Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas- A Gentle Breeze

People that are amusement park aficionadoaficionados-- beeline to Busch Gardens. Others that revel in waist deep powder and snowboarding-- jet to Vail, Colorado... But lover's of pristine blue waters and sugary sand slipping between their toes-- head to St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands. If you are in need of a beach lover’s break, don't delay-- pack your bags for a laidback and leisurely holiday to this sun drenched paradise.

St. Thomas is part of a diverse Caribbean archipelago that's steeped in a swashbuckling history of pirates and buried treasure. The islands exuding the delicate fragrance of flora, are home to many of the world's most picturesque sandy shores-- including Magens Bay and Coki Beach. There's a celebrated white-edged beach to discover every day of your vacation and right within footsteps of each other. At this world-renowned tropical oasis, feel free to fill up on rum cakes and cash in on huge shopping discounts.

The Cyril E. King Airport (CEKA)

Located on the western end of St. Thomas, is The Cyril E. King Airport-- one of the Eastern Caribbean's busiest. This airport offers nonstop flights from the United States, as well as many other International hubs.

Due to the Cyril E. King's small size, luggage assistance is generally not needed. For a lift into town, simply take a short stroll to the awaiting taxi dispatcher outside baggage claim. Most taxi fares average $4.00 to 12.00 USD. Buses also service the airport from 6am until 8:00pm but on no tried, nor true schedule.

Where to Stay:

Waft your worries away on the east coast of Saint Thomas at the Secret Harbour Beach Resort. Nestled on the lovely coastline of Benner Bay, this hotel is also conveniently located just a short distance from the Red Hook Mall and a great nightlife scene.

The spacious seaside guest rooms offer private balconies that feature seating for two which are perfect for watching the unrivaled Caribbean sunsets. Soak in the salty sea breeze and the tranquil scenery at this lovely property which hosts two restaurants, and an authorized PADI Dive center. There's plenty of access to any number of recreational vessels and sailing boats at this self sufficient resort... Not to mention any other oceanfront activity you could possibly imagine.

The Secret Harbour's studio apartments are situated directly on the beautiful beach-- also known as, 'The Lagoon--'  and come fully furnished with full kitchens, dishwashers as well as free internet. With a palm-tree shaded swimming pool, lighted tennis courts, and gift shop this is the perfect place for your sunny beach holiday. Other amenities include an onsite concierge, and even a wedding coordinator-- should the romantic setting overtake you.

Shop till you Drop

The three words you will covet the most when visiting St. Thomas are-- 'duty-free shopping.' Downtown Charlotte Amalie is a shopaholic's bonanza that won't suck you dry. Drop in any of the myriad of the island's discount jewelry emporiums, liquor stores or the open-air Market Square to find super bargains.

Generally as a rule of thumb,  I suggest waiting on cruise ship throng to clear out in order to avoid long lines and boisterous customers... But find the best deals at the Crown Bay Shopping Center, where the cruise ship crowds may work to your advantage as impatient and overwrought vendors will cave for your asking price.

Coki Beach-

Ever imagine where they film those Corona commercials, the one with the perfect turquoise water and pristine white sand-- the bottle of ice cold beer in the hand? Well, his stretch is that of beach. Waves lap up, ever so gently on Coki Beach, but due to its popularity-- it can get a little crowded. So to find a secluded stretch of the beach, walk down near the end of the cove and you will be undisturbed-- on this piece of heaven here on earth.

St. John-- Trunk Bay

There is no more of a romantic setting for soul mate's to share their very own, 'From Here To Eternity' moment-- than at Trunk Bay. You know, the movie where the two intertwined lovers, neck impassionedly on the beach.  Well cut loose, pucker up and express your undying love at this idyllic hideaway.

To get to St. John hop the water ferry from downtown Charlotte Amalie or the Red Hook dock-- the adventurous boat ride adds to a sense of excitement and anticipation of getting there... Once you arrive, safari ‘dollar ride’ buses will greet you at the tiny island's pier--  but you might pass a feral donkey on the narrow road leading to the National Park... so keep your hand inside the vehicle, lest you be kicked or nibbled on by the untamed beasts.

Located 3 miles out of Cruz Bay on the North Shore Rd., Trunk Bay has perfect powdery white sand and an underwater snorkel trail with plaques describing the sea life and ecosystem. No visit to St. John is complete without a visit to Trunk Bay. There is a $4 fee to access the beach.

Coconuts Bar and Grill

For the islands best margarita, or for that matter, the Caribbean's best cocktail-- drop in the well respected and much venerated, Coconuts Bar and Grill. The nachos will feed a family of four and the US Grade A beef burgers will leave you busting a gut... But with a cocktail's this good, it's all trivial-- you won't be seeing your food clearly after two of these potent potables anyway... so who's to care. The food's not the hero at this rambunctious and raucous setting but good luck trying to grab a seat-- this pint size pub packs a crowd. The clientele is colorful and rich in character however old adage applies-- get there early and stay late. After a night of revelry here, side effects might include-- hangovers and/or rehab depending on who you belly up next to at the bar.

Catania Charter

Enjoy a sun-filled afternoon and soak in dramatic views of the island on a classic sailing vessel. Catania Charter will usher you through hidden coves, stopping along the way to explore and snorkel.
All private charters include an open bar and refreshments as well as snorkel gear to take in the vivid coral and wide variety of ocean life.

Half day excursions run $95 per person but for the best value book the sunset cruise for six people at only $400.

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