Great weather, great people and endless views is what my summer vacation consisted of. I got to visit the US Virgin Islands this past week, and it exceeded all of my expectations! The views were like none other, I am still amazed that such a views exist. We were basically in paradise for seven days. I got to swim with the turtles, parasail and visit one of the prettiest beaches in the world.
Our American Airlines flight arrived at 3 pm witch was a perfect time. When we landed we were greeted at the Cyril E. King Airport with a shot of ---- (btw, did you know the legal drinking age is 18). We rented a vehicle with Thrifty Car Rental, as soon as we arrived we called their office so we could have them pick us up and take us to their off- site location. Dealing with Thirfy was such a hassle! First, they didn't answer the phone, ever. We called them a million times to pick up us up and they took over an hour to answer the phone. Then, when they finally did pick up they took forever to arrive to the airport. Luckily the people in the office weren't too bad. After we obtained our vehicle it was my turn to drive to the most beautiful villa which we booked through Airbnb (Referral Link). My first experience driving in St. Thomas was very scary. . In Houston, we do not have hills or mountains so everything seemed to be very steep. I would be lying if I said I didn't get freaked out on the first hill I had to drive up. Also, did you know they drive on the left side? Yes, they do! I got used to the driving within the first day, but it was still a struggle.
This was our first full day in St. Thomas, and it did not disappoint. We stayed at Belleview Horizon Villa, and even though our villa was located in a mountain we were only 15 minutes away from Charlotte Amalie and all the shopping. We decided to start our shopping early! We decided to shop at Yacht Haven Grande and Havensight. Havensight Mall is right on the Cruise Ship Dock. We shopped and shopped and shopped! We were able to buy some of the cutest souvenirs and a couple of gifts. It was a hot day and we just needed to have a refreshing drink (and AC), we stopped at Barefoot Buddha for smoothies. We took it easy on our first day and I am glad we did because we had a loooong adventure ahead of us.
Finally, the beach! Yes, the beach! We got to visit Coral World Ocean Park. The park has many exhibits and very worthwhile activities. We decided to swim with the sea turtles. I completely recommend this activity because this is as close as you are able to get to a sea turtle, legally (did you know that you aren't allowed to touch or go near a sea turtle in the wild because they are protected?). Even though we technically didn't get to swim with the sea turtles I was able to get up close. However, I unfortunately don't have any pictures due to my GoPro dying as soon as our activity started (learned lesson). There were many fish tanks and the guides were helpful with facts and experiences.
Right next to Coral World is Coki Beach! I was looking forward to visiting the beach, well sleeping on the beach. Haha!! There is beach chair and umbrella rentals (which makes for a better sleep) on the beach, you are also able to rent snorkel equipment. There aren't many shops around but there are a couple where you can purchase drinks, food and some souvenirs.
The Virgin Islands are made up of 3 islands: St Thomas, St John and St Croix. Luckily, there is a ferry that takes you to St John. We decided to get up early morning to take the ferry over and get an early start on exploring. The ferry ride from St Thomas to St John round trip is $50. We got on the ferry at 9 am and arrived 30 minutes after, so it is not a long ferry ride but the view is a beautiful.
Looking for parking was no joke in St John. It took us over an hour to find a parking spot (parking is not free so take cash). Once we finally found a parking spot in town we started doing more shopping. There were so many boutiques and souvenir shops it became difficult to decide what we wanted.
After, we drove up to the St Thomas National Park which makes up more than half of the island. The national park is beautiful, there are beaches and many hiking trails and if you get lucky you can see a couple of ruins. We stopped at Hawksnest Bay to enjoy the beach. There are no businesses on the beach so you aren't able to buy food or rent beach chairs, however there is a snorkeling rental hut.
At this time I was starting to feel the end of my vacation. We woke up, got dressed and went out for breakfast. There are so many "must eats" in the island, however we decided to visit Glady's Cafe. The restaurant was located downtown but it was not in its usual spot. It was located in the cutest place between cobble stone streets and many other shops. Their permanent location was under construction due to the devastating hurricanes Maria and Irma which destroyed a big part of the island in September 2017. We had breakfast and I must give them a thumbs up. The food was amazing and it matches their homemade hot sauce.
This area of downtown is literally gold jewelry heaven. If you are looking for a place with tons of options, this is the place! There were many many shops that mainly sold sterling silver, gold and rum.
At this point I wanted to cry because I knew it was my last full day in St Thomas. We woke up and drove out to our next adventure. The activity of the day was parasailing. We parasailed at 10 am with Parasail Virgin Islands. The experience was amazing! I felt like I was flying. As soon as you get on the boat the instructors give you a short explanation and after you're in the air. The view was indescribable! While their bringing you back down you take a small dip in the water but I was laughing the whole time I wasn't a bit scared.
After our parasailing adventure, we went to Magens Bay. It is $5 to get in the beach and there is chair and umbrella rentals. Most importantly they have a bar and a concession stand where you are able to order many different meals. I understand why Magens Bay was rated one of the Top 10 Prettiest Beaches. Not only is the water crystal blue but the view is amazing. The beach is literally in between mountains. The mountains are perfectly shaped and the view is even better.
This vacation has been full picturesque views and beautiful beaches. I absolutely enjoyed being there. It is a destination I most definitely recommend. I also feel that it's suited for people of all ages.