Stopping by St. Thomas
No passport? No problem! Don’t sleep on the US Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix & St. John) for a Caribbean vacation without additional documentation.
I was fortunate enough to get to travel to St. Thomas during a unique time (hello, pandemic!) with some of my best friends (read about planning with your besties here). Note that we’re not a bunch of jerks: we quarantined prior to travel, provided negative tests upon arrival (required at the time), wore masks and followed social distancing guidelines, in addition to renting a house vs. staying in a hotel. Traveling during the pandemic also meant no cruise ships, which to me was a big bonus!
So if you’re thinking about traveling to St. Thomas or you’ve already booked your ticket and want some BGB recommendations here you go!
Food & Drink
We did a large portion of our cooking and eating at the rental house after picking up groceries (and rum), however the places we did go were fantastic! Regardless of where you go, you need to order a Painkiller as it’s pretty much the official drink of the island. You can even grab one the minute you’re off the plane – there’s a bar as you exit the airport.
Ideal Restaurant: I insisted this was our very first stop after picking up the rental Jeep because your girl loves roti! Ideal Restaurant has amazing roti and is zero frills (again, love). Just make sure you grab a Carib beer to wash it down with. We ate ours on the steps next to the restaurant and it was a great welcome meal.
Greengos: Who doesn’t like tacos? There was something for all of us (vegan, pescetarian, non-vegetarian) and the margaritas were perfectly frozen and delicious. PS – you can get one to go!
The Box Bar: I honestly would not have ever found this spot if it wasn’t for my friend who lives on the island taking us there! Somewhat tucked back with lots of outdoor seating, Box Bar had amazing drinks and great views of the yachts, all with great service and a kicked back vibe.
Love Livin’ VI: Located at Tillet Gardens (read more about that below!) this was a much needed all vegan meal after too many drinks from Box Bar the night before! Super fresh, made to order salads, burgers, soups and more. The kale salad with carrot “tuna” salad was exactly what I needed!
Full disclosure: we only did the legwork and found two beaches that we loved so much we just kept going back. I’m sure there are so many more that are worth checking out but here’s where we went:
Magens Bay Beach: Our rental house was literally up the hill from here so we frequented Magens Bay. It’s gorgeous and has facilities, a beach bar, food options, shop and kayak/paddle board rentals. It wasn’t necessarily crowded the days we were here but it was busier than the other beach we went to. It’s also important to note that this beach is often a shore excursion for cruise ships so maybe check before you go unless you want your beach day to include 1000+ additional people.
Lindquist Beach: Perfection! Part of the protected Smith Bay Park area, this one is a bit harder to get to (by harder I mean you have to park and walk a ways, not super challenging) and doesn’t have a beach bar/rentals/food/etc. What it does have is pristine beach, less crowds, and the day we were visiting a lifeguard chopping open coconuts to drink.
Get on a boat! We didn’t take the ferry over to St. John like we had planned but we did get to sail over! I highly recommend booking with Virgin Islands Day Sailing for the best experience! They have smaller bookings so your experience is much more personal and so much fun! We sailed over to Maho Bay in St. John to snorkel with the sea turtles and then had a grilled lunch on the boat before heading to another secluded spot in St. John (we were the only boat!) to snorkel with the fish and float on pool noodles while the captain tossed us hard seltzers. What more could you ask for?
Tillet Gardens is another must-stop! A collective of small gift shops, restaurants and art, this is worth a stop! You can find cats lazing around the garden area on your way to grab some lunch from Love Livin’ (or the other on site restaurant/bar) or just grab a drink and wander around. This is a super Instagrammable spot!
Things to Consider
Driving? It’s on the left in a left hand drive vehicle so buckle up! It definitely takes some deep breaths and confidence, especially on some of those curvy hill roads on Northside! Also be cautious of dogs, cats and chickens in the road as you’ll see quite a few.
We didn’t spend nearly enough time (is it ever enough?) but we did try to jam as much fun as we could into our trip! St. Thomas is a great stop, even if just for a few days. It would also be great if your plans are to head to over to the British Virgin Islands, which I’ll definitely check out next time (they were closed when we were visiting).
Want to know more about other parts of the Caribbean? Make sure to follow me on Instagram as I’ve got some exciting travels coming up! You can also read more about travel to the Dominican Republic from my experiences (love, love, love!).
Have you been to St. Thomas? I’d love to hear about your experience! Comment below or connect with me on IG and tell me all about it!