I hope your week is off to a great start so far! We arrived back home yesterday morning around 3 am after a very long delay in Atlanta. I wanted to share a few things from the trip just in case you ever venture down to the Virgin Islands! Here are a few things I would have found helpful before our trip and also just a few of my favorites:
We stayed at this Airbnb on the island and although it wasn’t much for amenities or luxury, it had the most stunning view of Magen’s Bay. The shower was outside and I actually loved being able to watch the sunset and have a view of the bay while also shampooing my hair.
We rented a car from this car rental place conveniently located close to the airport and they were friendly, accommodating, and didn’t try to up-charge us. Renting a car is absolutely crucial since the island is not pedestrian-friendly (there are no sidewalks on the roads).
The roads are narrow, hilly, have no shoulder, little signage, blind turns, ample potholes, and are incredibly treacherous. If you miss your turn, unfortunately you have no way of turning around and have to take about a 15 min detour to get back to where you need to go. Google Maps was incredibly helpful but check to make sure you have cell service on the island. I have Verizon as my cell provider and I had no service. Tom had AT&T and he had great service everywhere! Thank God.
We took the ferry out to St. John which was only $14 round trip. Once we were there, we took a quick taxi ride out to Honeymoon Beach which was highly recommended. It’s a bit secluded, not busy, and had great snorkeling with beautiful coral and tropical fish.
We loved dropping in at CrossFit St. Thomas for a Saturday workout! A wonderful community of people (of course!), great coaching, fun environment, and a sweaty workout. We loved the outdoor space they had too!
After our workout, we headed down the road a bit to Lanai restaurant which was recommended to us by a friendly guy at CrossFit. The breakfast was so delicious and the kale smoothie was incredibly refreshing. Afterwards, we walked over to the beach and spent time swimming and relaxing under some palm trees.
We loved this little coffee shop just down the road from our airbnb and I got their superfood smoothie twice!
The main industry on the island is hospitality and little farming takes place here. So most food is shipped or flown in which makes the price of food double, and sometimes triple the cost of what it would be back at home. We tried to stay frugal most of the time by eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches for breakfast and grabbing salads from the salad bar at the grocery store. But, food was by far our biggest expense. Almost every day I was continually surprised by how expensive everything was which was tough to not let this get to you. For example, the St Thomas airport has no water fountains available. None. I asked for some tap water at the food court and I was refused. I was told to buy bottled water. This is just a small example of how you can be nickel and dimed unfortunately.
We loved swimming in Magen’s Bay which was located just down the windy, steep roads from where we were staying. However, it is $5 per person to enter the beach and another $2 to park. The bay is gorgeous though and we got to swim with a couple sea turtles too.
Also, we didn’t always have the friendliest encounters with the locals. However, we learned very quickly that greeting everyone with either a “good morning/good afternoon/good evening” will get you a much nicer and helpful response!
With all of this being said, the weather was fantastic with abundant sunshine and mid 80 degrees every day. I loved waking up to the view of the bay and deciding which beach we wanted to explore that day. We lived in our swimsuits and I never touched makeup. The beaches were calm, with white sand, and the water was the perfect temperature. It was easy island living for a few days and the change of environment was much-needed.
Now it’s back to Madison but I have come home with a new-found appreciation for our high-quality, cheap (!) food, straight and wide roads, a kitchen to cook in, and the convenience of every day living.
Hope you have a great rest of the week!