As less experienced Anguilla travellers, we believed that flying direct to the Anguilla airport was the wisest way to get to Anguilla.
Somehow, Montreal-JFK, JFK-San Juan, San Juan-Anguilla was the most appealing route down.
We would roll out to the airport at 4:00 AM, only to touch down in AXA 18 hours later.
It was long, we thought, but it can always be worse, right?
Well, it could always be worse. And trust us, we did experience worse (ex., when massive snowfalls in Montreal or New York would push us back a day).
Sometime around 2005, we discovered the beauty of flying direct to St. Maarten's Princess Juliana Airport! No connections. No snowfalls at those connections. And no Homeland Security. It was bliss!
Our day still started at 4:00 AM, but we were in Anguilla by 2:00 PM. Time for the beach!
We worried, though. Would the ferries from St. Maarten "be there?" In fact, they're reliable and you have two choices...
And it's not just one company that runs the ferries and charters, as you can see...
Blowing Point Terminal, Anguilla
Finally, if you prefer, you can also "hop" over to Anguilla from St. Maarten on a quick 8 minute flight aboard Anguilla Air Services.
Here are the two ways to travel by boat from St. Maarten (Dutch side)/St. Martin (French side) to Anguilla...
Note: St. Maarten/St. Martin is half Dutch, half French. The Princess Juliana International Airport is located on the Dutch side, with Anguilla's private dock being a 1 minute drive away. The public ferry to Anguilla (which leaves from Marigot) is on the French side of the island, a 10 minute drive away from Princess Juliana International Airport.
The ferry to Anguilla is located on the French side of St. Martin in the port of Marigot. The advantage of taking the ferry is the reduced cost: $5 departure tax + $15 for the ferry.
Taxes vary when leaving Anguilla, depending on if you are coming back that same day and if you are going to the French or Dutch side of the island.
As of 2014, here are the costs...
You will have to catch a cab from Princess Juliana Airport to Marigot to catch the Anguilla ferry. This taxi ride costs $18 for 2 people.
From Marigot, the ferry to Anguilla departs every 30-45 minutes. It is very reliable and only a short ride (20 minutes) across the channel.
Ferry To Anguilla Schedule
Ferry To St. Martin Schedule
We call this our "Anguilla taxi." There are many Anguilla charters from St. Maarten (dutch side) to Anguilla...
While the ferry from Marigot is public and runs on a pre-set schedule, charters from St. Maarten must be pre-booked. There are two choices...
1) You can book the entire boat for yourself, but it's expensive ($400+). The advantage is that you "own" the boat. The time is set exactly to when you want it. You also get to enjoy a Carib (or two) on the way over! If you don't "go private," you are bound by the boat's set schedule (see option 2).
2) You can call the boat operators (above) and find out their schedules. While these boats offer private charters, they also offer semi-private scheduled charters that leave at a set time. The price is much more affordable (~$50-65 per person). The only drawback to this option is, depending other passengers on your semi-private charter, you may have to wait for their flight to arrive if they're delayed.
In both cases listed above, your boat operator will meet you inside Princess Juliana Airport (right where you step out of Arrivals) and bring you via taxi to the pier.
You can generally book charters for any time, but most charters do not run at night.
Anguilla now has a boat that departs St. Maarten at 10pm (you MUST book in advance). It leaves through Anguilla's new ferry terminal in St. Maarten just 2 minutes from Princess Juliana Airport. You can see its approximate location on the map below...
This new 10pm boat is perfect for travelers arriving on the American flight out of Miami that lands at 9:55pm. If you're on that flight and book this night boat, you will be met at the airport and brought from the airport to the dock.
You MUST book in advance! If you are arriving later than 9:55pm and won't make the 10pm, call the boat operator (Funtime). They can arrange later boats as well.
The cost is $95 per person. To book, call 264-497-6511
If you have an early morning flight out of Princess Juliana Airport (SXM) and need to leave Anguilla early, your best bet is to either hire a private charter or jump on one of the semi-private charters (~$80-90 - prices are higher for early morning semi-private charters) that head over through Anguilla's new pier on the Dutch side of St. Maarten...
Which boats go over in the early morning?
We often fly to St. Maarten without booking. When we arrive, we look for one of the boat reps and ask how soon they leave for Anguilla. If we don't see one (or if no boat leaves for an hour or more), we catch a cab to Marigot for the public ferry.
For those who like a "sure thing," call one of the companies above and book ahead. Be sure you understand where they'll meet you at the St. Maarten airport.
Finally, some hotels will arrange your boat from the airport. Check with them first when reserving your hotel room.
In the past we always traveled on and recommended Funtime. However, since their prices increased and customer reviews started slipping, we tend to use Link when we pre-book.
The process to SXM is the same as from it... Book ahead.
Mom & Kay
Franklyn Connor owns the Link boats and operates an efficient business! His boats are clean and comfortable and his staff is most accommodating and helpful.
He owns three boats...
The Link Cat...
And, yes... Another Link.
We took "The Link" from Blowing Point, headed for Princess Juliana.
The price to the Dutch side is almost half of Funtime's, only $90/person round trip, $55 one way.
This is the same boat Yuki took to school in St. Maarten everyday (during her last year in high school). We knew they would be reliable and safe, too!
Somedays Yuki and her schoolmates got off the boat looking pretty green, but that was only on particularly stormy, rough-sea afternoons. The Link is large enough to deliver a smooth ride to St. Maarten's Dutch side.
Right on time, we were called to the dock...
Dad Boarding The Link
Inside, the Link is cushy and comfy.
The sheltered sides inside are lined with a comfortable bench, but my favorite spot is the bench at the back of the boat!
It's more exposed, letting the salt air weave through your hair while you bask in the sun.
The Link slowed to a halt outside...
The Police Station in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
They checked us in at the police station in Simpson Bay, and cleared us for entry into the Dutch side of the island. Our luggage was also taken care of. And from there?
That's as far as they go. They made sure we were well taken care of, safely putting us on the taxi straight to Princess Juliana Airport, only 3 minutes away.
It was all smooth sailing!
Coming home to Anguilla was just as easy... Upon exiting the airport, a kind man was waiting to bring us back to Simpson Bay's police station. Sylvester and Darren from The Link were there to take us home!
You can reach the people at The Link here: 264-497-2231, or 264-497-3290.
Third party reports confirm our own experience. The Link runs on time, as promised, and doesn't make you wait until the next jet from wherever gets in so that they can maximize the number of people on the boat.
This Anguilla ferry taxis you to and from the Dutch side of St. Maarten with maximum efficiency and minimal cost. Highly recommended.
Gotcha! Caribbean Charters
Garfield offers an excellent Anguilla boat tour service. You can do a Caribbean charter to any Anguilla off-island, to St. Barts, and St. Maarten. They do not offer a scheduled water taxi service to and from St. Maarten's airport, but you can arrange for a private charter.
Sea Grape: Anguilla Boat Tours
Shaun Webster and his late brother Jeff Webster, were our two favorite Captains on Anguilla! We had a wonderful, entire, 'round the island boat tour trip with the brothers. They also used to run an Anguilla (water) taxi service. Sea Grape is now out of the water, but we hope to see Shaun back in the sea soon!
Chocolat Sail Boat Tours
Jacquie Ruan and her husband Rollins run this tasty catamaran ride! It is a must try on any (and every) Anguilla vacation.
Chris Cutler runs Funtime Charters. They really saved Yuki and my Dad one year during their lost passport fiasco. Oh, Dad!
Perks of Riding The Anguilla Ferry
The Anguilla ferry generally inspires sad thoughts of going home, leaving Anguilla, more traveling, flights, connections... But not when you take it for a day trip in St. Martin!