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

Filed Under: Solo travel, plans for traveling aloneTravel plans

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