BIRTHDAY BAECATION IN ST THOMAS
HI BOMB BAES! I'm back again to provide you with more helpful details on bomb travel destinations. This short travel guide will tell you almost everything you need to know about planning a trip to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. St Thomas is a Caribbean paradise that does not require visitors to have their passport, making it an ideal travel destination, especially during the covid-19 pandemic.
First things first, what is it like traveling during covid?
If you are fully vaccinated you do not need to show proof of a negative covid test, but you will need to provide your vaccine card upon arrival. If you are partially vaccinated (less than the required full dosages ) or unvaccinated:
Domestic travelers must submit a negative result from an antigen or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) (e.g., RT- PCR) COVID-19 test taken within 5 days of travel.
*US citizens are not required to take a covid test to return to the US*
What is the currency in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
As a U.S. territory, the currency is the U.S. dollar. ATMs can be found throughout all three USVI islands. Most businesses do accept debit and credit cards. I suggest bringing cash for taxi drivers, tipping crew members and making purchases from locals (fresh fruit, souvenirs, chair rental, etc).
Can I drive in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
FYI: They drive on the left side of the road. A valid U.S. or foreign license is accepted for 90 days. So yes, you CAN. but I would not recommend it. The roads are very windy and narrow, in addition to driving on the opposite side. It seemed like a stressful task for someone who isn't familiar with the island. I wouldn't suggest driving, but it is an option.
How is the weather?
One of my favorite features of the U.S. Virgin Islands is the enjoyable warm sunny weather they experience year-round. The average winter temperature is 77ºF and the average summer temperature is 82ºF). Making this a perfect travel destination year round. I did read that hotel/flight can tend to be a little cheaper during the summer months. We went for my birthday, August 29th. The weather was amazing! Not too windy, not too humid, no rain. etc.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at an Airbnb called the Starfish Hideaway, an ocean waterfront condo on Cabrita Point. The location is in the East End of St Thomas, near Red Hook. My favorite part about the condo was definitely the balcony/patio overlooking the ocean. We spent a lot of time out there. The photo below was taken right in the backyard, which is more like a small beach. The ocean was literally steps away. There was a rocky shore line with patches of sand just 20 feet away from the door.You can actually see the ferry in this photo, going back and forth to St John.
The Airbnb came with binoculars, a fully equipped kitchen, and even provided us with beach chairs, beach towels and snorkeling equipment. We recently developed a new found love for snorkeling, and a new appreciation for crystal clear water. The Airbnb is near other small white sand beaches, The Secret Harbor Beach being the most popular within walking distance. We didn't make it to that specific beach during our stay, but def plan to visit it next time.
Airbnb or Hotel?
I personally preferred staying at the Airbnb. I was really grateful to have access to the cooler, chairs, towels, snorkeling equipment, etc. because I wanted to visit several beaches, and we were prepared to do that. I understand that hotels also offer amenities, but I prefer privacy as well. We really enjoyed the privacy and freedom of having the large balcony and ocean view. Waking up and going to sleep to the sound of waves hitting the shore really made the trip that much better for me. I usually prefer an ocean front hotel or balcony/ocean view and that can be a little more expensive for hotels VS Airbnb, but it depends. I also cooked in the kitchen several times. The Airbnb was perfect for us, so I think it depends on your traveling style.
Rental or Taxi?
I mentioned above that we preferred not to drive on the island. Upon arrival we met a taxi cab driver who gave us his phone number. His name way Roy, and he was very friendly and helpful. At the time masks were required inside public transportation, but I read that the CDC is lifting the requirement after April 18th, 2022 . Anyways, I suggest using the taxi cab services.
RED HOOK RESTAURANTS:
Our first night there we went to "Agave Tequila Bar & Mexican Kitchen" I wish I would have wrote this blog sooner, because my memory is a little faded but I vividly remember getting really bad service from the hostess lol who was also our waitress, so we decided to sit at the bar. The nachos were heaven sent. The fajitas were delicious. The ambiance was chic but fun. This place has 4.5/5 stars on OpenTable and Facebook, so I would say its a solid choice on the island.
"Duffys Love Shack" is a really popular little bar right in the center of Red Hook. It's a tropical looking shack right in the middle of a parking lot. Full bar and really good appetizers. They have a full menu but we didn't get entrees. They are best known for their location, drinks, daily specials and souvenir cups. Probably the best parking lot bar you'll ever come across.
"Island Time Pub" is a harbor front casual restaurant with a full bar and best known for their pizza. We ate at the bar and had a great view of the marina. We actually doubled back to this location because they had a really good happy hour special. The don Julio was $4!!!!
"Bernie's Bar & Grill" located right below the Island Time Pub. This casual restaurant offers beer on tap and a full food menu. This place is really colorful and casual, also known to have a really good happy hour special.
"Señor Pizza" we ordered take out from a pizza spot located in red hook too. They are one of the most popular pizza spots on the island and they offer delivery. We chose to take our pizza to go, but they do offer casual seating indoor, and outdoor on their large porch.
We went to "Prime at Paradise Point" for my birthday dinner and it was beautiful. The scenic view was so romantic, and the food was delicious. This restaurant is located at the top of a very windy and steep hill. The drive was a bit crazy lol but we made it to the destination safely thanks to our driver. I think this is another reason I'm so against driving on the island lol We enjoyed a delicious meal (shout out to those Brussel sprouts!) and got some cute photos. I do suggest making a reservation because this is one of the most popular fine dining restaurants on the island. The photo doesn't do the view any justice.
Lindquist Beach had a $5 entry fee, no big deal, but it did catch us off guard. This beach doesn't have any restaurants, vendors, or bars. The water was the perfect temperature and I really enjoyed how secluded the beach was. It was nice to have privacy, space and tranquility. We brought a cooler (shout out to the airbnb) and of course packed water, tequila, sun screen, towels and snorkeling gear. The water was not ideal for snorkeling though. This beach is perfect for relaxation. I really enjoyed it.
Coki Beach was my favorite! Free entry to this white sandy beach, and they have a bar and food options. We didn't eat here, but we did get frozen drinks. This beach wasn't as private as Lindquist, but the water was better than perfect. We seen plenty of fish while snorkeling. Coki beach is actually known to be the best shore snorkel on the island. More people come here for sure, so I suggest arriving earlier to get a good spot. They do offer snorkeling gear and beach chair rentals too.
My favorite part of the trip! I told my boyfriend all I wanted for my birthday was to see a sea turtle up close while snorkeling. We had recently went to Aruba and had an exhausting experiencing trying to catch a glimpse of a sea turtle while snorkeling lol He booked the "Turtle Cove Catamaran Snorkel and Sail Adventure" and we seen that turtle! We seen 2 sea turtles! Up close and personal. This was the best snorkeling experience I've ever had. The water was perfect. The instructors and boat crew were bomb! We seen colorful coral reefs, sea turtles, an ugly barracuda, an eel, and some pretty fish too! The boat gave unlimited water, beer, wine, and rum punch.
The excursion lasted about 3.5 hours and the crew was extremely friendly and helpful. I posted the link below. The Vi Cat is the name of the boat and they offer water sports, dinner, sunset sails, and more! I highly recommend booking this specific excursion, or any other activity you'd be interested in with the link below.
"Cocktail Sunset Cruise" was a really good time. This sunset sail leaves from sapphire beach and lasts about 2 hours. You are welcomed on board with a glass of champagne and the service during the entire ride is amazing. The unlimited drinks and appetizers were perfect for me. The guests are a little more mature, no children were on board during our tour. The captain and his crew provided excellent customer service, making sure our drinks were filled and offering a variety of appetizers. The pain killer was the most popular drink on the boat, I probably had one too many lol The bruschetta was my favorite. There was also a chocolate dessert served. More relaxing, mature and romantic vibes for sure.
TripAdvisor link below:
Ferry ride to St John:
We did not make it over to St John during our trip to the US Virgin Islands, mainly because it would have been a time consuming trip. The ferry was right there in Red Hook and made frequent trips over to St John for only $6 one way, but we decided to save that venture for our next visit. The trip time was estimated at around 20 minutes from the red hook location. If you have the time I would suggest visiting St John while you are there. I heard AMAZING things about their beaches.
Ferry info link below:
Pack everything that you may need! I needed to buy sunscreen and ibuprofen and I believe my medicine was around $14 for the small bottle. The sunscreen was small and cost $17. I know we are more likely to blow money on vacation but, just be prepared. I actually forgot to pack a few items for this trip, but it worked out fine. This isn't one of those destinations you go to and buy stuff that you already have at home though.
All in all, I highly recommend St Thomas as a baecation, solo trip, or family trip. The island is a bit slow paced for a girls trip but it all depends on your travel style. My boyfriend treated me to this trip to bring in my 30th birthday, so it will forever hold a special place in my heart. The turtle cove snorkeling experience was the trip highlight for me. Let me know if you've been or if you plan to visit! I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below.