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Trip Report

Broomfield, Colorado
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101 posts
51 reviews
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Trip Report

First thanks to all of those contributors to the forum that helped make our trip a success. It was a fun packed 10 days over the holidays celebrating our 35th anniversary with our 3 kids and their spouses/special friends.

We splurged on the villa and went with the Blue Vista Villa. A great place for 4 couples to relax. Big enough for everyone to have their own space but also lots of common space to spend time together. Well equipped kitchen to cook our meals.

Rented from Budget. They would not honor the pricing for extra drivers that I got on line when I made my reservation. Fortunately I had a hard copy with me and the language was very clear. I finally called Budget on line support and they told me to pay the bill and they would provide me a credit. Unfortunately this is still not resolved but I will persist!!!!

Lots of hikes and outdoor activities. Saw the sun come up at Point Udall and then hiked down to Issaac and Jack Bay for a snooze on the sand. The winds were quite strong the first couple of days so it was difficult to snorkel. Hiked to the Annaly Bay tide pools – glad we didn’t miss this hike. The guard at Carambola would not let us start in the resort. We parked above the guard station and picked up the trail there. Not hard to find just look closely for the sign (ask the guard if you can’t find it). Not a difficult hike. The only challenge was navigating through the rocks to the tide pools (don’t be scared away). On the way back we picked up the cheater trail through the resort. This is where my wife tripped on an uneven sidewalk and skinned up her knee!! We packed our own snorkel gear and snorkeled at several beaches. We also spent an afternoon exploring the historic parts of Christiansted.

Organized activities:

•Night time kayaking was the highlight of our trip. We went with the sea thru glass kayaks (Craig and Bryce). I would highly recommend this as a DON’T miss activity.

•Did the Buck Island trip with Captain Karl on his sail boat. Great trip. There were 24 on the boat but it didn’t seem like it. No engine noise or fumes. Also had the dolphins follow us for awhile. He also let the young ladies in our group lounge on the front netting and ride the waves.

•We did the trail ride with Paul and Jill – another fun experience.

•Scuba diving at Cane Bay – had a great time but the water was pretty cloudy

•Botancial Gardens was a big hit with our young adult couples – who would think. We planned on an hour tour (turned into 2 ½ hours).

•Had a educational tour at the Whim plantation – would do it again

•Enjoyed our time on the Cruzan Rum Tour – Had to show my kids how to get the ring on the hook in 3 tries (even after a rum sample)

•Stopped to watch the pigs drink beer!!!

Shopping – we’re not big shoppers but did buy a few things

•My wife got a bracelet from Sonja’s

•Picked up some island made soaps at Many Hands

•Picked up a couple of decorated glass plates at Mitchell-Larsen Studios

•The young ladies in our group enjoyed the jewelry selection at Island Tribe (very reasonably priced)

•On the way to see the pigs we stopped at the LEAP. You could easily get scared away driving into the workshop but it was worth the trip. My wife picked up a beautiful handmade cutting board.

Celebrated my son’s 22nd birthday with dinner at the Savant. Good food and service although our waitress was stretched pretty thin. She had 6 tables and was also training a new hire who just started that day. You could tell she was stressed but was very professional and serviced us well. Also ate at Turtles Deli in Fredericksted (a thumbs up from all in our party). Good food and great atmosphere. Lunch at Polly’s on the pier was ok. Decent food but the atmosphere couldn’t match Turtle’s Deli. We had pizzas a couple of times from the Flat Iron Grill. Lots of unique combinations they fit our family’s tastes (lots of vegetarian options). The brew pub was also a hit with our group. Ordered the Beer Tower with Fried pickles!!!

Groceries – we packed an extra suitcase with some essentials because we thought the prices would be high (which was a mistake). The twin pack of peanut butter purchased at Sam’s was the same price at Plaza Extra!! Food Town was close to the villa so we did a couple of trips there as well. They were higher priced than Plaza Extra but had a good selection of gourmet cheeses.

Sorry for the long novel but as you can tell we had a fun packed 10 days and still didn't do everything on our to do list.

Davidsonville, MD
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192 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: Trip Report

Sounds like a great time was had by all!!

I am sitting up here in Maryland, freezing all of my body parts and daydreaming of St Croix - 58 days and counting; we cant wait.

How about some details around your night kayak trip. Did you go thru Salt River Bay Virgin Kayaks? We have visited St Croix numerous times over the last 35 years and recently have come every year. However, we have never done the night kayak. Where did you meet your party, what time did it start, how long was the "active" part of the trip, and how much was it?

I have been away from this board for quite awhile and would like to extend a belated Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all of the friends here at St Croix Forum.

Broomfield, Colorado
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101 posts
51 reviews
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2. Re: Trip Report

We booked our trip with Sea Thru Kayak Adventures and I believe it was $45 each (needed to bring cash). We were in glass kayaks so you could see what was happening underneath you. I don't believe you would get as good an experience without the glass kayak. (http://seathrukayaksvi.com/)

We met them not too far from the Salt Bay marina and parked along the road. They had one of the outfitters stay with the cars so you didn't have to worry about leaving anything in the car. No shoes or sandals allowed in the kayaks. We arrrived at 5:45 to complete the paperwork and were in the water shortly after 6 pm. We returned to the landing around 7:45. There is a 385 pound weight limit per kayak (a good reason for my wife and I to go on diets:))). You also need to be in fairly good shape as you are paddling a distance to get to the bay. One couple in our group needed to be towed by the guide when they couldn't keep up. Both guides were very knowledgable about the bay and surrounding areas. They also split open several cocunuts for us to sample as we got ready. I would highly recommend this group for a night time kayak adventure. If you want more info just let me know.

South Bend, Indiana
Destination Expert
for St. Croix
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1,505 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: Trip Report

As I sit here looking at the snow cover fields hoping for a high temp of 25 your trip report was just the cure!!! So well written and you seem to have done it all! Only 72 days and we will be there!!! Again GREAT trip report!

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
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16,600 posts
239 reviews
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4. Re: Trip Report

Loved your trip report. I am a huge fan of botanical gardens and thought St. Croix's was a blast. And they are usually empty. I would love to see the sunrise at Pt. Udall then go to the beach afterward - ahh, someday! Thanks for the info on the tidepool hike, too. Another thing we missed.

Broomfield, Colorado
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101 posts
51 reviews
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5. Re: Trip Report

If you decide to do the Tide Pools make sure to wear a hiking sandal that you can get wet. The tide washes against the rocks and unless you're willing to climb up high you'll need to step on rocks in the surf to get to the pools.

Georgetown, Kentucky
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1,270 posts
46 reviews
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6. Re: Trip Report

Great TR! What a fun and memorable trip for you and your family.

Good info. concerning Sea thru adventures. After speaking with Craig yesterday and then reading your review I have decided to book a day trip with them.

Happy belated anniversary!! Can my husband consult with you to plan our anniversaries? Thanks for sharing :)

st. croix USVI
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428 posts
93 reviews
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7. Re: Trip Report

Thank you for the information. We've got two sets of guests coming in March and we've never done the night kayak, so I think we'll probably join them. Interesting that the younger members of the group enjoyed the Botanical Gardens. We've never been, so maybe we'll include that as well.

Great trip report, love reading those. Thanks and sounds like you'll be back!

Austin, Texas
4 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: Trip Report

sounds like a wonderful trip

Ontario, Canada
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84 posts
3 reviews
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9. Re: Trip Report

Great and informative report. We're going for our first time in February and can't wait! We've made reservations with Heinz and Karl and I understand that we are to bring any food and drink we might want. Any suggestions? Do they have coolers on board? Not sure how much or type of food/drink to bring or what is necessary. Thanks for any info.

P.S. We're also going on the Sea-thru Kayak trip. Sounds amazing.

Broomfield, Colorado
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101 posts
51 reviews
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10. Re: Trip Report

We had a fantastic experience on both and hopefully you will as well. Capt Karl's boat has several large coolers where you can store food and beverages. We packed sandwiches in baggies, carrots sticks and other veggies. Some people packed chips, candy bars and beer :)) We started our trip at 9 am, stopped and snorkeled and then headed to the beach. Our group hiked the trail and then spent the rest of the time floating in the water. If you hike be sure to bring decent shoes. Our daughter did it in flip flops and had a thorn go thru her flip flop. We didn't eat until we were headed back to the mainland around 1 pm. If it's windy you'll probably get a little wet from waves hitting the boat - most of the guests enjoyed getting sprayed!!

The Sea Thru Kayak trip was the highlight of our STX vacation - I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!

ENJOY!!!!!!

Edited: 20 January 2012, 02:18