Getting our traveling mojo back
I am here to share some great tips on St. Thomas travel. First let me tell you what the pandemic did to our usual travel plans. While others never stopped traveling when Covid hit, Ejuan and I felt safer postponing our planned trips. After we contracted the Covid-19 virus at the top of the year, we decided to lay low for a while. As the world began to handle the situation better, we started to venture out a bit more. We enjoyed a staycation that was just under an hour away from home. Later into the year, we decided that we were ready to get back into the travel game. A lot had transpired in such a short amount of time, and we wanted to get away ASAP! It was time to start planning and be our own guide. St. Thomas travel restrictions were present, but we were prepared.
Making the choice to travel to St. Thomas Virgin Islands
Ejuan and I were so ready to travel again, but relaxing was top priority for us. Wherever we went would definitely be about more chilling than our typical trips. That decision helped narrow down locations. Plus, we had sent our passports off for renewal, so we knew we couldn’t go out of the country. The process of elimination began with locations in the US. Our choices were between Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, USVI. We’d been to Puerto Rico before, so the obvious choice was the latter. Visiting somewhere new is always our first preference, and it was a plus that our longtime friends were already traveling there too. Ejuan went into travel agent mode like he does for all of our vacations. He found lodging, booked flights, and gathered a couple of things to see. St. Thomas travel was about to be added to our list of must-see places.
St. Thomas travel requirements
Although we were traveling within the United States, it’s still an island with its own rules and expectations. St. Thomas travel requirements included taking an antigen Covid test a few days prior to leaving. A negative test result was to be uploaded to their local government site. In order to move forward, we had to receive a green QR code box with an approved status then we were good to go.
The beginning of our St. Thomas Travel
We took Spirit Airlines, who we fly with often. The first leg went from Dallas to Fort Lauderdale. There was a short layover, and then we flew to St. Thomas. Each flight was a little over two hours. Landing in St. Thomas, we were immediately in awe of the grassy hills. A line was formed to take our temperature, and show the green QR code to their military servicemen. From there, we went inside to customs. It was a quick process then we headed out for ground transportation. You could take a private car for $90, or share a van for $30. The lesser cost was our choice. It was only us and another couple, so it worked out perfectly. A lot of the other travelers were waiting for bags. That is why we stopped checking bags years ago. Packing light and keeping our belongings with us is our motto.
Brace yourself for the ride!
The ride from the airport to our hotel was about 30 minutes. If you’re not into heights, hills, and a lot of bumping around, this is definitely not the destination for you. The roads are high in the hills and there are a lot of sharp turns. Ejuan and I have actually visited St. Thomas once before via a cruise, but it had been so long that I’d forgotten about the drive up. I was quickly reminded.
Our home away from home for a few days
The first stop was Margaritaville by Wyndham. You’re required to give your name at the first desk to your right. Then we were sent to the main desk for complete check-in. There we left a card for incidentals. Next, we had to go across the lobby to the concierge desk. A lot of moving parts…I know! They gave us a Margaritaville bracelet. You should keep it on at the resort. It opens your door (as well as the room keys you still get). It’s also to show you are a paid guest, and you can get discounts with it. Once everything was set, we went out front to wait for one of the resort hosts to pick us up in the golf carts they use to drive guests around the property. If you don’t take the ride, be prepared for a workout with lots of steps or steep hills.
The room was clean and spacious. There was lots of storage, if you’re the traveler that likes to unpack and really make it feel like home. It included a small kitchenette with the basic necessities, and a personal margarita mixer. There is also a sitting room area next to the bed where you can relax, or watch television. A table is located right underneath the TV.
On the other side of the sliding door was a balcony set for two. There were two lounge chairs with cup holders, and a small table. All of the neighboring balconies are within arms reach. You could sit something on the ledge, and your neighbor could grab it. Fortunately, we were never outside at the same time as anyone else. The views were beautiful with coconut trees and the surrounding property.
Grabbing a quick bite on site
We headed down to eat at Jimmy Buffett’s, the only restaurant on the property, only to find out that they closed at 430P and would reopen for dinner at 5P. Therefore, we had to find the next available, quickest thing. The store located onsite at Margaritaville is where we eded. Since we were going back to the restaurant a few hours later, we decided to keep it light. I ordered a California Club on a croissant that we shared. It was one of the best smoked turkey sandwiches I’d ever had. I don’t know if that’s because I was starving, but it was yummy!
After walking the grounds a little, we headed back to the room to relax for a short while. A little after 7P, we made our way back down to Jimmy Buffett’s Margarativille. I ordered the grilled mahi mahi, and Ejuan had Jimmy’s Double Cheeseburger. I took a small bite of his cheeseburger, and it was delicious. My food was really good too but I couldn’t finish it, so I packed up half for leftovers. Before we headed out I wanted to try the seafood chowder, so I ordered it to go. I had one spoonful before we left, and oh my, it was sooo good!
Just the two of us
Our first half day in St. Thomas was simple and chill, just the way I like it. I slept in the next morning while Ejuan went to the gym. An appointment was required to use the facility to ensure the safety of all guests. Once Ejuan returned, we showered and dressed for the beach. Our friends were coming in a little later, so we wanted to get some alone time first. After getting directions from the front desk, we became our own St. Thomas travel guide. LOL! We made our way through the resort to take the back way to Coki Point Beach. It was about a half mile away, and took maybe 10 minutes to get there. Be prepared for the hill, and don’t say I didn’t warn you! When you come down the hill, the beach is to your left.
We were told that fried fish and johnny cakes is what the locals loved to eat, so that’s what Ejuan ordered. It was located at one of the small buildings right next to the beach. It wasn’t fresh because it had already been cooked and was sitting out and covered in a bowl. So when we walked to the beach side, he ordered a fresh fried fish plate, and I got the boiled fish. Both plates came with corn on the cob, salad, and seasoned rice. The rice was the highlight of my platter! I was shocked to see the body of my boiled fish, but I should have expected that since that’s how the fried fish is served there. After we ate, we took a peak at the beach and snapped a quick pic.
A relaxing time in paradise
It was time to pause and go meet our friends. They came to our resort to drop their bags and change into their swim attire, and we all walked back to Coki Beach. They ordered food and we all got drinks. The cashier at the bar was becoming rude and overlooked us for several other customers. After we got tired of waiting around, we went next door to the other food spot. When you walk up to the beach (right past the cemetery), their location is the first one you’ll get to. They were not open when Ejuan and I first got there, so we had to settle for the bar location that also sold food. They had other food options (like my preference, oxtails), plus the customer service was so much better. That became our go-to spot for the remainder of the trip.
Once our friends had eaten we all went down to the beach, and purchased two chairs for the four of us to share. The chairs were $5 each, and we sat in the them for all of five minutes. The guys made a good call by just renting two and not four. The water was a nice clear blue. Once you quickly dip yourself in (just to the shoulders for us ladies, to avoid hair washing) it was comfortable. There was drinking, talking, and dancing happening in the water. After about an hour and a half, we left for them to gather their luggage and get checked in at their Airbnb.
St. Thomas travel guide at night
After getting cleaned up and chilling for a short time, they were ready to get out again. A taxi came to our resort then picked them up at the entrance of their location. He drove us to Red Hook, which was about 10 minutes from their Airbnb. There were several restaurants to choose from. The first place we tried was out of wings, so we left there and walked around to a place called Caribbean Steakhouse & Saloon. Upon entering, it was extremely hot. It was uncomfortable, but e decided to stay and tough it out because we were all ready to eat and didn’t want to look for anything else.
After we ordered, I asked one of the servers about the heat. She said the A/C was intentionally kept off to help with costs. I hope this was a one-time thing, otherwise I would not suggest anyone visit there until the cooler months. I had shrimp scampi and a side of garlic mashed potatoes. Everyone thought the food was okay but I really enjoyed my selections, especially the potatoes.
Sites to see when you travel to St. Thomas Virgin Islands
The day began with a self guided walking tour of St. Thomas. Our first stop was the famous 99 Steps. The taxi driver told us it was 103. It was intimidating looking from the bottom up. However, as we began to make the ascent it wasn’t so bad. When we made it to the top we didn’t believe it was really 99, so we agreed to count on our way down. After snapping a few pics, we searched for Blackbeard’s Castle. Ejuan and I had toured the castle before. Unfortunately, it was closed for remodeling, so we headed back down the stairs. To our surprise, it was in fact 99 steps plus the landing and the very bottom (which to me doesn’t count because it was on the street), However, that equaled 101. Not sure where 103 comes from, but I guess it depends on who’s counting. (Kanye shrug).
Food for the soul???
From there we continued to be our own travel guide around St. Thomas, and began the journey to Gladys’ Cafe. This is a spot that Ejuan’s best friend swore was great soul food. Me being a girl that loves to eat, I couldn’t wait to try this place. Since we arrived a little over 20 minutes before lunch would be served, we ordered drinks, took pics, and waited until 11A. I ordered the grilled pork chop, the men had cajun grilled pork chop, and my friend tried the grilled chicken. The plates were plentiful with two pieces of meat, rice, coleslaw, and applesauce to dip the chops. Unfortunately, I didn’t see what the hype was all about. My meat was dry, but the cajun sauce made their pieces more juicy. Once again, I enjoyed the rice, and only ate a small portion of one piece of pork chop.
An unexpected blessing
Once we left Gladys’, we walked the streets until we came around to Fort Christian. Instead of touring the fort we decided to snap a couple of pics outside and then kept going. There was one lone tent (Covid shut down all the others that used to be available to cruisers and other tourists). Something smelled very enticing and although we all had just eaten, our noses were curious. We tried their specialty; a sandwich with sliced weiners, bacon, and cooked onions, topped off with a fried egg, paired with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo on a hamburger bun. When I tell you it was amazing…sheesh! I wish I’d had a full one by myself over the pork chop meal. IJS!
Coming to a close
We caught a taxi and headed back to their Airbnb and our resort. We changed into our swimwear, and hit the hilltop pool at our place. It was an infinity pool with beautiful views. We grabbed a couple of drinks from the pool bar, and relaxed for a while. We hung out there until it was time for their friends to meet us. Once we met them and took them back to our room to change into their swimsuits, we headed back to Coki Beach.
I still have a bit more fun to share, but this post has already stretched further than I anticipated. Stay tuned for Part 2 soon!
Until next time, I’ll leave you with this. If you’re a fan of light crowds, September (their off season), is the best time to travel to St. Thomas. I challenge you to get out and see the world. You work hard, so learn to play harder. Take a break from everyday life and spend some time in paradise! I highly recommend you travel to St. Thomas Virgin Islands!
Thanks for hanging out with me!