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Posts: 44
Trusted Member
Topic starter

First I want to thank everyone for their opinion and help the last 6 months I have been asking questions on this board, it has helped tremendously and has been invaluable.!

We renting a timeshare at the Westin- I have see a lot of mixed reviews so hopefully everything will go okay as we have paid $2,300 for a studio. (love the kitchen and washer and dryer).

We have rented a jeep and are bringing our own snorkel gear and backpack beach chairs and are taking the itinerarys from "Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Drive" and doing a combo of the four wheel tours and snorkeling tours.

We don't like super expensive gormet places to eat. (I looked at the menus at Zo Zo's and Stone Terrace and it just doesn't seem like our thing. But so far our places to eat are:

Cafe Roma, Paradiso, Rhumblines, Panini Beach, The Lime Inn.

We are going to Miss Lucys for Sunday brunch and will do Uncle Joes Barbecue, Shipwreck Landing and Skinny Legs for Lunch.

The Two places we still have not decided on is:

The Buffet Feast at Caneel Bay on Monday for the all you can eat lobster (we have reservations but are still unsure if it is worth the $75 price tag. ) The lobster is not cold water lobster and is any buffet worth $75?
Morgans Mangos - because of the "mixed reviews"

We still also are undecided on any day trips. We do not want to take any organized snorkeling or siteseeing tours on another island but we were thinking of taking the day to sitesee at Tortola or St. Thomas. We just don't know if we should take the time away from St. John but then again feel like we should see another island since we do not know when we will go back.

If we do go to Tortola we would take the ferry, rent a car and see: Smugglers Cove, Cane Garden Bay, Brewers Bay, Skyworld, Sage Mountain National Park and Road Town.

If we spend the day on St. Thomas we would: go to Magens Bay, Coral World, Paradise Point Tramway, Mountain Top and Charlotte Amalie.

Please give me your opinions on St. Thomas/Tortola and the restaurant choices and anything else to add.

Thanks again!

Posted : January 15, 2007 7:49 am
Posts: 2026
Noble Member

Tortola is extremely beautiful - very lush. IMO, not below STJ at all. It is much larger, so the beauty is magnified. I don't mean to imply that Tortola is boring - just that I thought the tour was boring. I don't think it has as many beaches as STJ.

Virgin Gorda is a low, scrub island. The peak is green...but most of what you'll see is scrub with lots of boulders. It is interesting to see....but not what I consider beautiful. However, some of the beaches are really beautiful. Most people who visit for the day spend time at the Baths.

Posted : January 18, 2007 8:23 am
Posts: 44
Trusted Member
Topic starter


What is your opinion of seeing the things I mentioned in St. Thomas?

Posted : January 18, 2007 9:23 am
Posts: 1

About the St Thomas stuff - I'd skip going to Magens-its a huge beach but no snorkeling-if you want to just SEE it you can see it from Mountain Top. On your tour around the island, stop at Drake's Seat and the other overlook that looks over Charlotte Amalie harbor near Drake's Seat. I'd skip Coral World especially since you'll be on St John and will be snorkeling anyway?? Paradise Point is fun and has great Bushwackers! Charlotte Amalie & Havensight are great for shopping--Havensight & Al Cohen Mall (across from Havensight) I feel are the better shopping areas unless you're in the market to buy jewelry--then Charlotte Amalie. Paradise Point is real close to Havensight area. If you don't spend a huge amount of time at the overlooks, etc. you can see quite a bit in one day! Have fun!

Posted : January 18, 2007 8:56 pm
Posts: 44
Trusted Member
Topic starter

Judy K. Thanks I appreciate it! I copied and pasted your reply in my notes to go with me!

Posted : January 19, 2007 6:13 am
Posts: 117
Estimable Member

I’m not so sure I would describe Virgin Gorda as a “scrub island”.
While indeed not as lush as some parts of St. Thomas and St. John, I found the vegetation quite similar to the East End of St. John, and any lack of density in the vegetation is more than made up for with the fascinating and beautiful geological features the island is well known for as shown in these photos I took.

The air all around Guavaberry had a wonderful floral scent...

Posted : January 19, 2007 10:35 am
Posts: 44
Trusted Member
Topic starter


Posted : January 19, 2007 12:38 pm
Posts: 1


A few pictures are worth a thousand words. We're very interested in trying VG for our next Cartibbean trip and Guavaberry is where we'd like to stay. Would you please identify the other photos. Thanks.

Posted : January 19, 2007 12:48 pm
Posts: 108
Estimable Member


Those pics are pretty convincing. I have heard that Virgin Gorda has some great beaches. Your pics certainly verify that. May have to consider splitting the time on the next trip between STJ and Virgin Gorda. Thanks much.

Posted : January 19, 2007 1:57 pm
Posts: 117
Estimable Member

They and others should be identified on my flickr page.

Posted : January 19, 2007 1:57 pm
Posts: 117
Estimable Member

Also Lex
Here is an excerpt from a trip report I wrote after we returned form our April 06 trip...

Last April 24th was first time trip to Virgin Gorda for 5 days after 8 days on St. John. This turned out to be just a big tease as we really loved it and now need to go back and do some of the things we didn’t have time for. Stayed at Guavaberry - great great location and people running it are the best.

Upon arrival by ferry from St. John. John at Spanishtown, one of the deck hands helps me hump the luggage off the ferry and brings us up to the front of the long customs line. I make sure to thank and tip him accordingly. That goes pretty quickly and we go out to front of building where a nice young lady with a Mahogany Rentals polo shirt approaches me and asks am I Mr. JMQ? I reply yes and we fill out few minutes of paperwork on the hood of the Vitara including $10 for a temporary BVI drivers permit that is good for 6 months.

We had arranged the car rental through Guavaberry Spring Bay Vacation Homes where we will be staying for next 4 nights. Meanwhile the already overheated day trippers are being herded into a couple of those big “taxis” for the short ride down to the Baths.

We head down that way too in the Vitara as Guavaberry is very close to the Baths. Not much to Spanishtown besides a few shops, a restaurant, and a food market near the yacht harbor (my wife later gently accused me of purposely going to a place with virtually no shopping).

Walk into the new looking offices at Guavaberry and are again nicely greeted by name, this time by Tina who runs things there. We get some lunch suggestions from her as well as the low down on how things work there. Room isn’t ready yet so we drop luggage and pop down to the Baths to get an idea what that whole scene is all about.

Well on this day, its about the crowds from those cruise ships over in Tortola and the daytrippers from the ferry. We have the luxury of not having to deal with that scene in the heat of the late morning and just check out the lay of the land, the gift shop, Top of the Baths restaurant, and Mad Dogs bar.

Top of The Baths has outdoor dining, a pool to dip in, spectacular views, and a varied menu including local specialties. Mad Dog is next door and is a cool and breezy bar with cute West Indian architecture, and porch with comfy seating on all four sides, and a panoramic view. It serves great drinks as well as 4 or 5 different kinds of basic club type sandwiches for $5 or $6 each throughout the day. We’ll enjoy both without the crowds before trip is done.

Head back past Guavaberry and into “town” to peak around at the market and the fews shops at the Yacht Harbor for lunch at the Bath & Turtle which Tina had recommended.

It feels good to be out of the sun at this pleasant patio tavern. We enjoy jerk chicken wraps and an outstanding fish n chips that featured delicately fried grouper.

Back to Guavaberry to enjoy “their” beach (part of Spring Bay). Help yourself to their large comfy beach chairs kept in a shed at beach. The beaches that are walking distance from GB are stunning and but different from STJ with the rocks framing the beaches etc.

We really only considered the properties that Guavaberry manages because we wanted to be on that end of the island (for beaches, Baths, and restaurants) and all sources and other BVI centric forums only had good things to say about it.

And indeed, Tina and Valerie who run things there are unbelievably nice and incredibly competent. All island menus, daytrip stuff, etc. posted in office. Any questions quickly answered or she calls to help arrange anything, including confirming your flight reservations home. You even get a 10% discount on the rental car billed through GB.

We stayed in one of the 2 bedroom “vacation homes”. These are older hexagonal shaped cottage like units with big decks that are built up on stilts and nestled in among the boulders that dot the landscape on this end of the island. All 2 bedroom units are up from the office across the road, so its an 6-8 min walk or 2 min drive down to "their" beach. Cottage is a little rustic, and very basic, kitchen a little dated, with small bathrooms and even smaller showers, but very clean and very well kept. No A/C = only a concern rare times when trade winds aren’t blowing. Grounds are nicely landscaped and the air has the fragrance of flowers.

One of the best things about GB is the very well stocked commissary they have set up next to the office with prices equal to or better than local market in town. Write down what you take and it gets billed at check out. Commissary has everything from booze to breakfast to stuff to make on the grill. I believe that the nearby villas that Guavaberry also manage also have access to this commissary. We might look into one of those on return, depending on budget etc. but I tell ya, you cant beat the $190 night paid for the view from our deck.

After first night dinner at the Mine Shaft Café near the Coppermine ruins we take the flashlight down to near the GB office where Tina told us she thinks a Cereus cactus flower that only opens one night a year was about to bloom. Sure enough there it is – one of the prettiest flowers we have ever seen, with a wonderful vanilla scent to boot.

Eats: enjoyed Top of the Baths and Mine Shaft for good sunset dinners and Bath and Turtle for good lunches when we needed a break from the sun. Mad Dogs near Baths was great for drinks anytime and basic but good sandwiches at lunch. Fischers Cove nice location for breakfast. Friday night BBQ at Leverick Bay was excellent and well worth $25pp plus very good live band and Mocko Jumbie show. Got there early for best seats and cheaper drinks. Best upscale meal: Rock Café -excellent drinks and food including Caribbean lobster. Snorkel: Spring Bay (although distressing amount of coral bleaching here).

Flew back to San Juan from the Virgin Gorda dirt runway via Air Sunshine on a 10 seat Cessna with awesome views of JVD and St. John on the way.

Virgin Gorda definitely has a different vibe from St. John. More arid environment and way mellow and more friendly locals. Another striking difference is the amount of mainlanders running and working the businesses in STJ as more and more dollars pour into the exploding real estate scene there vs. the amount of locals happily participating in the economy in VG. I think the BVIs do a much better job at controlling development, protecting jobs, etc. and long term it may be less likely to result in friction (or worse) between locals, tourists, and US based business and property owners. I know that most folks could care less about socioeconomics of St. John – just get me to my villa. Just my $.02


Posted : January 19, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 238
Reputable Member


Your pics are amazing! You've just convinced me that for sure we are adding a few days in VG to our STJ trip. Now I just have to land or charter?!

Thanks for sharing!

Posted : January 20, 2007 9:58 am
Posts: 1

Agree that if you only have 5 full days, you will be busy checking out all of the beautiful beaches on St. John.

Don't forget to snorkel at Waterlemon Cay, if you don't mind a little swim out to the Cay. You will see gorgeous Starfish off the main sandy beach area that you come upon first. Also, the walk along the Leinster Bay Trail is really lovely.

If you really, really want to get off island & check out other islands while you are "in the neighborhood". Contact New Horizons II - they are based on St. Thomas. But, will pick up passengers on St. John.

They do an amazing powerboat trip that will take you to The Baths on Virgin Gorda, lunch on a cute little island called Marina Cay, snorkel off of Guana Island - then end up on White Bay on Jost Van Dyke for a great painkiller at Soggy Dollar Bar & gorgeous beach & water & "fun people watching"! - If you do go, walk down the beach & check out One Love Bar, as well!

This was the highlight of our "first" trip to "the ilons" before we fell in love with St. John.

But, again - at that time, we didn't know when or if we would ever return & wanted "like you" to check out some of the other highlights of the Virgin Islands. And this trip sure did fit a lot in a one day trip.


Posted : January 20, 2007 5:42 pm
(@Marcia D)
Posts: 1

Could someone give me some more information about the dinghy rental on St. John? I'll also be going in about 1 1/2 weeks (can't wait!), and that sounds like a lot of fun, maybe a good way to get to some difficult to access snorkeling spots? Thanks!

Posted : January 21, 2007 4:20 pm
Posts: 39
Eminent Member

Hi Marcia! I've seen three places mentioned. We are going in March, so I can't recommend any of them yet.

Noah's Little Arks -
Crabby's -
Calypso -

Have fun and if you use one of these folks, please report back. Your experience will help us on our trip.


Posted : January 21, 2007 5:54 pm
Posts: 1

Hi, I love all of your posts, leaving soon ourselves in a few days. What makes Miss Lucy's so good for brunch? We will be staying on St. Thomas and are thinking of going over there for brunch.

Also, any suggestions on watching the Superbowl on St. Thomas?


Posted : January 31, 2007 11:26 am
Posts: 147
Estimable Member

ill be at molly malones 🙂

Posted : January 31, 2007 12:22 pm
Posts: 455
Reputable Member

Miss Lucys
Well the food is out of this world every time I've been there. The drinks are great. Sitting on the beach under the sea grape trees with Jazz playing in the back ground and the view to die for what more could you ask for.

Posted : January 31, 2007 12:24 pm
Posts: 519
Honorable Member

Wife and I plan to be at Molly Malone's, as well! I'll be in the Colts hat!

Posted : January 31, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 2026
Noble Member

Ahhhh....yes, the Western end of the island is definitely more lush - just beautiful.

So much to see and do all over. I recommend a trip up to Gorda Peak, where you can climb upto one of the last remaining Caribbean dry forrests. Of course, you'll have to tear yourself away from the beaches to do this 😉

Thanks for the pictures jmq. Lovely, as always. I noticed that one of your pics is right on the homepage for the website for Guavaberry Spring Bay vacation homes. Nice going!! Guess everyone loves your photos!!

Keep em coming.

P.S. I just checked your flickr site and I think it is a great resource for people trying to decide about doing the Baths. Some forum members wrote of concerns about disabilities, etc. Some of your photos show the challenge areas in the Baths. There is one where you show a woman using the rope to maneuver one of the bouders - a very common area that is traversed to get to the other areas. She makes it look so easy! 🙂

Posted : January 31, 2007 11:15 pm
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