I was very excited that a stop in Anguilla was on our itinerary. Home to three of the finest resorts in the Caribbean, I had imagined it to be a perfect island destination. I was mostly right….
Many of the passengers on board spent their day lounging by the pool at the Viceroy (unanimously the favorite among fellow passengers), Cap Jaluca or CuisinArt Resort and Spa. However, we were anxious to try out the free mountain bikes SeaDream offered and were assured by the activities director that Anguilla was the best island on which to bike.
While Anguilla is slightly less hilly than some of the other places we visited, they are all basically mountain tops rising out of the Caribbean. This island, like the rest, is hilly. However the hills would have been fine if it were not the many vehicles whizzing past us on narrow, very rough roads combined with our inability to find our way to the beach that was our recommended destination. We had a map and assurances that the island is only 16 miles long. It didn’t matter. We circled the municipal area including the prison, not once but two times. Not to be discouraged, we persisted until we finally got to the far end of the island and found Shoal Beach.
It was a beautiful beach and it offered the most affordable beach chairs, drinks and food in the Caribbean. The ten mile bike ride was manageable, but I think what disappointed us most was the lack of charm along the way. Anguilla is not some Shangri la. Like most of its island neighbors, it is a developing country. The homes and businesses we passed along the way were very rural and not knowing where we were or how we would find our way, was a little disconcerting.
If you bike Anguilla, take a route you know or take a guide the first time out. We had planned to spend the latter half of the day exploring The Viceroy and Cap Jaluca, but after our ride, we were too sweaty and exhausted to do anything more than recover on the beach. Luckily, it was there that we found our new friend on Anguilla, George, who offered to return us AND our bikes safely to the ship in the back of his van for a mere $25. We later found that a cab regularly runs about $40, so his generosity was genuine and his stories of island life and his 21 children were an entertaining way to end our day on Anguilla. Emily
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