Getting to Anguilla

A jetty in Anguilla Caribbean
(Photo: © ThierryDehove/stock.adobe.com)

Anguilla, one of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean, is located just north of the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin. Its tranquil charm and culinary diversity attract visitors from all over the world. With the island being only 26 km long and 4.8 km wide it's not surprising that the airport, the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport, only accommodates small and medium-sized aircraft, which means if you are traveling on a transatlantic flight to get there, you will have to count on a stopover or two.

The island itself offers up a delightful mix of pristine beaches and boutique hotels. The slower pace of life means you can mentally unplug and recharge while you are on the island. The people are welcoming and will happily share their stories of island history and local stories. Although getting to Anguilla may be a challenge depending on where you are originating from, don’t let that deter you, it is well worth the effort.

Arriving from Europe

Travelers from Europe can book flights to either Amsterdam or Paris where they can connect to direct flights that leave daily. These flights land at the Princess Juliana International Airport on her neighbor to the south, St. Maarten. Tip: When searching for flights to St. Maarten, use the airport code SXM.
Once you have cleared customs in St. Maarten, you have several options depending on your budget and your preferences

Arriving from North America

There are plenty of choices for travelers coming from the United states or Canada. Many major cities have direct flights or flights that have short layovers in Florida before heading to St. Maarten.

By Air

Flights are available seven days a week and take about 10 minutes, which makes this a natural choice if you don't fancy going by boat. The price can add up if you are traveling with a family. You can report to the transit desk once you have arrived in St. Maarten and the friendly airport staff will help you with your connecting flight.

By Boat

Ferry service is the alternative to airports once you have arrived on St. Maarten. Daily service from Marigot on the French side is a short taxi ride from the airport. No reservations are required as the boat leaves every 45 minutes and runs between 8 am and 7 pm every day. This alternative can cost up to 50% less than the flight over, which makes this the leading choice for families and groups.

Private boat ferry or shuttle service is also available, and several run directly from the airport in St. Maarten to Anguilla. Several companies offer daily service and are easy to find once you exit the arrival hall of the airport. The service is slightly more expensive than the public ferry out of Marigot but generally costs less than the flight over. Tip: Some companies offer free passage to children 2 and under, and nicely discounted rates for children ages 2-7.

It is recommended to reserve ferry service in advance so that you are guaranteed a seat over. Most private ferry companies will also then meet you at the airport and escort you to the boat, which takes away a lot of the guesswork if this is your first trip to the islands.

Once you are on Anguilla, you can easily go back and forth between St. Maarten and Anguilla using the public ferry, so day trips are certainly an option. Be sure to have your passport on you for these trips as customs and immigration is also necessary when traveling by boat. The channel between both islands is generally calm, and the public ferry offers inside and outside seating. Motion sickness is usually not an issue on this short 45-minute ride, but if you are sensitive to it, then we recommend taking a motion sickness pill to avoid feeling ill.

Anguilla has some of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean and offers up enough choices in fine dining to please even the pickiest of eaters. Traveling there may take some effort and hours of flying, but the rewards are well worth it. The island will leave an impression upon you, which will last a lifetime. So be prepared to enjoy the sunsets over the horizon and know that when you return home, you will be well rested and refreshed!