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...
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.
Note: If you leave Anguilla via the public Anguilla ferry, the cost of departure is $20. It is only $5 if you're traveling to St. Martin for a day trip, but if you are "permanently" leaving the island, it is $20.
St. Maarten/St. Martin is a Caribbean island that is half Dutch, half French. All international flights land at Princess Juliana Airport, on the island's dutch side (St. Maarten).
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. 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. If you are delayed, it waits. You also get to enjoy a Carib (or two) on the way over!
Anguilla Travel Tip: If you want to travel between Anguilla and St. Maarten via shuttle, traveling aboard Link will save you $20 round trip! Link charges $90 round trip. Other shuttles charge $110.
If you don't "go private," you are bound by their schedule. So you may have to wait for the next jet to arrive if they "group" two or more flights onto the same boat.
You can generally book charters for any time, but most charters do not run at night.
Anguilla's new "Sea Shuttle" is the last charter to St. Maarten. It leaves Anguilla at 9:30pm. The last boat from St. Maarten to Anguilla leaves at 10:30pm. Both of these two late night boats go through Anguilla's new ferry terminal in St. Maarten. You can see its approximate location on the map below...
This new 10:30pm 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 the new Sea Shuttle, you will be met at the airport and brought from the airport to the dock.
Note: If you're making your own way to the dock, please note that travelers who have done so have reported that when they first arrived at the terminal it was completely empty. Feeling a bit deserted, they weren't sure if the boats would arrive. The boats did arrive on time. So, do not worry if this happens to you. The scheduled boats will show up.
The Sea Shuttle doesn't just travel at night. Here is the Sea Shuttle's hours and prices...
From AXA to SXM
From SXM to AXA
The 7:15am shuttle to St. Maarten is extremely useful. Most of Anguilla's charters and the Anguilla ferry don't leave early enough to catch morning flights out of St. Maarten. We used to have to stay overnight in St. Maarten the night before in order to catch early morning flights, but now we can take the shuttle.
Also, the 7pm shuttle from St. Maarten to Anguilla is well-timed for those late afternoon JetBlue and Insel flights.
Getting to Anguilla from SXM is more convenient than ever! :-)
To book, get in touch with Funtime here: 264-497-6511/ 264-235-8106/264-235-7022
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!