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Virgin Islands Saver http://virginislandsaver.com The Best Deals for Your St. Thomas/St. John Vacation Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:45:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 You Aren’t Staying at a Resort, Are You? http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/you-arent-staying-at-a-resort-are-you/ Thu, 16 Jun 2016 01:54:30 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=3514 Amber, of Blue Sky Ceremony, is our guest today.  Amber was born and raised on St. Thomas.  She is the owner of a wedding and event planning planner.  Amber has assisted her clients with finding villas and hotels of every kind for groups ranging in size from 2 to 102....

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Amber, of Blue Sky Ceremony, is our guest today.  Amber was born and raised on St. Thomas.  She is the owner of a wedding and event planning planner.  Amber has assisted her clients with finding villas and hotels of every kind for groups ranging in size from 2 to 102.

While she and I may debate this issue, I can’t really argue with most of her points.  So, I’ll shut my mouth and let her make her case…

(Turning the keyboard over to Amber)

Ok guys, as Mike said, I’ve helped a lot of people book rooms at hotels, resorts, B & B’s and villas.  And in my experience and based on the feedback I’ve gotten from my couples, villas are the best way to experience St. Thomas.

Staying at a Villa is Cheaper

On a per night basis, you can stay more affordably at a villa.  Too often, at first blush the room rate for a hotel or villa looks good, but then they tack on the room tax and resort fee (which can be as much as an extra $60-75 per night).

One of your biggest expenses when visiting St. Thomas is food.  Food is expensive here on the island.  Add to the island’s already high prices the premium charged by resorts (how does $18 sunblock sound?) and you’ll see why you want to pack as much stuff from home as possible.  And no telling if the resort will have food options you’ll like.

When you stay at a villa you will have a full kitchen, stove, counters, frig, microwave, coffeemaker, etc.  So you don’t have to eat out for every stinking meal if you don’t want to.

Heck, with the money you’ll save you can even have a private chef cook a few meals for you at the villa.

The Couple in the Next Room is on Their Honeymoon

You and the kids shouldn’t have to listen to the newlyweds “celebrate” their union.

Or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to share the floor with the 15 teams from the Mid-Atlantic, Junior High, Cheerleading Championship.

A villa tucked away on a private beach or a majestic mountaintop provides all the privacy and solitude you could want.

More Space

The last time a hurricane headed towards St. Thomas, my husband, 2 daughters and I spent 3 nights holed up in a hotel (thankfully the hurricane changed course).

Sure the girls loved jumping on the bed and running down the halls but it didn’t take long for all of us to feel cramped.  And as the dirty laundry piled up, our little excursion away from home grew tedious.

By contrast, when my husband’s parents visit, they stay at a beachfront condo.  We always spend the week with them and have our own room.  There’s room to spread out, a porch, living room and a washer and dryer!!!

Avoid a Cookie Cutter, Touristy St. Thomas Trip

I’ve spent many a night in hotels.  Anytime you can stay somewhere away from home for a few nights in a beautiful location is welcomed!

A hotel has it all, the pools, bars, restaurants, gift shops all within a short walk or elevator ride.  The hotel offers this partly for your convenience, but also because they want you to stay on property and spend every penny possible within their walls.  And that convenience of having everything so close can quickly suck you in and never let you out.

It can be pretty easy to not ever leave the resort property.  Many people have come to St. Thomas and haven’t seen anything other than the airport and  the resort.  And for those who don’t want to leave the poolside, I salute you!

But if you want to get out and explore, find a villa or condo in a less crowded and touristy location.  Get to really experience the “island life”.

(Amber hands computer back to me)

So there you have it, a few quick thoughts from the lovely Amber as to why a villa or condo might be a better option than a hotel or resort experience here in St. Thomas.

When you’re ready to plan your trip, and in particular, plan your wedding, look Amber up at Blue Sky Ceremony!

 

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Getting Married in St. Thomas http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/getting-married-st-thomas/ Wed, 01 Jun 2016 02:48:44 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=3013 St. Thomas Weddings and Vow Renewals Thousands of couples choose St. Thomas as their wedding destination. What Makes Getting Married in St. Thomas special? Amber, with BlueSkyCeremony, a destination wedding planner and expert, designs some of the most beautiful weddings and receptions on St. Thomas, offers a few reasons for choosing...

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St. Thomas Weddings and Vow Renewals

Thousands of couples choose St. Thomas as their wedding destination.

What Makes Getting Married in St. Thomas special?Destination Wedding in St. Thomas

Amber, with BlueSkyCeremony, a destination wedding planner and expert, designs some of the most beautiful weddings and receptions on St. Thomas, offers a few reasons for choosing St. Thomas to get married.  (Also check out 13 Things You Must Know Before Having a Wedding in St. Thomas).

1 – There is no residency requirement, no waiting period or blood tests, and as a territory of the United States, your marriage will have the same recognition as a marriage in any of the 50 states.

2 – It is easy to travel to St. Thomas. St. Thomas is served by all major cruise and airlines, and there is no passport required for US Citizens.

3- St. Thomas has some of the most beautiful beaches, historic churches and tropical gardens where you can have the destination wedding of your dreams.

4 – St. Thomas is the #1 Caribbean destination for weddings and offers a wide range of accommodations (and at very reasonable rates) from hotels to luxury villas to timeshares and condos.

5 – Your guests will love it! St. Thomas is a great destination for a Caribbean vacation. There are a myriad of things to do in St. Thomas. Between the beaches, restaurants and activities, your guests will not only get to share in your special moment, but they will also be able to have a fabulous vacation as well.

If you are planning a simple wedding or even a large event, consider booking a wedding package (http://blueskyceremony.com/destination-wedding-planning/6-reasons-to-have-a-destination-wedding-in-st-thomas/) from Blue Sky Ceremony (http://blueskyceremony.com). Amber will help guide you through the process from invitations and marriage license, to booking locations, wedding cake and other vendors.

OR

If you are looking for a basic wedding ceremony, then consider hiring a wedding officiant.  In this shameless plug, one of the members of VirginIslandSaver performs wedding ceremonies.  His site is http://stthomasweddingofficiant.com.  A wedding officiant can help arrange the basics for getting married in St. Thomas such as flowers, music and location.  Beyond that, it is highly recommended that you hire a wedding planner.

And whether you decide on an enormous blow out wedding or a simple 2-person, on the beach at sunset ceremony, be sure to have the perfect photographs from The MangoWorks.

And after having the ceremony of your dreams, if you decide you love paradise a little too much to leave, start your new life in the islands as a wedding officiant.  Get ordained and spend your days performing beautiful ceremonies on the beach with the happiest couples in the world.

 

 

 

 

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Map of St. Thomas Beaches http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/map-st-thomas-beaches/ Sun, 11 May 2014 14:48:00 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=3096 First, a word about getting around St. Thomas.  If you haven’t already heard, we drive on the left here.  No one really knows why.  Or, at least can give a satisfactory answer.  So STAY LEFT!  🙂 Once you get the whole “wrong side of the street” thing figured out, the...

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First, a word about getting around St. Thomas.  If you haven’t already heard, we drive on the left here.  No one really knows why.  Or, at least can give a satisfactory answer.  So STAY LEFT!  🙂

Once you get the whole “wrong side of the street” thing figured out, the hard parts come.  First, people here are not patient for vacationers.  You will get honked at, yelled at and be generally despised by locals if you hesitate for even a second at an intersection.  Best thing to do?  Ignore them.  You’re on vacation, they aren’t!!!

Second, street names are all but useless.  I’ve lived in St. Thomas for years and I have no idea what route or street goes where.  Please forgive us for

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The Best St. Thomas Beaches http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/st-thomas-beaches/ Mon, 30 Dec 2013 03:13:37 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=3017 If you are visiting St. Thomas for the day or a week, these are the beaches that you must visit if you want the idyllic island experience.  Each beach has its own character and feel.  And each beach is a stand out for different reasons.  This is your guide to...

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If you are visiting St. Thomas for the day or a week, these are the beaches that you must visit if you want the idyllic island experience.  Each beach has its own character and feel.  And each beach is a stand out for different reasons.  This is your guide to beaches on St. Thomas.* See the Map of St. Thomas Beaches

Magens Bay Beach

A palm tree shadow on the blue water of Magens Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

St. Thomas has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean

If you are traveling to St. Thomas, you’ve probably already heard about Magens Bay Beach.  If you haven’t, it is widely considered one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

Nestled on the central-north side, Magens is not more than 15 minutes from most places in St. Thomas. So what makes Magens one of the best?  It starts with the sand.  The sand at Magens is often described as being like talcum powder.  It is soft and super fine.

The beach is approximately .8 miles long, so there is plenty of it.  The beach is also relatively flat with plenty of room to stretch out. Next, the water.  Magens Beach is in a large bay protecting it from the sea, making the water pleasantly calm.  On many days, the water is as smooth as glass.  The fauna is spectacular.

Magens is not know for its snorkeling, but to see some great underwater life and landscapes head down to the far left of the beach.  If the water isn’t too rough you can head out along the rocky shore and enjoy some lovely snorkeling. Lastly, the amenities make Magens one of the best in the Caribbean. Beach Admission is $4

Amenities at Magens Bay Beach

There are several bathrooms, changing rooms and outdoor showers scattered along the beach.  A concession stand with pizza, sandwiches and burgers is right near the entrance to the beach.  Also, a full-service bar serving up ice-cold drinks and frozen beach concoctions.

Picnic benches are plentiful up and down the beach and are first come, first serve. In the same spot where the concessions and bar is located, there is a gift shop with towels, beach toys, beach attire and beach chair rentals. Down the beach to the right is Yak Shak where you can rent kayaks and paddleboards by the hour. Another fun way to enjoy Magens is through an all-inclusive beach day which includes food, beach chairs, floating mats and rum!

Finally, there are 4 covered pavilions for holding bbqs, birthday parties and beach wedding receptions.  The pavilions must be reserved in advance and there is a $100 rental fee.

(Check out why The Most Beautiful Weddings in St. Thomas are Held at Magens Bay.)

 

Secret Harbor

Secret Harbor in St. Thomas

St. Thomas’ Secret Harbor

Situated on the east end of St. Thomas, Secret Harbor is a condo resort beachfront.  Aside from the resort there is also a restaurant directly on the beach.  As such, the beach tends to be busy, but for good reason.  This palm tree-lined beach is gorgeous.

If you aren’t staying at the resort, good luck with parking.  If you can’t find parking in the very limited spaces provided you have to park on the street up the hill and walk down.

The beach is on the smallish side, but this shouldn’t deter you from checking it out.  They have some decent snorkeling and a short swim from shore there is a dock in the middle of the bay to take a break from snorkeling or for sunning yourself.

The water is almost always calm and the sand is as good as it gets.  The palms and seagrape trees that line the shore offer plenty of shade to escape the Caribbean sun.

Secret Harbor Amenities

The beach may not be huge, but it packs a ton in.  There is a restaurant on the beach and a full-service dive shop.  The dive shop also offers snorkel, paddleboard and kayak rentals.

The beach chairs are for guests of the resort only, so you will have to rent a chair or bring your own.  This is a great beach for kids because of the water activities and the calm water.  There is a spa if you want to grab a massage and there is also an on-site concierge if you want to take a boat trip.

 

Lindquist Beach

Lindquist Beach is one of the best beaches on st. thomas

Lindquist Beach in St. Thomas

Lindquist Beach is on the north side, toward the east end of St. Thomas.  Lindquist has some of the most beautiful views and sand on St. Thomas.  Seemingly a short swim away are the British Virgin Islands and St. John.

The water is a sparkling blue and the sand is as fine and soft as you can find.  There are picnic tables dotting the beach that are first come first serve. The snorkeling at Lindquist is decent with some reefs to the left of the beach and some rocks and reef further out from the beach.

The bay is not as protected as some of the other beaches, so the water can get rough on occasion, but it makes for some excellent waves!  Life guards are on duty during regular beach hours 8 am to 5 pm. Several of the now famous Corona beach commercials were filmed at Lindquist. The far left of the island is a perfect spot for weddings or photo ops. Beach Admission is $2 per person.

Lindquist Beach Amenities

As of the writing of this article, Lindquist Beach is constructing bathrooms and a concession.  But currently there are only portable toilets and no food options. If you plan on spending the day here, be sure to pack chairs, food and drinks.  Head down to Red Hook where there are several convenience stores. Right across the street from the entrance to Lindquist is a place to go horseback riding on the beach.

 

Sapphire Beach

Sapphire Beach St. Thomas

A little furthest to the east of Lindquist is Sapphire Beach Resort.  One of the best beaches on St. Thomas if you want great snorkeling and amenities.  Incredible views of the British Virgin Islands and a idyllic shoreline, make Sapphire a beautiful beach. But don’t plan on finding a quiet or secluded spot on the beach.

With this being a resort, beach traffic is a little more congested than most beaches, but that is not to say it is overcrowded. The sand is powdery and the water as blue as anywhere on the island.  Occasionally swells kick up some waves, but nothing that should scare swimmers away. The snorkeling is above average for St. Thomas.  While much of the coral has been bleached, there is plenty of marine life including sea turtles!

Sapphire Beach Amenities

Sapphire Beach is loaded with amenities.  Right on the beach is a beach shack.  They rent snorkeling gear, kayaks and beach chairs. There is also a scuba shop right on the beach if you want to get certified or go diving. The beach has several food options.  As you enter the resort there is a food truck called Off the Grid.  They do an excellent barbecue. On the beach there is a small food hut and plans are in the works to add a full menu in the pool area down on the right side of the beach. There is also an amazing stretch of land that extends out into the sea with lovely rock formations.  Pretty Klip Point, as it is known, is a romantic and picturesque place to get married in St. Thomas.

Morningstar Beach

Morningstar Beach St. Thomas

A perfect beach in St. Thomas to relax and party

Morningstar is the beach attached to the Marriott Frenchman’s Bay Resort.  The beach, like all beaches on St. Thomas, is open to the general public.  If you travel there by car there is a parking lot for public parking.

The sand is not as pretty as some of the northside beaches.  It is a little more on the tan-brownish side.  Also, there is minimal snorkeling opportunities.  If you head to the left side of the beach there are some rocks with coral and sea life. The water tends to be on the rougher side of the scale, but still rather tame compared to many state-side ocean beaches.

The view on the beach is to the south and offers sightings of St. Croix on a clear day.  In the early morning or late afternoon, you can watch the mammoth cruise ships coming and going in the harbor.

Morningstar Beach Amenities

Being a Marriott property there are tons of amenities.  There is a jet ski tour that launches from the beach on the left side of the beach.  The tour will take you into Charlotte Amalie harbor and around several islands in the harbor. A beach stand also rents chairs and snorkel gear.  But the brightest spot of the beach are the bars and restaurants.  Coco Joe’s and The Sand Bar (below Havana Blue) offer all manner of seafood, tapas and sandwiches.

 

Lindbergh Beach

A less crowded resort beach is Lindbergh Beach by the St. Thomas Airport.  Some of the loveliest waters you can find outside of Magens are at Lindbergh.  The sand is also wonderful.  There are 2 small resorts on the beach, Emerald Beach Resort and the Island Beachcomber.

There are some snorkeling opportunities on a calm day along the left side of the beach near the rocks.  The beach is nestled in a bay, so the water is stays a little calmer even when there is a surge. Lindbergh is one of the longer stretches of beach on St. Thomas so there is room to spread out.  On the weekends, though, the right side of the beach is popular with locals. Parking is plentiful with a small lot towards the center of the beach and also street-side parking stretching along the beach to its far end.

Lindberg Beach in St. Thomas

Lindberg is a lovely and relaxed beach

Lindbergh Bay Amenities

Having 2 resorts right on the beach means you have plenty of choices when it comes to amenities.  Emerald Beach Resort has a thatched-roof, hut bar with all the rum and frozen concoctions you can handle.  They also have a restaurant with a full breakfast/lunch and dinner menu.

The Island Beachcomber also has a full bar and restaurant right on the sand! On the far right side of the beach there is a small grassy area with a gazebo for weddings and a covered pavilion which is great for parties/cookouts.  Also on the far right side you will find jetski rentals. The resorts have all the beach rental gear you’ll need-chairs, snorkel gear, paddleboats and plenty more.

Neltjeberg Beach is a secluded St. Thomas beach on the Northside of the Island

A secluded beach on the Northside of St. Thomas

Neltjeberg Beach

No signs mark the way to this, in my mind, one of the best beaches on St. Thomas.  Unless you live in St. Thomas or are staying at a villa in this remote part of the island, you would probably never get a chance to enjoy this stunning secluded beach.  The path to get there is at times treacherous and is not recommended unless you have an SUV with 4WD. There is a generous beach that is both long and deep.  The views are mainly of the uninhabited Inner Brass Island.  Towards the left side of the beach is some decent snorkeling if the conditions are right.  I’ve also enjoyed some great fishing here. If the water isn’t too rough, you can kayak or paddleboard over to Inner Brass and have a true island adventure.

Neltjeberg Beach Amenities

None.  Other than some makeshift tents/campsites, there is nothing down here but birds, water and sand.  So if you are planning on spending the day here, bring all your necessary supplies.

Brewers Beach

Past the airport heading towards the West side of St. Thomas is a gem of a beach.  Nestled on the campus of the University of the Virgin

On the west side of st. Thomas is brewers beach, a nice stretch of sand with snorkeling and blue water.

Just past the airport lies Brewers Bay. A local favorite.

Islands is Brewers Beach.  This medium-sized beach offers front row seating of the airport runway as private leer jets, major airlines and tiny puddle jumper planes land across the bay.  But the sound of the plane traffic shouldn’t interrupt your serenity on this beautiful beach. The beach is extremely deep with plenty of shady trees set back from the water.

The water is a lovely greenish-blue and is usually pretty calm and there is some marine life for snorkeling.  On clear days you have nice views of the rocky shore of western St. Thomas and the Puerto-Rican island Vieques. During the week the beach is relatively quiet as it is not frequented by vacationers, but on the weekends it can get busy as locals flood this stretch of sand.

When I go to Brewers I like to take a kayak to cruise along the shore as the water is shallow and sea turtles are plentiful.  Just across the street from the beach is a grassy field where you can do some kite flying, football/baseball throwing or frisbee tossing. Just a bit further down on the opposite side of the beach is a small opening in the dense underbrush.  If you can find it, it eventually opens up to a wide, boulder-strewn trail that leads up to a large rock face.  At the top you are rewarded with incredible views of Brewers Beach and airport.  (You may have to call me to help you find the opening, as it is easy to miss!)

Brewers Beach Amenities

There are public restrooms right off the beach.  A food truck, serving local foods and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, sits right off the beach.  A beef pate and an ice-cold beer is my order every time.

An adventure kayak and snorkel tour launches from Brewers Bay and heads to the remote waters and landscapes along the southwestern shore of St. Thomas.

 

Bolongo Bay

Bolongo Bay in St. Thomas is a resort beach with scuba diving, snorkeling and frozen drinks.

Bolongo Bay is a resort beach with all the amenities

Home to one of the best beach bars/restaurants in the Caribbean, Iggie’s is a great reason to put Bolongo Bay on your list of beaches to visit.  The right side of the beach has a large section of desirable sand.  Beach chairs and umbrellas are plentiful.

Unfortunately the right side of the beach has some pretty nasty coral.  What I mean by nasty is that the water is shallow and rough and the coral is jagged and treacherous.

The left side of the beach doesn’t have as an expansive stretch of sand, but the water’s edge is calm and easy to traverse.  There are stretches of coral throughout the bay and the water stays flat or close to it most of the time.

Bolongo Bay Amenities

Bolongo Bay Beach is roughly divided by a private pier.  The pier is the launch for a scuba diving boat and also Heavenly Days, a beautiful catamaran running regular trips to Turtle Cove for snorkeling with sea turtles.

The full-service dive shop is next to Iggie’s on the right side of the beach.  The shop rents snorkel gear and scuba equipment.  They also offer the entire range of scuba certifications.

Most of the beach is flanked by Bolongo Bay Beach Resort so you get all the beach extras that accompany resorts: kayaks, small hobie cats, paddle boats, a restaurant and bar.  The swimming pool is for guests only!

 

Hull Bay

If you ask most north side locals, their favorite beach they’ll tell you Hull Bay.  What makes Hull Bay a favorite is not its water, its beach

Locals love Hull Bay in St. Thomas for its surfing, sand and water.

A great beach on the northside of St. Thomas

or views, what makes it special is it’s vibe.  Hull Bay has a true beach and surfer town feel.  The water is decent and the sand is average.  About a quarter of the waterfront is covered in pebbles and rocks at the water’s edge. There are some nice snorkel spots and the rocks along the edges of the bay are great for fishing.  If you are a surfer, this is probably the best spot on St. Thomas to find some waves.

Hull Bay Beach Amenities

Just steps from the beach is a great beach bar.  Hull Bay Hideaway is an authentic beach/pirate hideout.  With a full bar and menu and live music throughout the week, this is a spot where you can spend the day relaxing on the beach and the night relaxing at the bar.  They have pool tables!

There is also a snorkel and scuba outfitter just off the beach.  This is one of my favorite hang out beaches.

 

The Elysian

Elysian Beach in St. Thomas

Elysian Beach

The beach at the Elysian is spacious and picturesque.  The sand is superb and is dotted by palm trees.  The beach sits on a bay that is shared with a yacht club, so outside of the marked swimming area, the bay is littered with boats.

 

Elysian Beach Amenities

*Some Final Thoughts on St. Thomas Beaches

A quick general word about the beaches in St. Thomas.  First, please exercise caution and care when it comes to all wildlife.  First, don’t touch the coral.  Coral is a living animal and is fragile.  An inadvertent kick can damage or kill it and it can take decades to regrow.  Another reason to be cautious around coral is that some coral and some of the creatures that live in it can give you a nice sting! Safety.  As with all things in life, being aware of your surroundings and using common sense, is sage advice.  Camping on a beach is never a good idea, especially in the remote parts of the island.  While incidents of theft and/or violence are rare, you can make yourself an easy target if you are all alone on a remote beach at night. Otherwise, enjoy paradise and let me know if you have any questions!  340-201-6069

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Where to Eat in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands-East End Edition http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/where-to-eat-st-thomas-red-hook/ Tue, 24 Dec 2013 18:25:27 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=2994 The Best Restaurants in the East End of St. Thomas If you are staying in the East End area (Cowpet, Elysian, Sapphire, Ritz Carlton, Sugar Bay) you probably have seen the stretch of bars and restaurants in RedHook.  The whole stretch can’t be more than a 1000 ft, but it...

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The Best Restaurants in the East End of St. Thomas

If you are staying in the East End area (Cowpet, Elysian, Sapphire, Ritz Carlton, Sugar Bay) you probably have seen the stretch of bars and restaurants in RedHook.  The whole stretch can’t be more than a 1000 ft, but it would take your entire vacation to hit every bar and eatery so I’ll just touch on a few favorites.

 

Fish Tails

Fish Tail Restaurant St. Thomas

Fish Tails

 

Fish Tails is a waterside restaurant, has all the fresh seafood you would expect of a Caribbean seafood restaurant.  The wide open dining area is comfortable and suitable for a long leisurely meal.  Ask the owner/manager Reggie what the fresh catch of the day is, which is hauled in earlier that day and brought fresh to this seaside restaurant.

When I’ve gone to Fish Tails I tend to gravitate to their shrimp and clam Po Boys.  Might not be the first thing people look for when they’re going to get seafood, but I tend to be a creature of habit.  They also have a tuna chip dip on the appetizer menu which is excellent.

There is a smallish wrap-around bar which is usually a great gathering place for small groups.

 

Latitude 18

Latitude 18 is technically not in RedHook, but it is within shouting distance.  It is on the opposite side of the bay from RedHook.

Latitude 18 Bar and Restaurant in RedHook, St. Thomas

Latitude 18 Restaurant

 

The road to get there is treacherous, but this little spot is a true pirate’s hideaway.  The gritty feel belies the fact that the food selection here is varied and delicious.  And most nights a local band is jamming on the tiny stage.

This place is truly an original and totally unique on the island.  Try the Mahi Mahi Creole.  Or, if you are not into seafood, their burgers are done to perfection.

The dining is casual and attracts local and transient boat folk from all over so the atmosphere is eclectic and so are the people.

 

Molly Molones

Molly Molone's Restaurant in St. Thomas

Molly Molone’s

Traditional Irish Pub in the Caribbean?  Molly Molones is the real deal.  Probably the best place to grab breakfast, and they do lunch and dinner as well.

I get their “big breakfast” with eggs, bacon and pancakes before I head on a boat trip to the BVI from Red Hook.  I don’t need to eat until dinner.  The plate of food is huge and delicious.

 

Senor Pizza

For something quick or to take with you, get the best pizza around at Senor Pizza.  Located below Fat Boys, they have a small dining room that is what you would expect at an island pizza shop.

But I think the best way to enjoy Senor Pizza is to grab a whole pie and take it back to your hotel or villa after a day of boating or drinking.

 

The Tap and Still

A Bar and Restaurant in RedHook, St. Thomas

The Tap & Still in RedHook, St. Thomas

 

Brand spanking new, as of this week (December 24, 2013), is the Tap & Still.  Hooman, a journeyman restaurateur in St. Thomas, has opened a new restaurant that pretty much contains the menu on its sign.  Burgers, Beer and Booze.

It is a burger and hot dog joint with a pirate/rock-n-roll feel.  The Tap & Still has a large selection of beer, simple seating and decor and a solid collection of booze to pair up with one of their monster burgers or hotdogs.

 

So…just about every food craving imaginable can be satisfied on this little stretch of real estate in Red Hook, St. Thomas.

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The Best Cruise Ship Excursions in St. Thomas http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/best-cruise-ship-excursions-st-thomas/ Mon, 16 Dec 2013 16:06:38 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=2964 Don’t Book a Cruise Ship Excursion Before Reading This! If you plan on booking a shore excursion for your visit to St. Thomas, you have the option of either booking an excursion through the cruise line or through an online booking engine. The cruise ships have an extensive collection of...

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Cruise Ship Excursions in St. Thomas

Enjoy a St. Thomas Cruise Ship Excursion

Don’t Book a Cruise Ship Excursion Before Reading This!

If you plan on booking a shore excursion for your visit to St. Thomas, you have the option of either booking an excursion through the cruise line or through an online booking engine.

The cruise ships have an extensive collection of tours you can book directly with them.  This is a convenient way to plan your shore time in St. Thomas.  There are also several booking engines that offer excellent tours.  Triptelligent and Viator are a couple of the better ones.  Some of the best cruise ship excursions on St. Thomas are listed below.

 

St. Thomas Adventure Excursions

St. Thomas isn’t generally known as an adventure destination but with the addition of a few new excursions, you can at least get a taste of a Caribbean adventure.

St. Thomas Adventure Excursions

Adventures Await!

  • Kayak Adventure Excursions-one of the newest and most heralded excursions  in St. Thomas is also the most adventurous tour available.  The tour takes you to the less developed west end of St. Thomas to kayak, snorkel and hike.  This 3-4 tour also leads to the ruins of an old sugar mill.  This is not an excursion the tour books know about.

 

  • Zipline-heading into their 3rd year in St. Thomas, Tree Limin Extreme is one of the most popular tours available.  An epic 2+ hour experience zipping through the tropical canopy high above the island, this is a tour to remember.

 

  • Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter (BOSS)-Whether you are a scuba diver or not, you will find this a grand underwater adventure!  Ride one of these scooter in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and get to see all the abundance of the ocean.

 

Boat Excursions

St. Thomas Boat Excursions

A Floating Island Party!

 

  • Kon-tiki-looking like a floating tiki bar, the Kon-Tiki is a party boat that offers fun for all ages.  Enjoy this 3 1/2 hour excursion that starts and ends in beautiful Charlotte Amalie Harbor.  A stop at a quiet and idyllic beach for music, games and drinks is the highlight of this lovely boat excursion!

 

 

  • New Horizons-head over to St. John’s unparalleled National Park aboard the 65 foot sloop.  Sail the protected waters and see why the Virgin Islands offers some of the best sailing and snorkeling in the world.

 

Leisure Activities

  •  All-Inclusive Beach Day-walk off the ship and they take care of the rest.  After being picked up at the cruise ship dock, you are taken to one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.  The excursion includes all transportation, food, drinks, beach toys, kayaks, snorkel gear and more!  Great for families, groups or just the two of you.

 

Family Friendly Excursions in St. Thomas

  • Coral World-Coral World is a marine park loaded with animals from the Caribbean sea.  Aquariums are abundant, there is an underwater observatory and there are petting pools with stingrays, lobster and star fish.  You can also swim with turtles, sea lions and sharks for an additional charge.

 

  • Waterfront Fishing-right on the waterfront in downtown Charlotte Amalie is some great fishing.  Fish for a few hours as part of your downtown shopping/sightseeing trip.  Anglers of all ages are welcome.

 

  • Paradise Point Tramway-a ski lift takes you up the side of a small mountain earning you some of the best views of the harbor.  At the top of the tramway are restaurants, shops and other amusements.

When your cruise ship arrives in St. Thomas you have many options for exploring the island.  St. Thomas is most widely know for its shopping.  But if you need a break from the stores, any one of these excursions or tours will make your stay in St. Thomas unforgettable.

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10 Things to Do in St. Thomas with Kids http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/things-to-do-st-thomas-kids/ Fri, 13 Dec 2013 18:11:04 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=2925 10 Things to Do in St. Thomas with Kids St. Thomas is a family friendly island.  There are countless things to do in St. Thomas if you have kids traveling with you. The most obvious activities for families with children are beach activities.  No mystery there.  Sand and waves are...

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10 Things to Do in St. Thomas with Kids

St. Thomas is a family friendly island.  There are countless things to do in St. Thomas if you have kids traveling with you.

The most obvious activities for families with children are beach activities.  No mystery there.  Sand and waves are usually enough to occupy kids of all ages for hours.

When you are ready to venture away from the beach, below are the most recommended activities for families.

 

1.  Coral World

Coral World in St. Thomas

Swim with Sea Lions at Coral World

Age: Any

A fun little marine park next to Coki Beach, Coral World is a great way to spend a half day with the kids.  There are several “petting zoos” where kids can touch stingrays, lobster, starfish and more.  There are large aquariums and a shark tank.  Sea turtles, sea lions and an underwater observatory await.

Coral World offers the opportunity to swim with the sharks, turtles and sea lions for an additional fee.

 

2. Tram to Paradise Point

Age: Any

Located across from Havensight, the Tram to Paradise Point is a pleasant ride up one of the higher ‘mountains’ on St. Thomas in a ski lift.   At the top of the mountain there are shops, a bar/restaurant and some of the best views on the island.  If you are able to go in the late afternoon and evening there is live island-flavored music.

The tram only runs on days cruise ship are in town.

 

3. Waterfront or Beach Fishing

Age: Any (Waterfront)

Age: 8 and up (Beach Fishing)

Right on the waterfront in downtown Charlotte Amalie you and the family can take a break from shopping and spend a couple hours fishing.  Get a fishing pole or two and grab a chair and relax.  Throw your line into the harbor and who knows what you might catch!

For children ages 8 & up, take them on a night fishing tour on the beach.  A pleasant way to spend a leisurely island evening on St. Thomas.  It’s like a mini camping trip and who knows, the kids might land a shark!

 

4. All-Inclusive Beach day

The St. Thomas Beach Day Excursion

A Worry-Free Beach Day

Age: Any

Ok, so we already talked about hanging out on beaches, but this is the ultimate way to do a beach day.  Usually planning a beach day is a pain because you have to make sure you bring towels, sunscreen, chairs, beach toys, floaties, drinks, food, snacks, did we miss anything?

With the all-inclusive beach day you don’t have to worry about any of it.  They take care of transportation, food, drinks, toys and even kayaks are included.  They usually take their guests to Lindquist or Magens Bay Beaches.  It would be impossible to try and organize a similar beach day yourself.

 

5. Butterfly Garden

Age: Any

The Butterfly Garden is a great way to encounter the beauty and wonder of nature.  The attraction isn’t large, but it makes up for its size by having a wonderfully lush tropical garden home to butterflies from around the world.

They have a entertaining bird show and and a great little gift shop featuring unique hand crafted souvenirs.  Located along the cruise ship dock in Havensight.

 

6. Bike Tour

Ages 8 and up

Since most kids won’t be thrilled about walking around all day downtown shopping and sightseeing, a bike ride is a great way to see all of downtown and the many landmarks of historic Charlotte Amalie.

The bike tour is self-guided and covers only a few miles but takes you by all of the famous sites.  The tour is at your own pace and there are several spots to park the bikes if you want to explore on foot.

 

7. Zipline

St. Thomas Zipline

Zipline High Above St. Thomas

 

Age: 8 years and up

One of the most exciting activities to do in St. Thomas.  Probably not on most parents’ bucket lists, the zipline is a great activity for children.  Kids as young as 8 can fly through the air and see the beauty of the island from the many observation points on this 2+ hour zipline tour.

 

 

 

8. Magic Ice/Charlotte Amalie

Age: Any

Downtown Charlotte Amalie has a few kid-friendly activities.  Magic Ice is an ice-sculpture bar.  Families may have traveled from somewhere cold to be in the tropics, but it is a unique experience to get layered up and cozy just to walk into what is essentially a big freezer!

After Magic Ice, look for an ice cream stand and find a spot on the waterfront to just sit and take in the scenery.

 

9. Horseback Riding

St. Thomas Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding in Paradise

Age: Varies

Come ride one of the beautiful horses at Golden Age Ranch.  Your guide will take your family on trails with incredible views on the east end of St. Thomas.  Also, take a ride down to Lindquist Beach for a waterfront horseback ride in the sand!

Golden Age Ranch reserves to right to restrict who can ride based on experience, size and age, so definitely call them ahead of time before booking the tour.

 

10. VI Ecotours

Age: 8 and up

VI Ecotours offers several different tours with different locations and tour lengths.  One of the more adventurous activities in St. Thomas, you can paddle through protected mangrove lagoons, snorkel pristine coral and hike on the almost completely uninhabited Hassel Island.

A great activity that involves some exercise as well!

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Kayak Fishing in St. Thomas http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/kayak-fishing-st-thomas/ Tue, 19 Nov 2013 12:53:02 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=2873 Kayak fishing is an exciting new option in St. Thomas.  Until recently there was exactly one option for fishing in St. Thomas: a charter boat.  The vast majority of charter boats take anglers to the North or South Drop to fish for marlin, mahi-mahi, sailfish and wahoo. Fish for Sea...

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Kayak fishing is an exciting new option in St. Thomas.  Until recently there was exactly one option for fishing in St. Thomas: a charter boat.  The vast majority of charter boats take anglers to the North or South Drop to fish for marlin, mahi-mahi, sailfish and wahoo.

Fish for Sea Monsters

St. Thomas Kayak Fishing Tour

Kayak fishing in St. Thomas targets entirely different fish close to shore: tarpon, kingfish, snapper and barracuda.  St. Thomas Adventure Excursions now offers a kayak fishing tour in St. Thomas that sets it apart from any other fishing experience on the island.

Because of the kayak’s size and maneuverability it is able to reach locations that shore fisherman and boats can’t reach.  The real excitement in kayak fishing comes from being in such close proximity with the water.  Fighting a 10 lb fish becomes a whole different experience when sitting in open water on a 10 foot kayak.

Your fishing guide is equipped with a fish finder and a familiarity with all of the hot spots for landing big fish.  The kayaks are outfitted for big and small game fishing.  A small rod is often used for catching bait fish and a 2nd rod is used for targeting the sea monsters.  While paddling there are also 2 rods equipped for trolling.

Perfect Tour for 1-4 People

Kayak fishing tours are available throughout the day, but night fishing is probably the most thrilling.  Moderate paddling may be required to get to the good fishing spots.

The fishing tour lasts at least 4 hours.  Group sizes are from 1 to 4 anglers.  A live well is available for caught fish that meet local fishing regulations.

Contact Tour Company

St. Thomas Adventure ExcursionsFor more information and to book a tour contact on their website St. Thomas Adventure Excursions or call direct 340-201-6069.

 

 

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A Guide to St. Thomas Nightlife http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/nightlife-st-thomas/ Mon, 18 Nov 2013 19:28:51 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=2862 With St. John fairly laid back and St. Croix less visited, when it comes to nightlife neither island can compare to the nightlife found on St. Thomas. Here you’ll find many of the popular resorts offer nightclubs and beach bars as well as a number of local hot spots scattered...

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St. Thomas Nightlife

Night Time View of Downtown Charlotte Amalie from Paradise Point

With St. John fairly laid back and St. Croix less visited, when it comes to nightlife neither island can compare to the nightlife found on St. Thomas. Here you’ll find many of the popular resorts offer nightclubs and beach bars as well as a number of local hot spots scattered throughout the island.

Getting Around St. Thomas at Night

It’s easy to get around, visiting any of these great destinations either by car or by taxi. As you might imagine, life on the island is very relaxed and that applies to driving as well. There are no open container laws, which means drinking and driving is legal; however, that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to drive drunk or impaired.

Here you’ll find many steep, narrow roads that can be difficult to navigate sober; driving buzzed and driving just a little too fast around the hairpin turns could easily mean losing control of the vehicle.

Taxis here are abundant and reliable, taking you wherever you want to go – perfect for partying your heart out even until the wee hours of the morning (some bars stay open until the sun comes up). All you need to do is decide which destinations are ideal for you – this guide to St. Thomas’ nightlife organized by location and resort, can help you make the best decision in order to make the most of your days and nights on the island.

Downtown Charlotte Amalie Nightlife

Other than shops, what will you find downtown?

Most of downtown Charlotte Amalie closes down when the cruise ships leave, but there are a couple of bright spots when the sun goes down.

Greenhouse: Known mostly as a great seafood restaurant, the Greenhouse also boasts some rowdy nightlife. When dinner is done, there is a dance floor where local DJs spin all manner of lively music. There are also video lottery machines to try your luck.

Big Kahuna: A full bar menu and a excellent drink menu makes Big Kahuna a great spot to start your night (they don’t stay open late). Big Kahuna also has a great view of the harbor and is an excellent spot to people watch on the waterfront.

Greengos: Judged by most as having the best Mexican food on island. Ordinarily a lunchtime spot, Greengos does have evening hours but make sure to call first. If they have evening hours when you come, there will likely be live music and amazing margaritas.

Bars & Restaurants in Frenchtown

Frenchtown is located just a half-mile southwest of Charlotte Amalie and a popular charming enclave for tourists and locals alike for its restaurants and bars. Its residential district is found by walking west to the town’s winding streets filled with wooden houses that have been passed down through generations.

Frenchtown may be tiny, but it makes up for its size in history, culture and gastronomy. Several decades ago when tourists and locals sought out an alternative to downtown Charlotte Amalie, it became a hub for nightlife and dining. Today, it’s known as one of the best places on the island to spend a night out.

To get there from the capital city, take Veterans Drive just west of town along the waterfront. Turn left about 500 feet after you pass the Windward Passage Hotel on your right.

What will you find in Frenchtown?

There are options to suit most everyone’s tastes, including:

  • Oceana: A premiere, high-end restaurant with elegant outdoor dining. This is an ideal place to celebrate a special occasion or spend a romantic evening while feasting on fresh, local seafood dishes. The lounge is a fabulous place to hang out and sip a cocktail or two with gorgeous views of the harbor and Hassel Island.
  • Betsy’s: A local favorite, Betsy’s is known as “The Best Little Bar in Frenchtown.” You’ll find more than just bar food here with a full menu that includes steak, seafood, BBQ and more. Play a game of pool or test your luck on the slot machines.
  • Club Nuvo: This nightclub is the place to go for a wild party. It offers DJs and dancing on the weekends with a mix of soca music, reggaeton and hip hop music. The fun starts late and goes into the wee hours of the morning.
  • Pie Hole: This is the best place for pizza on the island. Not only is the pizza fantastic but they offer an extensive selection of Belgium beers and amazing appetizers like the spinach and artichoke dip. Make reservations as the dining room is very limited on space.
  • Bella Blue: This is more of an upscale bar and restaurant that can be a bit pretentious, known for entertaining and impressing business clients or for a special occasion. They feature Austrian cuisine with a Caribbean flavor such as Wiener Schnitzel, Jaeger Schnitzel and a variety of pastas, wild-caught Sockeye salmon and grilled shrimp.
  • Twisted Cork: This is a good restaurant offering dining in a relaxing yet elegant atmosphere with outstanding service and exceptional cuisine. Dishes include fresh local fish and produce.
  • Epernay Wine and Champagne Bar: Here’s you’ll find a great atmosphere in a cozy, but tiny dining room ideal for an intimate, romantic setting. Dine on appetizers like sushi and caviar and top it off with fabulous desserts such as chocolate-dipped strawberries. There is also limited outdoor seating available.

Yacht Haven/Havensight Nightlife

Havensight is a picturesque outdoor mall located at the Havensight Cruise Ship Dock with over 100 stores, restaurants and bars while Yacht Haven is a premier facility for megayachts. Here you’ll find a shopping Galleria with nearly an endless number of dining and entertainment options and the only upscale shopping destination offering top brands along with eclectic and charming local shops.

Havensight and Yacht Haven are both located along the harbor and a walkway connects the two it’s a 2-3 minute walk.

From downtown Charlotte Amalie, it’s an easy walk along the main road or just $4 per person for a quick taxi ride.

What will you find in Yacht Haven/Havensight?

  • Fat Turtle: Right next to the megayacht docks, this outdoor restaurant offers a festive atmosphere for hanging out as well as DJs and dancing on Friday nights. Sip tropical frozen drinks and exotic cocktails, play games or contests and dine on fresh, locally caught seafood or gourmet pizzas.
    Fat Turtle Nightlife

    Fat Turtle at Yacht Haven Grande

  • MoJo’s Rum and Surf Shack: This is a great BBQ joint featuring amazing tropical drinks and their island famous smoked barbecued chicken in an outdoor tiki bar setting along with live music. MoJo’s is a great meet up place for locals and visitors alike.
  • Hooters: If you’re looking for something familiar, you’ll find Hooters just like the one back in the states – including the hot girls, hot wings and great drinks.
  • Starz Nightclub: Starz is where to go if you’re looking to meet singles, do some partying or just get out onto the dance floor. They offer frequent live events including concerts and stand-up comedians as well as great DJs for dancing.
  • The Rock: The Rock features great cover and original bands from the states along with a video blackjack table, roulette table and slot machines. Happy Hour is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. to closing daily with frequent specials like Wine & Cheese Nite, Ladies Nite and Buzztime Trivia Nite.
  • Shipwreck: The Shipwreck Tavern is a restaurant and bar with great burgers in a casual, comfortable atmosphere. Enjoy nightly specials like Thursday night’s Caribbean meat loaf or Prime Rib Sundays along with a game of pool or spend time playing the slots. On some nights you can listening to great live music or get out on the dancing floor with DJs featured as well.
  • Dog House Pub: An outdoor restaurant and bar with pool tables, live music and a party atmosphere.
  • Paradise Point: High on a hill overlooking Havensight, is Paradise Point. To get there you have to either take the skyride or drive (or take a taxi) up the hill. It is so worth it. At the top of the hill you will find a bar, restaurant and shops and the best views on island. Several nights a week there is live local music. So dancing is encouraged. Paradise Point is also family friendly.

Night Time Fun in Red Hook

Red Hook sits on the southeast end of the island, known best as the destination from which you’ll embark on a trip to St. John via ferry. It’s becoming increasing popular in recent years for its dining and nightlife scene as well, with most located just steps from the ferry terminal.

Red Hook is about a half hour’s drive from Charlotte Amalie, with the taxi rates around $10 per person.

What will you find in Redhook?

  • Fishtails: This restaurant features fresh seafood and waterfront dining right at dockside overlooking the sport fishing boats on the open-air deck. While the atmosphere is casual, the service is fantastic.
  • Big Bamboo Seafood Shack: This is a fun outdoor eatery with delicious fish and chips and amazing fish tacos. Their outdoor bar is one of the best spots for people watching.
  • Caribbean Saloon: This is an indoor sports bar and restaurant with the opportunity for gambling and occasional live music. It’s a great place to catch a game (with dozens of big screens) or enjoy a wide variety of entrees from seafood and steaks to pasta, ribs, chicken and more.
  • Molly Molones: An Irish Yacht Pub with outdoor dining, here you’ll find the only Irish entertainment on the island along with good fish and chips as well as typical Irish cuisine like cornbeef and cabbage.
  • Amigos: This is a dockside cantina featuring Mexican fare and generously sized portions.
  • East End Café: This is an upscale joint catering to foodies looking for good drinks – try a raspberry mojito –and delicious entrees like Osso Bucco and Chicken Parmesan.
  • XO: Here you’ll find eclectic cuisine to go with your drinking, dancing and partying. Dine on entrees that include pizza and salads as well as Crab Encrusted Mahi and Stuffed Bone in Pork Chop. It gets packed and rowdy so get ready for a wild night.
  • Duffy’s: Known as a one of the hottest spots for drinking, partying as well as outdoor dancing, Duffy’s also offers great music and good, reasonably priced food. Enjoy specials almost every night of the week like “Free Shot Fridays,” “Dollar Days,” and “Ladies Night.” Who knew partying and dancing in a parking lot could be so fun?!
  • Fat Boys: This is a bar and grill known for some of the best burgers on the island and a great place to play pool and do a little partying. It has an indoor/outdoor atmosphere, frequent live music and a good happy hour with $2 drink specials.
  • Tootsies: A Gentleman’s Club featuring exotic dancers and sensual entertainment with private VIP rooms and an intimate stage; ideal for bachelor parties.
  • Latitude 18: An eatery and bar with live entertainment right on the water, here you’ll find the last remaining true island open air restaurant in St. Thomas serving traditional Caribbean food like roti and fresh shark along with American fare like burgers and steak. Live music and dancing is possible every night of the week.

Resorts with Nightlife

The island’s resorts offer several nightlife options. Just because you aren’t staying at the hotel, does not mean you aren’t welcome. Some of the best entertainment on island is found at the resorts.

Marriot Beach Resort 2.7 miles south of downtown Charlotte Amalie:

  • Sand Bar: Here you’ll find an “ultra-chic” beach bar just below the resort’s HAVANA BLUE restaurant offering a tapas menu along with a variety of creative frozen cocktails as well as a wide array of mojitos and specialty libations served against the backdrop of the dazzling turquoise waters.
  • Hotel Bar: The Rum Bar is newly renovated and offers views of Charlotte Amalie Harbor. Absolutely stunning.

Ritz Carlton in Red Hook:

  • Great Bay Lounge: The indoor bar at the Ritz Carlton offers an extensive selection of wines as well as hand-crafted cocktails and even late-night tasting options like truffle fries and crispy rock shrimp. For those who prefer an outdoor setting and the ocean breeze, there is a large wood deck and terrace with spectacular views of St. John.
  • Coconut Grove: Here you’ll find relaxed beach-front dining outdoors both day and night. Enjoy a full range of tropical libations and wines and a menu with local specialties like fresh caught fish and lobster.

Sugar Bay in Red Hook:

  • Pool Bar: The poolside bar at the Sugar Bay offers a swim-up bar just steps from the beach. Enjoy Caribbean favorites while keeping cool and having fun in the water. On select nights there are live shows-local dancers and music; they’ve even been known to have especially exciting entertainment like glass-walkers, fire breathers and other fascinating shows.
  • OceanClub Lounge: This indoor bar is a great place to let your hair down with excellent drinks and friendly bartenders. Enjoy signature cocktails from noon until midnight every day along with video gaming and nightly entertainment.

Secret Harbor in Red Hook

  • Sunset Bar and Grill: This is an upscale restaurant and bar featuring beachfront tables in an intimate setting with the sounds of the waves crashing in the background. Featured fare includes local favorites and creative culinary classics using locally sourced foods.
  • Cruzan Beach Club: This is an outdoor tiki style bar with a more casual “barefoot” feel and plenty of rum drinks and creative tropical cocktails. You’ll find VIP seating and bottle service in the cabana area.

Elysian Beach Resort in Red Hook

  • Caribbean Fish Market: Located right on the beach, this is a great bar and restaurant with outstanding local seafood.

Iggie’s in Bolongo Bay

Iggie's Nightlife

Iggie’s at Bolongo Bay

  • Iggie’s Beach Bar: This bar at the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort offers one of the best Caribbean beach bars on the island – a hot spot day and night. Enjoy a variety of fun, famed theme-nights such as All-You-Can-Eat BBQ on Sundays, live steel pan Calypso music and Mocko Jumbie (death-defying stilt walkers) dancers on Wednesdays, karaoke and more.

 

Be sure to enter your email at www.virginislandsaver.com to get a list of all the special events, concerts and shows for your vacation dates!

 

 

 

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Don’t Travel to St. Thomas Before Reading This! http://virginislandsaver.com/virgin-islands-guide/dont-travel-st-thomas-reading/ Mon, 18 Nov 2013 19:28:21 +0000 http://virginislandsaver.com/?p=2861 St. Thomas Basics St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands has been revitalized in recent years. It is not only the ultimate tropical vacation location; it can be as affordable as a similar vacation to Florida. The warm water is a brilliant turquoise hue, ideal for snorkeling and viewing an...

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St. Thomas Basics

St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands has been revitalized in recent years. It is not only the ultimate tropical vacation location; it can be as affordable as a similar vacation to Florida. The warm water is a brilliant turquoise hue, ideal for snorkeling and viewing an abundance of marine life.

St. Thomas Snorkeling

Snorkeling in St. Thomas

Although the island is just 31 square miles, you’ll find a variety of attractions and even two cities with hot spots for exciting nightlife options as well. And, unlike Florida, temperatures here are typically in the 80s during the day and the 70s at night all year round.

If you’re planning a getaway to St. Thomas, consider these important things to “know before you go” to ensure the best possible experience on the island.

Travel documents

St. Thomas is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, an unincorporated territory of the United States, which means that US citizens can travel there without a passport just as they would when traveling between states in the mainland.

Carrying a passport can still be a good idea as hopping between islands from St. Thomas is fairly easy, and a passport is required for travel to the British Virgin Islands such as Tortola or Virgin Gorda.

What to pack

You’ll find everyone dressed fairly casually in the Virgin Islands. This is a destination meant for relaxation – there is no need for a tie or a fancy dress. Men should pack several pairs of shorts, t-shirts and perhaps a polo shirt or two as well as one pair of slacks for going out at night, while women might bring a few cute sundresses, a wrap skirt, shorts, tank tops and other casual attire.

St. Thomas Beach Scene

St. Thomas Beaches

Beach shoes or sandals as well as a pair of comfortable walking shoes for exploring inland are a must, and you’ll want to bring two bathing suits so that you have a dry one available when the other is wet.

If you have any prescription medications, be sure to bring enough for the duration of your trip and carry a note from your physician, especially for any prescribed narcotics. All personal care items can be purchased on St. Thomas (although they can be a little pricey) so try to bring your own in travel-sized containers.

Plenty of sunscreen and insect repellant are also musts.

Manners and general etiquette in the islands

On St. Thomas, life tends to move at a slower pace than on the mainland. Don’t rush things – have patience and consider your time here as a chance to relax and enjoy a nice breather. Allow things to be accomplished at their own pace.

Never treat Islanders as servants, or tourist attractions. Provide locals with respect and try not to be patronizing or condescending.

St. Thomian

Native Virgin Islander

Skimpy dress such as super short shorts or any very revealing clothing should not be worn while shopping or dining in town; only wear bathing suits at the swimming pool or the beach.

When speaking with locals the conversation should always begin with a greeting such as “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” or “Good night”. Virgin Islanders are generally a conservative and quiet people. Good manners and formality are highly esteemed.

Ease into a conversation instead of jumping right in with a request by asking how the person’s day is going, but avoid getting too personal too quickly.

One word to the wise…the taxi drivers and store barkers downtown are the only exception. You will be solicited at least 50 times for a taxi or some jewelry sale. So it is ok to ignore them!!!

Transportation

Exploring the island requires some form of motorized transportation, for maximum freedom renting a car can be the best option and will allow you to see everything St. Thomas has to offer at your own pace. Car rental agencies are located at the airport as well as near the main cruise ship dock and large resorts.

Scooters are also an excellent way to get around the island.

Taxis are readily available and there are also drivers that run dollar rides via “safaris.” A safari is a truck that’s been outfitted with bench seating in the back. They run during the day and are not on a set schedule. You can hop a ride on a safari by sticking out your arm when you see it approaching. Most trips are just $1 or $2 per person.

Accommodations

Like all resort and vacation destinations, it pays to shop for the best deals. Small boutique hotels, resorts and private villas abound on the island. If you stay in a villa you will most likely need to rent a car or scooter to get around.

Activities

There are activities for all ages and interests. Whether taking a boat trip, scuba diving, parasailing or snorkeling, call the outfit before you arrive on island to make reservations. Check out 74 Things to Do on St. Thomas and St. John at: http://bit.ly/YRlwnH.

Other considerations

Locals throughout the USVI speak English and the currency used is the U.S. dollar. You’ll even find American TV stations in your hotel and many similar chain stores that are found on the mainland. While this is an exotic island, it also has the familiar atmosphere of home.

The biggest difference may be the lack speed and efficiency. If you insist on everything being done at a fast pace, you may want to stick with a Florida vacation instead.

St. Thomas Shopping

St. Thomas Shopping

 

Those who appreciate fine art and a good shopping experience will be happy to know that visitors can exit St. Thomas with $1,600 in duty-free goods which is double that of most destinations.

The island is renowned as the biggest tax-free, duty-free shopping hub of the Caribbean and is home to many artists. The main shopping areas include downtown Charlotte Amalie and around the Havensight dock.

 

And don’t forget to brake for iguanas!

If you have any questions about events, activities and goings on while you are visiting, enter your email on the home page of www.virginislandsaver.com.

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