“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in” –Robert Orben
I was given a very unique opportunity in that Travel Keys was able to send me to check out our properties first-hand at some of our most popular destinations, but was also able to experience this with my fiancée as we turned a work trip into a honeymoon.
We started our trip at the St. Thomas airport, being picked up swiftly and courteously by our on-island shuttle service partner. Our driver, Joseph, welcomed us to the island and started firing off great spots to check out. He then dropped us at the Red Hook ferry dock that took us to Cruz Bay, St. John on a gorgeous, 20-minute boat ride – where we would be staying for the next three nights. Once we docked, with our bags, we walked only a few short blocks to the car rental ageny to pick up our Jeep. (*I would highly recommend not vacationing on the island without your own transportation*). The trip would not have been nearly as much fun if we were sequestered to our villa, as gorgeous as it was. Having a car gave us so much freedom and we were lucky we booked our vehicle so early in advance as the attendant told us that their fleet was almost completely booked for peak season in the upcoming year. BOOK EARLY!
We took our island Jeep up the steep, mountainous roads to our stunning villa in Rendezvous Bay. Deja View was a dream come true! Six lavish bedrooms, a game room, indoor and outdoor dining space, gourmet kitchen, outdoor bar and grill, pool & hot tub – there was nothing else to want. Outside the master bedroom was a double hammock I spent most my free time in when we weren’t exploring the island. We were able to scope out a handful of the other Travel Keys villas on the island and I can imagine a stay at any of them would’ve been just as delightful.
Not bringing our own snorkel equipment, we rented our gear from the Westin Resort (for $10 a day it was a deal). Easy as pie. We spent most of the 2nd day exploring the popular snorkel spots and beaches off the north shore—Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Maho Beach. Trunk Bay was by far the best for snorkeling as they even had underwater signs describing the fish and coral you could discover. But BEWARE!! Wear and reapply sunscreen MUCH more than normal (2x an hour) as our entire party got burnt that day and it made the next day, our amazing boat trip day on the Bad Kitty/Calypso, not quite as enjoyable as it was meant to be.
That night, we had Chef Mathayum Private Chef Services come to our villa to prepare dinner for our crowd. He’s very personable and professional. He had the appetizers and paired wine flowing. We had a venison dinner with an incredible variety of sides from the grill – and fresh. Our package included dessert, and he didn’t disappoint. A chocolate mousse concoction. Wow! No wonder he’s the best on the island.
If you only do one excursion during your USVI trip, take the Bad Kitty/Calypso boat trip. The captains and crew are the absolute BEST! We jumped in and they did all the hard work for us as far as USVI to BVI customs went (be sure to bring your Passport for this trip). Our first stop was The Baths at Virgin Gorda. A MUST SEE, boat or no. These monoliths buried halfway in the water make you feel like a visitor to another planet. From there, we headed to lunch at the Resort on Scrub Island. Snorkeling at Monkey Point on Guana Island was next, though because of our sunburns, we had to stay back on the boat….but NOT a problem because the Bad Kitty boat bar opened up and the crew started serving us! Because it’s best to pre-drink before you go to a bar, we headed to world famous Soggy Dollar Beach bar on Jost Van Dyke. What a stunning beach and incredible drinks to pair it with! Another must! Best Painkiller I’ve ever had.
For adventurous eaters, De’ Coal Pot in Cruz Bay had the best roti (local island curry, stews and wraps) that we found. Tamarind was a fun, casual spot to grab a great dinner as well – their menu changes nightly which is pretty neat. If you’re looking for souvenirs, best wait until you’re back on St. Thomas for duty free prices, but St. John’s Spice at the ferry dock had tons of fun take-homes without the high price tags.
Off to Tortola we went on day 4 via Inter Island Boat Service. Chevone, our villa greeter, met us with our car rental, waiting at the West End ferry/customs port to guide us to our 2nd villa in Trunk Bay. Villa Ventana was much smaller and private. We were one of a few that overlooked our cove of the island.
Due to the steep drives and dirt roads, this villa was a good deal harder to get to than our first on St. John, however, our agenda at that point was much looser and we planned to stay at our villa for the majority of our 4-day stay, and having the privacy on our own part of the island was a perfect way to spend our honeymoon. You can have your villa pre-stocked with food, but we had the RiteWay grocery store at the bottom of the hill in the heart of Roadtown. It had everything and anything you could think of from sunscreen to ice cream and the prices were much better in comparison to St. John.
We had a dirt road that lead from the villa to the Trunk Bay beach inlet which we visited multiple times, completely undisturbed as no one else was ever there. When we weren’t lounging on our private beach, we were touring the other popular beaches such as Cane Garden Bay where we stopped for lunch and drinks at Myett’s. They allowed us to lay out on their beach chairs and relax. We snorkeled Brewer’s Bay and Smugglers Cove, taking tons of underwater videos as the fish were abundant. You never had to miss being on the beach while staying at Ventana because you can hear the soothing pounding of the waves sun-up to sundown, lulling you to sleep and then back awake.
There weren’t as many “touristy” things to do during off-season on Tortola, but we were OK with that – spending most of our time at our secluded villa with our stunning view.
The last day there, we pampered ourselves with a 70-minute couples massage at the Amara Spa at Roadtown Marina. Both of our masseurs were fabulous and attentive to our personal directions. The experience was complimented by aroma therapy and green tea.
Already of thinking of ways to get back there!