As the crow flies, Anguilla is only a few miles from the Dutch/French island of Sint Maarten/St. Martin.
But the two isles couldn't be more different.
While Sint Maarten is a major stop for cruise ships—with the crowds, shops, and congested roads to prove it—Anguilla prides itself on the serenity of its powdery white beaches.
Mind you, there's lots to do there, including those remarkably empty beaches as well as fishing, diving, and horseback riding. But because Anguilla gets far fewer visitors than other Caribbean spots, you won't have much competition for a place on a charter boat or for a tee time.
The island's port isn't large enough for mega cruise ships, and, until recently, flights from the U.S. didn't go directly to Anguilla. You'd need to stop in Sint Maarten or Puerto Rico first, adding an extra expense and sacrificing precious vacation time.
In December, however, American Airlines began flying nonstop to Anguilla from Miami three times a week. Starting April 2, those flights will be operated daily.
Departing flights from Miami will leave each day at 10:50am—a good time for those transferring from the East Coast and the Midwest (getting to the island from the West Coast may be trickier with the time change).
Flights will leave Anguilla for the U.S. at 2:30pm, arriving in Miami close to 5pm—again, ideal for transfers.
Pricewise, the savings should be significant because vacationers will only have to pay for one flight from Miami to Anguilla. Due to the necessary transfers, we've seen itineraries to the island cost as much as $850 from cities such as Boston and New York. That rate could drop by as much as half.
Will Anguilla lose its tranquility? That certainly could happen down the road if local officials aren't vigilant about protecting what makes Anguilla such a charming contrast to so many other islands. But for the near future at least, vacations should be as idyllic as ever.