the Royal Swim at $165p/p, the Adventure at $129p/p, the Encounter at $99 and children $89. Ph: 1-866-393-5158

You can visit any number of spas and/or beauty salons on the island or do some shopping for a unique gift or souvenir. Find driftwood carvings at Cheddie’s Studio, beachwear and other fun things at Irie Life near Sandy Ground Harbor or the Why Knot at Crocus Bay, and island art at Lynne’s Gallery.

Attractions: The Anguilla Heritage Trail, officially opened in June of this year, follows interpretive plaques at 10 historic sites including Rendezvous Bay, the Pumphouse, Old Valley Well, and the Factory. The trail is free and visitors can obtain brochures from hotels, car rental agencies, etc. The first stop on the Heritage Trail is the Heritage Collection Museum. Colville Petty, curator of the museum, has an outstanding collection of artifacts representing the archaeological and cultural history of Anguilla. The exhibits feature items used by the Arawak Indians and those used by the British from the 1600’s through the early 1900’s and the 1967 revolution, which led to the island becoming a separate overseas territory of the British. Emphasis is also placed on fishing, boat building, and salt production, which provided a way of life for the islanders.

Hours: 10am to 5pm. Admission: $5 – Adults & children 12+, Under 12 – $3.

Transportation: A few airlines such as Cape Air and LIAT fly into Anguilla, with connections from San Juan, Antigua, or St Maarten – there don’t seem to be any direct flights from North America or Europe. Charter air service is also available, and ferries from St Maarten, about a 20 minute ride, depart every hour from 7am to 7pm, cost – $15/pp + $5 departure tax.

(Note: Prices are always subject to change, and may not be up to date on every website.)

Despite its worldwide celebrity reputation, Anguilla is not on a regular cruise ship itinerary, so it remains a delightful hideaway from the paparazzi and the crowds of tourists seen at other island destinations.

Sharon L Slayton