How ironic to go to the "Virgin" Island's for Valentine's Day... but Uday and I could not resist the two night free stay we earned to stay there after attending past Time-Share Presentations. The first U.S. Virgin Island we visited was St. Thomas. The first two nights, we paid to stay at the Island View Guest House. This place was on a steep hill with breathtaking views of the Harbor of St. Thomas and other nearby islands. The family who owned the place were very friendly and helpful and went by the honor system with drinks we took from the refrigerator. The only thing that was challenging about staying at this place was that it was quite a walk to public transportation and we did not want to rent a car or take a taxi because of the expense, especially when we planned on spending the first whole day at the beach. We were very fortunate to get a couple rides from the owners when we needed them most, once to take us to the public transportation and then to our free hotel stay at the Holiday Inn the next time.
Public transportation for $1 was called the "Safari" and it was similar to our idea of a public bus except it had no windows so the air-conditioning was the free open air and the automobile was a truck instead of a bus.
The first day we went the beach that a "local" recommended called "Coki Beach". At this beach there was Coral World which was like a small aquarium and place to rent snorkeling equipment for a fee but since we brought our own snorkeling equipment we were able to snorkel for free. The snorkeling was really great there even though there were a good amount of people.
The beach was also beautiful and entertaining with local food, tropical frozen drinks and a local singer performing reggae songs.
Although the beach itself was beautiful, I would be lying if I did not admit that it was also a run down area that was trashy with some locals rolling joints and playing cards in the back sitting on couches on the street and dirty bathrooms that I would not even use.
But for me that is still part of the experience and I could look past some of the trash from the people and see the beauty of nature. We also met a little kid that was guarding a sand shark that his father was going to cook for later at their little local restaraunt. This was a "national geographic type" photo opportunity that I could not resist and the kid was excited to have me take a picture.
We also met a few more interesting locals along the way...
Uday and I also enjoyed watching the crazy tourist from the cruise ships falling down drunk, dancing on a platform and making fools of themselves. We were having too much fun watching to be one of those fools ourselves this time. The reggae performer was singing: "Sexy lady shake, Big mon shake, Sexy shake, Big mon shake..." and then the Big mon fell down!!
Later this day we also stopped at another tropical paradise a "Safari" ride away called Sapphire Beach. This beach was famous for it's turtle sightings but Uday and I did not have any luck seeing the turtles this time.
The next day Uday decided to rent a Motorcycle to go beach hopping and have more freedom to come and go as we pleased. We rented the bike from a place called Biz Rentals the owner's name was Cesear (who later also gave us a deal on a kayak rental and a ride to get there after we returned the bike). I have never been on a motorcycle and Uday did ride them in India but we were both in for more of an adventure than we ever expected... this was the "ride of a lifetime" !! I do not recommend renting a scooter here if you plan to go to tour St. Thomas especially the Megan's Bay area because you will not make it up the hills.
The roads ahead were full of twists and turns and very steep hills (more like mountains). One time the road was so steep that I had to jump off the back of the bike before we went backwards. Uday said that happened because he did not put it in first gear fast enough. One lady saw us next to her house when I jumped off the back and Uday was walking the bike a little and she asked if we were alright. I am sure we looked pretty funny! I must admit that this was one of my favorite parts of the trip and I highly recommend seeing the Island this way for the adventure and the breathtaking views at almost every turn.
We rode the bike to Megan's Bay one of the most photographed beaches in the world. Uday and I helped ensure that it stayed that way with all of the photographs we took as well.
Along the way we stopped at a couple look-outs. One stop we saw a donkey dressed up like a tourist and I got my picture taken with it as well even though I felt a little bad for it. We also bought a steel drum C.D. and thanks to the drummer, we got to play the steel drum!
After hanging out at the beach we stopped at a beautiful look-out as the sun was setting and got an ice-cream at the Dairy place famous for it's alcoholic ice-cream shakes. We also had fun taking funny pictures of us with our bike helmets on. We really got good use of the rented motorcycle and even though my butt was soar and my back hurt due to the backpack, it was still worth it!
The last day we spent on a kayaking adventure to a place we saw recommended on the internet called Honeymoon Beach. We had to kayak quite a long distance to get there and back (took us about 3o minutes one way) and Uday was afraid that we might get stuck in the middle of the ocean and/or run over by a one of the many big boats coming and going.
Through hard work and determination, we made it to Honeymoon Beach on Water Island and it was another somewhat secluded fantasy island type place. It felt so nice to go for a swim there after our kayaking adventure.
On our way to Water Island and back we also saw a huge turtle swimming in the middle of the ocean and that was truly exciting! We rented our kayak and returned it at the Best Western location that had it's own private beach (we also ate at the bar there the night before). This was called the Best Western Emerald Beach Resort and had a great beach location called Lindberg Bay, aka Emerald Beach. This was also the most luxurious Best Western I had ever seen and we also enjoyed their pool with a water fall after our kayaking adventure. The hotel and atmosphere were very relaxing and tropical from the outside.
It took some time, but we finally found a restaurant where they served local food before leaving for St. Thomas to go to St. John's. This place was called "Cuzzins"! Many "locals" recommended it however there did not seem to be any locals there at night. Perhaps "locals" only eat out at lunch time? I was not that impressed with the food after all the hype but Uday really enjoyed his meal (goat curry).
After dinner, we went window shopping the various stores and gift shops around the place. We did some goofing around as well... :)
We enjoyed our two night free stay at Holiday Inn as it was the most luxurious Holiday Inn we have ever seen. It had a gorgeous outdoor terrace and if we were to pay for the room it would have cost us $350 per night! We even did our laundry there! The next day we got on a Ferry boat that was right across the street from the hotel to take us to St. John's Island. We could not have planned this better if we tried! The next blog will be about Virgin Gorda Island and St. John's Island.
Click on the picture below to see all of our pictures from St. Thomas: