Planning a trip to Anguilla? There are two main ways to get here...
1) Fly to St. Maarten and ferry over to Anguilla,
2) Air travel to Anguilla direct.
From our hometown in Canada, Montreal, we have made the trek to Anguilla both ways.
We love the Anguilla airport. Arriving there has its own special Caribbean charm.
But once we discovered the St. Maarten option, it quickly became our favorite way to get to Anguilla.
Let me explain. Hopefully, you'll find this to be a most useful discovery, too.
Important Time and Money Saving Tips:
If you live in Paris, getting to Anguilla through air travel is a breeze (on a breeze, actually). Why?
Because St. Martin is a french Caribbean island that lies just a few miles south of Anguilla. France flies jumbo jets, loaded with tourists, so you can get some great discount air fares to St. Martin, according to all the ads we've seen in their newspapers.
Those jets are also packed with french wine, foie gras and all kinds of other french goodies, which is why St. Martin is our favorite day trip from Anguilla.
So, if you're coming to Anguilla from Europe, the best way is air travel through Paris (or Amsterdam, as you will see on this region-by-region explanation of the best ways to fly to Anguilla). Then simply ride your plane tickets non-stop into St. Martin.
From there, we highly recommend an Anguilla ferry to get to Anguilla!
What if you are flying to Anguilla from North America? Catch a direct flight from your nearest major airport to Princess Juliana Airport in "St. Maarten" (the Dutch side). It's the best way to travel to Anguilla. Just 1 flight, and then 1 ferry over to Anguilla! Easy, done.
What about air travel directly to Anguilla? Anguilla's Clayton J. Lloyd airport is a different story. No 747s or other jumbos land here. Not even 737s (here's an entertaining story about how a 737 did manage to land in Anguilla and how a 747 almost did!)
Prop planes used to be the only means of air travel to Anguilla. Here's why...
You are looking at the entire airport. It's a picture-perfect, charming little Caribbean airport, the kind you see in movies. Friendly. Cozy. Even the customs agents are nice!
If you spend a while watching the comings and goings, you will notice that most flights to and from AXA are still prop planes. Exotic-sounding Caribbean airlines (such as LIAT) raise romantic images of Caribbean island hopping.
The American Eagle turboprop that you see above and below used to be the biggest plane that could land or take off from the short runway...
That changed in 2005 though when the airstrip was lengthened. To this day, though, the final leg of any flight to Anguilla is from another Caribbean island. (More Anguilla airport and travel updates below).
Air travel directly to Anguilla is generally through Puerto Rico, or the other major Caribbean hub, Antigua, or via smaller Caribbean airlines from smaller, nearby islands such as Saba.
American Eagle used to be the major airline in the area. Today, LIAT, WinAir, Cape and independent companies rule Anguilla air travel.
Air travel options...
In 2009, Anguilla started its own airline to offer tourists more flights from Puerto Rico. Cape Air later added more flights from San Juan. Many North American tourists choose to access Anguilla via this route, the last flight of which is via San Juan (an 80 minute flight).
Travellers coming from the UK often choose to fly through Antigua (the return flight through Antigua requires over-nighting, though), and then fly LIAT from Antigua to Anguilla.
Savvier visitors (American and European) choose to fly into St. Maarten (SXM), and then either take a boat across, or fly directly into Anguilla's airport (8 minutes). Accessing via SXM is the most cost efficient and time efficient way to travel via air.
Anguilla Air Services Landing in SXM
Next Stop? Back to Anguilla!
If you live in the northeast U.S. or in Montreal or Toronto, seasonal charters to St. Martin are popular. You won't find any charters into Anguilla, but do check for flights in your area to SXM. Charter flights often run at deep discount air fares.
Yes, it can be a hassle to get to Anguilla. It's also the "barrier" that keeps Anguilla so special. No "package tour" jumbos or "mass market beaches." No cruise ships, casinos, or fast-food chains.
In short, Anguilla is still a Caribbean island.
It's worth that little bit of extra bother when...
No matter how you do it, air travel to Anguilla is not a one-step process. Many Anguillians think they should have a major international airport and start flying in big jumbo jets.
But a major airport in Anguilla would spoil the island. Anguilla would lose all the little things that make it the special magical place that it is. My family and I were more than happy to take that extra flight to Anguilla (before we moved here).
In fact, St. Maarten's sparkling, major airport (SXM) serves Anguilla admirably well. It's as close to Anguilla as your own airport is to you. Read on... I'm about to show you how "Anguillaphiles" use SXM to save time and money, making Anguilla much closer and cheaper than you may realize.
1) The Best Way to Fly to Anguilla
Traveling to Anguilla? Don't fly into Anguilla directly (airport code AXA)! Here is the best way to fly to Anguilla...
2) How To Get To Anguilla, Fastest and Cheapest
Region-by-region detailed tips to get to Anguilla, including routes that can save your hundreds of dollars, several hours and even overnight stops.
3) 2010 Anguilla Airport Update
July 4 2010 marks a significant change in Anguilla airport history. The Anguilla airport has changed its official name. "Wallblake Airport" is no more.
4) Flights to Anguilla From St. Maarten: Climbing aboard Anguilla Air Services
Captain Carl Thomas and his airline, Anguilla Air Services, helped my Mom and Dad out of a tight spot. This flight from Anguilla to St. Maarten (and St. Maarten to Anguilla) has become their favorite way of air travel to Anguilla.
Anguilla Air Services depature times vary according to the season and day of the week. The earliest flight usually departs Anguilla at 10:30-11AM (morning flight) with second and third flights of the day at 12:30-12:45PM and around 2PM. Return flights from St. Maarten to Anguilla begin around 12:30PM with final flight around 5-5:30PM. Check their webpage for up-to-date information.
5) NEW: Winair now offers flights between St. Maarten and Anguilla!
Starting December 15th, 2013, Winair is offering flights to and from AXA-SXM. The first flight of the day leaves St. Maarten at 12:10PM, arriving in Anguilla 10 minutes later. A return flight to St. Maarten is at 12:30PM.
The second flight departs St. Maarten at 4PM, with the return from Anguilla to St. Maarten leaving at 4:20PM. The plane, a Havilland Twin Otter, is a 19 passenger short take-off and landing utility air craft. Full webpage on this service to follow. Call Winair for up-to-date flight schedules: 1 (866) 466 0410
6) Anguilla Airways, From San Juan Direct to the Anguilla Airport
Flying to Anguilla directly has always been a challenge. Montreal-JFK, JFK-San Juan, San Juan-Anguilla was always a long day. The trip became impossible once American Eagle started cutting their flights from San Juan to Anguilla. But now there is a new Anguilla airline that flies direct from San Juan three times a day. Sounds like a great options!
7) Cape Air Anguilla Flights From San Juan
Massachusetts airline, Cape Air, now offers two daily Anguilla flights to and from Puerto Rico.
8) Our Favorite Anguilla Flights: Anguilla Air Services
Anguilla Air Services is our favorite Anguilla airline. Captain Carl Thomas ensures your safety and security aboard his well maintained aircrafts. He flies to many different islands in the Caribbean, but our favorite Anguilla flight? The aerial tour of Anguilla! It's a must-do on every Anguilla vacation.
The Anguilla Ferry & Charters
After landing in Princess Juliana International Airport in SXM, take a cab to Marigot. Then catch the regularly scheduled, public Anguilla ferry. Or, book an Anguilla charter from St. Maarten's Dutch side, from the pier right near the airport.
1) Wallblake Anguilla Airport (AXA)
Before the big 2005 update, the Anguilla airport (Wallblake airport) was really just a teeny Caribbean airport. No 747s, or even 737s, allowed!
2) 2005 Anguilla Airport Update
Since I first wrote this page, the Anguilla airport (especially the runway) has received quite a makeover! Click here for the Anguilla Airport 2005 update, including new information about the fastest, cheapest and most relaxed way to get to Anguilla now. Anguilla airport's charming "teeniness" otherwise remains the same.