Is An All-Inclusive Caribbean Vacation Right For You?

Is an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation the right choice for you?

Barcelo-Maya-Resort,-Mexico---OLobby of the Barcelo Maya, Riviera Maya, Mexico

With more and more all-inclusive resorts being built or re-modeled into all-inclusives in many Caribbean destinations, we’re receiving more inquiries from our readers on whether an all-inclusive resort would be a good vacation choice for them. After all, vacation dollars are hard to come by and no matter what your vacation budget; you want to choose the best accommodation for you and your family.

copyright Rum TherapyBeach at the Hark Rock Hotel, Punta Cana

We enjoy staying in all types of accommodations during our Caribbean travels, and enjoy staying in a variety of accommodations ranging from cruise ships to catamarans, high end resorts to budget resorts, villas to condos, etc., and, all-inclusive resorts. We’ve had the pleasure – mostly (with only one negative experience) of enjoying quite a few all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and even one in St. Croix. So, how do we decide whether or not to stay at an all-inclusive? What are some things to consider prior to booking?

The first thing to know right off the bat is that all all-inclusives are not equal and all-inclusives are not available everywhere. Do your research, ask your friends, look at on-line reviews, call the resort with questions and then enjoy what can be an excellent stress-free vacation! All-inclusive resorts can be an excellent value for the money and an easy way to budget vacation dollars by including all of your meals, drinks and entertainment in one price!

Caribbean-Lobster-at-the-Divi---OCaribbean Lobster dinner at the Divi Carina Resort, St. Croix

Here are some things to consider:

1. Are you a foodie? Be sure to look for the all-inclusives that offer a wide range of dining options, including fine dining. Some offer buffet dining only, but many offer dining at several themed and very nice restaurants on site. In addition to premium dining experiences, some resorts also offer or include premium wine & other liquor options.

copyright Rum TherapySome of the water-sports included at Jewel Runaway Bay, Jamaica

2. Do you just want to relax at the resort all week? Look for a resort that offers the amenities you desire, i.e., a great beach, good swimming pools, golf, tennis, water-sports, nightly entertainment, etc.

copyright Rum TherapySunset by the pool at Jewel Runaway Bay Resort, Jamaica

Hard-Rock-Pool---OOne of the many pools at the Hard Rock Resort, Punta Cana

3. Want to explore the island outside of your resort? Look for a resort that offers good excursion packages, or if you’re like us and like to see what you want without traveling in a larger group, choose a resort that is in good proximity to the sights you want to explore.

4. Want to enjoy some pampering at the spa? Many resorts offer spa services (most at an additional cost) such as a wide range of massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, etc., and some have over-the-top spa facilities offering some of the finest pampering around.

5. Is the resort family-friendly or adult only? There are some terrific all-inclusives that cater to the young ‘uns with resort attractions (lazy rivers, waterslides, kiddie pools), entertainment and dining options. If you’re traveling without children, you may want to opt for an adult-only resorts that offer amenities,  dining options and entertainment geared more for the grown-ups.

copyright Rum TherapyWaterslide at the Beaches Resort, Negril, Jamaica

5. Pricing. There are all-inclusive resorts geared for the budget minded all the way to luxury all-inclusives, and there can be a huge difference in amenities and level of services. If you’re traveling on a budget and don’t require a lot of services or amenities, you might opt for the less expensive resorts. If you want to be completely pampered, there are resorts that can offer that to you, at a higher price, of course. Again, just do your research to make sure there are very few surprises when you arrive.

Divi-Resort-Coffee---OEnjoying coffee on the deck at Divi Carina Resort, St. Croix

6. Transfers. Does the accommodation provide transfers to the facility? This is not a big deal in some cases, but if you will have to travel quite a distance from the airport and are not renting a car, having transfers included in your package can be a big bonus.

copyright Rum TherapyOne of the beautiful and comfortable rooms at the Beaches Resort, Negril, Jamaica

7. Last, but certainly not least – your room. Again, there can be a BIG difference in the rooms provided at all-inclusives – as with other resorts. What are the rooms amenities? Does it include a decent sized safe? Is there a mini-bar (usually included in the price) or refrigerator? In room hot tub? Is it located in a good area of the resort? (Check to see if there is a map of the rooms on the website) Is it size that will comfortably accommodate your party? Is the bed size guaranteed? If you can’t find this information on the website, you might try to call the resort to see.

Hard-Rock-Room---OIn room Hydro Spa at the Hard Rock Hotel, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Negril-Sunset---ONegril Sunset from a cabana at Beaches Resort

Have you enjoyed vacationing at an all-inclusive resort? What did you like the most about it?

 

To see more posts on Caribbean islands and travel, 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

Crab Races in St. Croix

A bucket full of crabs = a whole lotta fun? In St. Croix the answer would be yes!

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Crab Races in St. Croix take place in several different locations, several times a week. We experienced our first Crab Races at the Divi Resort on the SE side of St. Croix.

Tito and Sue run Crab Races at the Divi once a week and it’s a surprisingly good time!

We arrived that evening and paid $2 each for a crab, assigning them a winning (or so we thought) name for the event. Michael Johnson, Crab-tastrophe,  Send Momma Home (don’t ask…) and Pinch Me all seemed strong and ready for the race.

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Once all bets were placed, Tito began to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Well, not really a frenzy, but we were certainly excited to see how our crabby athletes could perform.

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 They turned the bucket of crabs over in the middle circle and watched as they began to scurry.

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Within a minute or two, we had our first winner. There were several heats, and the winner of each heat then competed for the Grand Prize. Unfortunately Michael Johnson, Crab-tastrophe,  Send Momma Home (don’t ask…) and Pinch Me did not win, or actually even place, so we didn’t win any of the great prizes offered from local establishments such as locally made jewelry, dinner or a trip for two to Buck Island, but we had a great time anyway.

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And, while enjoying the races, enjoyed a number of delicious Cruzan Confusions masterfully concocted by the crew at the Divi Resort. Mmmm. good.

Have you enjoyed the Crab Races in St. Croix yet?


To see more posts on St. Croix 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

Mamajuana from the Dominican Republic

Rumored to have medicinal as well as aphrodisiac properties, we set out to find out more about Mamajuana during our recent visit to the Dominican Republic. We had actually heard, and even sampled Mamajuana at the Mt. Pellier Domino Club on St. Croix, where Norma is famous for her batches of Mamajuana, but apparently it actually originated from the Taino Indians in the Dominican Republic and is considered a native drink of the DR. Regardless, it is widely available in the DR and we sampled a good amount of it while there – for research purposes, of course…

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Mamajuana is pronounced mama-whan-a, not mama-joo-whan-a as we were corrected numerous times! This powerful elixir is a mixture of red wine, honey and rum that is soaked in a bottle with twigs, bark, leaves and herbs. Different spices are sometimes used as well. Each bottle tastes a bit different, depending on the mixture and the amount of time spent soaking together.

Mamajuana is commonly consumed as a shot, but we also sampled several beverages made with Mamajuana, such as a Mamajuana Mojito and a Motokoncho (Mamajuana, DR Rum, vodka and cherries). Many Dominican Republic natives believe Mamajuana can cure many ailments, from the common cold and flu to more serious conditions and is widely touted as an aphrodisiac. We were told it was probably best to sample Mamajuana at our resort or a restaurant and not just a roadside stand to be safe.

We brought a bottle back with us, to enjoy a little more of the taste of the DR at home and to try to create some Mamjuana of our own. With proper care, the twigs, herbs and leaves found in the bottle can be re-used for a number of years to create more batches of Mamjuana.

Just wish we could have brought a little of this back with us as well…

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Beautiful beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Have you tried Mamajuana?

To see more posts like this, check out our Island Blog Directory

Rum Recipes

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

Top Things To See & Do in the Caribbean Before You Get Too Old To Travel

WOW!  We thought it would be fun to put together a list entitled “Top Things To See & Do in the Caribbean Before You Get Too Old To Travel” based on our wonderful readers suggestions and you once again came through! Just as you did with the Ultimate Rum Therapy Beach Playlist, you sent in a LOT of excellent submissions and we’ve compiled these in a list by island. If we have already written a blog post on this adventure or location, we included a link for more info and pictures. I’m sure there are many more things worthy of a mention here, so if you see something you think should absolutely be on the list, comment below and we’ll update the list from time to time.

Sandy Island Carriacou by Rum Therapy
So, sit back, prepare yourself for a little Tropication and see how many of these things you’ve already experienced or which ones you want to put on your own tropical “to do” list!


Anegada

Walk, swim and snorkel Loblolly Bay
Enjoy a rum beverage at Cow Wreck Beach Bar
Linger over a lobster dinner while barefoot on the beach

Anguilla
Walk Shoal Bay from one end to the other
Treat yourself to a stay at beautiful Cap Juluca on Maunday’s Bay
Enjoy the food at the restaurants of Sandy Ground, Anguilla – especially the Lobster Creole
Take a catamaran ride out to Prickly Pear Cay for the day

Antigua
Enjoy an amazing sunset from Shirley Heights
Take the Xtreme Circumnav Tour
Check out the parties and fun during Antigua Sailing Week
Spend the winter in Antigua, lying in hammock at Curtain Bluff or the beach at Pigeon Point

Bahamas
Experience the party at the Independence Day Celebration in Freeport, Grand Bahamas

Barbados
Take the Mount Gay Rum Factory Tour

Bequia
Visit the Moonhole – or at least sail by it and take lots of pictures
Visit the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary

Belize
Ambergris Caye – Swim with sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Spend a day line fishing, spear fishing, and snorkeling with manatee. Bring your catch to a private island where it’s cooked on the grill while you relax on hammocks or snorkel the mangroves looking at seahorses. Take a day trip to the mainland jungle to spot wildlife (including monkeys) and check out Mayan ruins.

Bonaire
Go diving – it’s beautiful!

Cayman Islands
Swim with the stingrays at Stingray City
Visit Rum Point, Grand Cayman
Watch the sunset on Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Culebra
Walk Flamenco Beach

Diving & Snorkeling
The Wall, St. Croix
Underwater snorkel trail at Buck Island, St. Croix and Trunk Bay, St. John
Dive Speyside Tobago
The Rhone, Salt Island
The Indians, BVI
Snorkel The Caves, Norman Island

Dominica
Hike to some of the spectacular waterfalls in the ultra-lush rainforest
Buy tasty fresh locally grown fruit and spices at some of the roadside stands

Guadeloupe
Snorkel or dive at the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve
Take the rum factory tour on Marie-Galante (just south of Guadeloupe)

Grand Camanoe
Snorkel Diamond Reef

Grenada
Shop at the Spice Market and bring home some fresh spices

Happy Island
Order rum punches and visit with owner Janti

Jamaica
Ziplining
Watch the sunrise from Blue Mountain Peak in Jamaica
Climb Dunn River Falls
Horseback ride & swim at Chukka Cove
Spend a day at Floyd’s Pelican Bar
Jump off the cliffs at Rick’s Cafe, Negril

Jost Van Dyke
Have a Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar Bar
Enjoy some “stress free” time at Ivan’s
Enjoy a BBC at Gertrude’s
Go to the Bubbly Pool on JVD and then hit up Foxy’s Taboo after for a drink or two
Attend a Halloween, New Year’s Eve or Full Moon Party at Foxy’s and party ’till dawn
Bring home a bottle of Foxy’s Firewater Rum
Check out EVERY beach
bar on JVD
Explore Diamond Cay

Mexico
Swim with the Whale Sharks in Cancun
Ride a golf cart and enjoy some authentic Mexican food on the island of Holbox, Mexico
Explore, snorkel or dive some of the cenotes in the Yucatan Penninsula of Mexico
Explore the Tulum and Chichen Itza ruins
Zipline and snorkel (not at the same time!) in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Monserrat
View the Soufrière Hills Volcano and be awed at the forces of nature

Mustique
See the mansions of the rich and famous
Go to Basil’s Beach Bar for the Mustique Blues Festival

Nevis
Visit Old Bath House Ruins and The Nisbet Plantation
Have lunch at the Montpelier Plantation and Beach
Just GO to Nevis!

Norman Island
Experience the Shot-Ski at Willy T’s
Snorkel The Caves
Take the plunge at the Willy T’s
Snorkel or dive The Indians (close to Norman Island)

Petit Tabac
Explore the island and imagine finding Jack Sparrow’s hidden stash of rum

Puerto Rico
Hike El Yunque
Walk the cobblestone streets of Old Town Puerto Rico
Tour the 400 year old Fort El Morro

Saba
Hike Mt. Scenery

Sailing
Sailing in the British Virgin Islands and The Grenadines

Salt Island
Dive the Rhone

St. Barths
Enjoy a Cheeseburger at Le Select
Find the rhum at R. St. Barths and the infused rhum’s at M’Bolo

St. Croix
Bioluminescent Tour in a Glass Bottomed Kayak
Visit St George Village Botanical Gardens
Lyming by Sandy Point and Rainbow Beach on a Sunday
Take the Cruzan Rum Factory Tour and enjoy a delicious Cruzan Rum cocktail at the end
Spend a day on beautiful Cane Bay Beach
Be the first person in the U.S. to see the sunrise at Point Udall
Watch the sunset from Coconuts on the Beach
MontPellier Domino Club to see the drinking pigs and enjoy some Mamma Wanna and the best bushwacker on island
Snorkel the underwater trail at Buck Island
Dive the Wall by Cane Bay Beach and dive the Frederiksted Pier
Find seahorses at Frederiksted Pier
Check out the grounds at Mount Washington Plantation
Sail to Buck Island and explore for the day

St. John
Take pictures at the picturesque overlook of Trunk Bay
Snorkel the underwater trail at Trunk Bay
Kayak with a friend to a secret pocket beach
Try to see every beautiful beach on St. John
Enjoy some Key Lime Pie

St. Kitts
Explore Brimstone Hill
Explore Plantation Homes
Hit the Shiggidy Shack and Reggae Beach Bar & Grill for sun, fun and rum!

St. Lucia
Eat lunch between the Pitons at Hotel Chocolate
Stay at Jade Mountain Resort and stare at the Pitons in the comfort of your own in room pool
Snorkel/Scuba between the Pitons

St. Maarten/St. Martin
Watch the planes land right over your head while enjoying a rum punch at Sunset Bar & Grill, Maho Bay
Enjoy a drink while watching the bridge go up and the yachts go through at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club
Go shopping in Marigot at the outdoor market and in Philipsburg for watches, diamonds and Guavaberry Rum
Eat fanstastic French pastries at Sarafina’s Bakery
Walk Orient Beach from one end to the other
Drive, then hike to the top of Pic Paradis

St. Thomas
Spend the day at Magens Bay
Take the skyride up and enjoy the view of Charlotte Amalie and a Bushwacker

St. Vincent
Visit Wallilabou and visit the filming site of Pirates of the Caribbean

Tobago Cays
Snorkel with the turtles at the Tobago Cay Turtle Sanctuary

Tortola
Visit with Winston at the Nature Boy Beach Bar on Long Bay Beach
Float in the Limin’ House pool while sipping Sebastian’s Rum and stare at the view
Go to a Full Moon Party at the Bomba Shack AND Trellis Bay
Visit the Callwood Rum Distillery in Cane Garden Bay
Watch the sunset from BananaKeet Cafe

Turks and Caicos
Have a few drinks at Jack’s Shack, Grand Turk
Boogaloo’s Conch Shack, Providenciales
Go Bone Fishing

Vieques
Kayak the Bioluminescent Bay

Virgin Gorda
Spend lots of time exploring The Baths


And as FaceBook friend Dave L. put it –
Drink rum, drink rum drink rum,
and after that drink more rum !!!!!!!!!

Check out our Blog Directory by Island for even more pictures and island adventures!

Mt. Pellier Domino Club, St. Croix

Well, the name certainly doesn’t even hint as to the interesting things you will encounter at this bar/attraction tucked into the rain forest on the northwestern side of St. Croix.  In fact, the only thing we knew about it prior to visiting was that they have beer drinking pigs (non-alcoholic) and we should definitely order some Mama Wanna (a homemade liquor made with rum, honey, and secret roots and spices). So, we set off to find the place. Finding it is a bit of a challenge – the road is windy and there are not a lot of street signs, but we thought it was well worth a bumpy drive through the lush rainforest.

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Thank goodness for a good sign! We pulled in and headed for the bar.

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It was mid afternoon and there we just a few others throwing back a cold one in the bar, although we hear this place can get hopping at times.

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We were served by Norma, the owner and chef who happily told us about the Domino Club…and her beer drinking pigs.

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After sampling a Mama Wanna Shooter (mmm…), we headed over to see the current pigs named Hurricane and Grunt. There was a small admission fee per person and $2 per non-alcoholic beer to feed those thirsty pigs.

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We love to explore while on any island and this place was definitely one of those interesting finds. We didn’t have a chance to sample the food (which we hear is tasty), but the rum and conversation were good, we enjoyed exploring the St. Croix rainforest (a complete contrast to the islands eastern, more arid side) and beer drinking pigs? Yes, we’re easily amused, but really, where else do you get to experience that?

Have you been to Mt. Pellier Domino Club on St. Croix?

 

To see more posts on the St. Croix 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

Turtle Beach, Buck Island, St. Croix

Buck Island is a small, uninhabited island off the northeast coast of St. Croix. Designated a National Monument in 1961, the 176 acre island is home to several endangered species such as the hawksbill turtle.

Sailing to Turtle Beach, Buck Island

 The beach on Buck Island, Turtle Beach, is a long stunning stretch of white sand and clear water and offers spectacular views of St. Croix.

View of St. Croix from Turtle Beach

 Access: Buck Island can only be reached by boat. There are several charter companies in St. Croix that offer excursions to Buck Island for snorkeling and exploring the island.


Beach:
Turtle Beach is a long stretch of soft sand with an initial gentle, soft sand access, but drops off quickly in areas. Great for swimming and walking the beach.

We sailed on a trimaran to Buck Island

 Amenities: Picnic tables, charcoal grills, and pit toilets at West Beach and Dietrich’s Point. Be sure to bring plenty of water and pack out everything you bring in.


Recommended for: Anyone who loves beautiful quiet beaches and doesn’t mind taking a scenic sail to get there.

Tip: If you like to snorkel, take an excursion that stops to snorkel at the underwater snorkel trail by Buck Island. If you like to hike, take the hiking trail that leaves from West Beach or Diedrich Point. The hike takes about 45 minutes. Be sure to wear shoes and bring water.

Have you been to Buck Island yet?

Find Buck Island on our St. Croix Map

To see more posts on St. Croix 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

Cruzan Strawberry Rum

Cruzan Rum recently announced the launch of their newest spirit, Cruzan Strawberry. It’s the 11th spirit in their family of flavored rums, and the recipe is crafted with a touch of ginger to give a unique spin to the strawberry taste. Here are some other details:

Tasting Notes and Aroma:
•       Taste – Ripe, wild strawberry coupled with subtle ginger root
•       Aroma – Fresh and juicy strawberry
•       Finish – Smooth with a light spiced ginger finish

After reading this press release from the folks at Cruzan Rum, we’d been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Strawberry Rum. We’re recent fans of Cruzan Rums since our Cruzan Rum Factory Tour in St. Croix in February, and have enjoyed using the Cruzan flavored rums in many boat and beach drinks such as the Cruzan Confusion! Last week, we were lucky enough to find a bottle of the newly released Cruzan Strawberry Rum after visiting nearly every liquor store in our area. 

After scoring the desired bottle, we asked our Facebook friends for recipe suggestions. In addition to some excellent suggestions from our readers, Cruzan Rum Representative, Justine, also kindly volunteered a few recipe ideas. We asked a couple of friends if they would assist us in some Strawberry Rum recipe testing this weekend, and with minimal (no) arm twisting, they obliged!

We picked two recipes to start with and began to assemble the necessary ingredients.

First on the agenda was a Strawberry Mojito using the recipe from Cruzan Rum. The recipe called for Cruzan Strawberry Rum, sugar, mint leaves, juice of half a lime, and club soda. We muddled the sugar, mint, lime juice and a splash of club soda.

We then added the rum (note the exceptional choice of shot glass!),

Then poured it over ice in a tall glass and garnished with lime and strawberry.

After a little sampling and tweaking, this is the version of the recipe that we liked best.

Strawberry Mojito

3 to 3.5 oz. Cruzan Strawberry Rum
2 tsp. sugar
4 mint leaves
Juice of half a lime
6 oz. plus a splash of club soda

Muddle the mint leaves, sugar, lime juice and a splash of club soda. Add the remaining club soda and stir. Pour into a tall glass over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime and a strawberry.

It seems easy to overpower the taste of the strawberry with too much mint, so we initially tried 8 leaves then reduced the amount to 4 leaves per serving. The overwhelming consensus of all 4 taste testers was that the Cruzan Strawberry Mojito was crisp, light and very refreshing – an excellent summer beverage!

To make a Skinny Strawberry Mojito: Substitute 1/2 – 1 packet (.5 – 1 gram) Stevia for the sugar and/or Sprite Zero for the club soda. Tweak the amounts until the taste is just as you like it!

Stay tuned – more Cruzan Strawberry Rum Recipes (Part 2) in tommorow’s post!

photos: Pamela Ott

Sandy Point, St. Croix

We are always on the hunt for the best beaches on each island. Therefore, it came as no surprise that we ended up on Sandy Point Beach, part of the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge in St. Croix.

Sandy Point Beach is a three mile long beautiful powdery soft sand beach at the southwest end of St. Croix, just south of Fredriksted. It’s the largest beach in the USVI, but probably one of the least crowded. Sandy Point was the beach featured in the movie “Shawshank Redemption” when Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins reunited on the beach, supposedly in “Zihuatanejo”. Well, that’s one of our favorite flicks, so that little tidbit made us even more interested in checking it out. And, of course, we rented the movie again when we got home to see how Sandy Point looked in the film. Beautiful, of course.

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From the main road, it is a bit of a drive into the beach, but it appeared they were improving the road when we visited and it wasn’t as bumpy as we had read. There are a few small parking areas and then a short hike to the beach. Immediately you are stunned by the beauty of this area.

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Endangered green sea and leatherback turtles that lay their eggs on the Sandy Point Beach are protected by the National Wildlife Refuge. The park is only open on weekends from 10:00am – 4:00pm and is closed completely to the general public during laying and hatching season from April to August. I read that a visit might be arranged during hatching season by contacting the Wildlife Refuge ahead of time.

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The beach doesn’t offer any shade or concessions and is not the best in St. Croix for snorkeling because the bottom is too sandy (what a problem!), but is a must see if you appreciate turquoise blue Caribbean water, soft powdery sand, fantastic photo opportunities and very few people. There were quite a few brown pelicans dive bombing for fish and we spent several hours watching them, walking the beach and floating in the crystal blue water.

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The water is shallow at the shore, but seemed to drop off fairly quickly, at least in the area we swam, but the surf was not rough and we enjoyed spending time in the water. The sand was very soft in the areas close to the water and just a little more coarse the farther you got from shore.

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If you’re lucky enough to be in St. Croix when Sandy Beach is open, I’d highly recommend a visit. Bring a cooler, a beach towel, plenty of sunscreen and an extra memory card for your camera. You’ll need it.

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Other St. Croix Posts You Might Enjoy:

Rum Therapy On St. Croix

Snorkeling at Buck Island

Turtle Beach, Buck Island

Coconuts On the Beach

Mt. Pellier Domino Club

 

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

Seaplane Adventure

Years ago, sitting in the sun at Paradise Point at the top of the St. Thomas tram drinking my very first Bushwhacker (certainly not my last!) I saw a seaplane curve around Charlotte Amalie and gently splash down in the water. Quite cool, I thought – must put that one on the list.

Fast forward 10-15 years (wow, where does the time go?) and we find ourselves in St. Croix needing to get to St. Thomas. The two choices: 1. Ferry, cost $50.00, time 90 minutes 2. Seaplane, cost $80.00 (plus $1.00 per pound of luggage over 30 pds), time 20 minutes. A little more costly, but much shorter travel time and hey – it was on THE LIST.

We called and booked our flight on Seaborne Airlines for early the next morning and packed our suitcases. Unfortunately, both suitcases were over the 30 pd. limit (just the snorkeling equipment, I’m sure…), so there was an additional charge of about $10.00 each.

The next morning we headed down to the Seaplane Terminal in Christiansted. There were just a few clouds in the sky, but it looked like a beautiful morning. We were quite early, so we checked in and then headed over to Angry Nates for a warm cup o’ joe. The clouds began building and we had a quick 5 minute resulting in a beautiful rainbow over the harbor!

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Sipping our coffee, we watched as our plane landed in the harbor and taxied over to the terminal. We headed over to the waiting area to board. It appeared that there were only 4 other people on our flight.

The pilots opened the doors and let the previous passengers out, then welcomed us on. All luggage was packed under the plane and we were allowed only to bring on our cameras (and a small handbag).

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One of the pilots gave our safety briefing and then slid up in the cockpit and we were off!

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Besides being a bit loud, I was amazed at how smoothly the plane zipped along the water during takeoff.

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Once in the air, it was a beautiful sight looking back on St. Croix and the different hues in the  water around it.

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After about 10 minutes, we saw Water Island and St. Thomas in the distance.

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As we approached St. Thomas it seemed we were going to fly right into the hillside around Charlotte Amalie – a little concerning, but then suddenly we took a sharp turn and a pretty steep dive right down into the harbor. We could see the cruise ships and mega yachts in port and the tram in the distance.

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It was an odd feeling to set down in the water, but smooth once again. Nice ride, nice experience!

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As I looked over towards the tram, I couldn’t help but wonder if someone was sitting up on Paradise Point drinking their first Bushwhacker and adding a seaplane ride to their list!


To see more posts on St. Croix 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

Snorkeling at Buck Island, St. Croix

I’m scared to scuba dive. There, I said it. I thought about doing a resort course once, but when I learned that you had to be able to take the air tube out of your mouth and share it with someone else and that there is actually a chance that you could run out of air that many feet below the surface… I’m actually in awe of those who do dive, I mean, the pictures I’ve seen of their underwater world are stunning.

Anyway…John, the other half of this team likes to dive, but thankfully he also likes to snorkel – and I LOVE snorkeling.

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Here we are, foggy lenses and all!

So we’ve been talking lately a lot about our awesome recent trip to St. Croix. On the list for this trip was a visit to Buck Island, an island just off of St. Croix that has been designated a national monument. Snorkeling there was purported to be amazing, and at the easternmost part of the reef there is an underwater trail – similar to the underwater trail found in Trunk Bay on St. John.

We’d snorkeled Trunk Bay several times – way back before it got so darned popular and crowded and so we were mildly interested in comparing the two trails, although we were more interested in seeing the vibrant coral and fish.

We found a charter recommended by Fodors and Frommers tour guides and booked a tour to sail, snorkel and explore on Teroro II the following day. The Teroro II is a trimaran and we boarded with about 12 other guests.

copyright Rum TherapyTeroro II

Carl was our Captain for the day. He was full of information and stories about Buck Island and St. Croix and did his best to make sure everyone was having a good time.

copyright Rum TherapyCaptain Carl

Buck-Island-Snorkel-4-O
We had a great sail out to the island and attached to a mooring ball offshore. We donned our gear and quickly jumped in.

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The Buck Island Underwater Snorkel Trail consists of a series of underwater plaques indicating some of the flora and fauna found around the reef. After diving in, we soon found one of the plaques in the underwater trail showing the beginning of the trail.

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We saw a rather large fish just a few feet away and began swimming after him to get a picture.

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Then saw this plaque…

copyright Rum TherapyThankfully he wasn’t interested in us.

We followed the trail for a while and then veered off on our own. The sun was out and the water was warm clear – although a tad choppy. Fish were abundant and the coral was colorful.

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copyright Rum Therapy

copyright Rum Therapy

copyright Rum Therapy

copyright Rum Therapy

An hour flew by and we were signaled to come back to the boat for our short sail to the other side of the island for some beach time!

Find Buck Island on our St. Croix Map


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