I chose Virgin Island Campground because it had the best reviews out of the various eco-camping options in the virgin islands, and it definitely lived up to my expectations.
It's not camping as you know it, but luxe camping with conveniences: private wood-frame-canvas-screen tent-cottages tucked into the trees, each with a comfortable bed, porch with a water view and cooler for beer, electricity, and even wireless for iPhiles. There is also a hammock and a cooking pavilion that is a wonderful place to have coffee and eggs and read in the morning light, or to enjoy a breeze while grilling dinner in the evening and chatting with fellow campers. As well as a room with a computer and TV for watching movies.
My only issue was the heat and bugbites that kept me up at night sometimes. I went in May, so I think the heat probably wouldn't be as bad in the winter. Also, the bikes available were too rusty and old to use, so I didn't get get to do any island exploring by bike. Regardless, despite the lack of air conditioning, the magical feeling of sleeping in a treehouse made it all worth it and I would choose to stay there, or a similar eco-campground on a future caribbean vacation.
I was impressed by several sustainable measures at the campground: electricity powered by onsite wind turbines, composting toilets (which didn't smell!), captured rainwater that is filtered for drinking and heated by solar energy for showers. Water is also conserved by spring-loaded faucets and pull-cord showers.
The island is home to Honeymoon Beach, which has it all: A shallow sandy bay that feels like a warm saltwater pool. Decent snorkeling - in one afternoon you can swim with a sea turtle, see a school of fish, and a stingray. Palm trees and picnic tables for shaded spots to kick back. Joe's Beach Bar for drinks (the closest thing to nightlife on the island), and Heidi's Honeymoon Grill truck for lunch as well as a weekly gourmet dinner, which was the best meal of the trip. I liked Honeymoon Beach better than the beaches on St John.
The campground is a fairly easy half mile walk to both the beach and the landing where a commuter ferry shuttles back and forth to St. Thomas every hour or so. In less than ten minutes, the ferry docks at a marina on St Thomas that has a restaurant, grocery stores, and a great dive shop, Blue Island Divers, so it was easy to get back and forth for diving. I only needed cabs for trips to and from the airport and for an excursion to St. John, which made me happy that this vacation was essentially car-free because because I saved money by not needing to rent a car or take lots of taxis around (plus squishing into stuffy and sweaty taxis on St Thomas was not fun).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An Eco Sensitive resort with self-contained canvas eco cottages, each with an ocean view terrance. We are located in the St. Thomas Harbor, on a pristine 500-acre island, Water Island, which has regular ferry service (10 min. boat ride) to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Each cabin has pillow top mattresses, all 100% cotton linens (including beach towels), an outdoor cooking pavilion with an ocean view and the property is only 5 minute walk to the beach. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Virgin Islands Campground Hotel St. Thomas