Saturday, September 10, 2011

Trip to St John, USVI over Labor Day weekend 2011

This past weekend I drove over to Boston to catch a flight down to Miami to catch another flight to St Thomas, USVI.  I took a cab across the island to the Red Hook ferry dock and then I caught the passenger ferry to St John where I spent three nights at the Westin.

I met some people on the ferry so I had company for meals which was cool because I traveled down there myself.  The Westin was pretty nice, but I would definitely stay in the villas rather than the hotel portion.  I would also not recommend going to St John in September because it's the down season and a lot of restaurants close then.

I spent all of my time relaxing in one way or another - eating, drinking, swimming, snorkeling and hiking.  The island is fairly mountainous so it wasn't advised to walk into town, but you can catch a cab for $5-6.  Sure, it'll add up, but renting a car is a pain the ass for sure.

I drank more than my fair share of rum, but wasn't hungover at all since I have a high tolerance for rum.  People drink beer, but most people ordered up mixed drinks.

The food was good, but expensive.  There didn't seem to be a local cuisine and I was told there isn't much of a native fishing industry.  Everyone there speaks some form of English and the USVI are part of the US so you don't need to change money.  I would recommend bringing your passport because you need to go through customs on your way home.

It was hot and humid there so be prepared for it.  It rained for maybe a total of five minutes, but I imagine it could get pretty hairy during hurricane season.  A friend of mine recommended a hat so I got a boonie hat from Columbia.  I question my choice of a black one since it's a sun hat, but it did the job.  I got a tan without being in any danger of burning.  I recommend bringing two or three bottles/cans of sunblock since prices are much higher on the island.

Most places prefer cash so bring roughly $100 per person per day unless you're going to eat at your hotel for every meal.

I went snorkeling Labor Day morning near Little St James which is a private island and then over at Mingo Key through Low Key Diving.  I wanted to go SCUBA diving, but my allergist wouldn't sign off due to my history of sinusitis.  It was a good call since my ears plugged up pretty quickly in the water.  I didn't see as much sea life as I did in Hawai'i, but it was still fun.  The water was a little choppy, but the captain loaned me a dive vest to help keep me afloat.  If you think you'll go snorkeling more than two times in your life, I would recommend getting your own gear.  The rental gear I used was just ok.

After snorkeling, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and then went hiking around the island on the Lind Point Trail.  I hiked to two different beaches, Solomon and Honeymoon, but didn't stay since I had enough of the water from that morning.  Hiking when it's hot and humid requires a ton of water and I actually ran out on the way back so make sure to bring more than what you think you need.  There are also a lot of bugs so bring bug spray.

The views were great, but I was happy to get back to take a nap.

All in all, I had a great trip and I highly recommend St John.  If I were to do it again, I'd make sure to have at least three full days so I could take a day trip to the British Virgin Islands.

After a lot of work this morning trying to copy code from the internet, I've got the slideshow finished.  Check it out.

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