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trip report to paradise

NJ
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56 posts
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trip report to paradise

Trip Report in Paradise

This was our first stay in St Thomas. We had previously been to St John twice before and loved it so we wanted to try St Thomas. We took a direct flight from Newark to St Thomas on Continental. The ride to the Ritz where we were staying was very easy to navigate. We rented from Avis and we were very happy with our jeep. It was very clean and comfortable. We did not check bags so we went directly to Avis and we were the first on line. Nice! The Ritz is a beautiful hotel. The views were magnificent. The first day we upgraded to the club level so we ate on premise. We also swam in the pool, did some paddle boarding and kayaking as well as snorkeling all on the premise of the Ritz. After appetizers at the club we decided to try Latitude 18. What a find! My husband wanted to turn around once we got there but I urged him to stay. We are so glad that we did. The staff was wonderful. The live music was wonderful. So were the food and drinks. I couldn’t ask for a better place to hang out.

The second day we decided to explore St. Thomas. We drove and made stops along the way to visit different beaches on the way to Magen’s. What a beautiful beach. After Magen’s we stopped at Drake’s Seat and drank in the beautiful view. We then stopped for lunch at Hide-a-way. Just ok food. We were looking for some fresh fish but ended up with chicken instead. As I said it was ok, just not what we were hoping for. We stopped for food at Plaza Extra on the way back to the hotel. Nice store. A little pricey but we were expecting that. We picked up some breakfast food, snacks, mixers and alcohol. We then went back to the Ritz and made ourselves a cocktail and stood inside the pool at the infinity edge and gazed at St John. Later that evening we decided to go into Red Hook for Dinner. We went to Fish Tails and had a good dinner. Nice Ambiance. We then decided to stop at Latitude 18. Had another appetizer of the Ahi Tuna and listened to more life music. We met another couple one table over and had a great time. I even had my husband up and dancing. I’m not sure if that is a good thing but we had fun anyway.

The Third day we took New Horizons out of Sapphire Bay. We met a few lovely couples who we chatted with on the way to the baths. It was a little bit of a rainy day but that didn’t stop us. Unfortunately the sun was not out when we were in the caves. Our guide, Hilary, told us that when the sun is out the water appears to be like a kaleidoscope. I would have loved to have seen that but all the more reason to make a come back visit. Right? We enjoyed swimming with the thunder in the background once you come out of the caves at the beach. Then onto Pussers restaurant at Marina Cay. Lunch was just ok. Then onto some snorkeling which was wonderful. Our last stop was Soggy Dollar. This was somewhere my husband was looking forward to going for years. It did not disappoint. The couples we met on the boat were very fun loving. We ordered painkillers and played some fun games on the beach. Needless to say it was easier swimming to Soggy Dollar then back to the New Horizons speedboat. On the way back to Sapphire we all laughed and told stories. We enjoyed our selves immensely. A few of the couples were going to be getting together later that night but we decided to just stay close to the hotel that night. Once again to Latitude 18. See any habits forming here?

The fourth day we took our jeep over to St John. I almost forgot how beautiful it was. Our first stop was Maho. We saw many interesting fish as well as sea turtles. Maho was our favorite beach on our other trips to St. John and I still believe it to be our favorite. Unspoiled beauty. I did bring along an IPOD but I just couldn’t seem to turn it on. I thought it would spoil the beauty. We had our lunch which we purchased from Deli Grotto. I’ll tell you, they make a great sandwich! We rode over to Ram Head before making our way back to the ferry. We had dinner reservations that night for Old Stone House and wanted to make sure we had time to get there. Old Stone House was wonderful. Just what I thought it would be. Very romantic with fabulous food. The chef even came out of the kitchen to see how I liked my dinner. I didn’t like my dinner. I LOVED my dinner. We didn’t make it to Latitude 18 that night.

The Fifth day we played golf at Mahogany Run. Actually my hubby played and I rode along. I couldn’t see paying those prices when I really kinda just hit the ball and then pick it up to drop it near where his. We had a great time. I thought the course was beautiful. Especially the 2 holes near the water. We took numerous pictures which ended up being our screen saver. After golf, we went to Iggy’s for lunch which was ok. Then back to the Ritz for in pool drinks. For dinner we went into Red Hook for dinner at Coco Blue. It was a very nice dinner. We sat outside looking at the boats. Wonderful Sea Bass, the sushi was just ok. We went to Coco Blue because we met a nice girl on the New Horizons speed boat that was a waitress at this place. She was a great waitress as well. Then onto Latitude 18.

The sixth day we decided to go out on the New Horizons Sail trip. It was a lovely sailboat. We met another family while going out to St John. They were there with their children and grandchildren. A very lovely energetic couple. We snorkeled Honeymoon beach and then we went over to Greater St James (?) to snorkel. It was another beautiful day on the water although my body felt like it was swaying for the remainder of the trip. Just couldn’t get my land legs. That didn’t stop us from going to Latitude 18. Someone was sitting at “our” table so we just took another table that was available. The waitress came up to us and apologized that “our” table was not available. As I said the wait staff here was great. I felt like everyone knew our names. Does the sound familiar to anyone? You guessed it. Cheers! Another wonderful evening. Did I tell you the stars were brilliant? I could gaze at them all night long.

The seventh day we had to go back to St John. It is just too beautiful for words and I can’t get enough of it. We had breakfast at Deli Grotto which we enjoyed but not as much as lunch. We then hiked out to Leinster Bay. It was very rough and we decided not to snorkel. On our way back to the jeep it started to rain. It rained for a little bit so we just toured the island. St. John is beautiful in any weather. Around one curve we almost came into contact with a tow truck. He was towing someone off the road that landed in a ditch. Thank goodness for the trees or she may have gone over. They really mean it when they say that the roads are slippery when wet! Anyway since our car was at a 70% angle the engine turned off after about 10 minutes of sitting there. When my husband tried to start the car again it showed it was out of gas. Good thing we had a passenger in the car or my husband may have not been so contained. We picked up a hitchhiker who was a camp counselor out at Maho. I just love the free and easy life style of the island. I went up to the tow truck driver and asked if he had any spare gas cans and he didn’t but he said it should start up again once we get on level ground. He sure was right. My husband coasted to the bottom and then the engine started. Even though we knew we should go back to Cruz Bay to get gas we just needed to stop at skinny legs for a burger. How do they make them so good? After the burger, we just had to stop of Maho and Francis. After all, it was on the way back. Snorkeling was wonderful at both. All too soon our day was done. We went back to the Ritz and had our drink standing in the infinity pool. We decided not to leave the Ritz and had dinner at their restaurant, Bluewater. We made a reservation for an outside table. Just as we were seated it started to rain. What a shame. I was so looking forward to sitting outside viewing the beautiful views of St. John. They brought everyone inside and had us all seated fairly quickly. I imagine they are used to the rain showers and know how to react. Our dinner was very good. I was surprised since I did not hear very many good reviews of Bluewater. A nice pleasant surprise. We decided not to go to Latitude since they were having a jazz band play that night and neither of us are into jazz that much.

The eighth and last day of our beautiful vacation in St Thomas. We had a noon flight out but we had to do one last snorkel right there at the Ritz. It seemed like all the fish were out to say good-bye to us. We got to the airport 2 hours early and flew through customs. We had lunch at the restaurant there, but can’t remember the name of it but I will try to remember to eat before going next time. Double Yuck!

We are already dreaming of our trip next year. We would like to possibly stay in one of the BVI’s and maybe hop over to St John and St Thomas. I would like to thank everyone in this forum. You are a great bunch and I loved your suggestions!

Virgin Islands Ecotours
Kayaking & Canoeing, Scuba & Snorkeling, Hiking & Camping Tours, Night Tours
Virgin Islands Ecotours
Eco Tours, Kayaking & Canoeing, Scuba & Snorkeling
St. Thomas Adventure Tours
Kayaking & Canoeing, Scuba & Snorkeling, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Private Tours
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New Jersey
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618 posts
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1. Re: trip report to paradise

Nice report, I would love to see the Mahogony Run Pictures that make up your desktop. I love the views from the Northside.

Columbus, Ohio
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2. Re: trip report to paradise

Thank you for the trip report! I just love New Horizons - especially for the day sail to St. John. Hibiscus (I think) is the name of the restaurant at the airport - and I agree with "yuck" as a review. We've started stopping at BW Emerald Beach on our way back and having breakfast or lunch at their restaurant. Close to the airprot - decent food - and one last chance to walk the beach before heading home. :)

We just got back on the 23rd and are already trying to figure out next years trip. We've been doing STT/STJ odd numbered years - so, next year's even year means try to find somewhere else. It's just so hard to try and force ourselves somewhere else - considering the BVI ourselves as well. (Though, also considering, Belize, Barbados and Aruba - though each destination is so different!)

Happy planning for next years trip!

seattle
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3. Re: trip report to paradise

What was the name of the caves you went to? We leave on Monday and that sounds fun!

NJ
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56 posts
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4. Re: trip report to paradise

It was The Baths at Virgin Gorda. We really had a wonderful time with New Horizons but there are other charters that go there as well. You can do a search under this forum. You may want to type something to the effect of trips to BVI or charters to BVI. Have fun!

North Pole, New York
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5. Re: trip report to paradise

Great report, thanks for the excellent details! We too loved Lat 18, too bad it's closing soon, what a shame.

You may want to consider the BVI for your next trip if you enjoy sailing and snorkeling. Staying on Tortola or Virgin Gorda puts you right square in the middle of beautiful islands and the best snorkeling. You will be sailing rather than always motoring and it's a little more enjoyable. The USVI are beautiful, but the BVI are still a bit less spoiled, for the time being anyway.

TTOL (traveltalkonline.com) is a great resource too if you find you are interested. You can fly right into EIS (tortola) or ferry from STT.

Thanks again for the report!

Edited: 15 August 2011, 19:32
North Pole, New York
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6. Re: trip report to paradise

Critter,

The Caves are at Norman Island, you may also hit the Indians which are a group of "spires" in the ocean. Maniebebe also went to the Baths at Virgin Gorda which are a group of boulders on the short that creata a sort of grotto in some places, bot no real snorkeling there like at the Norman Island Caves and the Indians.

chicago, IL
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7. Re: trip report to paradise

Thanks for the review, my husband and I are thinking of taking a trip to St. Thomas in January and this was very helpful. We too love St. John so we are looking forward to our trip.

8. Re: trip report to paradise

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