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Planning our first trip to STT

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Planning our first trip to STT

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Posts: 4
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My family and I will be making our first trip to the the VIs and STT this summer. We will be staying at the Watergate Villas East at Bolongo Bay from June 27th to July 7th.. My husband and I and our two sons, ages 20 and 17, cannot wait to arrive. We haven't been on a "real" family vacation in about 10 years, so we all want this one to be very memorable and enjoyable. Our oldest son is in college and the other is going to be entering his Senior year of high school and getting ready to go to college, so--we do have a somewhat limited budget--enought to be able to enjoy our visit and do some things, but not so much that we can spend extravagantly every day. I have been searching the web for things to do, best restaurants, beaches, "must sees", etc. This board seems like a great place for information and I've read a lot of it. I decided to join the board so I could post my specific questions in hopes you will share your experience and advice with me. I will be happy to contribute and share once we return.

I'm especially interested in "budget friendly" restaurants and places that have good bars...we're not picky eaters so any kind of food is okay. I'd also like to know what the best drinks are on the island (frozen mixed drinks/margaritas are usually what I go with my husband likes beer as well as frozen drinks) We'd probably like to do an all-you-can-eat meal at least once. I've read about Iggy's and Mims which are very near our condo and also Fergie's but I don't remember reading exactly where it's located. We tend to like the more laid back casual atmosphere-nothing too upscale.

I've read that some people bring frozen meats, fruits and veggies with them on the airplane--I didn't realize you could do that...I'm not a frequent air traveler--it's been 22 years since my first and only flight. My husband and my youngest son have never flown.
I've also considered stocking the condo after we arrive with breakfast foods, snacks, beverages and items for a few evening meals we could cook at the condo--is outdoor grilling allowed--like on the decks or porches of the condos?

These are some of the places we plan on visiting and things we're considering doing:

Coral World and Coki Beach--can we do this in a day or would it be better to make it two days?

St. John's for the 4th of July--stay for the fireworks or watch back at STT?

Shopping in SA--best places??

Visit Mountain Top and try the famous banana daquiri


Magen's Bay --as far as beaches go, my husband and I want to visit the ones with the clearest water, whitest sand, and those that are the least crowded...but I bet you can guess where the boys will want to be!

Is Frenchtown worth a visit? If so where should we go?

We're not planning on renting a car...I've heard driving is dangerous and the rental cars are in terrible shape??? That seems to be what some of you have experienced, but I'm open for suggestions. We'll definitely need a way to get around the island.

Is bringing a laptop a good idea if we'd like to or would you definitely advise leaving it at home?

Will we have cell phone service? If so, our cell phone service is through AT&T. Should I contact them before we travel to check on rates/coverage, etc?

Oh...any advice on items to pack (or in my case what NOT to pack) that we might not think of--will we need a light jacket? I have a tendency to overpack when it comes to clothes and shoes so I'm really going to attempt NOT to do that on this trip--I only want to bring what is absolutely necessary as far as those items are concerned.

Our trip will be 10 days, so I'm hoping to have a combination of laid back days and fully planned days, so if someone could just plan our itinerary and budget---I'd be a happy girl 🙂

I know I've asked a lot of questions, but again, your advice seems worth taking so thanks for whatever you will share with me.


Posted : May 6, 2009 2:27 am
Posts: 2023
Noble Member

Off the Hook closed last week. No word on the space.

If you go on a day trip to the BVI, leave your cell phone behind. You can get an AT&T international plan, but I think it would be cost prohibitive for the day. Otherwise BVI Boatphone will charge you an arm and a leg.

Posted : May 10, 2009 7:12 am
Posts: 319
Reputable Member

I've been pricing car rentals for our trip in Nov., the best I've found to date is Dependable at $531 for 14 days.

I agree with "gobucs", kind of outline what you'd like to do while on STT then, let the day be your guide. Don't try to stick to an agenda you'll miss to many of the finer points of STT. Relax, Slow down, Enjoy 🙂

Posted : May 10, 2009 9:59 am
Posts: 7
Active Member

One more in agreement about the car. Taxi's are $7-$15 per person, per direction. Which means just to go to the beach from downtown for a family of 4, you could drop $100. There are safari busses that can take you around, but your routes and times are limited. The island is too large to walk, and I agree, the cars are nice, and completely safe to drive!!! You'll be able to see and do so much more with a car. You'd be remiss without one.

Most cell phones - including ATT - work when you're down here. Just be careful you're not roaming.

A few cheap places to eat:
Galleon House for breakfast ($7 per person for a decent little breakfast! Call the day before you go though.)
Green House
Shipwreck for a burger (you can feed 2 people with them!)

Red Hook:
Island Time Pub for pizza, calzones and great drink prices

St John
Beach bar for drinks and food, plus there's a pizza place right next to it and it's just $3 a slice

What to pack:
Sunscreen, bug spray, bathing suits, shorts and flip-flops. You won't need anything else - or wear it. Locals down here don't really wear jewelry, much make-up or anything too fancy as far as day to day. If you want to look like a local, bring a couple of old t-shirts, a pair of shorts and go barefoot! 🙂

As far as bringing food, they money you save may not really be worth the effort. There are a few places here you can get food in bulk and save money like Plaza Extra, Cost-U-Less, K-Mart, etc. If your place has a fridge and a grill - you'll be all set!! As for drinks, I usually start out by bringing my own (you can walk around with them here, though it screams tourist....) and it saves a few bucks. I also bring my own to the beach. Beaches usually charge quite a bit for food and drinks. Lots of happy hour places here - Green House has 2 for 1.

Sure, bring your laptop, but if you don't need it, I'd recommend leaving it. Just one more thing to carry and deal with.

My favorite thing to to on the islands? Sundays are pretty boring on STT, so that's when I head to STJ. Hit the beach for the day, then head to the Beach Bar at 4pm to listen/watch jazz on the beach. It ends around 7:30 so you can take the 8:00 ferry back to STT. We did a day sail with a boat called Oh Be Joyful Sailing where we went sailing/snorkeling for the afternoon, then to STJ for the jazz, and sailed home at night. That was really cool - but may be out of your budget!

Hope it all helps, have a great time!!!

Posted : May 11, 2009 12:49 pm
Posts: 50
Trusted Member

My daughter use to have Verizon Wireless and it never worked down there..............most recent trip for her was last year '08.

Posted : May 12, 2009 6:44 pm
Posts: 41
Trusted Member

We were on STT in April 09. Both hubby and I have Verizon and the only place we could get a signal was in the Red Hook Sapphire Beach area.

Good Luck!


Posted : May 12, 2009 6:49 pm
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