Saturday, 24 June 2017

Eight Ways to Save While Traveling to the USVI

Vacations are a time to splurge, let loose, and have a good time. Here’s the thing though, it’s way too easy to overdo it! We want to help you get the most out of your vacation for less. 

1. Plan your Trip During the Off Season

There are definitely pluses and minuses to this first point.

  1. Better deals on hotels and activities 
  2. Touristy spots will be less crowded 
  3. More affordable prices at restaurants and shops

  1. From the lack of visitors, many businesses close up shop during part of slow season
  2. Shortened hours for other small businesses 
  3. It’s also Hurricane Season

Don’t let the term hurricane season completely scare you away though. Hurricanes are dangerous, so here a few tips. We suggest if you book during hurricane seasons, purchase travel insurance. Also, pay close attention to the weather leading up to your trip and keep an eye on it while you're on island. 

2. Book Direct With A Hotel or Villa

We are in the age where booking sites make it so easy to compare hotels and flights, but in most instances, it really pays to book direct. Use those booking sites to check out the differences between the hotels (like TripAdvisor, Priceline, Expedia, etc.), then visit their website to see if there are any deals or specials only available online and on their site. 

If you're looking to book on St. John, check out St. John Villa Rentals. This site lets you deal directly with St. John owners and on-island managers. You can avoid the crazy 4%-16% booking fees that VRBO/HomeAway/AirBnb adds to your bill! They don't charge owners commissions or booking fees don't charge guests a service fee. Another one of the many benefits of booking through this site is each listing clearly displays the owners/manager's contact info. 

3. Travel Light

Traveling light isn't always easy. You have so many activities planned, but only so much space in your suitcase. Just remember to pack what you need. See if you can find some outfits to mix and match, and utilize travel sized reusable liquid containers for your toiletries. Try packing multipurpose bulky items like shoes and pack a few small accessories that can turn any casual outfit into something dressy. 

Traveling light can save on baggage fees, and even make traveling less stressful. 

4. Discounts for Military / Seniors / Students 

If you’re a student, in the military, or a senior citizen, (as you probably know) many places will offer discounts… even when you’re traveling! Plenty of businesses will offer these discounts, even if they don’t state it on their website or at their front desk. It’s best to just ask, because the worst that’ll happen is they say no. Make sure you bring your ID for proof though! 

5. Don’t Dine Out for Every Meal

We know you’re on vacation and are excited to try all the great local cuisine, but going out to eat can get really pricy, really fast! Try stopping by the grocery store to stock up on basics that you can snack on throughout the day. Also, left overs are always great, too! Ask for a box and you have lunch for tomorrow! 

6. Eat a Larger Lunch

It’s no secret that dinner tends to be pricier than lunch. One easy way to save is eating a large lunch and a smaller dinner. Go ahead and get that lunch dessert too. (bonus points for sharing an appetizer and entrée during dinner) 

7. Make a Must-Do Excursion List and Stick To It

You may be overwhelmed by all the fun activities you can do while visiting a new place, but sites like TripAdvisor can make it easy to pick some of the best. Make a list of all the activities that really intrigue you, and narrow it down from there. Keep your budget in mind as well. That way you’ll get the most out of your vacation. 

Tree Limin’ Extreme is highly ranked on the outdoor activity category on TripAdvisor for St. Thomas… just in case you needed some ideas 😉

8. Check Out Free Activities 

Even though it might seem like it, not everything costs money! One great way to save is simply taking advantage of the many free activities St. Thomas and the rest of the Virgin Islands has to offer.  For example, all of the beaches in the USVI are public, so you may have access to any beach you’d like! Some cost money to park, but most beaches are free all around. Sight seeing around the towns is another fun, free activity that is always enjoyable! Downtown Charlotte Amalie has historic Danish architecture that is really something you’re going to want to check out. Also, St. John National Park has plenty of hiking trails that we really encourage you to explore. From awe-inspiring overlooks to petroglyphs and waterfalls, St. John is a treasure trove of exciting possibilities. 

Our goal is to expose as many people as we can to the incredible beauty of the USVI! And if could help you save a little bit of money in the process, then that’s always a plus. 

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Friday, 2 June 2017

Why You Should Always Pack Tennis Shoes on Vacation

Let me start out by saying it’s always a good idea to pack tennis shoes when you’re going on a trip. Even though I’m an advocate for light packing (as you’ve read in past posts like Caribbean Vacation Packing Tips) I firmly stand by this rule. There are plenty of people out there who much rather free their toes, especially while on vacation, and that’s totally fine, but there are some situations where tennis shoes will save the day, your feet, and your positive attitude. 

Here are 4 reasons why you should always pack tennis shoes while on vacation:

There Tends to be More Walking on Vacation 

For you flip flop/sandal (or really any sneaker alternative) wearers out there, I know you’re conditioned, but when you’re on vacation, you don’t realize how much walking is involved. Even if you don’t get blisters, tennis shoes offer more support for your knees, hips, and back. You don't want to spend your vacation aching, do you? 
Lovely walk along the waterfront in Charlotte Amalie

It’ll Save You From Blisters 

Blisters are the best… said NO ONE ever! Sure, you can still get blisters from tennis shoes, but we suggest you pack your trusty, worn down pair that have become a literal mold of your foot. It’ll save you both your nice shoes and your feet!

Keep Your Nice Shoes Clean 

Like I stated above, by wearing your sneakers during activities and days you’ll be out and about, you simultaneously will be saving your nice shoes for those less active outings. There’s nothing like dining at local restaurants and dressing up for the occasion or checking out the nightlife. These are the perfect opportunities to wear those adorable sandals you bought for this trip. A day at the beach or pool is another great time to sport those fun, colorful flip flops as well. 

A Lot of Activities Require Tennis Shoes

There’s a time and a place for flip flops and sandals, and the same goes for tennis shoes. As we assessed earlier, a day walking about town is totally a comfort shoe day, so what else? Glad you asked! Our zip line canopy tour, for one, requires all participants wear closed toed shoes, preferably tennis shoes. There are plenty of opportunities for you to not only lose your shoes if you were to wear loose fitting, slip on shoes, but we want to save you from stubbing your toes on our metal stairs as well. 

Other activities include hiking, sight seeing tours, off-road 4 wheeler tours, and any activity that you want to spare your nice shoes. 

Here’s a little final anecdotal tidbit to express my point. I’m an avid sandal/flip flop wearer. While vacationing in Europe, my teenage self thought it would be so cool to wear my new strappy sandals for the day walking around Paris, even after my mom protested that I wear sneakers. Low and behold, not even an hour into the day, I was holding back tears of pain due to putting fashion ahead of comfort. I ended up getting painful blisters and trading shoes with my mom after a few hours, who won’t let me live that moment down to this day. 

Final thoughts: Is there a chance you won’t end up needing your tennis shoes at all? Sure! But trust the old saying “ I rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” 

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Ultimate Rum Punch Recipe

If you’ve been to the USVI, or really any tropical destination, chances are, you’ve seen or indulged in a rum punch.

There is no proper way of making a rum punch. Each bartender/bar has their own specialty rum punch and their patrons who swear by it. Now, everyone’s taste buds are different, but there are certainly better rum punches than others!

After some experimenting, we’ve come up with, what we believe, is the ultimate rum punch! If you want to impress your friends with a smooth, refreshing cocktail next time you’re entertaining, whip up our recipe and you’ll surely make a lasting impression.

8 Servings

2 ½ Cups Fruit Punch (whichever brand you prefer)
1 Cups Cranberry Juice
1 ½ Cups Dark Cruzan Rum
¼ Cup Cruzan Coconut Rum
1 Cup Pineapple Juice
½ Cup Mango Nectar
¼ Cup Cream of Coconut
3 Tablespoons Grenadine Syrup

Optional: Tropical fruit such as pineapple or mango

Mix liquid ingredients together in a pitcher and stir together until evenly mixed. Add fruit chunks and enjoy! 

For best results, stir mixture before pouring into drinking glass

This is just one of many ways you can enjoy a delicious rum punch! If you are missing any ingredients, why not try substituting for something else and create your own signature rum punch? 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Why You Should Spring Break in the USVI

Spring Break is an exciting time of the year, especially for those who just got done experiencing winter. Maybe you’re a college student looking for a fun getaway to go on with your best friends or a working parent ready to cash in those vacation days for a trip that’s fun for the whole family! There are hundreds of examples, but whatever the case may be, the USVI is a great destination for spring breakers and here’s why.

2017’s $300 USVI Credit
The USVI is giving guests to the islands a $300 credit to enjoy on various activities! The islands are celebrating its 100 year anniversary of becoming a United States territory and your invited to the party! The trio have always been a popular tourist destination, but 2017 they want to sweeten the deal to entice more too come and discover (or rediscover) America’s paradise. 

St. Thomas Carnival
St. Thomas Carnival is always an exciting time! For many years, Carnival has taken place in April and is a celebration that both locals and tourist to enjoy. There are so many moving parts to Carnival that it takes the entire month to get through all the festivities. Want to know more? Check out the links below to get the details. 

The Weather
When you think of spring break, images of sandy beaches, bathing suits, and sunny skies typically come to mind. St. Thomas and the rest of the USVI has all of that… minus the super crowded beaches. The average year round temperature is a comfortable 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Not to mention that the water temperature in April is 79 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s practically one beautiful, giant heated pool!

Laid Back Beaches
For those of you who LOVE the beach, but hate the crowds… we feel you! The beaches here in the USVI are laid back and relaxing. Sure, there are some busy days, but no where close to some other beaches you’ll experience in Florida and other popular spring break destinations! Gone are the days where you need to wander around aimlessly trying to find a spot. We offer you tranquility and comfort.

Delicious Cocktails
It’s no secret that the USVI has some of the best cocktails around. Even home to some fantastic drinks, like the bushwhacker, which was created right here in St. Thomas. St. Croix has a few famous distilleries, like Captain Morgan and Cruzan rum. Not only are our drinks delicious and abundent, but they are also affordable!

Additionally, the legal drinking age is 18 here, but we urge anyone who wants to indulge in our fruity cocktails to please drink responsibly. 

Fun Activities
The USVI is known for offering a great variety of fun activities you can partake in! Like zip lining at Tree Limin’ Extreme, water sports at various beach huts, and sunset sails. There is no limit to what you and your entire family can do while you’re vacationing here!  

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Monday, 27 March 2017

St. Thomas Beach Bucket List

As one would assume, the island of St. Thomas is literally lined with some pretty amazing beaches. Like the kind that come stock as your desktop background and you can’t quite get yourself to change it because we all need a little paradise in our day to day lives. As you’re sitting there, at work, home, wherever, gazing deeply at that picture and imagining yourself wearing a floppy sunhat, sipping a cocktail out of a coconut and sticking your sandy feet into the warm water, just know that your dream can become a reality! 

For all of you die hard beach bums out there, we made a list of some of the best beaches on St. Thomas and we challenge you to visit them ALL. Don’t just wish you were in beach heaven, buy a plane ticket and live a little! 

Here is your alphabetical beach bucket list: 

Bluebeards Beach

If you’re looking for calm waters, refreshing sea breezes, and exciting water sports (like windsurfing and kiteboarding), then this is the beach for you. You will be pleasantly surprised by the luxury accommodations as this beach is located on the Ritz Carlton Club and just a short walk to the Ritz Carlton Resort. 

Spend the afternoon bathing in the sun with your favorite fruity beverage, or try kayaking, SUP boarding, windsurfing, and/or other water sports. Either way, you’re bound to have a good time.

Bolongo Bay

Their tagline says it all: “It’s a beautiful day at Bolongo Bay”. What Bolongo Bay lacks in quintessential clear turquoise water and delicate sand, it makes up for it in activities and awesome amenities. 

The Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is a quaint, family owned resort located on nearly the entire length of the beach. They pull out all the stops to ensure their guests of both the resort and beach are having a good time.  You have your choice of two restaurants, jet skis, various water sports, a volleyball and tennis court, and festivities such as their Carnival Night and full moon parties. Not to mention, the snorkeling is pretty good here too! 

Iggies is a popular hang out spot for both locals and tourists alike and is a great place to grab a drink and a bite to eat for your afternoon at the beach or a fun night out on St. Thomas. 

Brewers Bay

Located near University of the Virgin Islands, this beach draws in college kids, locals, tourists and just about anyone who loves a day at the beach. It’s easy to know when you’ve arrived since the street is lined with Caribbean food trucks ready to serve you up some true local delights. 

On the weekends, Brewers Bay is a popular spot for families to have picnics and other celebrations.

Coki Point

Coki beach may be on the smaller side, but don’t think for a moment that that means there’s nothing going on. This beach is equally popular with the locals as it is with tourists, which means parking can get limited on busy days. 

Great snorkeling, check. Clear, blue water, check. Places to eat and drink, check. Local vendors, check. If you like your beaches like you like your cities, busy and a lot going on, then Coki is for you. 
For those of you who like marine life, Coral World is located on Coki Beach and is great fun and educational for the whole family. 

Cowpet Bay

Cowpet Bay offers a variety of activities that draws visitors back time and time again. Although this beach is small, you still have your choice of places to eat and a variety of water sports. Also, the snorkeling on either side along the rocks is pretty good and the calm waters make it even easier to spot something really awesome. Sometimes good things come in small packages!

Hull Bay

When you arrive, you’ll notice there are more locals than tourists here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop by. This is one of the few good places to surf around the island, so don’t forget your board. If you’re looking for a place to just hang out and swim, this might not be the best place for you. It doesn’t exactly have the soft white sand. It does have coral that begins fairly close to shore, but that isn’t bad if you like to snorkel. People have spotted some pretty neat things around this area. One thing that you might really like about this beach is that it's free, and has places to eat and drink nearby. That can make for a good day at the beach if you ask me!

Limetree Beach

Tucked into a cove, Limetree is a natural beauty. It isn’t usually very busy and is located on Bluebeards Beach Club Time Share/Hotel. Even though it isn’t as long as other beaches on St. Thomas, it does offer a quaint and relaxing atmosphere that is perfect for a quiet beach day. The water can be a little choppy and the sand mildly rocky, but that shouldn’t deter you from checking out this tiny tropical paradise. 

Lindbergh Bay

Lindbergh Bay Beach, also known as Emerald Beach, is a fabulous spot for anyone who enjoys clear water and soft sand. Located less than a half mile from the airport, this beach is easy to find and offers free parking. 

It is also great for those who are looking for amenities such as a bar, restaurant, water sports and a bathroom. Since there are 2 hotels located on this stretch of beach, you will have plenty of options. Grab yourself a drink, sit back, and relax! 

If you’re passionate about the environment, then you’ll be happy to know that this beach has been awarded the Blue Flag. For more information about Blue Flag, visit

Lindquist Beach

Lindquist is one of the hidden treasures of St. Thomas. It is on the east end of the island, near Red Hook, in an area called Smith Bay. Sometimes you have to pay a small entrance fee, but that isn’t bad for what you’re getting. This beach is rarely crowded, and is family friendly. And talk about beautiful Caribbean beaches. The water is so clear and has some of the whitest sand you’ve ever seen. The fish are friendly, so it’s a great place to snorkel. There aren’t any water toys or places to eat, but it’s so beautiful, it doesn’t really need anything else. 

Magens Bay

If you read any St. Thomas travel magazines or googled St. Thomas in general, you’ve most likely heard of Magens Bay. It is one of the most popular beaches on St. Thomas, and it’s that way for a reason. For one, it’s beautiful… there’s no denying that! White sand, crystal blue water, and palm trees lining the beach so perfectly it feels like you walked right into a postcard. But, as we all know, beauty comes with a (small) price, so make sure you don't leave your wallet at home or in the hotel (you pay for parking). It also can get pretty crowded, depending when you go. If you choose a weekend or a busy cruise ship day, the beach can get pretty packed. In order to avoid congestion, try going on a week day where there are little to no ships in, or later in the afternoon. To top it all off, it also has some nice amenities, like water sports rentals, restrooms, and a mini beach shack that serves some food and drinks. 

View from our zip line, Tree Limin' Extreme
Magens Bay at sunset

Morning Star

This sunny spot is home to the Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. Like all of the beaches in the USVI, the public has access to this little slice of paradise, along with easily accessible parking. 

Do you like to have a cocktail or two while you sunbathe? That’s no problem here! You have your choice of bar and restaurants to get your favorite drink in no time. Maybe water sports are more your speed? You can rent those out while you’re here! You might be able to try out SUP yoga as well. 

Sapphire Beach

At Sapphire, you have your choice of shady or sunny spots with a great view from just about anywhere. It’s also fantastic for those who wish to bask in the sunshine and adrenaline junkies looking to try out a new water sport. When you’re done reading, napping, paddle boarding, or whatever your favorite beach activity is, get yourself some food and refreshments from the nearby restaurant. 

Secret Harbor 

It’s no secret that this beach is beautiful! It’s small and packs a punch when it comes to that beachy atmosphere you’re looking for. Palm trees and hammocks set the mood for one relaxing day and snorkeling is a must do during your visit. The water is pretty calm, which makes it a great family beach. Don’t forget to take advantage of the bar and restaurant and relax the day away. 

Sugar Bay

Since Sugar Bay is located at Sugar Bay Resort and Spa, there is a lot to do here! If you want to try jet skiing and/or a variety of other non-motorized water sports, this is a great place to visit. The calm waters will make it easy to learn any new water sport and relax on the beach. 

Vessup Bay

Unlike beaches located on busy hotels or resorts, this beach has a much more enchanting castaway vibe. Luckily there is still a water sports stand for those who want to give it a go. Find yourself surrounded by tropical flora like sea grape and palm trees, cacti, and other Caribbean favorites. Take an afternoon to unwind, walk along the beach, take pictures, and sunbathe. 

During the weekdays, Vessup Bay is pretty calm with just a handful of beach bums trying to catch a few rays, but the weekends, things tend to pick up. This spot is a local favorite for birthday parties, family gatherings, and weekend picnics. 

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