Anguilla Island Hints and Grocery Info

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You are on vacation. Don’t think about the price. If it is something you usually eat, buy it.  The prices are 15-25% more than a US supermarket and hard to calculate, since they are marked in EC$. The EC$ is 2.68 per US$, so the prices look very high.  The store clerks convert EC$ to US$ and always seem to get it right.

Anguilla is a rural island and first time visitors who rent a villa sometimes have difficulty figuring out where to buy their groceries.  So this is our latest in a series of tips for new visitors.

Most stores are closed on Sunday, but Best Buy is open. Markets are normally closed on public holidays, but sometimes one will be open until noon.

Le Bon Pain Bakery, Island Harbor

Le Bon Pain Bakery has added an outdoor garden cafe, fresh coffee, and salads to their selections of pastries, banquettes fresh from the oven, sandwiches, and pizza.  The result adds gentility to the fishing village of Island Harbour.  Yvonne from France and currently of Island Harbour creates delicious pastries and baked goods.  If you are heading out to a beach picnic at the eastern end of Anguilla, just call to order a lunch of inexpensive sandwiches, cold juice and French desserts such as lime tarts.  This is fast food with a difference.  And for phone-in, take-out dinner, their pizzas have great style and flavour.  One of the best bargains on the island.

They supply many of the gourmet restaurants, but you can just walk in and buy your own private supply of French bread and croissants (warning: the almond croissants, chocolate bread and Danish pastries are often gone by 10am)

Telephone: 264-497-4090.

E-mail lebonpain@anguillanet.com Closed Wednesday.

Directions:  From villa turn left to end of paved road, then left about one half mile to Le Bon Pain on right.

Fat Cat Gourmet, In the Valley

Fat Cat is a gourmet take-out place with baked half-chickens, a freezer full of dinner entrees, plus freshly made cookies, pies, cakes, salads, soups, etc.  If you are having a party, they can cater the entire thing.

Great take out sandwiches and salads (try the potato salad).  They can make up picnic baskets for beach exploring.

Open Mon-Sat. 10am-6pm

Telephone:  1-264-497-2307

Directions: They are located in a stand alone building right in front of the Albert Lake grocery-very convenient.

Merchant Markets, In the Valley

Merchant Markets carry a large selection of meat, vegetables, and many gourmet food items – the restaurants on the island purchase their produce from this store.

Telephone: 497-5533.

Directions:  From the airport, take the only exit and turn left, then left again past the entrance to the airport, then right at the roundabout.  Continue into town about ½ miles until you see the Anguilla Drug Store on the left.  Turn right on the next paved road and down two blocks you will find Merchants Market.

Tropical Wholesale

Beer, Ting, Coke, a variety of liquors, and bottled water are available at Tropical Wholesale at reasonable prices.

Telephone:  497-4315.

Directions:  From the airport, turn left and go straight until the main intersection.  Turn right into The Quarter and follow this road for several miles and two jogs until you see the tall radio tower on the left.  Now look for Tropical Flower on the left.  If you reach the roundabout, you went too far.    From the Villa, left to the end.  Turn right and stay left for about three miles to the roundabout. Stay to your right past the roundabout one half mile.  Tropical on your right.

Albert’s Supermarket, In the Valley

Albert has opened a new marketplace down the street from his original store.  Quite a large place.  Good liquor and wine selection also.

Directions:  From the airport, turn left, go straight past Island Car Rental and National Bank.  Go straight through the main intersection of Anguilla, where there is often a traffic light that often works.  You will find Albert’s on the left in about 200 yards.

JC Proctors, In the Valley

JC Proctors is a well stocked U.S. type supermarket where you’ll find many familiar items. JC’s also stocks liquor and has a good frozen food selection. There is a small deli with whole roasted chickens that are very tasty.

Directions: On the same road in the valley as the gas station, ¼ mile past the stop light.

Ashley and Sons Grocery, In the Valley

Ashley and Sons is similar to IGA, but carries more ethnic specialty items (Spanish, Jewish, East Indian, etc.), as well as a wide variety of seaonings and spices and specialty items (seasame seed oil, hot mustard, stuffed olives). Sometimes they sell Avon Skin So Soft bath oil, which is good for discouraging mosquitoes.

Best Buy

This is one of our favorite stores! Quite a large, well stocked store with a variety of fresh produce, excellent meats, deli selections, bakery and liquor.

Directions: From the airport, turn left and go straight until the main intersection. Turn right into The Quarter and follow this road for one mile. If you reach the roundabout, you went too far. From the Villa, left to the end. Turn right and stay left for about one mile to the roundabout. Stay to your rigfht past the roundabout one half mile. Best Buy will be on your right.

Shoal Bay Scuba Water Sports

Shoal Bay Scuba opened on the 1st of December 1997

Since we have been diving all around Anguilla, we have also been busy developing the Underwater Protected Archeological & Historical site El Buena Conejos (a Spanish galleon which sank in the Anguillian waters in 1772).  Instead of doing the regular procedure: excavation, restoration, protection and sale of the original artifacts we manage to convince to the local Government to protect this heritage and to open an underwater museum, if you want to have a quick peek inside the museum please click on the following link: www.spanishgalleon.ai

We have designed a dive boat (custom built for us) completely covered, one deep ladder, storage area, dry cabin, 2 fresh water showers, one bathroom: head, music and when you exit the water we provide you with a dry beach towel, bottled water, fresh fruits.  Enjoy!

Our staff is the most professional divers you can be and dive with:  you will not carry your equipment to and from the boat (we do this) we all are dive master or instructor, all the dives are guided we will show you all we see; the boat captain is a dive master.  Enjoy!

Telephone:  264-497-4371 (Fax 5216)

Email sbscuba@anguillanet.com

Directions:  Next to Uncle Ernies right on Shoal Bay Beach

Ferry to St Martin

St. Martin is Anguilla’s closest neighbor and knowing the ferry system is key to enjoying its great food, jet airport and chic shopping.  The Anguilla ferry terminal is in the village of Blowing Point. You turn south toward St. Martin off the main South Hill road at the traffic light by Connors Rental Car.  The terminal is at the end of the road-park your car anywhere you can find a place.

Enter the Departure Lounge and pay your US$5 departure tax.   This is not your fare, just the tax.  Sign the manifest clipboard (don’t forget to take your passport with you-this is a trip to another country) and wait until the immigration officer picks it up and starts checking people off at the door.  If you need help, there are usually baggage porters on both sides—tip about $1 per bag.

The ferries vary, but are small, none take vehicles, and all protect you from the weather.  The crossing is about 20 to 30 minutes each way and ferries run every half hour during the daylight.  They collect the US$15 fare on board ($20 after 5pm).  The ferry deposits you on the waterfront in Marigot, the French side.  You show your passport (usually no forms to complete) and you are in France!  To return you pay the French a $5 tax and $15 or $20 for the ferry.  There is a landing card to fill out for Anguilla.  Don’t miss the last ferry at 7PM.

Enjoying Marigot

As you step off the ferry, the tourist office is just to the left, the public market is in front of you.

Marigot is one of the best things about St Martin, so you could easily limit your visit to this town.  Narrow streets, cute old buildings, restaurant-lined harbor, good shopping, great pastries, and wonderful, inexpensive French food.  Marigot is like visiting France, but many people speak English.  Go early at 8AM or 9AM, shop and walk, have a pastry and coffee at a bakery, browse some more, select a nice place for lunch (many stores close for lunch anyway), and return home to Anguilla after lunch.  Remember, St. Martin feels more humid and hot, has more crime, so be careful, and is closed on Sunday and Saturday after lunch.

There is Marigot Street on the web.  On it, you arrive from Anguilla at location C-3.  As the map shows, Marigot is only about 4 blocks deep.  Starting at Rue de Republique you walk at most 6 blocks to the Port La Royale, the harbor.   If you want to catch a mini-bus to Phillipsburg, you walk up Rue de Republique to Rue de Holande and wave down a minibus that says Phillipsburg.

Scrub Island

Off the eastern tip of Anguilla is uninhabited Scrub Island, about 3 miles square and fun to visit.  On the leeward side is a beautiful white sand beach with very calm waters.  It is the only one in Anguilla that faces completely away from the prevailing winds and seas (since Anguilla runs east-west and the winds come from the east).  The interior of Scrub consists of rolling low hills, soft and green more like Scotland than Anguilla.  The only inhabitants are wild goats that grow fat in the rainy season and skinny in the dry season (they get water then by eating the pear cactus on the island).

If you want to take a hike, there are ruined walls (they look like an enclosure for animals), an abandoned airstrip with crashed airplane, and a small derelict resort.  Catch a ride over on Mike’s or Harry’s or Junior’s boat from Shoal Bay or Island Harbour.  But take some cold drinks with you, because there aren’t any bars on Scrub Island.

Hidden Anguilla: Rainforest Hike

You may not believe it, but Anguilla has a jungle.  You enter a path from the beach, skirting the edge of a spooky swamp through dead grey trees (victims of Luis), and then enter lush greenery.  As the plants close overhead, cutting off the sun, you notice the cool shade and the birds.  Regular Anguillian plants that you expect to find at 6” to 24” high are now 6’ to 12’ high.  I won’t spoil the surprise by telling all the details of this hike—only suggest you wear good runners or hiking boots, be prepared to climb a hill, and take a flashlight.

To experience the jungle, go to Katouche Bay (between Crocus Bay and Road Bay/Sandy Ground on the north side).  From The Valley, go up Coronation Blvd to Crocus Hill.  Turn left at Lloyd’s Hotel (the old Cottage Hospital is on the right).  Follow the paved road until it ends, then continue on the main dirt road to Masara Resort.  Drive through the resort, down a steep one-lane road to the beach and park.  Walk down to the beach; go left about 40 yards and turn left away from the beach.  You should find a path that skirts the right edge of a large pond.  Good Luck.  Anguilla has many more hidden delights.

Transportation

San Juan to Anguilla Capeair

There is a New Charter Service from San Juan to Anguilla — Anguilla Air Express. Anguilla Air Express has received high marks for reliability and service.

Flights from the U.S. to St. Martin are plentiful
(US Air, United, American, Continental, Delta, Spirit)

Options for getting to Anguilla:

  • Public Ferry- leaves every 30 minutes from the French side
    (about a 20-30 minute taxi ride from the airport) and arrives in Anguilla in 25 minutes.
  • Scheduled private charters that leave throughout the day from a dock right across the street from the airport. More costly but you are in Anguilla that much sooner.
  • Private plane charter that meets you as you arrive at the airport. You go through immigration and collect your bags for an eight minute flight to Anguilla.
  • Depending on the time of year, flights are also scheduled from St. Martin to Anguilla via Win Air or Trans Anguilla Airlines.
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