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St Thomas Trip Report

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St Thomas Trip Report

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Posts: 22
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April 2008

ST. Thomas Trip Review

The weather on St. Thomas was fantastic even though there has been a lot more rain then usual. That usually means one or more short rain showers & then nice warm sun most of the time. The last several days we were there the temperatures were 85+. That makes it perfect to be in the water or relaxing on one of the many beautiful white sandy beaches.

Last winter we spent in Mexico driving the entire Yucatan Peninsula visiting many Mayan ruins. This year we decided to return to the warm Caribbean for 60 days because there is so much to see & do in the Virgin Islands. This is our fifth time to visit St. Thomas. Last time we visited was four years ago & we stayed for a month.

Since we were staying two months we rented a condo that is located on the southeast side of the island next door to Bolongo Bay Beach Resort. From our deck the Caribbean Ocean was about 30-40 feet away so we have been continuously lulled by the sound of surf on the shore. Beautiful sunsets on the ocean have been a daily treat. Our large pool & deck hangs out over the ocean cliff with fantastic views of the near-by islands as well as the sunset.

The Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, a family run business, is next door. The staff there are very pleasant & helpful. They really go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. Their Lobster Grill Restaurant & poolside bar is a great place to hang out & they have free WIFI service poolside.

Their Iggie's Beach Bar & Grill is located on the beautiful Bolongo Bay Beach. Iggie's serve light food and features several different theme parties weekly. Bolongo Bay Resort’s beach is a very safe area to swim & snorkel. They have a beautiful catamaran (sail boat) that you can book day sails & sunset cruises. []

St. Thomas is only 13 miles long & 7 miles wide. Despite its small size there are many things to do & see. St. Thomas is one the largest ports in the world for cruise ships. Almost everyday we tried to plan something new & interesting to do. However our pace was “island style’ – as a result this was the most relaxing time away from home we have ever had.

We attended almost every Arts & Culture event possible during our two months stay and have been pleasantly surprised at the first class quality of entertainment. The 80 + persons in the Puerto Rico Sympathy gave a very professional performance with three guest performers at the Reichold Center for the Arts at the Virgin Islands University. []

We also had the privilege of seeing Chris Botte, a fantastic jazz trumpeter, in concert. He and his band were all incredible. At another venue we attended performances of the Copenhagen Chamber Ensemble, the AHN Trio, & Terre Hendrix. All the performances were first class concerts.

The Caribbean has many beautiful white sandy beaches all around the islands. St. Thomas’s Magen’s Bay Beach is rated one of the top 10 in the world. People from all over come here to enjoy the warm weather, beaches, diving, snorkeling, sailing & sun bathing in the Caribbean.

St. Thomas has a new marina for super mega yachts. There have been some very beautiful mega yachts docked there over the last two months. One evening we were invited to a “Captains Party” held on the dock next to Rising Sun. [] At 125+’ it is said to be the fifth largest yacht in the world. We were told that the yacht had two mini subs & two speed boats stationed on it. The party was to promote a local business “On Deck”.

Tourism – especially cruise ship business is the life blood of the Caribbean economy. On any given day there can be one to ten huge cruise ships docked in the harbor unleashing up to 12,000+ people into the downtown Charlotte Amallie shopping area and the various points of interest and popular beaches.

It doesn't take long to learn to not go to Charlotte Amallie certain times of the day. In fact it is best not to go at all when there are more than three ships in port. The ST. Thomas newspaper publishes the cruise schedule so the locals can plan their days accordingly. Of course all the businesses love it. []

We have gone out on several all day sail & snorkel sailing trips. Our preference is a day on Captain Pat’s 44’ yacht, “ Independence”. Sailing, snorkeling, a tasty fresh made lunch; plenty of drinks & personalized service are all part of the package. We really enjoy sailing the warm Caribbean waters & being pampered all the way by Captain Pat.

One day we went out on the Atlantis Submarine Tour that is equipped with windows on both sides. We did a one hour 90’ dive to the ocean floor where we saw beautiful coral reefs, lots of fish and other marine life as well as the remnants of a ship wreck. []

Renting a car on St. Thomas is not for the faint hearted by any means. If you plan to drive make sure you have proper car insurance before attempting this adventure. St. Thomas traffic can be a nightmare. First of all they drive on the left side of the road in American made cars with the steering wheel on the left as well. Defensive driving is the name of the game. The local taxi driver’s love playing chicken with you & you can be the looser.

The only good part is that the maximum speed limit is 35mph – we usually hovered at about 20-25mph as the roads are narrow and windy with many steep inclines and lots of potholes. Other hazards are the taxi's & others that stop on the road with no warning to solicit a fare or drop people off.

People with dark cloths walk along the road all the time. They can cross in front of you without much warning. All that said it is still great to get around the island at your own speed. But if cruise ships are in port steer clear of the downtown traffic gridlock – It tends get kind of real crazy downtown.

St. Thomas is a tax free port with over 300 jewelry stores & many other retail & souvenir shops to spend your money in. While on ST. Thomas we decided to spend several days on St. Croix & St. John Islands. We met a family member on St. Croix. They usually go there for a month or two every winter with a friend. They spent time with us and give us a personal tour of the enchanting island.

ST. Croix:
Christiansted is one of the major towns on St. Croix & it has a quaint historical downtown area. There is also a National Park with a fort dating back to the 1600’s. The weekend we were there Mocko Jumbie Dancers in mask, hats and madras plaid costumes on stilts paraded thru the downtown shopping area during the evening hours.

We did a day sail & snorkeling cruise to Buck Island. That is one of the best places on the island to dive & snorkel to see beautiful coral & fish of all kinds.

We learned that Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury was born on St Croix and lived there until his employer who recognized his brilliance sent him to William & Mary in Virginia to be educated. He never returned to the Islands and as they say the rest is history.

ST. John:
St John is a very interesting island to visit much relaxed and less commercial than St. Thomas with a lot of National Park area & beautiful white pristine beaches to enjoy. We spent a very relaxing day at The St. John Westin Resort & Villas. They have almost anything and everything you may need. Another day we spent walking a mile into one of the best places to snorkel on the entire island. We were rewarded with seeing turtles & sting rays.

All too soon our 60 days were over in the Virgin Islands. We had to accept the fact we had to return home. We were not ready to leave. Reality finally set in & we had go back home.

Thank you ST. Thomas !

The Spangler’s

Posted : November 5, 2008 7:19 pm
Posts: 564
Honorable Member

The Spanglers,

What a great trip report, thanks for sharing. Although I am able to travel often, I am not yet in the position to take off for several months until my 2 youngest children finish school. Please keep us posted as to your travels, you sound like such an interesting couple, it would have been nice to meet up when you were on the island.

I've wanted to drive the Panamerican Highway for some time now and after hearing about your travels on the Yucatan Peninsula I might need to dig through my travel books once again and see if I can talk my husband to take a road trip through Central America.

My husband and I are off to Italy for a week later this month and then will be back to our old stomping ground of STT in January.


Posted : November 6, 2008 2:57 pm
Posts: 563
Honorable Member

Traveling man, that is a great travel report. To have 60 days to spend here, is a real treat and you got to really dig in and enjoy all the U.S. Virgin Isles have to offer. You really did it up!

I am glad that you chose to do all that you did, especially as regards to culture and the arts.

Posted : November 6, 2008 4:06 pm
Posts: 1218
Noble Member

Thanks for sharing! Very informative to someone who may be considering on coming down!
I'm guessing you took some nice photos?
Gosh, Your last name sounds so familiar to me! Ya been here before?

Posted : November 9, 2008 8:33 am

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