Water Island, USVI?

Aug 23rd, 2004, 09:51 PM
  #1  
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Water Island, USVI?

Has anyone stayed on Water Island, USVI? Where did you stay and what would you suggest? We love St. John but are looking for something slightly different (but, obviously not too) for our honeymoon in January 2005. How easy is it to get to/from the other islands?
sanbar51 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Hi There,

I would categorize Water Island as very different from STJ rather than slightly different. Flat rather than mountainous, very limited selection of housing and a deli rather than any restaurants.

In order to get to/from Water Island you have to take a ferry to/from Crown Bay on STT. No direct ferry service from there to any other islands.

The website vinow.com probably has the most available information about Water Island in a single place.

Schultz
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Aug 24th, 2004, 06:59 PM
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Thanks - I'll have to revisit that thought. I guess we were somewhat disappointed with all the building that's going on in St. John today - we still love the island but were looking what St. John was 15 years ago. Thanks again...
sanbar51 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 09:36 AM
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Water Island is mainly upscale residential. Try Tortola for that 15 year ago, STJ feeling....or Virgin Gorda. The Sandcastle on JVD is an interesting alternative....check it out.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 10:25 AM
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Thanks CaribbeanSoul ? I have seen other posts from you & enjoy your knowledge of the islands. Sandcastle looks fabulous ? I looked at their website & reviewed comments from TripAdvisor. Question for you ? do you think it?s a 7-day place to go? Is there anywhere to escape when the boats come in to visit Foxy?s? What we loved about StJ from our last trip (staying at Lindholm? stayed at Caneel the year before) was hiking down to Honeymoon beach with a cooler & having the beach to ourselves until charters came in - we?d go back to our room & shower for a late lunch (or nap). We rented a car for a couple days & took easy hikes to other beaches and visited other public beaches, chartered a sailboat (Beowulf? we were the only passengers) and had some of the most fabulous food (love good food ? less into quantity than quality). This is all TMI but I trust your recommendation ? do you think Sandcastle & JVD could keep us happy for 7 days? Where would you suggest for Tortola or VG? Thanks in advance? St.J is our fall back plan but we would like to explore new places.
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Aug 25th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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Oops - guess it's actually Soggy Dollar on the Sandcastle premises...
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Aug 25th, 2004, 01:48 PM
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Thanks Sandbar....I appreciate the flattery! I used to live on St. Croix in my mid 20's, so I had the opportunity to travel the Eastern Caribbean a bit. Now we are semi-annual visitors from the Pacific NW and try to change things up from time to time. To answer your question about the Sandcastle....and let me preface this by saying that I have not stayed there....it would seem as if it would be a real nice place to stay for about 3 days. JVD is very small and not a whole lot to do but drink Painkillers at SDB or Foxy's and bag rays on White Bay Beach. There is some exploring that can be done....but 3 days and you'll probably want some variety. I'd take the other 4 days and stay at the Sugar Mill Inn on Tortola. A very nice, quaint place above Little Apple Bay on the NW side of Tortola. Rent a car and drive to the different beaches on Tortola...short drive from Cane Garden Bay beach. The restaurant at the Sugar Mill is spectacular....a culinary delight! I think your honeymoon will be about as perfect as it gets with that itinerary! Enjoy your trip wherever you decide to go....let me know if you have any other questions. I have stayed at the Sugar Mill....but that is the only place on Tortola we have overnighted at. Highly recommend it! You can easily get around all the BVI/USVI by ferry.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 06:39 PM
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CS - well, I suppose there are worse ways to spend your youth! In past trips we met young people from Texas (our home) who ended up in the USVI, bartending, guiding, etc. Have you been back to St. Croix?

I put in inquiries to both Sandcastle & Sugar Mill re: availability. They both appear to be what we like... and looks like I can get mileage flights too.

What other island have you explored?

Thanks much for your input. S

sanbar51 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 07:09 PM
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You have made a fine choice, Sanbar! I worked for a CPA firm on STX out of college for a few years....didn't make a lot of money....but the memories make up for that and then some. Went back for a week in 1995 for the wedding of a couple I introduced to each other a couple of years earlier. She was the head "chemist" for Cruzan Rum and he was a food distributor. Haven't been back since. STX is an island I'd consider retiring on....but I have a ways to go until that day! STX is bigger and not as mountainous as the other Virgins....very charming in its own way with a tropical rain forest on the west end and a drier, more arid east end....and very nice beaches all over! Other islands? Outside of the USVI/BVI....Puerto Rico I have been to once....Jamaica is the island that started my Caribbean affliction with a trip in 1985 and many returns since. Cozumel and Isla Mujeres I have traveled to. My wife and I are going to Grand Cayman for our first trip there in May 2005....very excited about that. After the GC trip, Anguilla, St. Martin and St. Barts are high on the list as we work our way downisland! Much depends on airfare and timing, of course! Good luck on your honeymoon plans....I look forward to a detailed trip report! We honeymooned in Negril a couple of years ago....took us a few days to recover from our wedding activities! We can't wait to get back to the BVI....
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 09:09 PM
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Sounds like your heart is on the islands! And a bean counter to boot (We're both hybrid accountants - ended up in IT).

We were actually looking at buying on STJ - but the prices are staggering - talked to people who are building & understand properties have doubled in 2 years (on a not yet completed condo complex...ugly digging into the hill off Cruz Bay by Lavender Hill - discount if you agree not to resell w/i 5 years).

Since we seem to have a private thread going...my travels, if you're interested, include Mexico (Cancun, Cozumel, Riveria Mayan, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta), Aruba, Grand Cayman, Bahamas (Freeport), Puerto Rico (admittedly on business only though Vieques looks interesting) and Hawaii (Maui, Kauai)... okay, multiple places in Europe, on business (he lived in Switzerland for 2 years). I don't know if I'm as informative as you but if you have any questions, I'll be happy to share.

Thanks again. S

sanbar51 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 09:05 AM
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We stayed at Long Bay Resort on Tortola three years ago. It was a nice resort with fantastic views as most rooms are on a hillside. The beach is beautiful, but not the best for swimming due to rocks, etc. We had the best time exploring Tortola - the views from the hills are breathtaking!
beth48 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 10:59 AM
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Sanbar: Pursuing the island dream....been there! Prices have indeed shot up....supply and demand....babyboomers retiring. I am hoping when all the babyboomers die and leave their vacation homes in the Caribbean to their estates, there will be a glut in the market due to the oversupply of villas and homes! One can hope....I am in my mid 30's, so I have a few years to finalize my "plan". My wife wanted to move there when I took her on her first trip to STJ in 2002....she thought she was on a movie set....I'll never forget that! Outside of the Caribbean I have traveled to most of the Hawaiian islands with camping on the beach on Lanai (Manele Bay) being the most unique! Also have been up and down the Pacific Coast of Mexico....the Caribbean is definitely where my heart is, however. You are also well traveled....more so as I due to the European travel. I have not experienced this yet....but France, Italy and Greece are places I would love to see sometime. I think I'll wait until I am a little older and can take more time off to experience these places as I feel there is so much to do and see. I can go sit on an island in the Caribbean for a week to 10 days and be pretty satisfied! We are booked in a condo next to Kaibo Yacht Club on Grand Cayman for an 11 night stay next May. And I believe we'll be taking another trip later in 2005....any suggestions? I have thought Anguilla may be up our alley for the next trip after GC! You can email me at [email protected] due to the lack of interest of others in our board conversation.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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You guys don't realize it, but there are other very interested lurkers reading this! I appreciate all the tips.

I never knew about Water Island, checked it out and it does seem small and different. We've stayed at Long Bay too, camped at St. John (Maho), and visited lots of other Caribbean islands. My humble suggestion would be to rent a villa on Tortola. It's definitely a 7 day place, with beaches, restaurants, towns etc enough to keep you busy. The villa we rented was on Brewer's Beach. Absolutely perfect for that pack-the-cooler and walk downhill for an almost alone swim/snorkel. I'll try to find the villa, it's not available online, but there's and ad in Caribbean Travel & Life for it. Came complete with pool and wraparound decks with wicker lounge chairs. A very outside-inside kind of house. If you're interested I can retype the ad into my reply.
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Aug 26th, 2004, 07:39 PM
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How funny - I really didn't think anyone else was 'listening'... and now we've veered so far away from the posted topic!

CS - Anguilla is yet another island we have been considering - but Cap Jaluca (sp) seems to be booked for the time we seek in January... there are other places to consider - I just haven't done my research on it yet. Have also looked at The Caves in Jamaica - but he's somewhat Jamaica adverse. You seem to like Negril (sans machete weilding locals)? St. Lucia holds interest as well... so many islands, so little time! Okay, you're still young, waiting for us to die off, I forgot!

BTW - got word back from Sandcastle, JVD that they're booked til mid-Feb 2005... Sugar Mill just sent a message - Deluxe Room... Adventure or Honeymoon Package. Would you recommend a car the full time or only 3 days - Adv offers 6 days, HM only 3? And would you suggest a MAP plan or are there enough places to explore/eat?

Joan - please tell me about the villa on Tortola - would love to check it out... and CaribbeanSoul may have comments!

CS - Europe for me was 90% business but I love France (Paris & surrounding is all I know), Florence is another cannot miss place in Italy. I had a weekend in Greece - but, as with most of my business travels, my weekend was alone - I had some terrific guides in work colleagues... but it's not the same if you can't share it with someone! The last place I visited (2/2004) was Ireland - I would have never considered it as a destination had it not been on business but the land & people were absolutely wonderful... in spite of the weather.

Email me at [email protected] with any specific ?

Thank you - whoever is providing input. Helps a lot. S
sanbar51 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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Sanbar: Sorry....didn't mean to be so insensitive with my babyboomer remarks! Death is an inevitable and eventual fact we'll all meet someday! An entire week on Tortola sounds awesome! I'd definitely rent a vehicle for the entire stay....you'll probably want to go out and explore a different beach every day....if you are beach people. We stayed at the Sugar Mill for 2 nights in 2002....and I forget what type of room we were in. We really liked it there! Reasonably priced and a very friendly staff. We tend to like the smaller places, as well. We don't find the need for a lot of amenities that many people desire, therefore why pay for it! We like to pack a cooler and head off for the day....no massages....no activities....no yoga sessions....etc. It was a spontaneous trip my fiance and I took from STJ to get a break from my family. We were in a villa with them for a couple of weeks. Tortola is very scenic and the roads are not for the weak of heart...and of course...driving on the left...but your European experience sounds like you are all prepared for that! Roadtown is the main town on Tortola with many restaurants and shops. The restaurant at Sugar Mill is critically acclaimed as one of the best in the entire Caribbean....we had one dinner there and it was indeed extraordinary! Cane Garden Bay beach and Smuggler's Cove (love the name) are fabulous beaches! We were there in June 2002 and the island was very quiet....almost dead. But a lot probably had to do with 9/11. The incident you referred to pertaining to Negril is very isolated. I still am not sure if it is true or not do to the lack of any other reports regarding this from anyone else. Even so....issues need to be resolved....different cultures have different methods, some may be more effective than others. I find Negril to be one of the safest, friendliest destinations I have ever been to (first trip in 1985). I find St. Thomas to be more "intimidating" in places than anywhere I have been from Negril to Ocho Rios.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Aug 27th, 2004, 04:22 PM
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Sanbar51,

I really applauded your choices here! We probably have the same mentality (not a bean counter here, but definitely an IT person). We spent a week each at Sandcastle and Sugar Mill in April 2004 and loved them both to death for very different reasons. Too bad that Sandcastle is out for you, but I'm not surprised. I understand that their occupancy rate is about 93%, compared to about 80% for most popular resorts. (something I read in another post). I can't begin to describe why. It mostly has to do with the beauty of White Bay combined with the low key "family" feel of the resort itself. We cried when we left as we were leaving friends!

Tortola - ah - Tortola! And Sugar Mill. Wonderful rooms, wonderful location and wonderful service. I highly recommend that you rent a car for the whole duration of your stay. Tortola is a great island and every beach is within a short drive. I personally would not get a meal plan at SM. There are too many other culinary delights to experience.

We were not back in Canada for 4 weeks before I had booked us back to both Sandcastle and Sugar Mill for 2005 (as had another couple we made friends with down there this past April).

Enjoy!!!

Linda
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Aug 27th, 2004, 08:23 PM
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I was in the midst of a response & got disconnected... please forgive if I'm repetative...

CS - LOL - Yoga... our package at Caneel Bay in 2003 included "Couple's" Yoga. Okay, us who had never done this and a couple from the Birmingham Ballet company who just happened to be on their honeymoon (we had on regular clothes... they changed into their yoga attire... and the CB photographer just 'happened' to be there to take pictures). More TMI but I pulled my calf muscle the day before (screwed up our hiking plans) and, we'd never yoga'd before... it was sad. And me belting out a laugh when the instructure ahhhhmmmmm'd... so not cool. I would post the picture they took of us... but who enjoys that type of humiliation???

And, as I indicated in my email, we're not quite fossil material. Assuming our mileage and lodging moons collide, appears we'll be doing the Sugar Mill Adventure package. Looking forward to it & welcoming any suggestions along the way! Tell me about culinary delights that are not to be missed... as indicated before, we LOVE good food!. BTW, I think you're quite brave for vacationing with your family or hers'... I can't do it!

As far as local island adventures, we have friends who absolutely refuse to return to St.Thomas - in a freak accident she got hit in the face with a bottle...can't blame her... but it's more a commentary on individuals than a destination... or I thrive to believe.

So - do you know anything about the Caves? It looks so cool - I just have to convince him that's where we want to go! And, re: HI... what do you think about Hana on Maui?

Sarharabee...tell me more about what makes you want to return & what you recommend... nothing is better than hearing from those who experience it 1st hand!

I'm grateful for those who read & contribute... appreciate it! S
sanbar51 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2004, 03:18 PM
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Sanbar - I can relate. We have been to STJ 6x, the last time the construction made me cry. Between the condos by Lavender Hill and the constuction by our favorite Villa by Chocolate Hole I'm wondering if my paradise is gone.
We are going to Guana Island in February, as we look for the non-commercialized Paradise that we used to enjoy in STJ
Cyclone is offline  
Aug 28th, 2004, 03:44 PM
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Wow, we are returning to our favorite Carib isle, StJohn after 6 yrs. Where is all the construction happening?

sanbar51, we were looking for another spot, tried T&Caicos last year, however, StJohn keeps calling us back.
We will be staying at Gallows, want to day trip to Tortola, check out Sugar Mill. Is this an easy day trip to do from CruzBay?
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Aug 28th, 2004, 05:26 PM
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Easy day trip? About as easy as it gets! Take the ferry out of STJ and rent a car out of West End, Tortola and the island is yours for the day! The ferry is a mere 30 minutes and the ferries run quite often, I do believe.
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