Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Caribbean Adventure on U.S. Soil: U.S. Virgin Islands

Leave your passport, pack your swimsuit and experience beautiful white beaches, swaying palm trees and refreshing cocktails when you head over to U.S. Virgin Islands, which is composed of three distinctly different islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. A trip to “America’s Caribbean Paradise” is not just accessible and convenient – it is also affordable with cheap flights departing daily. You can shop, dine, bathe in the sun, and enjoy various watersport.
St. Thomas: The Rocky City
Called “Rocky City” due to its hilly horizon, St. Thomas is a famous luxury getaway. It is one of the Caribbean’s major sailing centers with numerous yachts tied up in the harbor throughout the year. St. Thomas is accessible by both cruise ship and airplane. Contrary to the other islands, St. John and St. Croix, that cultivated their plantations, St. Thomas became a thriving seaport and later one of the world’s most beautiful harbors. You can charter a yacht to cruise between islands or just book a regular day sail to get your sea legs. You can also put your dancing shoes on with St. Thomas’ bustling nightlife.
Choose between hundreds of beach bars, sports bars, karaoke and dance bars, etc.  You can go dancing, listen to live music or DJ’s or even play some team trivia. You can go drinking with friends even as you are soaking up the sun. Bring home shopping bags as you trail the duty free shops lined in the streets and alleys of St. Thomas. You can also put on a water jetpack for a unique experience – strap a marine engine on your back courtesy of St. Thomas Jetriders to hover and fly 30 feet above water. You’ll feel like one of the Jetsons in a Caribbean paradise. Don’t miss climbing the famous 99 Steps of Charlotte Amalie to get a breathtaking view of the Caribbean. You’ll definitely feel alive when visiting St. Thomas.
St. John: The Love City
Honeymooners and nature lovers will enjoy St. John as it has more than 7,000 acres of dedicated parkland and plenty of pristine beaches. The “Love City” is the smallest of the three islands with no airport and is accessible mainly by ferry. The beaches of St. John are legendary for its beauty. Cinnamon Bay offers watersports activities, including snorkeling, windsurfing and kayaking. You can also wander the half-mile loop Cinnamon Bay Trail. Cinnamon Bay is also a campground where you can put up a tent for the night and enjoy the solitude with your loved one. Spend the night stargazing as you listen to the sound of the ocean. For a day of picnic and barbeque, you can head over to Hawknest Beach, where you can also enjoy the snorkeling sites a few yards from the shore.
Maho Bay is another popular beach in St. John with its calm and shallow waters attracting families and couples. Perhaps the most popular in the U.S. Virgin Islands is Trunk Bay. It has soft white powdery sand and an underwater snorkeling trail maintained by the National Park. If you are planning to stay more than a day in St. John, then consider staying at Caneel Bay. It is an eco-resort that will not spoil you with today’s technology such as TV or phone lines. But you will be surrounded with luxury with its dreamy bedding, wood furnishings, a bathroom with native stone and every morning there is a big breakfast buffet on the open-air Caneel Bay Beach Terrace. For dinner, bring your date to ZoZo’s at the Sugar Mill. Among the ruins of the sugar mill you will find St. John’s flagship fine dining. Your date and your taste buds will be thanking you afterwards. Truly, it’s hard not to fall in love with the beauty of St. John. 
St. Croix: The Twin City 
This retreat is just a couple of minutes away from the bustling St. Thomas but is also accessible by plane through its own airport. There are two towns situated on each end of the island therefore earning its nickname The Twin City. St. Croix is a U.S. Virgin Island’s cultural heart combining bohemian spirit with a diverse and multicultural population. It is the largest out of the three islands but gives a small town vibe compared to St. Thomas.  It was previously a sugar plantation with organic farms now flourishing in the highlands. It is the best place to visit if you want to see the region’s past with much of the 18-century Danish occupancy reflected in its architecture.
Despite being the largest, it is also the least visited out of the three islands but you will be surprise with what the island has to offer. You can take the St. Croix Heritage Trail to experience 72 miles of the island’s Danish colonial past including a visit to the Estate Whim Plantation Museum. The longest and most pristine white sand beach of U.S. Virgin Islands can be found on St. Croix. The Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge is only open to the public during weekends from 10:00am to 4:00pm since it is the nesting ground for the endangered leatherback turtle. The redemptive scene of “The Shawshank Redemption” was actually filmed at Sandy Point! You can also see the largest mangrove forest in the Virgin Islands at Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve. If you’re looking for premier lodging, book a room at The Buccaneer, the island’s oldest hotel. You will be rewarded with sweeping views and three beaches. You can even book a villa for a more intimate and private experience.
Whichever island you choose to stay, U.S. Virgin Islands will give you that Caribbean experience without the high cost or distance from your home. No need for your passport, all you need is a dose of wanderlust.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Surfing in the VI.... Lets Get Ready!

US Virgin Islands Surf Spots & Information

Surfing season on the US Virgin Islands is November through March. During this time, the waves can reach between six and eight feet in height, with bigger days reaching as high as double overhead. The rest of the year, the waters are pretty flat and unsurfable. The breaks on the US Virgin Islands are all reef breaks, and long coral heads are not uncommon.
Surfing here is generally recommended for experienced surfers, and it’s also advisable that you go out with someone who is familiar with these waters. There are a few windsurfing shops that have shortboards and longboards for rent, but most local surf shops here do not offer board rentals, only sales, so you might want to bring your own board. The steady trade winds off the Atlantic attract a lot of windsurfers, and bodyboarding is also very popular.
Water Island, which is about a 10-minute ferry ride from St. Thomas, has a spot known as Sprat Bay that’s great for swimming and snorkeling. At times, the surf breaks at Sprat Bay can accommodate all skill levels, including beginners. The last of the US Virgin Islands, it’s small (about ½ mile wide and two miles long), with not a lot of development, so it’s a good place to go if you want to escape the crowds at St. Thomas and “lime” (relax, chill). Sprat Bay is about a one-mile walk from the ferry dock. The break is a hollow, fast and fun right reef break that can get long at times. Another spot that sometimes breaks and is okay for beginners is called Santa Maria (in St. Thomas). Santa Maria also attracts a lot of kiteboarders.
Hull Bay on the Atlantic (north) side of St. Thomas is the beach that’s most associated with surfing. When the swells are rolling in from the northeast, Hull Bay will get a four-foot or bigger point/reef break that attracts surfers from all over the island. Other places to surf on St. Thomas include Caret Bay and Botany Bay (which is accessible via boat from Hull Bay), but localism at these spots can be intense. There are problems with theft, violence, and drugs, and in general, it’s not advisable to go off the beaten path. If you decide to explore, keep a low profile, do not bring any valuables with you, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

You May Be A True Island Girl If....

What makes one earn the title of a true Island Girl, I wonder? I thought long and hard about this question and I came up with a few different attributes and have jotted some of them down below. Whether you were born and raised in the Caribbean like me or decided to make these magical islands your home, you are bound to identify with a few. And if not, you will hopefully at least get a good laugh out of it. There, my good deed for the week is done. You’re welcome.


  1. You get inexplicably excited when you hear the words happy and hour used together in one sentence.
  2. You automatically lift your arms, press your lips together and whine your waist every time you hear a soca song (or any other Caribbean tune for that matter).
  3. You think it’s completely acceptable to arrive half an hour late for a meeting or appointment.
  4. You continue eating long after you’re full because leaving food on your plate is a big no-no.
  5. You stay at a boring party just because they promised that there will be food, cake or rum.
  6. Your perfect breakfast must include Johnny Cake and/or saltfish.
  7. You are solemnly convinced that jumbies, malediction and obeah are all viable threats.
  8. You own and have pride in your flip-flop collection.
  9. You try to find ways to justify wearing flip-flops to formal occasions.
  10. You are always “sick” around the same time each year, mainly duringcarnival.
  11. You prefer to wear a bikini top rather than a bra even though the bikini probably does not offer any support whatsoever.
  12. You stop in the middle of the road to have a 5-minute chat with a friend on the opposite side of the street, completely disregarding the dozens of horns blowing you to keep it moving.
  13. You grab a cold bottle of beer rather than a bottle of water on a hot day.
  14. You come up with excuses not to meet up with friends on the other side of the island (even if the island is tiny) because you do not want to make that “long” drive.
  15. You call in sick when it’s raining cats and dogs because honestly, who drives in this weather?
  16. You have mastered the art of “chupsing” or sucking your teeth and know when to use it to make a point.
  17. You have an extensive shorts collection.
  18. You are convinced that the sea cures everything from a simple cold to common STD’s.
  19. You find yourself explaining to friends visiting from abroad that you were not arguing with your family but merely exchanging pleasantries.
  20. You used to (or still do) wear a shirt and/or shorts over your swimsuit when you go swimming.
  21. You are a skilled island driver.
  22. You get inexplicably mad if at the end of a party or God forbid, a wedding you do not get a plate of food or cake to take home, let alone plates for your mother, auntie and the sweet old lady down the road.
  23. You refrain from going into the ocean from December till about April because the water is simply too cold.
  24. You cuss out the bartender that dares using a measurer when making your cocktail.
  25. You give up making a deposit because there was no parking in front of the bank.
  26. You try to lose weight without losing your sexiest asset, your butt. Let’s face it, it’s all about the butt in the Caribbean.
  27. You are fluent in Creole English.
  28. You are disappointed and contemplate not attending when you find out a party you are invited to is only serving snacks. Where is the buffet with peas and rice and stew goat?
  29. The sight of cows, goats or donkeys blocking the road (or airport landing strip in some cases) does not surprise you.
  30. You compare the price against potential lifetime of a pair of shoes or bag before purchasing cause you know it’s going to start peeling in this heat sooner or later.
  31. The F-word is the most used word in your vocabulary.
  32. You are simply not OK with lizards, centipedes or roaches.
  33. You know to block out a whole day when dealing with the census office and most other Government offices.
  34. You consider slow internet to be annoying but an unfortunate part of reality.
  35. You are quite skilled in creating a parking space where there are none.
  36. You eat barbecue at least once a week.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Facts About the US Virgin Islands

Just in case you were wondering....
History: During the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish. Sugarcane, produced by slave labor, drove the islands’ economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1917, the U.S. purchased the Danish portion, which had been in economic decline since the abolition of slavery in 1848.
Location: Caribbean; islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico.
Area: 737 square miles (1,910 square kilometers). Twice the size of Washington, DC.
Population: 103,574 (July 2015 est.)
Capital: Charlotte Amalie
Geography: An important location along the Anegada Passage—a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal. Saint Thomas has one of the best natural deep-water harbors in the Caribbean.
Climate: Subtropical, tempered by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season September to November.
Government: Organized, unincorporated territory of the U.S. with policy relations between the Virgin Islands and the U.S. under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Head of State: President Barack H. Obama (since 20 January 2009)
Head of Government: Governor Kenneth MAPP (since 5 January 2015)
Language: English 71.6%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 17.2%, French or French Creole 8.6%, other 2.5% (2010 est.)
Religion: Protestant 59% (Baptist 42%, Episcopalian 17%), Roman Catholic 34%, other 7%
Time Zone: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Top 5 Beaches in the US and British Virgin Islands

The Best Beaches 


Coki Point, St. Thomas V.I.


White Bay, Jost Van Dyke B.V.I.

# 3

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola B.V.I.


Magens Bay, St. Thomas V.I. 


Trunk Bay, St. John V.I.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Christmas Cove, Great St. James USVI

Christmas Cove, less than three miles from St. John on Great St. James Island, part of St. Thomas. Christmas Cove combines the best of the National Park on St. John—immaculately clear waters, abundant sea life and a completely undeveloped shoreline.

Santa Claus had nothing to do with the christening of this sparkling blue cove in St. Thomas. What is certain is that Christmas Cove today still provides a scenic safe harbor for boats traveling through the Virgin Islands. Dock your vessel here for an hour or two and have a lobster bake at a waterside restaurant, or spend a night in the many luxury resorts.