Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Caribbean Islands
Reload this Page >

Everything is booked, would like one more recommendation :)

Everything is booked, would like one more recommendation :)

Mar 23rd, 2006, 10:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 177
Everything is booked, would like one more recommendation :)

Hi Everyone,

I very appreciate all of your recommendations, and feel I now know of plenty to do on STJ for my trip in June! Thanks you so much! I can't wait! Everything is booked, Caneel Bay, plane tix (I did go the first class route...I figured, why not?!), and transfers, and I made a list of all of the great recommendations from you that I have received from my many threads (dining, snorkeling, scuba just to name a few).

My question is about island hopping. I have already learned that I can arrange a trip to Virgin Gorda to the Baths to snorkel and sightsee (which I am REALLY looking forward to doing). However, I don't know when I'll get to vacation again, so I want to see as many islands as possible. I will be shopping in STT on the last day of my trip. So, I figured a half day trip to the Baths at Virgin Gorda, and then I was thinking about hopping around to Tortola or somewhere else close? Where would you recommend? I just want to sightsee there, maybe walk around for a while. My husband and I are fast people when it comes to vacationing...we travelled to five countries in Europe in ten days, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm just looking for another half day trip so I can see someplace new. My choice would probably be T&C to see the beautiful shallow water at Taylor Bay, but obviously, that is not feasible because of distance. So, I would love your recommendations for a great 1/2 day trip to just explore. Of course rainforest/jungle would be nice, but I don't think that is possible either. Thanks in advance!
jackiehammond is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 10:59 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,716
Really if you only have 1/2 day you are going to be limited to one of the nearby Virgin Islands or British Virgin Islands. You simply won't have enough time to get to/from any other island in the Caribbean distances are too far for boat travel and flying is not a viable option since you are based on St. John as you'd have to first make your way to St. Thomas or to Beef Island in order to catch a flight and schedules are such that you'd probably have to spend what little time you had on that island waiting at the airport for your return flight.

Since you are planning a side trip to Virgin Gorda your idea of going to Tortola is a good one. It is easily reached from St. John and there is enough of a contrast to make the trip meaninful. I believe there are local tour operators that offer day trips to Jost Van Dyke. Jost has some very nice beaches but it is very laid back. You might also be able to arrange a day trip t Guana Island. You'll find wonderful flora and fauna on that island and it's the closest thing to a rainforest that you'll find in either the VI's or the BVI's.
A_Traveller is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:39 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 177
hi A_Traveller,

thanks so much for your recommendations! i suppose i could do a full day trip, but i am going to look into jost van dyke and guana island for sure. i just did some research on guana island, and it looks exactly like what i would like to do (hike, sightsee). this website is very informative:
so anyone can go to this island to visit? which local companies would you recommend i call to arrange a day trip? jost van dyke looks good, too, but guana seems a little more my taste (from the online pics and descriptions). is it possible to visit both guana and tortola in one day?

i will also do some searches on the fodor's forums for guana and jost van dyke. if i did a day trip, could i arrange a trip to another island (not in the BVI)? Looking at maps, it is hard for me to tell really how long it would take to go from one island to the other.

thanks, again!
jackiehammond is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 177
just found this very helpful post:

Author: Tuxedocat
Date: 02/20/2006, 08:45 pm
New Horizons II has had some great reviews and this outfit visits 4 different islands in one trip.

checking it out now... (thanks, tuxedocat!)
jackiehammond is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,716
I doubt you can visit both Tortola and Guana in one day and do them justice. Everything moves on island time so just getting to/from a particular island will take more time. You are better off not being so agressive and limit yourself to one island per day.

Check out the BVI forum at www.traveltalkonline.com. It's a very active forum and you'll find lots of posts about the best ways to hop around the BVI's.

Newcomers to the Caribbean have the misconception it is easy to island hop. People regularily spend a week or two just sailing the BVI's. Again, trying to put things in perspective for you - when looking at a map of the Caribbean the distances between islands is deceiving. For all practicle purposes you cannot easily get to any island by boat for a day trip if it is more than say 5 to 10 miles away and the islands are not all linked together by a massive ferry system. That means that if you are staying on St. John you are limited to visiting some but not all of the islands in the VI or BVI chain (as an example, you wouldn't be able to easily reach St. Croix or Anegada for a day trip). The next closest island outside the VI/BVI's (Anguilla) is a good 12 to 16 hours hours by boat with St. Martin an hour or so further south. This trip entails crossing the Anegada Passage which is know by yachtsmen as the "OH MY GODDA PASSAGE" because of its rough waters. It's not something you should attempt unless you were an experienced sailor.
A_Traveller is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,477
Caneel has a boat directly to Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda, from which you can taxi to the Baths. If the Baths are overrun with cruisers/daytrippers, the adjacent beach (Spring Bay Beach-closer to town) is just as beautiful and much more quiet.
xkenx is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,532
jackiehammond: I'm glad you found the New Horizons II mention helpful. It's like this: it takes you about 40 minutes to get from St. John to Tortola by ferry and the ferries run only a few times a day. The typical visit to Tortola is: you go in the morning around 8:30 and you catch the 4 or 5 p.m. ferry back to St. John. It gives you a complete day to visit and that's plenty to give you a flavor of that island. The other islands are smaller and a trip like New Horizons II (4 islands which include Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke) or Stormy Petrol (Virgin Gorda plus one other island, usually Peter Island) also takes a full day. Virgin Gorda takes a minimum of an 1 1/2 hours to get to. I don't recall there being 1/2 day trips to any BVI. A larger boat like Limnios also goes to Virgin Gorda and Norman Island. It's a matter of taste/preference. Half day excursions are usually limited to closer, local snorkel spots like "the Indians" or spots around St. John more easily reached by water. You will have plenty to do and explore on St. John alone. Believe me, I've been at least a dozen times and I still have experienced a small fraction.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 02:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 177
hi A_Traveller,

thank you so much for putting it all into perspective for me. i did think it was fairly easy to island hop by looking at the map, so i really appreciate your clarifications! also, thanks for the bvi forum link. i will check it out!

hi xkenx,

thanks for that info. i thought i remember that mentioned (probably from you on another post). they are both rosewood resorts, so that would make sense. how far/how much $ is the taxi drive from little dix to the baths?

hi tuxedocat,

yes, i definitely found the new horizons info extremely helpful. thank you! i booked marked it and am going to show it to my husband. thanks for breaking down the island hopping for me. peter island would be nice with virgin gorda. i didn't realize VG was 1 1/2 hours away, but it's something i really want to see. i've wanted to visit seychelles to see those boulder rock formations and when i saw pics at VG, i was very excited! i will definitely check out stormy petrol, too. this site was helpful for info on that:

this may be a dumb question, but does a larger boat (you mentioned limnios) get there faster? i know nothing about boats! thanks so much!
jackiehammond is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,716
The boats, which are designed for pleasure sailing, essentially all sail at the same speed with their sailing times between two fixed locations differing only by a few minutes. In other words if a typical sail from one island to another takes 1 1/2 hours you won't find a boat that can do the same sail in say 45 minutes. In this scenario the fastest boat would take maybe 85 minutes and the slowest would take 95 minutes. I know you are looking to see as many places in as little amount of time possible but sailing between islands is not like driving on a freeway. Relax, you are "in the islands, mon"!
A_Traveller is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 04:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,870
It's true that sailing or a regular power boat would take longer, but aren't there high speed ferries between St. Thomas and Tortola and St. THomas and Virgin Gorda? Would that help the OP to maximize the number of islands that she visits? I seem to recall seeing high speed ferries between Tortola and other islands when I was there last July, but admittedly I didn't pay a lot of attention as I was enjoying the slower pace of the sailboat.

For Jackie--I don't think you'd be able to see much of Guana as a daytripper since it's a private island. I think only the beaches are open to the public. (And you could certainly snorkel there if you wanted to.) If it's something you're seriously interested in, perhaps you could make arrangements with the managers ahead of time to go hiking or something.
ejcrowe is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 177
thanks, A_Traveller! i will definitely take the time to relax on the boat ride. if i go with new horizons, 4 islands in one day is certainly enough for me!

hi ejcrowe,

thanks for your post. good point about guana. i figure i can hike in stj since it's so beautiful there.
jackiehammond is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Caribbean Islands
Nov 3rd, 2014 05:28 PM
Caribbean Islands
Jun 27th, 2012 07:39 AM
Caribbean Islands
Apr 27th, 2010 08:24 AM
Caribbean Islands
May 29th, 2005 06:04 PM
Caribbean Islands
Mar 13th, 2005 06:45 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:00 AM.