Anguilla can be one of the most expensive destinations in the Caribbean, with luxurious resorts and world class restaurants catering to discriminating travelers and celebrities. Travelers on more modest funds can still enjoy a trip to Anguilla, as long as they realistically plan their budget.
Luckily, although traveling to and vacationing in Anguilla can be expensive; the luxury of enjoying the island's mesmerizing beauty comes free of charge. While travelers will certainly save money by spending a day lounging at the beach, there are a number of significant costs that should also be considered. Once travel arrangements have been made, the two primary costs for travelers will be accommodations and dining. Other daily spending needs may include the cost of transportation, tours, and eco-tourism activities. Shopping, taxes, and tips are additional expenses to consider. Although it can be frightening to discover how much you may spend on your vacation, carefully planning a budget should allow you to plan a trip that will meet your expectations without emptying your bank account.
Although Anguilla does not particularly cater to travelers looking for large all-inclusive resort complexes, some of the finest resorts and hotels in the Caribbean are situated along the island's sparkling beaches. These resorts and hotels have restaurants, meal plans, water sports, bars, and other amenities for travelers to enjoy. Additionally, these resorts often offer vacation packages that highlight spa treatments, food and wine, or honeymoon activities.
Another popular option in Anguilla is to rent one of the island's many villas, condos, or apartments. These tend to be pricey, but are luxurious and spacious accommodations that can provide a temporary island home for travelers. Finally, there is an assortment of reasonably priced hotels and small inns to choose from on the island.
While the price of accommodations in Anguilla can be high, traveling during the Caribbean off-season may allow travelers to stay in some of the nicer resorts on the island. Prices and rates during the Caribbean off-season can be reduced by up to 50 percent, and the prices of vacation packages also drop considerably. On the other hand, many hotels and restaurants may close during the off season, particularly in September and October. Rates at hotels and resorts are often for double occupancy rooms, and additional guests can incur fees. Carefully inspect hotel policies, fees, and charges before committing. Hotel bills will have a 10 percent tax and a service charge that is typically between 10 and 15 percent.
Packages that resemble all-inclusive deals at hotels and resorts cost from $1,760(USD) to around $10,000(USD) for stays of varying lengths. Regular rates at hotels and resorts can start as low as $90(USD) in some of the smallest inns, and move up to $245(USD) to $1,000(USD) a night. The luxury suites and villas at hotels can run travelers from $3,000(USD) to $6,450(USD). Meal plans can cost around $60(USD) per day, per guest. Rental apartments can also start low, around $80(USD), but will typically be more in the range of $250(USD) to $850(USD) a night. Some weekly rentals can cost $35,000(USD).
Packages and hotels that offer a significant number of amenities and services will usually come at a higher nightly rate. However, travelers may be able to save money with these packages if they plan to take advantage spa services, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Purchasing these amenities as part of your lodging package may be less expensive than buying them individually. Kitchens in rental properties allow travelers to save money by cooking rather than splurging on the island's fine cuisine.
Next to lodging, food is the traveler's next major expense. Anguilla has a number of unpretentious bars and restaurants, as well as fast food establishments and barbecue stands. But many vacationers travel to the island to sample some of the Caribbean's finest cuisine at Anguilla's fanciest restaurants. Moderately priced restaurants have main courses that range from $15(USD) to $30(USD), but travelers can enjoy inexpensive meals from $5(USD) to $15(USD). Entrees in the island's nicest restaurants will run from $30(USD) to $50(USD), and three course meals in these establishments will quickly add up. Wine and drinks will also add considerable costs, and service charges may be included in the bill. Travelers should tip 15 to 20 percent.
Anguilla is just 16 miles long, but you'll need to factor transportation costs into your budget. There are no buses, but travelers can choose from rental cars, taxis, mopeds, and bikes. Rental cars give travelers the mobility and freedom to explore any of the island's 33 beaches at their leisure. Rental cars cost between $45(USD) and $70(USD) a day. A $20(USD) local license is needed to drive in Anguilla. Collision damage insurance can be as high as $15(USD) a day. Active vacationers can rent bikes or mopeds to explore the island. Bikes allow travelers to head off of the road to explore the flora and fauna of Anguilla, while mopeds allow more flexibility and mobility than a car on city streets. Average daily rental cost is $10(USD) for a bike and $27(USD) for a moped.
Visitors who will be doing limited touring of the island can consider hiring a taxi. Taxis are unmetered because rates are fixed and regulated. Although the frequent use of a taxi can quickly become expensive, a limited number of trips shared by several passengers are affordable. Taxi drivers also offer island tours. Taxi fares start as low as $8(USD) and go as high as $22(USD). Taxi drivers should be tipped 10 percent. Day trips to St. Martin and St. Maarten gives travelers the opportunity to indulge in duty-free shopping. A ferry makes the journey from Blowing Point, Anguilla to Marigot, St. Martin for $10(USD) each way.
Another daily expense that can contribute to your overall budget is water sports and adventure activities. Single scuba dives can start as low as $45(USD), but these expenses will become significant if you are with a family or will be adventuring frequently.
You will definitely want to set aside a bit of your budget for shopping, though you may not be doing much of it on Anguilla. While many Caribbean islands are filled with open air markets, clothing boutiques, and souvenir shops, shopping on Anguilla is limited to overpriced resort boutiques and designer stores. Luckily, a short ferry to neighboring St. Maarten and St. Martin is available to travelers who want to enjoy a few hours of duty-free shopping. St. Maarten/St. Martin is an especially popular shopping location for those interested in purchasing jewelry and watches, but designer duds, handmade crafts, and island apparel are also available. For those who prefer to stay local, a little extra searching will prove that there are several eclectic shops and art galleries off the beaten path. Locally produced rum is another popular item, and travelers can return to the United States with up to two-liters of alcohol duty free. For more information on import and export duty, another factor you'll need to work into your budget, visit our guide to Anguilla Customs.
Hotel bills will include a 10 percent hotel tax on the bill in addition to any service charges. The departure tax if leaving by airplane or boat is $20 (USD) for adults, and $10 (USD) for children between the ages of five and 12.
While travelers are unlikely to spend large sums of money on shopping in Anguilla, the general cost of staying here can be expensive. Proper planning and budgeting can allow travelers to get the most out of their money on their dream vacation in the Caribbean.
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