Pop, and cheers all around. The first bottle of champaign spills bubbles onto the white deck. Laughter and chatter can be heard over the hum of the charter’s engine. The sea captain smiles as the group of merry toast to the day. Who knew ocean spray and champagne paired together so nicely. The sea had never looked so blue, and rocky islands and sandy shores specked the otherwise perfectly still waters in the distance. It was charter day.
Welcome to the travel blog recap of the Virgin Islands. A trip made during the peak traveling time (and by that I mean 1 week exactly prior to “in-season”). The early start to vacationing gave us the tropical world to explore on our own, with little traffic from other tourists in the area. We spend the week just off shore, sharing a private villa in St. Thomas with our group of 8 close friends. A choice I would strongly recommend over the confines of the average resort. The extra space and clear view of the islands from our the infinity pool gave us a place to call our own during our stay.
Activities Not to Miss
A private charter tour of the local islands tops the list. We chose Aqua Blue Charters, and with our entertaining captain Scotty on deck, this was by far our favorite adventure of the trip. The ship was beautiful, and had a great indoor lounge (not that we spent any time indoors). We made the stop to Willy T’s for lunch – a sunken ship themed pub with great seafood, a good crowd, and a jump-spot where girls are supposed to go topless.
The catch of the day made it all worth our while.
Through caves with legendary hidden treasure, coral reefs and island walls, our snorkels peeped above the waters as we hopped island to island. The fish seemed acquainted with visitors. And let’s just say a few pretzels go a long way in bringing the teams together. We also stopped by the famous Corona island, one of the only flat beachy islands along the way. We had it all to ourselves, and spend the hour traipsing between palm trees to see who could discover the biggest hermit crabs.
With long palms hanging low ladened with the weight of ripened coconuts and beach seen on all sides around, it was truly a sight to behold.
Another must-do trip, take the ferry to St. Peter for the day. The islanders yelled loudly from the worn deck, begrudgingly directing traffic to back in inches from the car behind them. Dents? Inevitable. Once aboard, we opted for the 3rd floor lookout where we could stay out of the way of angry shipmen and watch islands pass until we arrived. Once in St. Peter, the food not to miss was from a whole-in-the wall seafood joint called Woody’s Seafood Saloon. The shark bites (admittedly not shark meat) were grilled bites of perfection. Though after a couple rounds of house shotskies pretty much everything was tasting fairly delightful.
Back in St. Thomas… We hit up the downtown for a night out, and followed up in suit at Iggy’s Beach Bar and Grill for lunch the day after. And no wonder their mascot, HUGE iguanas specked the years and hung from the tries, barely supporting themselves on the frail branches of tropical shrubberies. The breeze cooled slightly for a day. Welcome after the days of sun. A color specked bar with rows of rainbow beach chairs lined the seaside.
A lone hammock swung slowly in the wind. The perfect sendoff of one of our last nights together.
A beautiful trip all in all, but I can’t sign off without dishing on the goods! And by that, I do mean rum. Lot’s and lots of rum. Here are some of the islands most famous drinks that we indulged in.
Must have Island Drink Recipes
2 Oz Dark Rum
1/4 Oz Grenadine
Equal Parts of Sour Mix, Pineapple and Orange Juices
1 Dash of Bitters
Served layered on ice with plenty of fruit garnishes.
2 Part Oz Lopez
1 Parts Coco, Baileys, Kahlua, Coconut Rum, Amaretto
Served frozen as the ultimate refresher with whipped cream and chocolate drizzling.
2 Oz Rum
1 Oz Cream de Coconut
4 Oz Pineapple
1 Oz Orange Juice
Served on ice, usually in a plastic souvenir cup, but oh so good.
Painkiller on top left and rum punch on right. Perfectly refreshing amidst the island’s heat. Living up vacation to the fullest.
In the Bag
Packing recommendations, go light. My bag was filled with party dresses and heels, and of course all we ended up putting to use was swimsuits and covers save one night on the town. Luckily thanks to Nün Bangkok, my swim selection was on fleek with some of the most luxurious sporty swimwear I’ve seen till date. Their activewear pieces doubled as covers for me, and were the most worn items on the trip along with some good travel sandles by OTBT. Travel kit from Mason also came in handy while in-route to St. Thomas… a several hour delay meant time keeping cozy in the airport, and a couple bloodies and a cashmere wrap was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Packed it all in my new duffle by Lo & Sons. The pockets came in huge handy for keeping everything sorted. It doubled as my carry on for traveling, and a beach bag once we arrived. The lower compartment is structured, so you can keep items there you don’t want crushed (aka, bottles of champaign). Which by the way, were taken in high abundance throughout the trip.