The Caribbean – Part 2

Margaritaville, the song, is a lot of fun. Margaritaville, the resort on St. Thomas, is even more fun.

My husband and I spent four nights at Margaritaville. That was just enough time to see everything nearby as well as to have some time to play at the beach.

We booked our room through Airbnb and it was much less expensive than other area hotels. The room was gorgeous and immaculately clean. We had a full-size refrigerator, microwave, and even a dishwasher. There was also a blender for those frozen concoctions and the king size bed was extremely comfortable. Our second story balcony looked out over the pool and beyond that out to the bay.

Margaritaville Poolside Bar

The pool-side bar was very comfortable and did a great job of serving food from the kitchen any time we wanted. There is also a hill-top infinity pool which has unbelievable views out across the bay. It has a sit-down/swim-up bar up there, but they don’t have access to the kitchen, so no food.

Live music in the restaurant was great fun in the evenings and the pavilion next door hosted lively music and dance shows.

Margaritaville sits in Water Bay and while it is possible to swim there, the seaweed continually washes up onto the beach. It’s not too bad, easy enough to step around and they do rake it all up every several days or so. For swimming, Coki beach is a quick walk up the road. It has soft sand and beautiful turquoise water. We did a little snorkeling, but that day there was not much to see. Coral World Ocean Park is on Coki Point as well. They have an aquarium with quite a variety of sea life. We had great fun watching them feed the fish and even train the sharks. The touch pool was lots of fun to play in and the huge sea turtles had their own pool. The little pond turtles were cute (lots of babies) but watch out for the many iguana lurking nearby trying to steal the turtles’ food. The tower in the bay is the perfect location from which to watch the wild sea life. It was fascinating. And when they brought the food out—the myriad of huge fish went crazy! The diver had to wear chain-mail gloves to prevent becoming part of the fishes’ lunch!

Lots of wild iguana hang out with the small turtles.

Their dive tours are popular, as well as snuba and their underwater trail. We also enjoyed watching the trained parrots. The sea lion show was said to be excellent, but we missed that one.

It was back to Coki Beach to swim on our last day, but it was a Sunday and several cruise ships had arrived on the island. It didn’t take long for the beach to be overrun with all those tourists covered in oil!

Amazing Coki Beach

The meals at the restaurant were delicious! We had fresh sea food dishes and the rice had the most incredible flavor. The ribs were also wonderful. Don’t miss them! Though the meals were fantastic, they did make quite a dent in the pocketbook. We walked down to the local market (10 minutes) and bought some milk and cereal for our breakfasts. They had items that we were familiar with, so we bought those, then we bought a few things that were completely new to us—just to try and see. One thing we bought was a plantain. I had heard that they are very similar to bananas. We bought one and tried to eat it with our cereal in the morning, but it was hard and crunchy, not a pleasant taste. I should have googled it! Apparently, you have to cook it. Later in our trip we greatly enjoyed some fried plantain.

The pool/bar had music going most of the day. They even had some games sprinkled throughout the week as well.

All in all, we had a great time and would definitely go back. Yet four nights was enough and we were excited to head on to St. John.

The Caribbean – Part 1

We just returned from our yearly get-away-from-the-cold trip. This year our trip was to the soft, warm sands and turquoise-blue water of The United States Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. John. This once in a life-time trip was courtesy of an airline voucher we received in exchange for giving up our seats a year ago on an over-booked flight. Free airfare! Where would you like to go? Not a doubt in our minds.

The flight took us to Houston (raining), then Puerto Rico, then finally to St. Thomas. I was mesmerized by the tropical ocean, so many shades of blues spreading out in all directions!

A major surprise for me was Puerto Rico. Through an occasional news story, I have only heard about Puerto Rico’s poverty — how destitute they are. Unfortunately, I have never delved deeper than surface knowledge about the people nor the land. Flying in to San Juan, I saw a beautiful city with palm trees, blue ocean, beaches, tall hotels and office buildings. It reminded me Honolulu. Why have I not heard about the beauty? I asked myself.

Yes, I did see a number of houses that still had blue tarps spread across their roofs. I recalled scenes on T.V. from the two 2017 hurricanes Irma and Marie. Bridges and roads were ruined, cutting off whole communities. Electricity was out throughout the entire island. Exhausted people stood in long lines to receive food and clean water.

But still… Why have I not heard about the beauty?

I began reading what I could find about being a tourist on Puerto Rico. They have amazing beaches, surfing around the whole island, hiking through the mountains, and beautiful gardens. They also have a rich culture and a complex history. And the food! Mouth watering pictures floated before me.


Picture courtesy of: crazyjamie.wordpress.com. Crazy Jamie has many delicious 
recipes on her website. Check them out!

I can’t wait to visit Puerto Rico someday!

Then we were on to St. Thomas. We had done our homework on St. Thomas: beaches, restaurants, shopping, museums, driving, taxis, ferries, all of it. Yet I was not prepared for the physical size of the island. Very small! Thirteen miles long and four miles wide. As we dropped out of the sky I scanned the numerous other islands as well and got a sense of what thirteen miles by four miles really means. I am accustomed to living in Montana, Big Sky country with lots of wide-open spaces. Yet this tiny island was surrounded by picturesque beaches, green hills and sailboats galore.

I had reserved a car at the airport and we were excited to get to our first hotel. I stepped up to the rental car counter and the lady said, “No cars. They are all gone. Come back tomorrow at 1:30 and I will get you a car.” I stood there confused for a second then handed her my confirmation number. The line of tourists behind me were frozen just as I was. So the lady explained. “No cars. They are all gone. Come back tomorrow at 1:30 and I will get you a car.”

The taxi men were hovering.

By the time we were loaded up and headed down the road it was dark. The taxi zipped in and out of busy traffic and zoomed up and down and around the crazy corners that make up the road system of St. Thomas. I looked at my husband and said, “I sure am glad there was no car for us!”

The taxi van was full of young people from the States. They repeatedly told the taxi driver that he was not going the right way. They said they knew of a shorter road. A quick check of the map the next day showed that the taxi man had indeed taken the shortest route. The patient taxi man had been kind, but I was embarrassed. Those of us from the States are guests on their island and in their towns and in their taxis. Guests should show hosts the respect they deserve, not be demanding and act as if they know it all.

Nevertheless, our room was beautiful and the bed was very comfortable. We woke in the morning and immediately opened the curtains to look outside for a peek. A sparkling swimming pool lined with palm trees, lounge chairs and umbrellas greeted us. The sun shone over everything. Behind the pool was a bluer than blue bay, sailboats lazily bobbing at their moors. We slid open the balcony door and warm tropical air enveloped us. “We are not in Montana anymore Toto,” my husband grinned.

Have you ever been to the USVI? Share your thoughts and/or web page.