What to See and Do in Cruz Bay, St. John

Cruz Bay is the active, yet laid back main town and port of St. John, US Virgin Islands. Here you will find most of the islands stores and restaurants and visitor services such as taxis and car rentals.

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Ferry Dock in Cruz Bay, St. John

Passenger ferries from either Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook on St. Thomas arrive and depart from the dock in Cruz Bay, bringing many people to the island throughout the day.  See ferry schedules here. Many people head directly for one of St. John’s gorgeous beaches and spend very little time in Cruz Bay, but if you have the time, there are many great things to experience right here.

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View of beautiful Cruz Bay

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Cruz Bay quite a few times, and although we’ve yet to experience all that this fun & funky town has to offer, we’ve listed a few of our favorite attractions to date. Feel free to leave a comment below with some of your favorite things to see and do while visiting Cruz Bay, St. John.

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Map of Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI

We’ve highlighted a few of our favorite stops (so far) on the map above.

Upon arrival at the ferry dock, we usually head straight for the wonderful smelling St. John Spice, which can be found on the second floor of the building just to the right as you leave the dock.

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St. John Spice, Cruz Bay

Here you can find all sorts of spices, Cruz Bay Grill Rub, coffee, local cookbooks, island gifts, and island wear. St. John Spice also has a webcam that gives a real time view of the ferry dock and beautiful Cruz Bay. Tell your family and friends to watch for you as you enjoy yourself in paradise!

If you’ve worked up a thirst (or appetite) already, there are three great beach bar/restaurants right at the waters edge. High Tide, Joe’s Rum Hut and The Beach Bar all offer slightly different menus and drinks and all are great places to hang out, chat with locals and visitors, listen to some live music and admire the scenery.

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High Tide, Bar and Seafood Grill

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Joe’s Rum Hut

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The Beach Bar

From there we always try to make a stop at the Pink Papaya, a Caribbean Style Gallery that specializes in unique and unusual Caribbean style gifts including fine painting and jewelry from local artists.

A little more walking and we’re usually ready for a Love City Smoothie from Our Market Smoothies.
Cognac, Passionfruit, Strawberry and Rum – cold and delicious!

Want information on St. John National Parks? After all, much of this beautiful island has been designated as a National Park. Find out how to explore it at the National Park Service Visitor Center.

More shopping? No problem! Mongoose Junction on north side of Cruz Bay is a beautiful complex of intimate shops, restaurants and services. A few of our favorites here are:

Bajo el SolArt Gallery - featuring the works of several local artists.

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The Tap Room

The Tap Room – have you heard of St. John Brewers? Check out some of the tasty local beer crafted by Kevin and Cheech at this Island Microbrewery & Brew Pub.

Sun Dog Cafe – casual dining and a really good Sunday Brunch

Arawak Expeditions – looking for adventure? Check out their kayak, paddleboard, fly fish and snorkel expeditions!

Still have more time to explore? Here are a few more places that are on our Cruz Bay to-do list:

The Elaine Ione Sprauve Library & Museum – Find a great deal of information on St. John, the other American and British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean in general.

Quiet Mon’ Pub -  the best Island Irish Pub around!

Woody’s Seafood Saloon – good food and a great place to hang out!

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Cruz Bay, St. John

Whew. There you have it. Just a few ideas of what to see and do in Cruz Bay, St. John to help you plan for your next visit.

Tell us – What are some of your favorite Cruz Bay attractions?


Find Cruz Bay on our St. John Map

To see more posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Floyd’s Pelican Bar, Jamaica

Floyd’s Pelican Bar was at the top of our must see list during our recent trip to Jamaica and we’re SO glad that we got to experience it.

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This seriously cool bar sits on wooden stilts about 3/4′s of a mile from shore in Parottee Bay on the SW side of Jamaica. Built by local fisherman Floyd Forbes who apparently dreamed of building a bar out to sea on stilts – his dream bar first opened in 2001. Floyd named his bar “Pelican Bar” because of the many pelicans that hang out on the reef around the bar.

Our trip to Floyd’s was part of a great day of touring that we set up with Carlton of Turner Taxis and Tours. It was our last stop of the day after playing at YS Falls and touring the Appleton Rum Factory.

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Carlton brought us down to Basil’s Bar in Parottee where we caught a ride on a fishing boat to Floyd’s. From here you can just barely see Floyd’s in the distance.

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Our ride to Floyd’s

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The ride from Basil’s took about 15 minutes and the water was calm and beautiful. The fee was $15 roundtrip per person.

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Pulling up to Floyd’s we were amazed at the construction. It truly was built from planks of wood and stilts placed in the shallow water and it looked as if it would blow over in a rainstorm, but it was just one of the most interesting places you’d ever imagine seeing – especially that far out to sea.

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Our boat dropped us off at the front steps and told us they’d be back to pick us up later…

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What’s so special about Floyd’s Pelican Bar? We’ll try to show you through pics. Floyd’s is not large, but it seems every square inch has something interesting or unusual to check out. People from all over the world have left their mark or a memento during their visit.

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The Pelican Bar was destroyed in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan and although Floyd didn’t carry insurance to re-build, other area businesses helped out with donations of wood and labor.

Out of the back of the main bar, Floyd has added an addition – a sun deck of sorts. Great place to enjoy a cold Red Stripe or some rum, and chat with the locals and others that have made their way to the Pelican Bar.

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The water around Floyd’s is only a few feet deep and a great place to float, snorkel or ease your way in after enjoying a few beers (there’s no restroom at Floyd’s!) If it’s too busy to find a seat inside or on the sun deck, you can just lounge in the water with your beverages!

Apparently the lobster and fresh fish dinner’s are very tasty and if you’d like to dine while there, ask your driver to call ahead.

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Be sure to bring a memento such as a t-shirt, flag, cap, etc. to leave marking your visit, or ask Floyd if he can help you find a place to carve your names and the date visited. We left a Rum Bum Cap and also gave Floyd a Rum Therapy decal. He promptly stuck it to a wooden plaque behind the bar, shook our hands and said “respect”.

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The Rum Therapy Decal proudly sits behind the bar!

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We grabbed another Red Stripe and sat down on the “front porch” to take in the surroundings before our boat arrived to take us back.

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As we got in the boat and looked back at The Pelican Bar, we turned to each other and said, “That was just cool”. Don’t know what it is. The vibe, the attitude or the fact that someone had a dream to build a bar out to sea and saw it through. Yep, it certainly was cool. Thanks Floyd.

Find Floyd’s Pelican Bar on our Jamaica Map

To see more posts on Jamaica and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Rick’s Cafe, Negril, Jamaica

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One of the best known bars in Jamaica, Rick’s Cafe, is known for it’s fantastic Jamaican sunsets as well as the very brave young men that dive from great heights into the clear, blue water below.

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Apparently visitors can also hurtle themselves off of the cliffs if they wish, and this resulted in numerous belly and back-flops, swimsuit malfunctions and awkward flailing mid-air while we were there. Thankfully, to jump, you must pass the guard at the top of the visitor jumping area and while we were there, he appeared to be screening people and allowing only those that didn’t appear too intoxicated or frightened to make the long jump.

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Despite the screening, I have heard that there have been some serious injuries to visitors, making us quite content to watch the show and not jump ourselves!

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As the sun began to set and the diving waned, people began making their way to the bar and the outdoor stage.

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We found a table at the edge of the cliff and ordered a Red Stripe.

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As the band played, we enjoyed yet another beautiful Jamaican sunset…

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To find out more, visit Rick’s Cafe website
, and find Rick’s on our Jamaica Map

To see more posts on Jamaica and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Gwen’s Reggae Grill, Anguilla

On a prime beachfront spot on the exquisitely beautiful Upper Shoal Bay in Anguilla sits a brightly colored beach bar called Gwen’s Reggae Grill.

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Gwen’s has been through some adversity – a fire that nearly burned the building to the ground and severe beach erosion which has caused the loss of some of the beautiful palms in the area. Regardless, the owner’s, have re-built and continue to offer good beverages & food, a friendly atmosphere and great parties with live music on Sundays.

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Due to the erosion of the beach, the deck of the bar sits right at the edge of the ocean which, when we were there, made it a great place to sit and sip Gwen’s tasty and potent rum punch and look out over the stunning beauty of Shoal Bay.

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We worked up a thirst while walking down the gorgeous beach and headed back for another round, but this time we enjoyed our cocktail while lounging in Gwen’s great hammocks on the beach.

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There’s parking in the back of Gwen’s but it can get crowded, so we’d recommend getting there early. After all, you’ll want to get the hammock with the best view too :)

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Find Gwen’s Reggae Grill on our Anguilla Map

To see more posts on Anguilla and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Jack’s Bar, Bequia

Located on Princess Margaret Beach in Bequia, The Grenadines, Jack’s Bar is a great place to stop to enjoy a cold one with a beautiful beach and ocean view.

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Jack’s from the beach

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Princess Margaret Beach

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Great view of Admiralty Bay and Princess Margaret Beach

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Enjoy a Rum Punch or one of many other tasty rum cocktails they offer,

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Or sample the local beer, Hairoun.

Serving lunch and dinner and if you’re there on Tuesday, you might want to try out the Tuesday Night Beach BBQ with live music.

Find out more on the Jack’s Bar Facebook Page.

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To see more posts on St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Calmos Café, St. Martin

Whether you just want to relax on the beach with your toes in the sand while sipping on your favorite beverage or to enjoy some tapas while watching the sun set over the bay, Calmos Cafe has you covered.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALocated right on the beach on the French side in Grand Case, St. Martin, Calmos Cafe serves everything from fine wines to tropical rum concoctions and tasty fresh, local food to go with it.
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We enjoyed some tapas along with a frozen rum drink called the Calmos (with peach and mango) and a Rhum Runner, all of which were excellent, but even more so as we enjoyed them while sitting just inches from the water while watching the sun set…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe atmosphere is warm and quiet most nights, but if you’re looking for more excitement, plan to visit on the nights they have a live salsa or reggae band.
Calmos Cafe4Their motto: C’est La Vie – That’s life!
Calmos Cafe1Calmos Cafe5Calmos Cafe3We got there early one evening and it was relatively uncrowded, but as the evening wore on, more and more people arrived snapping up all the tables and seats by the shoreline.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd why not. With good food and drinks and a view like this…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, if you’re looking for a place to enjoy some rum with a view while on St. Martin, Calmos Cafe will serve up that and much, much more.
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To find out more, visit their website here:
Calmos Cafe

More posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin that you might be interested in:

Sarafina’s Bakery, Marigot, St. Martin

Sunset Bar and Grill, St. Maarten

Karakter Beach Bar, St. Maarten

Le Galion Beach, St. Martin


copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013

Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

There are a few beaches that we’ve come across in our travels that simply take our breath away and White Bay, Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands is definitely one of them.

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With powder soft white sand and turquoise blue, clear water set off by lush foliage, it is truly a tropical paradise.

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In addition to its incredible beauty, White Bay is home to some of the best beach bars around, such as One Love Bar & Grill
, Gertrude’s, Soggy Dollar, and Ivan’s Stress Free Bar. (See more about Jost Van Dyke Beach Bars here: Bar Hopping On Jost Van Dyke)

Separated in the middle by a rocky outcropping, it’s well worth the hike to go from one end to the other checking out the people, the scenery and ALL of the bars! (be sure to wear shoes or sandals when crossing the outcropping. There is a cement stairway over the top of it, but there are some sharp rocks to navigate on Ivan’s side)

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Getting there: Get to White Bay via boat, taxi over from Great Harbour, or rent a jeep from Great Harbour (the adventurous, non-inebriated, very fit or frugal individuals can walk over the hill from Great Harbour. We hiked it once…)

Beach: beautiful white sand with gradual access. Great for swimming in the quieter areas (watch for boats – White Bay can get very busy with boats, especially in the afternoon), snorkel by the rocks on the east end.

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Recommended for:
well, anyone that loves a beautiful beach…

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Tip:
because of the popularity of the beach bars on White Bay (especially Soggy Dollar), it can get very busy in the afternoon. If you like a party, you’ll love to be there at the busy time. If you’d rather experience White Bay when it’s quieter, consider visiting in the early morning, or later in the evening when the day crowds have gone home. Here are a just a few pictures taken during some of the quieter moments…

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And top off a perfect beach day with a perfect sunset…

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Other Jost Van Dyke posts you might be interested in:

Rum Therapy On Jost Van Dyke

Barhopping On Jost Van Dyke

Ivan’s Stress Free Bar

Foxy’s Tamarind Bar

The Soggy Dollar Bar

White Bay Villas and Seaside Cottages


Check out these locations on our Jost Van Dyke Map

To see more posts on this and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Karakter Beach Bar, St. Maarten

Ever been to a beach bar that’s a bus? A beach bar bus? As we were planning our recent trip to St. Maarten, a friend mentioned a beach bar on beautiful Simpson Bay Beach that we needed to visit. We asked the name of it and set out to find it one sunny afternoon.

We were staying on the other side of the Dutch Bridge from this bar so we took a hike down Front Street past the Dutch Bridge and turned back in to Simpson Bay Beach. The beach has gorgeous soft sand and turquoise blue water.

We stopped for a quick beverage at Mary’s Boon Resort and Spa and then wandered a short way over looking for a bar called Karakter.

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Karakter Beach Bar Bus

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Sure enough! The main part of the bar IS actually a bus and the drinks are mixed inside the bus. There are covered picnic tables, beach chairs and umbrellas in the ultra soft sand and it was a fantastic place to lime away the afternoon.

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The bar is in close proximity to the airport, but the beach ambiance, beautiful sand and great drinks far outweighed the occasional roar of an airplane taking off or landing.

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This table was reserved for some Rum Therapy!

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Beach in front of Karakter

The Rum Punch is highly recommended – strong and fruity just like we like it.
Want to find out more? Check out their website here: 
Karakter Beach Bar

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Cheers!

Find Karakter Beach Bar on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map

To see more posts on St. Maarten and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Bomba Surfside Shack

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Have you heard of the “Full Moon Parties” on Tortola? Then you’ve probably heard of The Bomba Shack.

The Bomba Shack is quite the sight. Erected of materials dropped off by friends, the building looks as if it shouldn’t stay upright in a heavy wind. (It actually made it through a pretty fierce hit from Hurricane Earl in 2010 with minimal damage!)

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The walls and ceiling are adorned with graffiti, tons of pictures and clothing (namely undergarments). The architectural style is to say the least ….interesting. During the day, it’s a quiet place with a nice view of Jost Van Dyke.

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Bomba’s Rum Punch with Jost Van Dyke in the distance

Bomba opened his bar in 1976 on Cappoons Bay – between Long Bay and Cane Garden Bay. He began the infamous Full Moon Parties in 1989 and due to the popularity of these get-togethers (there have been 800-1,000 people in attendance), Bomba opened up “The Back Yard” across the street in the same architectural style. It includes a bandstand for the live music and another bar.

We attended Bombas Full Moon Party in January of 2010 and did a little research on it before attending. One website said “Not for the easily offended” and after attending, we completely understand what they meant. Leave the kiddos at home – this party starts around 9 p.m., doesn’t really wind up until dawn, and it’s wild!

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Many people come to partake in Bombas Mushroom Tea which is only served during certain hours, with special glasses that you need to purchase. Some of the locals we talked to recommended skipping the tea and going for Bombas Rum Punch instead, or adding rum to the tea. We tried both the tea and the punch – for research purposes of course…

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Pouring the Mushroom Tea

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Midnight rolled around and we said goodbye to Bomba. As we looked around, the place had gotten crowded with both locals and tourists and we waded through a sea of people trying to find our ride. This party was just gettin’ started!

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Find the Bomba Shack on our Tortola Map

To see more posts on Tortola and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

The Soggy Dollar Bar

Our first visit to Jost Van Dyke was in 2010 on a BVI sail trip. We’d come close to landing on her shores in 2006 during another sail trip, but the seas were rough that trip and the Captain elected to head toward Tortola instead – so it remained on our “places to see” list.

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During the 2010 sail, we made it to Jost for the first time. Sailing in to White Bay, our jaws dropped – the combination of spectacular white sand against some of the clearest blue water we’d seen…wow!In keeping with the Soggy Dollar tradition, we jumped in the water with drinking dollars in our pockets (hence soggy dollars) and swam ashore.

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During a recent 8 day stay on Jost Van Dyke we had the opportunity to spend a lot more time, drink a lot more Painkillers and take a lot more pictures at the Soggy Dollar Bar.

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You’d think we’d have our fill of it by now, but instead find ourselves thinking about going back time and time again to say hi to the good folks at Soggy Dollar and enjoy lazy afternoons of extreme Rum Therapy in the beautiful water, sand and sun of White Bay…The infamous Painkiller. Love the Nilla Killa’s too.

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Mic doing his magic.

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Gerry demonstrating the proper Ring Game technique.

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White Bay filling up with boats of thirsty partiers in the afternoon.

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In the evening, the crowds thin and the real relaxation begins…

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 Quiet morning at the Soggy.

To find out more about the Soggy Dollar Bar,
Check out their website:
http://www.soggydollar.com/soggydollarbar/
and Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Soggy-Dollar-Bar

Find Soggy Dollar Bar on our Jost Van Dyke Map

To see more posts on Jost Van Dyke and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

 

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC