A Week at St. Thomas US Virgin Islands

Sun, Sand and Ships

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One would think that being a tropical island, there will be plenty of cheap fruits – and one would be wrong. US Virgin Islands are rock islands where (almost) everything you need there have to shipped – so stuff (food, water, supplies) are expensive and definitely not as fresh as you can get from mainland US.  So be prepared.  I would go as far as bringing your favorite supplies.  In most places, alcohol (read: rum) are cheaper than a bottle of water.

When we arrived on Friday – the place looked almost deserted until Monday to Thursday when the cruise ships come in – then suddenly the Charlotte Amalie downtown is buzzing with activities.

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Entertainment on every corner

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Swarming with cruisers (and my photographer buddy capturing it all)

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A little bit of island flavor

We spent some time hiking at St. John (an island that is more than 65% national park) – we didn’t get to experience much because the “taxi” ride didn’t feel as satisfying and we didn’t bring our car.  I think next time (if there’s one) it is better to drive on our own.  Speaking of driving – USVI drive US car (driver on the left) but on British side of the road (drive on the left side of the road)

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National Park Visitor Center at St. John

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Island Taxis

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Hiking the Caneel Hill Trail

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Caneel Bay Resort

Caneel Bay Resort once owned by Laurance Rockefeller. The hotel was one of the early members of Rockefeller’s hotel chain, Rockresorts. The resort takes its name from the location of the property at Caneel Bay (Caneel means cinnamon in old Dutch). Rockefeller was so impressed by the area’s beauty that he arranged to buy up most of the island of St. John. He then donated most of it to the U.S. government for the creation of the Virgin Islands National Park.

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Cruz Bay (ferry landing at St. John) View from the top of the trail

The beaches are beautiful – we drove the island and visited all top 10 beaches including the top rated Magens Bay beach (a mile long of white sandy beach) – it wasn’t bad but we are spoiled at our (almost private) beach at the Marriott.

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Relaxing at “our” beach watching the sun set

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Watching the cruise ship heading in to the cove

One of the most common things people see here are iguanas – they are almost everywhere and most of them are used to people.  However don’t let the iguanas fool you – there more to see.

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So many iguanas – you have to take my words for it because otherwise I could fill this page with just pictures of them

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Feasting Pelican – so many little fishes in the water – it’s a Pelican’s Buffet

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Creatures of the tideland

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I was surprised that this hummingbird didn’t seem to care that I was close by

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Snorkeling with a sea turtle

It was a very fun vacation – more fun that I expected (especially I was sick as dog on the flight to the USVI – but the shock of coming from 35 degree to 75 probably set my body straight and I was able to fully enjoy the vacation

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Seven Evening of Beautiful Sunsets

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Cutting it pretty close – the island is small so even the big airplanes have to manage

As I mentioned in the beginning all food supplies must be shipped – there are several “supermarkets” on the island – we found after a week of gallivanting around the island – Pueblo is probably your best bet for supplies.

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Pueblo Supermarket

Footnote:

If there was one bad experience during the stay, it was when we tried to visit the Sugar Bay resort to check the place out (we were supposed to stay there but there was some issue with the reservation thus we ended staying at the Marriott) – the gatekeeper was rude and we weren’t even allowed to go past the gate.  Keep in mind that we had just finished checking out Ritz Carlton resort.  I can tell you the people at the Ritz are super nice and friendly to visitors – if only we could afford the Ritz next time.

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Maybe One Day We Could Afford to Stay Here

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