This is my first time back to St. Thomas since the devastating hurricane in 2017. I fell in love with this island the first time that Jef took me here six years ago. Jef knows a lot of people here, so our visits here are not of the normal tourist variety. We go to a lot of beaches and we love checking out various bands at night. Things have changed quite a bit on the island since I’ve been here last and sadly, many of our favorite places have closed.
First, let’s start with places to stay. As you can see from my picture, we have a beautiful view. We are also paying less than half what most other people pay when they come here. How do we do that? We use Airbnb. We have stayed in some beautiful places using Airbnb. Is it as pristine as a hotel room? No, but if you are spending your time in your hotel room, then you are going on different vacations than I am. We are basically only in our room to sleep and regroup before heading out again. If you are that kind of traveler, this is the cheapest and best option for you. I would simply caution you to make sure it has the amenities that you require. Air conditioning is our must have and that cuts down a number of places we can stay.
We always rent a car when we are here and driving can be tricky considering you need to drive on the left hand side of the road. The roads are also curvy, steep, and narrow. When we arrived at the airport, Jef made sure to get to the rental place as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, we were the last people to leave the airport with a car, an hour and a half later. Why? The service people are not terribly concerned about making you wait. There is definitely an island time and it is not going to match up to regular time. Sometimes they might tell you that there are no cars and you need to come back the next day, so we felt lucky to leave with a car.
After finding our Airbnb and dropping off our belongings, we went to our favorite place to eat: Tap and Still. There are two on the island. One is located in Havensight and the other in Red Hook. They have the best burgers (according to Jef) and the best veggie burgers (according to me). They do not have a large menu, but the few things they have are made well. I have heard that they have alcoholic milkshakes, so I will definitely try one next time we go.
We also make sure to buy some groceries so we can make sandwiches to eat on the beach and breakfast to have in our room. Groceries are very expensive here (it is an island) and you need to be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. A gallon of milk was $6.99 and a box of cheaper cereal was $5.99 for a small box. It is worth it to bring snacks with you rather than wait to buy those things on the island. The best bargain is buying bottles of Cruzan rum. They are $8 a bottle!
This morning, after breakfast on the deck, we headed to Secret Harbor. There is a resort there that offers guests use of chairs, towels, umbrellas, and hammocks, but you can hang out on the beach if you are not a guest. They have rental chairs as well. There is a lovely shaded area on the far side of the beach where we spent our day. The water is crystal clear and you don’t need a snorkel to see all the fish. The fish will come right up and rub against you if you allow it. If you feed them any bread, you will be surrounded. Quite a few people snorkel here and after speaking with a local, she said there is also a turtle that hangs out in the area. She didn’t see the turtle, but said the fish were very colorful.
There is a bar/restaurant right on the beach and the waitresses will even come out on the beach to take drink orders. We didn’t see any do that today though so perhaps that is only on the weekend. I ordered a vanilla painkiller (my favorite) and a blackened Mahi sandwich for lunch. Ordering lunch and drinks can be pricey, but not outrageous.
We had a difficult time finding a place we wanted to go for dinner since most of our favorites have closed. There are lots of places with fresh fish, but it can be very expensive. Jef had red snapper tonight and it was very tasty. We went to Root 42 to listen to a band play and the vanilla painkiller there was excellent. The band was playing outside of the bar area right next to a pool. There were tables both outside and inside the bar and also an area with lounge chairs near the band. It was a peaceful atmosphere. You could sit, listen to music, and look up at the stars.