One of our favorite things about Trip Advisor are the trip reports that people send in. We're late in posting our trip, but better late than never.
This trip was a wedding / honeymoon vacation for us. We're a couple of middle-aged beach lovers who wanted to have a small ceremony on the beach and an island honeymoon. It was just the two of us, no family because of budget limitations.
First we found a great condo thru VRBO at Sapphire Beach Resort (103-D). The condo owner also had a great add-on deal...for an additional $200 we would get a pickup truck to drive for the week and airport shuttle to and from the airport. Then we found Pastor Robert Nelson to marry us. He recommended Magens Beach for the ceremony.
Some earlier trip reports had suggested taking some food items in our suitcases because of the prices on the islands, so we packed some dry goods like sugar, coffee, cookies, muffin mix...etc. Great suggestion...it helped a lot on the grocery bill. Then we got some trip insurance since it was storm season...and we were ready to go........
We arrived late in the afternoon and our ride was there to pick us up as planned....Sam was our driver....a very friendly informative guy who has a couple of business ventures on the island. He dropped us at the condo and we were thrilled to look out our glass doors and see the beach, the pool area, and St Johns Island all at once. What a view!!! We then went straight to the Food Center and the Marina Market for supplies. Food Center's prices were better, as reported, but I liked the Marina Market too because they had an interesting selection.
Our wedding was on Magens Beach and it was a beautiful morning. The ceremony was short and tearful. We couldn't believe we were getting married in paradise. It was sunny so the water had that amazing light blue color to it and almost no one was there so we had the whole beach to ourselves. The photos came out great. We had a very good photographer.
That afternoon we went snorkeling at Sapphire Beach and saw some reef squid and lots of tropical fish. On the beach we visited with a couple of iguanas while relaxing with some beers from the cooler.
That night we went to Room with a View for a romantic wedding night dinner. The dinner was amazing....we both had Lobster Thermador with Filet Mignon and watched as the sun set over Charlotte Amalie....seeing all the lights in the harbor from above was fantasic. I knew it would be expensive there, but we went all out with wine and champagne and those wonderful desserts they serve. What a memorable night!
Over the next couple of days tropical storm Erica was breaking up over the islands so, not to be detered from having fun, we went shopping in Charlotte Amalie for a day as the rain came in and out. Finding parking was a bit of a challenge but once parked we were able to walk everywhere in town. We loved the Cades and Passages that run between the streets where we discovered lots of hidden cafes, bistros, fountains, bars, and endless shops...mostly jewelry shops as they are popular because of no sales tax. We had lunch in one of the little hidden cafes and later had some of those famous...or should I say infamous...Painkiller drinks. I can't remember anything after that..........just kidding, it's a very tasty drink with I think...Rum, Bailey's, Kahlua, etc.etc. who cares just give me another one.
We ate in the next couple of nights and would make Bloody Mary's and drink them by the pool at night watching the full moon across the water as it lit up St. John's Island....what a sight.
The next two days we took the car ferry over to St.John's and explored the National Park. We hiked to some ruins at the top of a peak (Peace Hill I think)...the view of the surrounding islands was breath taking. We also snorkeled Hawksnest Bay, Trunk Bay, and Cinnamon Bay over the two days. It was some of the best snorkeling I have ever seen. We liked Trunk Bay the best. We saw a sea turtle, a spotted moray eel, two stingrays, and lots of amazing tropical fish. The National Park is also home to about 400 wild burros....thats right.....island mules that you can occasionally see walking around in the woods while you're on the beach...very cool. We also saw some mongooses....an animal not native to St John but interesting none the less. Kind of a cross between a squirrel and a ferret with a long body I guess. Check out the Mongoose Junction on St John's too....it's a shopping and restaurant complex with a lot of atmosphere...we liked it. There are some art galleries there with art from the local artist community on St John's. Very imaginative stuff. And I had a great grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich at the Ocean Grill restaurant there.
The last day there we went on a day sail trip with Jester Day Sail and Capt. Jim. It was one of the highlights of our trip. Capt. Jim was a great host as he made sure we had everything we wanted to make it a fun comfortable trip. He had plenty of their famous Jester Juice which is a kind of cold creamy sweet rum drink thats very tasty and refreshing. We sailed from St Thomas to St John's Honeymoon Beach and anchored for an afternoon of snorkeling, lounging on floats, and eating a delicious grilled chicken lunch prepared by Capt. Jim. Then a lazy afternoon sail back to St Thomas. The other two couples on the trip were friendly and a lot of fun too. A perfect day.
Our last night we decided to go to the Mafolie Hotel for dinner. We were told the view from there was one of the best. It was a great chioce for a final honeymoon dinner. Excellent food in an open style cafe overlooking the harbor and to top it all off.....a full moon. It was hard to leave.
Based on our experience my travel tips would be:
-Take some food in your suitcase to offset your groc. bill.
- Use lots of sunscreen. We wore t shirts snorkeling and that helps alot.
- Eat in at least one place overlooking the harbor...the view is worth the price.
- Have a least one Painkiller.
- Drive yourself if you can afford the car rental....you'll like the independence.
Driving on the left wasn't too difficult after the first day or so....also finding your way around can be challenging at first but once you figure out the main roads it gets easier quickly. I found the people of the Virgin Islands to be friendly and interesting and I loved hearing their west indian accents.
Thank you to all the forum hosts and their helpful information. You helped make our trip fun and care free. Your efforts are appreciated.