Update 2018: St. Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport suffered critical damage from Hurricane Irma. Air travel via SXM has been impacted greatly. For the most affordable and convenient way to get to Anguilla today, be sure to check flight routes via SXM (St. Maarten), SJU (San Juan) and also Antigua (Trans Anguilla flies daily to/from Antigua/Anguilla).
When flying to Anguilla, 3 little letters can save you hundreds of dollars and many hours. "SXM" is St. Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport. Think of it as Anguilla's airport because it's as easy to get to as reaching JFK from Manhattan! Think...
... use our Cheapest Flight-to-Anguilla Finder! This tool shows your exact route to both SXM (St. Maarten) and AXA (Anguilla), highlighting the quickest and most affordable travel option.
Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten
Since writing this travel tip in "The Way to Fly to Anguilla," several happy vacationers have thanked us for hours and dollars saved. Many have asked for details. The two most common questions?...
This page answers the first question. Whether you're searching for the best way to fly to Anguilla from Amsterdam (The Netherlands) or Amsterdam (New York), this page shows you how to get here fastest and cheapest. Usually, that's going to be...
The answer to the second question is easy. Here is how to catch a boat from St. Maarten/St. Martin to Anguilla. That's easier now, too. Anguilla has a new pier located just a couple of minutes from SXM airport. The new pier runs a late night ferry that leaves at 11:30pm (MUST book ahead. Call Funtime 264-497-6511 to book). NOTE: As of December 6th, this service has been temporarily suspended. We will update this information when the service resumes.
Anguilla's Pier in St. Maarten
Currently Finishing Construction
So don't worry about "missing the boat."
Most regular visitors to Anguilla eventually figure out "the SXM secret." Until then, they or their travel agents make the mistake of entering "AXA" when searching for a flight to Anguilla.
As a result, they end up flying through either Antigua (VC Bird Airport - ANU) or Puerto Rico (Luis Munoz Marin - SJU). And that usually ends up costing a lot more in time and money, sometimes even requiring an overnight stay!
So, if you're considering your first vacation to Anguilla, here's the "secret"...
Think of SXM as your destination. If you do not in a city with a non-stop flight to it, get to one that is. You'll likely still end up ahead.
Remember, SXM is just an hour or so from Anguilla. For many, that's the same distance from "home" to your major interntional airport. Bottom line...
Enter "SXM" when searching for a flight to Anguilla. Sure, compare that with flights to and from "AXA." Odds are, though, that you're going to be pleasantly surprised!
Let's find your best way to fly to Anguilla. Regardless of where you are starting from, start by finding a city with a non-stop to SXM. Ready? Where are you starting from?...
Schedule of Arrivals at Maho Beach
Listed in travel and aviation magazines time and time again, SXM has one of the most exciting landing strips in the world.
It's famous for its extremely low landings.
Planes tuck in tight to Maho Beach, a mere 50 yards (45 meters) above the sand, before touching down on the runway just behind the beach.
The sight is both nail-biting and funny, as sun-bathers on the beach scatter for cover from the sand-blasting!
Many congregate at Sunset Bar. It displays all arrivals on a board - an actual surf board! Maho Beach is the place to watch landings and "experience" the jet blast of take-offs...
There's nothing like standing behind a 747 revving up!
Those jet blasts are powerful. Some hang onto the fence (not allowed) to be blown horizontal by 747 takeoffs.
Play it safe by the bar, though. Keep your sunglasses on, your rum punch in your hand, and hold onto your hat!
New York, Charlotte and Miami have non-stop, daily flights to St. Maarten. Flights are with JetBlue, US Airways and American Airlines, respectively.
|New York (JFK)||Daily|
If you don't live in or within an easy drive of one of those cities, plan your route (rail or air) through one of them. For example, Chicago connects well through Miami, Detroit connects well through Charlotte. Compare that with flying through Puerto Rico to AXA...
You will be in Anguilla sooner (by late afternoon), and with more enough money left in your pocket for an extra 5-star meal or two!
US Airways Landing at Princess Juliana Airport
Miami Flights to Anguilla: Miami has two flights, morning and evening. The night flight won't get you into SXM in time to catch one of the public ferries. It is best to catch the earlier flight, if possible.
Low-cost charter flights depart weekly from the two major cities on the East coast (Toronto and Montreal). They fly direct into SXM and get you onto the beach in Anguilla by late afternoon.
WestJet and Air Transat are the two airlines that fly out of Toronto and Montreal. The latter only flies seasonally.
We have flown the charter flight from Montreal to SXM direct many times, saving hundreds of dollars and 4 hours. Friends from Toronto report the same experience.
These charter flights are extremely efficient. They are also more "bad weather resistant." Due to their "must-do" weekly turnarounds, they are the last to be cancelled during snowstorms.
Coming from the West Coast? Connect in Toronto. Compare that with connecting through Dallas/Forth Worth and Miami (see US table above).
Coming from Canada's Atlantic provinces? Fly to Montreal, or New York (see US table above).
Note: The flights listed above get you into SXM well before the last boat to Anguilla at 7PM.
Air France flies daily into St. Martin from Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG). Other airlines, such as Air Caraibes offer weekly flights during high season, generally flying out of Paris' Orly Airport (ORY).
Air France's Daily Jumbo Jet Landing at Princess Juliana Airport
KLM flies direct into St. Maarten from Amsterdam weekly from Schiphol Airport (AMS).
On occasion, larger European charters (flying out of Spain, Italy, etc.) will have direct flights to SXM.
If you are traveling from other cities in Europe, consider connecting through Paris and Amsterdam. In some cases, rail to those cities may connect more efficiently. For example...
Traveling from the UK? Consider flying from London to Paris on Air France, then non-stop to SXM (same airline). Many experienced, Anguilla-loving UK travelers choose this option to avoid the more time-consuming route through Antigua.
If flying London-Paris isn't an option, investigate flying to Amsterdam to catch either KLM's direct flight to SXM or KLM's flight to Curaçao (CUR), and then a connecting flight from CUR to SXM.
Note: Flights listed in the table above get you into SXM well before the last boat to Anguilla at 7PM.
|Trinidad (POS), Dominican Republic (SDQ), Barbados (BGI)||Varies|
Depending on your point of origin, one of the above will be your first stop, en route from there, non-stop to SXM. An overnight stay is inevitable, unfortunately. For example...
Many US cities have cheap, direct flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU). From there, you fly directly to Anguilla. This is the "default" search mode for many first-time visitors, even travel agents. And while it is the intuitive choice, it's often not the best.
That said, it may make sense for many points of US origin. Our suggestion?...
Price it both ways. Puerto Rico might turn out to be your best "pre-Anguilla" option....
Three airlines fly from San Juan to Anguilla...
Sounds perfect, right? It is a good option, but...
When in doubt, price it both ways. Just knowing that SXM is an option, perhaps the option, may end up saving you hundreds of dollars and several hours, as it did for us.
If you are coming from the UK, London's Gatwick will likely be your departure airport. British Airways and Virgin fly direct into Antigua.
From Antigua there is a layover (2 hours+), and then a short flight (40 minutes) aboard LIAT direct to Anguilla. For such a short flight, it's not cheap (approximately $140 one-way). The connection is quite tight on some days (when they depart Anguilla late) and leaves a long layover on other days (when they depart Anguilla earlier). Check with LIAT for the most up to date schedule. Either way, the most convenient option is generally to fly via Paris into SXM.
Update 2017: LIAT has suspended their service from Antigua to Anguilla, but Caribbean Helicopters now offers this service. Check their website for schedule and rates. OR fly LIAT from Antigua to St. Maarten. From St. Maarten, Anguilla is just a 20 minute boat ride or an 8 minute flight. The former has become one of the most popular ways to travel to Anguilla from the UK (Gatwick - Antigua, Antigua - St. Maarten, St. Maarten boat to Anguilla).
Getting to Anguilla doesn't have to be the time-consuming and expensive ordeal that many find when planning a route to AXA.
Go via SXM. There are just two steps...
We'll see you on the beach in Anguilla in time for an afternoon rum punch!