The Caribbean – Part 3

St. John – Red Hook Ferry

Riding the ferry to St. John, we saw numerous nearby islands, floating on the Caribbean Sea. It was a quick 20-minute ride. As we departed the ferry terminal in St. John, we were quickly surrounded by taxi drivers. We dove through the group and swam out the other side. Our ride was waiting for us. The lady who hosted our bed and breakfast met us in the cute little park opposite the ferry terminal. Since we had no rental car, we decided to try the taxis for a day or two. Our hostess said her house was about a mile and a half from Cruz Bay.

“That’s not very far.” I told my husband. “Let’s just walk to Cruz Bay in the morning and get a taxi from there to the beach.” Our hostess smiled and said, “Well, it is a difficult walk,” and she gave us phone numbers for several taxis. She drove us around Cruz Bay in a quick tour and then headed up the hill, then around some crazy corners, then down a hill, then up a very steep hill, then down some more hills, more crazy corners, then up, and up again, then waaaay up. That last hill was incredible—I never thought any vehicle could make it up that hill!

My husband looked at me and said, “I am not walking to Cruz Bay!” We climbed out of the car, grabbed our bags and headed into the house. It was a beautiful view straight through her living room, out the sliding glass doors, and out over the Caribbean Sea. Tropical greens and blues spread out before us as far as the eye could see. Our room was upstairs with its own balcony looking out over Rendezvous Bay across the sea and even out to St. Croix, over 40 miles away! We simply stood in awe. The room was beautiful, extremely clean and private. Check her out on Airbnb. It’s called Hawk’s Rest, Cruz Bay, St. John USVI. She went out of her way to make sure we had everything we needed.

The view from our balcony at Hawk’s Rest.

The next morning, she gave us a ride into Cruz Bay where we bought some sandwiches and easily grabbed a taxi headed out to the beaches. The taxi was an open-air Safari taxi. It was fun riding along looking out over the bays and islands, not worrying about keeping my eyes on the road. As the wind was up, we chose to start on Maho Bay. The waves were up, but not too much. We dove right in and swam to our hearts content. We did try to snorkel, but the waves had stirred up the sand so there was no visibility. Instead we built sand castles, stretched out in the sun, ate our delicious sandwiches and swam to our hearts content.

When we were ready to head back to our room, we stepped out onto the road behind the beach and looked around like we were lost. What if no taxi ever comes again? Before we had all the sand brushed off our feet and our shoes back on, a taxi came to our rescue. The following day we spent some time shopping in Cruz Bay and had a delightful strawberry and banana smoothie! Cruz Bay is quaint and delightful during the day. In the evenings, everyone has music blasting and the bars are overflowing with people having a great time. When Friday came, I announced it was time to rent a Jeep tomorrow and drive ourselves. Our hostess mentioned that most car rental companies are closed on Saturday, so we headed down immediately and found a Jeep available at the first place we stopped.

I have driven on the left side of the road before so no problems there. But those hills! Sharp corners with extra steep switchbacks make blind driving very interesting. Yet no problems occurred. The speed limit is usually 20 mph and everyone is kind and willing to wait their turn. We spent a few more days swimming and snorkeling, investigating all the beaches in turn.

Our favorite place to eat turned out to be the Sun Dog Café at the Mongoose Junction. Their Shrimp Vera Cruz was excellent! My husband said the Stuffed French Toast was the best food he had ever eaten. The mango and cream cheese stuffing literally explode in your mouth!

Sun Dog Café

The Jeep had to stay on St. John so we turned it in and headed back to St. Thomas. Our final Airbnb recommended a car rental company so we put in a call. Yes, they had a car and yes, they gave us a confirmation number…

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