What could be more romantic this Valentine’s day than whisking off for a tropical vacation in the West Indies with your sweetheart?
The calming sound of gentle waves rolling onto white sandy beaches, the cool ocean breeze in your hair, the shimmer of a Caribbean moonscape aaaaand this year Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday, so it’s the perfect excuse to spend a long weekend on island time… Just the two of you 😍
So, where to go? Well, this week I’m taking you back to 2008 when my hubs Justin and I whisked ourselves off to Anguilla one day to get married… again!!
Say what?! Justin and I had been living in St Maarten for several years after sailing there from his home country of South Africa, but when I was hired to manage a chain of island gift stores I needed a new work VISA. After finding that the VISA department would not recognize our South African marriage, we decided that renewing our vow in Anguilla would be the easiest way to solve our documentation issues! So, we dropped our daughter Maya off to school for the day, drove to Marigot, on the French side of St Maarten, and caught the ferry across to Anguilla. We had an appointment at the courthouse to get married at lunchtime and had arranged for a friend to come down and witness. This friend was an expat who lived in St Maarten but worked in an Anguillan office. Thankfully, he brought an Anguillan lady with him to be the bride’s witness, as by Anguillan law you need a witness for both parties… I wore a white linen suit with a flower on my ear, and Justin wore his best pair of board shorts and flip flops 😆 We didn’t take a single photo that day… But nonetheless, the words were heartfelt and the memory lives on in our hearts.
The marriage certificate we received that day still lives in a frame in our home in Australia… Here it is for you all to have a giggle about!
In the early part of our travels together Justin and I had this joke that every time he filled out a form he would always put a different occupation. Our marriage cert from Anguilla says “sailor”, which is quite funny but very appropriate for that time of our lives. Another one he used once was “Adventurer”. Also funny to note that we are “Bachelor” and “Spinster”!! We always got a laugh out of it!
After picking up Maya from school and returning home from our Wedding day, we were greeted by the most beautiful bouquet of tropical flowers from our friend Lydia. If you have ever lived away from family, you would know how incredibly impactful it is on your life to have friends who become family. Lydia and her late husband Rein were like that to us and I remain close with Lydia to this day. These flowers were the one photo we took on that day and I wish so much I had more to share with you all.
OK now, before all you lovebirds get any spontaneous ideas… After a quick google search, it seems that Anguilla now enforces slightly stricter laws surrounding getting married on island, including a 48-hour Anguillan residence period prior to being wed. So, if you are thinking about goin’ to the chapel make sure you plan ahead!!
~ Saint Gerard's Catholic Church, Anguilla.
Anywaysssss, let’s get back to what this blog is supposed to be about, shall we? On this February 14th, skip the packed restaurants and set menus and instead head for sunny beaches and days spent lounging around with a cocktail or three! Here’s my top 5 spots for your most romantic Valentine’s stays in the West Indies:
Nested in the Eastern Caribbean, the beautiful island of Anguilla is one of the most northern island of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and directly north of Saint Martin/ Sint Maarten and St Barthelmy. Anguilla is an eel-shaped island, hence its name (Spanish for eel) given centuries ago by Spanish explorers. Being tucked away in the majestic Caribbean sea, helps to protect Anguilla’s character and exclusivity while offering travelers convenience in getting here by air or by sea.
Check out this adorable video about ANGUILLA.
When you are staying on island, be sure to stop by our favourite Anguillan boutique: IRIE LIFE in South Hill and Sandy Ground Village. Did you know that the word Irie (EYE red) originates from Jamaica and is the ultimate positive, powerful, pleasing, good vibes greeting for Rastafarians? Say goodbye to HELLO! I think IRIE definitely needs to be added to our island girl vocab.
Antigua & Barbuda is now one of the most in-demand West Indies destinations for all-inclusive romantic vacations. Adored by honeymooners and couples who love deserted white-sand beaches and tranquil, turquoise water to swim, snorkel, scuba or play.
On your next trip to Antigua, be sure to check out our island friends at Island Beach Bums, in the heart of St. Johns:
On an island with 365 beaches and summer year round, it’s hard not to be a bit of a beach bum! So in the spring of 2016, Island Beach Bums was created to reflect the relaxed ‘beach bum lifestyle’ here in Antigua.
For couples who want to experience a little bit of everything the West Indies has to offer as well as be pampered, look no further than St. Lucia! This island is a total slice of lush island paradise with spectacular volcanic peaks, an abundance of underwater wonders and some of the most beautiful white sand beaches that I have ever seen. If you are looking for true luxury, you MUST check out the Jade Mountain Resort. With incredible views of the famous Pitons, luxury canopy beds, private hot tubs, spa treatments galore aaaaaaand a delicious food and drink menu you’ll truly be able to kick back and get your zen on together for a Valentine’s you’ll never forget!
I hope this inspires you to plan something extra special this Valentine’s or Galentine’s!! Whatever your plans, there are so many wonderful islands dotted around the West Indies that are sure to make for an unforgettable adventure… Now, let’s grab our passports and go!! Just kidding, we need to pack our bags first… And you KNOW I’ve got something to add this week 😉 I can’t wait to share my latest print inspired by one of the most tantalizing things about the West Indies: The stunning Ocean Floor.