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“Beautiful and Remote”

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Sandy Ground Estates
Reviewed 13 April 2006

We have just returned from an eight day stay at Sandy Ground Estate and are a little fearful of spreading the good news of this little gold mine to the world. That being said, it is a place that some people would not find ideal. This is THE place for those that don't need to be entertained by the bar scene, TV or telephones. The villa had a well equipped kitchen, incredible views from the patios/bedrooms, and was nicely designed in a Tuscan style. The shutters on the windows all had moveable louvres. Most of the windows didn't have screens, which was only a problem in twilight hours when the no-see-ums (some) and the mosquitoes (very few) come out. The rest of the time we wanted to have to windows open wide for the beautiful breezes and great ocean sound. If a lizard poked his head inside, it usually wasn't for long.

Although its a short walk to Foxy's Taboo (bar/restaurant with a great chef), you'll want to bring your own food. We ordered ours online from Bobby's Marketplace (Tortola). Is difficult to know exactly what you are getting from their 17 page shopping list. Next time we'll try to shop for ourselves. There are a couple convenience stores on Jost Van Dyke, but they stock only the basics and are not within an easy walking distance.

Sandy Ground's beach is a beautiful one. They have planted palm trees and sea grape trees for some shade. The hammocks and chairs complete the scene. Their beach is not much of a swimming beach since the reef is right there. However, there are some spots without the reef for a nice dip in the 80 degree crystal clear warm water.

We took an eco-tour with Colin from Jost Van Dyke Scuba. He was an excellent guide for snorkeling and hiking at Sandy Cay. I would recommend his services. He seems to be trying to create more eco-tourism instead of hotel/bar development in the area. Snorkeling off the SGE beach is very good, off of Sandy Cay is even better. Lots of colorful fish, coral and even a few sea turtles.

How we got to Sandy Ground: Delta Airlines to St. Thomas. Then, land taxi to Charlotte Amalie port for $17. Water Ferry from Charlotte Amalie to West End, Tortola ($49 each for round trip ticket). Picked up our food on the dock at West End and took a water taxi to Sandy Ground for $100 each way. Nadine, from Sandy Ground, helped with the ferry and water taxi arrangements. If you've got the money, I'd go for the $225 water taxi directly from St. Thomas to Sandy Ground.

Getting around Jost Van Dyke- Although there is a road within Sandy Ground Estate, there is not a road connecting it to the rest of the island (there is a path to the road). Walking to Foxy's Taboo is maybe 15 minutes with a hill on the return. Walking to Little Harbor involves a big hill and about 30 minutes. Walking to Great Harbor and White Bay would be considered more of an outing at about an hour or more. Land taxis are available and charge $5 to get to the next harbor per person. (From White Bay to SGE, taxi cost us $30). The taxi meets/drops you off at the above mentioned path.

Personally, I have never had such a relaxing vacation. We stayed in Loblolly Tree House (perfect for two couples) and loved it. Its an ideal spot to sit and watch the scenery and wildlife (the pelicans were a trip as well as a colorful little sugar addicted bird called a bananaquit). The outdoor showers have a dream view. The house had a few games, many local guide books and lots of fiction to read. If you are looking to get away from reality but still want a kitchen and a nice bed, this could be your spot.

18  Thank PMTAVL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 January 2006

We have rented a villa at Sandy Ground Estates every February for the past 10 years. Sandy Ground consists of 8 villas spread out among about 15 acres on the eastern tip of Jost Van Dyke. See its website at ----.

All the villas have gorgeous vistas overlooking Little Jost, Green Cay, Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay. Tortola, from Long Bay to Cane Garden Bay to Brewers Bay, is in the background, and beyond there is Guana and Great Camanoe, with Virgin Gorda's peak looming in the distance. In other words, the vista includes "islands that go on forever." And, in among the islands, there is a delightful all-day ballet of sailboats and motor yachts.

The villas are comfortable but simple, with full kitchens and covered terraces. We throw open the windows and doors, and the hummingbirds and bananaquits fly through.

The main beach is idyllic. Great for walking and picking up sea glass and old pottery shards. The reef that surrounds the beach is great for snorkeling. It also makes for privacy, because even dinghies cannot get through the reef (though some try, to their regret). And there is a second, smaller beach by the boat dock facing Diamond Cay, where there is also good snorkeling. At night, dozens, maybe hundreds, of large tarpon hang out under the dock light. During the day most of them go out to deeper water, though we often see one or two while snorkeling (they are big but harmless). Other sealife includes turtles, squid, barracuda, rays and a full range of reef fish.

Sandy Ground is not a "resort," and you're basically on your own. It's perfect for self-sufficient folks who want to swim, snorkel, read on the beach or terrace, walk, nap, bird, and/or star gaze. Kayaks, sunfish, dinghies and the like can be rented, either at Sandy Ground or in Little or Great Harbors. The resident managers, Nadine and Leroy Isaac, are very helpful. For example, if there is enough interest among the guests, Nadine can arrange for a snorkel boat to come over and take guests on trips to places like Monkey Point, the Baths, Cooper Island, The Rhone, Peter Island, the Caves, the Indians, etc.

While the main road does not presently go all the way down into Sandy Ground, there is talk of extending it. However, it is only a short (but rocky) walk up a goat path to the main road. From there it is about a 20 minute walk to Foxy's Taboo restaurant at Diamond Cay, and about a 30 minute walk in the other direction (up and down an impressive hill), to Little Harbor and Sidney's, Harris' and Abe's restaurants. Or you can easily get a taxi to take you to Great Harbor or White Bay or anywhere else on the island. Most guests will walk to Taboo for lunch or dinner several times a week, and to the bubbly pool when the seas are up. Many guests also walk to Little Harbor, and some even to Great Harbor and White Bay

Most guests cook most of their meals in their villas, and so must stop on Tortola or St. Thomas to buy provisions (there are half dozen small groceries on Jost, but most folks will want a greater selection).

One of our favorite things about Sandy Ground is that it faces east. We get glorious multicolored sunrises and the fresh morning sun. Then, at midday, the sun passes over our terrace roof and we have cooling shade for the rest of the day. Our sunsets are "reverse sunsets," where the sun glints brightly on the west facing beaches and cliffs of the other islands. Once night falls, the only lights in view, as we eat on the terrace, are Tortola's subdued streetlights, which are strung like Italian lights along the northern shore and mountaintop roads. The sky is especially dark, which makes for great star gazing or serious astronomy. Watching the moon rise over Tortola is especially memorable.

Obviously Sandy Ground is not for everyone. But for those who want to really get away, and do so in comfort, Sandy Ground is a wonderful choice. Obviously we love it, so are admittedly biased. Nonetheless, we think we have painted a reasonably accurate picture. We have no financial or other interest in Sandy Ground.

  • Stayed: February 2005
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15  Thank tomdunes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2005

We have stayed at several of the villas over the past 15 years. Every villa is unique as they are privately owned, but each one has been wonderful. They all have exactly what is needed for a tropical vacation; very simple houses, open to the breezes, with wonderful views. As there are no roads to the estate, and with a coral reef off of the beach, privacy is perfect. Some of the best snorkeling we have ever done is right in front of the houses.
The caretakers, Nadine and Leroy, are wonderful hosts and help with anything that is needed. If you feel the need to join society, they can make arrangements for you to get to Great Harbour or White Bay.
Each time we return, we are awed by the beauty of this place.

14  Thank Seelie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Sandy Ground Estates

Address: Jost Van Dyke
Region: Caribbean > British Virgin Islands > Jost Van Dyke
Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Speciality Lodging in Jost Van Dyke
Price Range: £1,004 - £1,398 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Sandy Ground Estates, perfectly situated on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, this unique location offers an experience like no other: glorious weather, azure waters, brilliant beaches, fascinating flora and fauna, awe-inspiring coral reefs and activities almost too numerous to mention. Jost Van Dyke is the smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands with Sandy Ground Estates, made up of six villas, occupying the eastern end of the island overlooking picturesque Sandy Spit, Sandy and Diamond Cays and only minutes walk from a sandy white beach you can call your own. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sandy Ground Estates Hotel Jost Van Dyke
Sandy Ground Estates Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

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