Last week was my two year wedding anniversary. It had me thinking back to the amazing time I had during my honeymoon in St. Thomas. After our destination wedding in nearby Puerto Rico, we took a quick flight over to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The flight may have been just 30 minutes long, but it was the morning after our wedding, and we were exhausted. All we wanted was to get to the resort and begin to relax. We landed at the airport, hopped on one of the safari buses that are prevalent on the island, and made our way to Marriott’s Frenchman’s Reef resort. We checked in and were ready for some R&R. A mini emergency arose when I realized that my suitcase was no where to be found…because it was still at the St. Thomas airport. In our post-wedding sleepy haze, we had completely forgot to grab our checked bag! The seasoned traveler in me was put to shame. A quick regroup and my sweet new husband was on his way back to the airport to retrieve the bag. Luggage fiascoes aside, we got settled in and were ready to see what the resort had to offer. The massive complex housed numerous pools, a private beach, a spa and free activities like kayaking and snorkeling. It was just what the doctor ordered. After a day at the spa and a few hours lounging in the infinity pool, we had completely settled into laid back island life.
Lazy mornings at the beach were followed by strolls through the capital, Charlotte Amalie. Our resort had complimentary ferry service that dropped us off right in the middle of the action, which was an added perk. Even though it was technically the off-season, this downtown area was still packed with people. A morning outdoor market was worth a quick walk-through, and I was able to pick up a cute beach cover-up and some local spices on the cheap. St. Thomas is known for it’s duty free shopping, and Charlotte Amalie is the place to go if you’re looking for jewelry and gemstones. Streets and alleyways are lined with jewelry stores selling necklaces, rings and loose stones – all at a much lower price than you’d at your local jeweler. There was a lot of browsing, but I left sans any new bling. We then walked up the famous 99 steps to see the hilltop attractions. A quick stop for banana daiquiris at a hilltop bar was the perfect way to beat the heat. They’re very popular on the island and I highly recommend them! The rest of the day was spend visiting restored Danish homes turned museums like Haagensen House, and visiting the shops and art gallery of the Pissarro building. It was actually the birthplace of the impressionist artist, which the art nerd in me loved. A stop at the infamous Blackbeard’s castle was a must, although it was a tourist trap. Although kitschy, it was fun, and a climb to the top offered great views of the harbor. The day was capped off with dinner at Oceana in Frenchtown, followed by drinks at the waterfront Hook, Line and Sinker.
The next morning we were off to explore other parts of the island. Shopping is always on my list, so checking out Havensight was a must. Rows of upscale shops by the likes of Gucci and Louis Vuitton mesh with bistros and bars, all overlooking the massive cruise ships and luxury yachts in the harbor. A little retail therapy and a nice lunch made for the perfect afternoon.
Our last day was spent on the East end of St. Thomas. I don’t know about you, but I love a good aquarium, and Coral World didn’t disappoint. The marine park featured outdoor exhibits where you could get up close and personal with sharks, turtles and stingrays. It even had an underwater observatory. Nearby Coki Beach was within walking distance, and decided to spend the rest of the day there. This beach may be a hike from the main areas of the island, but it’s worth a visit. They say this spot offers the best snorkeling in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This was the only beach on the island where we encountered very persistent locals selling everything from food to flip flops. It’s mostly an annoyance, and not dangerous. After spending our final day soaking up the Caribbean sun, it was back to the hotel to rest up for an early morning flight. Our short honeymoon was amazing, but I could have spent much longer in St. Thomas. Visiting the other islands of the U.S. Virgin Islands is next on my list!