Scotchies, Jamaica

If you want to try authentic jerk cuisine while vacationing in Jamaica, you should consider a visit to Scotchies. Scotchies has three locations in Jamaica, the original restaurant is just outside Montego Bay and the others can be found outside of Ocho Rios and Kingston.

We visited the Scotchies close to Ocho Rios during a stay in Runaway Bay.

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Scotchies, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

The aroma hit us as soon as we got out of the car. Smoky, barbecue deliciousness…mmm…could hardly wait.

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Preparing Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken, pork and fish are barbecued in the traditional style over pimento wood.

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Pork on the barbeque

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Pork Rum Ribs every Tuesday

Awww – shoot! Just missed the Pork Rum Ribs.

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Scotchies Menu

We ordered 1/4 lb of chicken and 1/4 lb of pork. There were also some delicious sides such as rice & beans, festival (a delightful slightly sweet cake or roll that is said to be a perfect accompaniment to spicy jerk dishes), and roasted breadfruit. Foregoing the sides for a Red Stripe (we were only 3 days into our all-inclusive stay at Jewel Runaway Bay and already had minimal room for a full meal!), we sat down at the bar to enjoy our foil wrapped and succulent jerk.

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Jerk Chicken, Pork and a Red Stripe at Scotchies

Plenty of room to sit outside and dine as well.

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Outside dining at Scotchies, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Beautiful grounds and great food. We especially dug the jerk pork. So good. Next time we’ll leave room for the sides too – hmmm. Or maybe just more meat…

Find Scotchies 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, 2014
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Friends Foto’s – Great Meal in a Tropical Location

We love to share our travel pictures with you and love to see yours too, so we thought we’d test out a new feature to showcase some of your favorite photos each week! This week we asked for you to submit shots that would fit the theme “Great Meal in a Tropical Location” and you sent in some great ones. Check out the ones we chose to showcase this week.

Lynn-Mohamad

Tita Tulum on Tulum Beach by Lynn Mohamad

photo: Lynn Mohamad

Chips and Guacamole at Tita Tulum on Tulum Beach.

Why was it so special? Fresh guacamole with an ice cold Corona where the jungle meets the sea on one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches. It doesn’t get much better than that!

 

Melinda-Allen

CoCo Bistro in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands by Melinda Allen

photo: Melinda Allen

Here’s a photo from our dinner at Coco Bistro Restaurant in Provo, Turks & Caicos.  It was THE BEST MEAL we have EVER tasted!  On the left – Pan Seared Fresh Salmon with Smashed Buttered Red Skin Potatoes, Crisp Shallots, Sautéed Spinach and a Lemon & Caper Beurre Noisette with Tomato Confit. On the right – Free Range Grain-Fed Chicken with Grilled Tiger Shrimps with West Indian Coconut Curry, Crispy Poppadum, Jasmine Rice and a Spicy Banana Chutney.

Why it was so special :  The atmosphere/ambiance was so beautiful, with all the white linen tables under the canopy of palm trees.  As soon as you enter, you feel like you’re going to get something special!  The waiters & staff were friendly and the owner walks around to ask how you’re doing… very personable!  The meals were fantastic, so exotic & delicious, with the most fresh & organic ingredients.  We loved it so much, we went back the next night and had the same 2 dishes again!  The BEST DINNER EVER!!

 

Tod-Olczak

Taino Beach Resort, Grand Bahama by Tod Olczak

photo: Tod Olczak

Meal:  Fried Grouper
Location: Taino Beach Resort, Grand Bahama

Why so special:  Fried grouper, in and of itself, isn’t something overly special but eating a plate of it, overlooking the beach, surrounded by family, is.  This was the last day of our family vacation and the simplicity of this meal, coupled with an ice cold Kalik, made it a great tropical meal!

 

Valerie-Faber

Alexandra Resort, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos by Valerie Faber

photo: Valerie Faber

Coconut Shrimp
French Fries
Rum Punch

Mango Reef – Alexandra Resort – Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

Succulent shrimp flavors enhanced with 3 dipping sauces and French fries always taste better in the islands!  Amazing views of the sea while soaking in the sunshine!

Audrey-and-Drew Douglas

Lee’s Roadside Grill & Deep Sea Fishing by Audrey and Drew Douglas

photo: Audrey and Drew Douglas

Lee’s Roadside Grill and Deep Sea Fishing in St. Maarten
We went deep sea fishing on our honeymoon and caught an Ahi Tuna. When we got back, Lee’s prepared it and it was delicious!
Why it was special: We caught it :-)

Thank you for all your submissions! Watch for a new Friend “Foto” theme later this week.

Pamela and John
Rum Therapy

Exploring The Baths, Virgin Gorda

What’s it like to hike the trail through The Baths on Virgin Gorda? 

A couple of weeks ago we had the chance to take another great hike through the boulders of The Baths to Devils Bay in Virgin Gorda. It was our 4th time to experience this amazing area and although there had been some changes made since our last visit, it was just as intriguing and awe-inspiring as ever.

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The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Beach access has been limited to dinghy’s – which I’m sure is due to the large amount of people wanting to access the trail from their boats. If you are unable to swim about 50 yds from the roped off area where they’d like dinghy’s to drop boaters off, they are recommending that you go ashore at Spanish Town and take a taxi over.

We thought we’d just add a few new pics to the post we did of our last visit (The Baths), but we took a lot more pictures this time of the actual hike through the boulders from The Baths to Devil’s Bay, so we thought we’d write a new post and highlight what it’s like to hike the trail.

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Entrance to the trail through The Baths

It was high season and we knew The Baths would be packed from about 10 – 3, so we showed up at about 3:30. Our dinghy dropped us off at the ropes and we swam to shore – electing not to take towels or even shoes because of the swim in. Previously we wore water shoes and I’d recommend them if you’ve got sensitive feet.

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Sign at the entrance to the trail

The initial entrance is but a small opening between two large rocks. Once through it opens up to a trail. Look for small cairns (rock piles) marking the trail as you go.

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One of the most photographed areas of The Baths is called The Cathedral

Not too far from the start you come across The Cathedral – one of the most photographed areas of The Baths. It looks different every time you visit depending on the light and the tide.

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Using a rope attached to the rock to maneuver their way through a tricky spot

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Crystal clear pools of water between the colorful rocks

There’s another cool area to explore around every corner.

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One of the wooden ladders on the trail

Make your way over the boulders and through the pools with the assist of wooden ladders and platforms along the way.

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Part of the trail through the mammoth boulders

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Making our way up another ladder

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Boulders and clear pools

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Not much farther now

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Taking time to enjoy the sunshine and scenery

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Directional sign on the trail

Once you get to this directional sign, you’re almost to Devil’s Bay.

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Getting to the end of the trail

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Devil’s Bay, Virgin Gorda

You’re rewarded at the end of the trail with the sights of beautiful Devils’ Bay. Be sure to leave enough time to enjoy the clear, blue water before making your way back – or up to The Top of The Baths for a well deserved beverage!

 

Find The Baths on our Virgin Gorda Map


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


copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013, 2014
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

What to See and Do in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

Ah, Charlotte Amalie. The capital and largest city of the US Virgin Islands receives millions of visitors every year, many from the cruise ships that dock in the deep water bay that Charlotte Amalie surrounds.

With all of those visitors, Charlotte Amalie was bound to grow and develop with services of interest to tourists. So, what are some of the fun things to see and do if you have time to explore this bustling island city?

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Aerial view of Charlotte Amalie

The following are a few of the things that we’ve experienced and enjoyed while visiting Charlotte Amalie. Feel free to add highlights from your visits in a comment at the end of the post.

Duty Free Shopping

Duty free shops line many of the streets in the Waterfront area of Charlotte Amalie as well as Yacht Haven Grande and Havensight (right next to the cruise ship dock). St. Thomas offers one of the largest duty free quotas to US citizens in the Caribbean, so if you’re in the market for great bargains on items such as china, perfume, watches, cameras, fine jewelry, liquors and other spirits, island goods, and arts and crafts, this may be the place to get them.

You can walk from Havensight to Yacht Haven Grande easily. There is also a pathway from Yacht Haven Grande all the way around to the Waterfront shops, but it is a pretty good walk. If it’s very hot or you are short on time, you might consider getting a taxi.

Havensight
Havensight is a large area just off of the cruise ship dock that consists of shops, bars and restaurants. Many of the shops here contain souvenir type items, although there are also some high-end jewelry shops.

Yacht Haven Grande
Yacht Haven Grande is an area just north of Havensight that houses some luxury shops such as Gucci and Louis Vitton. There are also a couple of nicer restaurants and yacht services. It’s areat place to grab a cold drink and check out the large yachts that dock here.

Charlotte Amalie Waterfront
North and west of Yacht Haven Grande is the Waterfront area of Charlotte Amalie. This area consists of several streets, Waterfront (Veterans), Front Street and Back Street and are all lined with a variety of shops, restaurants and bars. Check out the Vendor’s Plaza (west of  Ft. Christian) Monday – Saturday for a variety of souvenirs, hair braiding and local food.

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Food and Drink

You can find everything from fast food to fine dining and everything in-between in Charlotte Amalie. Although we have yet to sample some of the higher end restaurants, here are a few places we’ve stopped at and enjoyed. Be sure to check our interactive St. Thomas Map to find the locations of the places listed here.

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Big Kahuna Rum Shack on the Waterfront.
Great place to grab a sandwich, salad, wrap or flatbread and a cold drink and sit on the patio which overlooks the harbor.

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Bones Rum, also on the Waterfront.
Order one of their tasty offerings, such as a Bones on the Beach, Kiss of Passion or Twist of Luck and add as much – or as little Bones Rum as  you’d like! Be sure to purchase a bottle and bring it home. Right now the only place to purchase Bones Rum is at the shop in Charlotte Amalie.

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Fat Turtle in Yacht Haven Grande.
We enjoyed a tasty salad and beverages while sitting on the deck overlooking the yachts.

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da Lime in da Coconut
Great “smoothie” place in Yacht Haven Grande. Leave the rum out for the little ones, or add the rum for a really tasty frozen concoction. We ordered their signature smoothie da Lime in da Coconut, which consisted of pineapple and coconut with a hint of lime…and a shot of Cruzan rum. Very tasty and cold on a hot day.

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Mojo’s in Havensight
A fun little bar that manages to feel a bit tropical, despite the fact it’s in the parking lot at Havensight. Swings for chairs and some tasty Cruzan rum drinks. We enjoyed a Mojo Wacker.


Other Things To Do

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Hot and tired after a day of shopping in the Waterfront area? Magic Ice on the Waterfront will give you a temporary “body freeze” after entering an ice palace with sculptures, lighting, an ice slide for the little ones and an ice cold shot of Cruzan for the big kids.

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Paradise Point Skyride
Want to see a spectacular view of Charlotte Amalie while enjoying the best Bushwacker’s around? Head to Havensight to board the skyride to the top of Paradise Point. You’ll be treated to a spectacular view, some shopping and really great Bushwacker’s. Just be careful. They’re potent!

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The Closest Beaches

There aren’t any good sandy beaches in Charlotte Amalie but if you just have to get your toes in the sand and only have a short amount of time, there are several options. A 5 minute water ferry from Crown Bay (just north of Water Island) can get you over to Water Island where you can spend time on beautiful Honeymoon Beach.

Lindbergh Bay or Bolongo Bay on St. Thomas are two other options, but are farther away (see our interactive map). Both have beach bars and would be a nice place to hang out for several hours.

What else have you experienced and enjoyed in Charlotte Amalie?

 

Find these attractions on our St. Thomas Map

 

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

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2014
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

What to See and Do in Philipsburg, St. Maarten

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Whether arriving by cruise ship or spending time on the island on St. Maarten/St. Martin,
Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Maarten, offers a ton of fun things to see and do, most within view of the gorgeous blue water of Great Bay.

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Philipsburg is an area of only a few streets sandwiched between the Salt Pond and beautiful Great Bay. There are many shops, bars, restaurants and musicians lining the streets. Do you like to shop? You can find a lot of items in Philipsburg from inexpensive souvenirs to diamonds and watches. Want to find something to eat? There are a variety of options ranging from very casual to elegant and tony. Any good bars? Well, of course! The boardwalk especially is dotted with bars with a wide variety of great tropical concoctions.

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With the ability to dock 6+ large cruise liners and the addition in recent years of a wonderful boardwalk that is about 50 ft. wide and nearly as long as the waterfront of Great Bay, Philipsburg really caters to it’s visitors. From the cruise ships you can either walk down a lovely palm lined path or take a short water taxi ride to town. If staying on island, there are several fairly large parking lots.

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Looking for a few ideas of what to see and do while visiting Philipsburg? These are a few things that we’ve enjoyed during our visits there.

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1. The Beach

Although it can be just as busy as many of the other beautiful beaches in St. Maarten/St.Martin, Great Bay has gorgeous blue water, a calm surf and a variety of places to rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Plus you’re really close to some good bars, restaurants and shops when you need a break from the sun.

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The turquoise blue water of Great Bay.

2. Eat & Drink

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The majority of bars and restaurants line the boardwalk and offer a great view of the beach, surrounding hills and cruise ships. Each have their own tropical specialties.

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Boardwalk Breeze at the Blue Bitch Bar

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Pizza at Taloula Mango’s

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Grab a $.99 beer at the Barefoot Bar to enjoy while walking the Boardwalk. The Barefoot Restaurant also serves up some excellent roti – mmm…roti…

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Enjoy some good food and drink at Big Wood Grill on the Boardwalk, but don’t ask for a BBD if you are easily offended!

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Walk through Big Wood Grill to get to Juggie’s Place, The Smallest Bar in the World!

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Juggie’s Place on Front Street behind Big Wood Grill

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Casual dining right on the beach at Chez Delphine

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Stop, buy a cold drink and chat with some of the local vendors on the Boardwalk.

3. Shop

Front street and the connecting streets between the Boardwalk, Front and Back street have a large variety of shops carrying local crafts, souvenirs, liquor and more expensive items.

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There are several liquor stores that carry a good selection of rums that we can’t find at home, so we usually buy a bottle or two to bring back with us.

And of course, be sure to stop at the Guavaberry Emporium on Front Street to sample different guavaberry rums, liquors and hot sauces. Be sure to try a Guavaberry Colada – so refreshing!

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Direction sign next to the Guavaberry Emporium

So there you have it. Some of the things we’ve experienced and enjoyed during our visits to Philpsburg – so far. What have you enjoyed there?

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Find Philipsburg on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map


To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin 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

Pinel Island, St. Martin

In the northern part of Orient Bay on the French side of St. Martin and just off the town of Cul de Sac, lies a small island called Pinel. Depending on who you talk to or the travel guide you read, Pinel Island can also be called Isle Pinel, Ilet Pinel, or Ile de Pinel.

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We visited Pinel Island last year during a sail around St. Maarten/ St. Martin but if staying on or visiting St. Martin, Pinel Island is very easily accessed by ferry from the town of Cul de Sac.

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The day we visited, Pinel Island was very busy and the beach was much more crowded than we normally like and we hear that is really pretty normal for the small island – and many people obviously don’t mind the crowds! Even though we’d probably rather spend the day at a quieter beach somewhere, we still had fun and recommend a visit for the following reasons:

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Pinel Island main beach has lovely soft sand and the water is clear and very calm.
It’s a great area to bring the family to play in the water. You can also kayak over from St. Martin.

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A short hike from the beach you can find a snorkel trail with decent snorkeling and we were told that  snorkel equipment can be rented there.

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If you continue up the trail from the snorkel trail and you’ll be treated to fantastic views of St. Martin and Orient Beach.

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At the top of the trail you get a good look at the island of Tintamarre and if you look south, you may even catch a glimpse of St. Barths.

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There are also a couple of more deserted beaches on Pinel that you can reach and explore via a short hike.

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Umbrellas and chairs on the beach in front of Up on the Key Beach Bar/Restaurant

After your hike, you might want to head back down to sit under a beach umbrella and enjoy a frosty beverage. At the time of our visit, there were three beach bars/restaurants on Pinel: Karabuni, Up on the Key and Yellow Beach.

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Karabuni Beach Bar/Restaurant. Known for it’s fresh Lobster

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Yellow Beach Bar/Restaurant (located under the thatched roofs)

While writing this article, I found a FB link for Up on the Key that said the beach bar/restaurant was razed this past July amid some controversy (see article in The Daily Herald), so as of this writing, it looks as if Up on the Key is no longer located on Pinel Island. For those of you that have been there, it was the two story structure in between Karabundi and Yellow Beach. Too bad – they served up some good rum drinks and friendly conversation and I’m sure the beach looks quite different now.

Just a few more colorful images from our day of sun, fun and rum at Pinel Island, St. Martin…

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Find Pinel Island on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map

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

 

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Colombier Beach, St. Barths

We haven’t gotten to visit all of the beaches on St. Barts…yet, but we were certainly impressed with a beautiful, hard to get to beach on the islands northwest tip called Colombier Beach. Accessible only by boat or by one of two challenging trails, this gorgeous beach is well worth the effort to get there.

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Known by boaters for its calm anchorage and beautiful blue water, you may encounter a few boats (and yachts) at anchor, but probably very few people on the beach.

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Colombier Beach is still called Rockefeller Beach by some because the land around it was for many years owned by David Rockefeller.

Besides the challenge of getting to Colombier Beach, one of the things that makes it different from the other beautiful St. Barts beaches is the unusual rock formations found on either end of the beach. Although rocky on either end, the middle of the beach is excellent for swimming with a nice bottom.

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The way the water weaves in and around the rocks makes for some beautiful pictures. Snorkeling in the water around these rocks can be very good when the surf is calm.

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We arrived by boat, so we thought we’d take the path partway to Flamands Beach to see what it was like.

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The path was rugged and hugged the coast overlooking the north side of St. Barths. You can see Flamands in the picture below in the distance.

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We turned around when the path got too steep and rocky to be crossed with our flip flops and headed back to Colombier Beach for more of this….

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Colombier Beach has no amenities and very little shade (unless you find a pocket of shade among the rocks), so be sure to bring some food, drink (plenty of water) and sunscreen.

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As the sun wore one, the color of the sand seemed to turn a beautiful gold color which was breathtaking against the vibrant blue water.

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We left just a few more footprints in the sand, then dinghied back to the boat having enjoyed our day of seclusion and beauty on Colombier Beach.

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Find Colombier Beach on our St. Barths Map


To see more posts on St. Barths 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

Cinnamon Bay, St. John

We’ve been asked if we have a favorite beach on St. John, and we’d have to answer the same way that our friend Dwayne Allen of the Rum Bar in Phoenix answered when we asked him if he had a favorite rum. He said “They’re all like my children – I love them equally, it’s just that some days I prefer one over the other!”

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Map of St. John north side beaches. The umbrellas indicate beaches. For and interactive version of this map, click here
.

With so many outstanding beaches to visit on St. John, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but Cinnamon Bay will always hold a special place in our heart. When we first visited St. John some 17 years ago, we were on a cruise and had only one day to explore St. Thomas and St. John. We asked a good friend of ours who had spent time on both islands for his advise on what to do and see. This is the same friend that told us we must sample a Painkiller while in St. John…which, of course, we did, and have been sampling them ever since!

So what was his advice? Take the ferry to St. John and spend the entire day on Cinnamon Bay. That’s exactly what we did, and spent an entire, beautiful day on one of the prettiest beaches we’d ever seen, sharing it with only a family of donkeys. That’s right – aside from a couple way on the other end of the beach – and the donkey’s – we had it all to ourselves.

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Fast forward 17 years and Cinnamon Bay is now one of the most popular beaches on the island and for good reason. It not only has a mile long expanse of gorgeous white sand, good swimming and snorkeling, it now has a ton of amenities as well.

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Cinnamon Bay has a General Store, a Beach Shop, Watersports Activity Center, Restaurant, Restroom and Showers, Camping and Cottages, plenty of parking and regular taxi service.

The only bad thing about all of this? You most likely won’t be the only ones on the beach with a family of donkey’s anymore. But with a mile of beautiful beach to enjoy, you should still be able to find a great spot in the sun as you can see from a picture of a more recent visit above.

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One of the Cinnamon Bay Cottages

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View to the left from the beach

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Looking down Cinnamon Bay Beach to the right

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Cinnamon Bay – still one of our favorite places to get our toes in the sand on St. John. Can you see why?

For more information on camping and other amenities on Cinnamon Bay, check out the
Cinnamon Bay Campground Website


Find Cinnamon Bay on our St. John Island Map

To see more posts on St. John 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

Sandy Cay, British Virgin Islands

Between Tortola and Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands there’s a small uninhabited island called Sandy Cay.

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Sandy Cay is quite small, yet larger than it’s also uninhabited sister island to the north, Sandy Spit. Both islands have become popular with the many people who love to sail the BVI and with excursions from neighboring islands, yet are so very fun to visit and you might still find yourself enjoying the island by yourself, depending on the time of year you visit.

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What we liked most, well there’s really nothing we didn’t like…but the island has an amazingly beautiful beach that wraps around nearly half of it, gorgeous blue water and great views of neighboring islands.

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We’ve visited Sandy Cay a couple of times and during one of our visits we took the path that cuts through the center of the island. We left from the beautiful, warm, sandy beach on the south side and worked our way through what felt like a jungle.

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On the path we saw a multitudes of crabs scurrying around as well as lush green foliage.

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View of Tortola from Sandy Cay

The path began to open up after a few minutes and we could see just how different this side of the small island was from the other. Instead of palm trees, there was cactus and the shoreline on this side was very rocky and rough.

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Instead of palm trees, we saw cactus, and the shoreline on this side, although still beautiful, was very rocky and rough.

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From our vantage point on this side of Sandy Cay, we could see Sandy Spit’s white sliver of sand in front of Green Cay with Little Jost to the left.

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After spending a few moments checking out the phenomenal view, we headed back to the south side to spend some time on the white sand beach and play in the crystal clear blue water…

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Have you been to Sandy Cay?

Find Sandy Cay on our Jost Van Dyke Map


To see more posts on the British Virgin Islands 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

Dune Preserve, Anguilla

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On an picturesque stretch of sand on beautiful Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla, sits Dune Preserve, an ever changing bar/restaurant/music lounge owned by famous reggae musician Bankie Banx.

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Dune Preserve sits between the beautiful CuisinArt Resort and Spa and its Greg Norman designed golf course, and is ever changing because owner Bankie and friends continually add to the work of art with predominately salvaged and discarded wood and other materials found in the area.

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We loved checking out the funky decor and chatting with a few of the locals hanging out there the day we visited, but we’d love to go back someday to enjoy the live music.

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The Dune Preserve is home to the annual Moonsplash Festival, a several day event featuring world class musicians and usually a few surprise guests. Apparently both Jimmy Buffet and John Mayer have stopped in to jam at past festivals.

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Great place to enjoy a tasty libation and food along with a fantastic view of Rendezvous Bay and St. Martin and if you can time it right, some great live music.

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 Find out more by visiting the Bankie Banx Website.

Find Dune Preserve 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