Well, we’re flying home today after spending 7 nights in the USVI. Great trip made better by the many excellent ideas learned on TTOL! Sorry but this is long!
We flew from Charleston, SC to St Thomas on 6/17, and took a cab to the Moorings base placed during COVID. This was my 1st sailing trip in the USV I, after 10 trips to the BVI. My wife and I chartered a 40 ft catamaran, and we’re joined by 2 great friends, all of us in our early 60’s.
We spent 6/17 night on our boat in the Moorings base, so that we could head out early the next morning. We self provisioned that evening, and ended up eating at a sushi restaurant on base which we enjoyed.
We did our briefing 6/18 morning and sailed towards St John. We’d heard that the BVI had just started loosening entry requirements and were thinking about bypassing the US side and spending the week in the BVI.
We got conflicting reports on entry requirements and decided to pass on the BVI. Also, we were all curious to see what St John offered. We motored to Honeymoon Bay, and and had a fun day chilling on the beach. It was the most commercial, crowded beach, of our trip, because it’s so close to Cruz Bay. Still worth it.
In planning for our trip I’d read on this board that ZOZO’s was highly recommended, but that reservations should be made as early as possible. I did so about 1 month in advance, and am so glad I did! ZOZO’s is located in the former Caneel Bay resort which was visible from our anchorage.
We took our dinghy ashore at ZoZos late afternoon to get our bearings, and to enjoy the secluded beach in front of the restaurant, before heading back to our boat to get ready for our evening.
ZoZo’s was amazing! We arrived 30 minutes before our 7:00 reservation for drinks next to the beach. We then sat down for dinner, and had maybe my favorite dinner ever in the Virgin Islands. Outstanding service, tremendous food, and beautiful views of St Thomas at sunset. It’s expensive, but we all agreed it was worth it.
We got up early and motored past Hawksnest, and caught a mooring ball at Trunk Bay. I think there were only four. As Trunk is an underwater National Park, it was pretty busy. But very good snorkeling accessible via a short swim from the beach. We saw the 1st shark I’ve seen in the VI’s, and nice coral and fish.
We then motored into the wind past Cinnamon Bay, and caught a ball in Maho Bay to stay the night.
We had dinner reservations in Cruz Bay, and went ashore about 5:00 to try to catch a ride into town. Maho has afternoon food and drink stalls during the day, but is vacant from about 5:00 on. We were concerned about catching a ride, and I spotted a you lady who’d just finished her day working one of the shops. I asked what the chances were that we’d see a cab that late in the day. The young lady, “Busy or Bizee” said, “well it’s your lucky day. She drove us into Cruz, and was a wonderful, adventurous young lady.
We went for a drink at “Drink St John” on the bay and enjoyed a beautiful sunset, before catching our dinner reservation at Extra Virgin. No view but great atmosphere, and even better dinner!!!
We got up early and spent the morning in search of turtles in Maho. We found many, and this was one of the highlights of our vacation!!!!
We then motored to Honeylemon Bay for some quick snorkeling. Beautiful small, less visited Bay.
From there we headed to Coral Bay, and had to anchor, as few balls are available. We anchored near Lime In. Lime In is a floating taco bar in Coral Bay. and a must visit! You can sit on underwater stools at the bar, or in floating rafts. We had a blast!!! Expensive, but very good tacos and drinks!
We then checked out the bay, and later visited Skinny Legs! Great, very popular, hamburger restaurant on shore. Very fun and inexpensive.
We headed offshore for a fun sail, and then made our way to Salt Pond Bay, but no balls were available so we motored to Great Lameshur Bay, but moved on to Little Lameshur, because it was less crowded, just us and 3 other boats for the night. We had our best snorkeling of the trip motoring by dinghy along these bays. Reminded me of snorkeling on Norman Island.
We grilled steaks on the boat and had a special evening.
We sailed among the St John shoreline circumnavigating the island, and caught a ball in Caneel Bay. We took the dinghy into Cruz Bay, and took a cab up to The Windmill. Wow!!!!!!!! What a view. Simple little restaurant that opened during COVID, and from the BVI side reminded us of Hog Heaven on Virgin Gorda. Another must hit spot overlooking the north side of the island.
We splurged a few times on this trip, but maybe saved the best for last, we headed to Lovango Resort. We got a half day pass for the infinity pool complex and beach area. We also took an included tour to the other side of the island which had stunning views and snorkeling.
We headed back to the cat to clean up and relax, before heading back for dinner. They set us at a table for four, on a patio just feet from the water. We had Mahi, crab cake, and lamb shank dinners which were all delicious.
Lovango is just getting started, and much development is in the process of happening right now. I can’t wait to see it as the years pass!!!
We motored back to the Moorings base on St Thomas, and then to catch our flight back home.
We all agreed it was a blessing in disguise that our not being able to head back to the BVI’s allowed us to experience the USVI side, which was equally enjoyable.
The BVI’s have better opportunities to sail because you cover more ground and sail from island to island. With The Indians, The Dogs, Norman Island, etc, The BVI has the edge in snorkeling and diving. The BVI also has an edge when it comes to iconic beach bars, places like Cow Wreck, Foxy’s, Soggy Dollar, Willy T, etc. I also missed the many lobster spots I enjoy on the BVI side.
The USVI St John, which is better than any single island in the BVI in my view. They also have greater options for fine dining. The USVI is also MUCH more travel friendly, as you don’t have to deal with the ferries.
All in all, the Virgin Islands gave us another fantastic trip to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I attached a few of my favorite photos.
Re: Trip Report from 6/17-6/24
#259238 06/25/202111:27 AM06/25/202111:27 AM
Great report! St John is near and dear to us. Instead of sailing we decided to be land based there in a month. Haven't stayed in a villa there in probably 10 years, sailed over a few times. We saw that Maho (our favorite beach) had a new parking area last time we sailed there, is the food/drink just a small operation or did the NPS build something?... curious to see what changes have taken place in 10 years, hopefully not many!
Thanks for link local sailor, interesting. We just found some pics of crossroads, will form opinion once I see it in person….I just saw a pic of even more parking near NPS pavilion? Funny years ago we would pull our Jeep into one of a dozen spots in the overgrowth. “They” stopped allowing that stating bad for environment and now it seems they are paving over paradise? I’ll keep an open mind!
Re: Trip Report from 6/17-6/24
#259305 06/26/202110:02 AM06/26/202110:02 AM
Great report. As a BVI addict, I will say in my book St john is super special for all the reasons you stated above. I try to spend time there whenever I do a BVI trip. Feel the need for one coming on soon!!
Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth. Diane
Re: Trip Report from 6/17-6/24
#259354 06/27/202109:15 AM06/27/202109:15 AM