Vacations In Virgin Islands
My two daughters were excited when I handed them their US Virgin Islands Tour plane tickets. Just like me we all looked forward to this year’s vacation on the Caribbean Islands. Freeing ourselves from the hustle and bustle of our work, we head off for our seven day adventure of the US Virgin Islands. It was fun bonding with my daughters. We enjoyed snorkeling off the west end waters, the food and its people.
We started our journey with a 3 hour Delta Air flight from Miami to Henry E. Rohlsen Airport in St. Croix. A shuttle service from the Palms at Pelican Cove Hotel (Christiansted) fetched us from the airport. We enjoyed a good breakfast with a view of the white sand beaches and softly blowing tropical breeze. Then we head out to see the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Reserve. Our tour guide led us to a kayak tour of this marine park. The kayak tour was enjoyable; we paddled thru its calm, beautiful, 3 shades of blue waters. As PADI certified divers, we got suited with our needed gears to enjoy the diving point tours of the Anchor Dive Center. We were in awe as we reach the wall; the reefs were absolutely gorgeous and rich in marine life. I saw a giant sea turtle and reef sharks, awesome!
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After our dive we head off to the Fort Christiansvaern, a Danish fort reconstructed in 1771. It was a great place to learn about St. Croix and its people. The upkeep of the fort was outstanding and the view from the top was beautiful. The tour was completely self guided; we were handed out maps, given instructions and a little history. Later in the afternoon, we head off to the Scale House; it’s a small building where an old scale used during the Danish Settlement era still stands. We bought trinkets, books and souvenirs in the little shop we found inside. At night we strolled along the Christiansted Boardwalk for some fish tacos, homemade chips and salsa. We enjoyed the live music as we down our beers at the Fort Christian Brew Pub.
On our next day we took a boat from Fort Christiansted to take us to the King’s Wharf and the Protestant Cay. It is a tiny triangular island that features a pleasant sandy beach, restaurants and bars, and excellent views across the waters of Christiansted and Christiansvaern. The waters around here were as clear as glass! We enjoyed an eat all you can bbq beach party by noon with other foreigners we made friends on this tour. After here we took a short boat ride to the northern coastal part of St. Croix to visit the Buck Island Reef, the island has beautiful sandy white beaches and great snorkeling fun. We also visited Turtle Beach where we saw amazing fishes and corals. The place looked more magical with its fine golden sand and crystal clear turquoise water.
Then we head next to the Cane Bay, a nice dark sand beach about 300 yards long. We tried the fantastic Bio Luminescence Tour at its drop off point called the Cane Bay Wall. We glide to the water and everything the light touches glowed like neon lights. It was super cool! Later in the afternoon, we rented a four wheel drive to get to the scenic and secluded Isaac Bay. We spent the rest of the day watching ships pass by the shores, there was not much crowds and it felt more private for our family. Before heading back to our hotel we took photographs beside the Point Udall, a rock promontory with a good view of the Buck Island and the Atlantic Ocean. A huge sundial monument stands tall at the site.
On our third day we explored the nearby Frederiksted, a town on the west end of St. Croix. A great lunch welcomed us at the Rhythms at Rainbow Beach; the beach was small but has lovely sands and clear waters great for swimming. My two daughters enjoyed a Jet Ski ride at the water sports operation located there. I watch them from the bar where I enjoyed a great Mahi sandwich and “lime of the coconut” drinks. YUM! After beach bumming, we checked the St. George Village Botanical Garden, a well kept garden within the island from the 19th century. I felt like being back in time, the tropical plants that survived in this garden was unique. We strolled through at our own pace and time to admire the variety of trees and plants. It was interesting and informative to learn about the Plantation Ruins found inside.
From here we visited the Cruzan Rum Distillery, a guide lead us on the process of how rum is made, from manufacturing to distillery. We saw lots of rum filled oak barrels that were aged up to 12 years inside the factory. At night we head next to the Frederiksted Pier, it’s a great place for sunset walks, fishing and seeing sea horses and octopus. We shop for some souvenirs at the little booths in the open air market and watched a live show in the area called the Mocko Jumbies. We prayed at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church before heading back to our hotel to rest.
The next day we took a Cape Air flight to get to the next island, St. Thomas. It is where the capital city Charlotte Amalie is located. We spent three days exploring this wonderful island. We started with a tour of Magic Ice, an ice exhibition constructed on crystal clear ice. Upon entrance we were given thick lined and hooded ponchos, warm leggings, and gloves. We took pictures of ice sculptures and enjoyed the flavored rum shot served in an ice shot glass. The slides were equally cool (no pun intended)!
Next we took a hike on top of the hill to visit the Beracha Veshalom Vegimulth Hasidim Synagogue, a beautiful building with a sand floor. The caretaker showed us around and even opened the ark where some Torahs are kept. We watch a video that explains the history of the Jewish communities in the island and explains the reason for the sand. Afterwards we head to the 99 Steps, it is a cool historical spot with a great photo opportunity of lovely harbors and cruise ships from the top. The staircase street leads to the Blackbeard’s Castle, a castle used by the notorious pirate named Edward Teache aka Blackbeard, the Pirate. A swimming pool can be found inside along with the manor and historical houses. We toured around its well maintained Manor Houses like the Villa Notman and Brittania House. We were treated for some good wine tasting at the Rum Museum. I bought 2 bottles of exquisite rum to bring back home.
On our seventh day we visited the Frederick Lutheran Church, an old Lutheran church with a sweeping stairway and antique chandelier. We spent an hour of worship service on that Sunday morning. A solemn mass was held at its mahogany altar. The interior and the exterior speak of great Old Danish architecture. Ancient artifacts and memorial plaques from Denmark were proudly displayed along its walls. Then we head next to the Coral World Ocean Park. We went Helmet Diving to be one with the marine life in the ocean floor; it was fun to touch the sand shark and the underside of the giant stingrays and turtles! We get to feed sharks at the Sea Trek Adventure. We saw more marine creatures at the Underwater Observatory, and the Observation Pod was great too. There was a mini zoo where I photographed colorful Iguanas. Lastly, we did some shopping at the Main Street, for some duty free alcohol and clothing. I also bought my daughters their beautiful diamond rings at the Imperial Jewelers.
The US Virgin Islands totally wowed me from beginning up to the end of our one week adventure. It is a place I would keep coming back to because of its nice beaches, picturesque sceneries and its friendly and hospitable people.