Freelance writer Claudette Covey spent three days exploring
Anguilla, sampling its restaurants, beaches, nightclubs and tourist
attractions. Her report follows:
was off to an inauspicious
start. The American Eagle flight to Anguilla was 15 minutes from
landing when the pilot announced we were returning to San Juan.
The radar equipment was malfunctioning. Fear not, he said.
Another plane was waiting to take us to Anguilla.
Once back at the airport in San Juan, we sat on a bus while
mechanics worked on the landing gear of the second plane.
Although we eventually took off, it wasn't the best way to start
Things got measurably better when the plane landed in
I quickly discovered there's a lot to like on this quirky and
quaint little island. It packs punch.
Anguilla measures only 35 square miles, but it boasts 37
churches and 33 beaches.
Although it's renowned as one of the toniest destinations in the
Caribbean -- primarily because of its array of four-star
restaurants and resorts and beaches -- its people are hospitable
and down-to-earth, sort of like "Mayberry RFD,"
I found there is a pace for every taste. Travelers who prefer
activity-laden days will not be disappointed. Likewise, beach
potatoes will not be disappointed, either.
One of my favorite beaches was Barnes Bay on the Atlantic side
of the island, which features excellent conditions for snorkeling
Meads Bay, 2 miles long and ringed by hotels and restaurants,
has bigger waves and less coral. Walking this beach, however, is
slow going because the sand is extremely powdery.
Five miles from Meads Bay and Barnes Bay is Rendezvous Bay, a
great beach for walking because the sand is harder. There are
barely any waves, and the current is gentle.
Scilly Cay is a must for visitors. It's a gumdrop of an island off
the fishing port of Island Harbour, famous for, among other things,
the number of celebrities it attracts. Howard Stern, David
Arquette, Courtney Cox, Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon
and Michael J. Fox all have visited this spot.
It's easy to get there. Once in Island Harbour, look for the
Scilly Cay sign, go to the end of the dock and wait for the
flat-bottomed boat that transports guests on the two-minute ride to
Eudoxie and Sandra Wallace, a charismatic and hospitable couple
who know a thing or two about entertaining, operate Scilly Cay.
They serve the best rum I've ever sampled and good food. I
recommend the crayfish, which is served with a pasta salad, fruit
and grilled bread.
Other choices include spiny Caribbean lobster and marinated
chicken, cooked over charcoal. Eudoxie said he serves between 100
and 150 lunches a day during peak season.
A chicken lunch is $25, crayfish is $35 and lobster, $50.
Cocktails range from $3 to $5. Scilly Cay is open daily from noon
to 4:30 pm.
Another excursion option is a catamaran trip on the Chocolat to
Little Bay or Prickly Pear. The catamaran is operated by Rollins
Ruan, a jovial, gentle soul whose wife owns Ripples, one of
Anguilla's hottest nightspots. A full-day excursion costs $80 per
person or $500 for a private charter. Great snorkeling lies off
Through Dolphin Fantaseas, which operates dolphin programs here
and on Antigua, I met Ayla, Al and Indy, three dolphins who reside
in a large swimming pool in a facility at Meads Bay.
I fed them pieces of squid from the edge of the pool, then
donned a snorkel mask and a life jacket and swam the length of the
pool, with the dolphins following underneath me. The cost is $125
The Big Spring Heritage Site, located in Island Harbor, opens
this month. It features Amerindian petroglyphs (drawings of faces
etched in rock) discovered by John Lloyd, a local renaissance man
with an avid interest in history and archaeology.
The spot, believed to have been an Arawak ceremonial site, is a
modest watering hole shrouded by rocks.
When my group discovered that Lloyd is a stone sculptor and that
he also runs the Roadwell Cafe in Sandy Ground with his wife,
Diana, we decided to pop in.
Your clients should do the same. Roadwell is where Starbucks
meets the Caribbean. The cozy coffee house, which doubles as a
lending library and art gallery, has antique tables, chairs and an
array of books donated by locals and tourists.
Lloyd's stonework, local artifacts and Diana's paintings also
are on display. The menu features coffees, breakfast choices and
sandwiches, ranging in price from $2 to $7. The cafe also serves
wine and soon will offer hot dishes like roti and pizza.
Sandy Ground plays host to a significant nightlife scene.
Ripples, a popular hangout, mixes a hippie aura with a laid-back
tropical ambience. The owner, Jacquie Ruan -- wife of Rollins Ruan
of Chocolat fame -- hails from London.
The menu offers local specialties such as coconut shrimp, and I
recommend the fish and chips. Prices range from about $15 to
Another hot spot is the Pumphouse, once the Anguilla Road Salt
Company Factory, now refashioned into a bar and restaurant.
The owners have restored some of the equipment used in the
salt-production process, giving the place a trendy -- albeit rustic
-- industrial feel.
The Pumphouse features live reggae, serves casual food and is
worth a visit. Prices range from $10 to $15.
Although I ran out of time before I could visit Rafe's
Backstreet, clients should check out this hot new dance spot.
So much to do on Anguilla and not enough time for me on this
trip. I cannot wait to return.
Anguilla, by the numbers
• Blanchard's, (264) 497-6100
• Chocolat, (264) 4979-3394
• Cocoloba Beach Resort, (264) 497-8800
• Dolphin Fantaseas, (264) 497-7946
• Pumphouse, (264) 497-5154
• Rafe's Back Street, (264) 497-3918
• Ripples, (264) 497-8890
• Roadwell Cafe, (264) 497-3210
• Scilly Cay, (264) 497-5000