Virgin Islands – US and British – April 2018

First, a few pictures from our last trip to the Virgin Islands when we stayed on the tiny island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.  The USVI and BVI are basically all the same islands and are separated by the Sir Francis Drake Channel which is only a few miles across so day tripping between the “different countries” is very easy in a power boat.  We used to stay at the small hotel connected to the world famous “Soggy Dollar Bar” on Jost, which is where the Painkiller drink was invented.

White Bay Beach, Jost Van Dyke, BVI
White Bay, looking across to the island of St. John
White Bay (St. Thomas is in the distance)


Steve and I used to spend a week of vacation every year on the tiny island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.  About 300 people live on Jost and the only way to get there is by boat.  It was always a full day of travel to get there, flying from Dallas to Miami and then connecting to St. Thomas, then a 1 hour car ride to the ferry dock and another 30 minute boat ride to Jost via a private (and pricey) water taxi.  We stayed in a small and rustic beach bungalow at the Sandcastle Hotel located on one of the world’s best beaches.

Sunset on St. John during our last vacation there in 2012

Unfortunately, Jost Van Dyke became more and more popular each year with bigger boats and more day trippers coming every day. Kenny Chesney wrote a few songs about the island that had his fans coming across the Francis Drake Channel to have their “toes in the sand” moment…or to just get sloppy drunk on painkillers and rum punches.  Fast forward 10 years and it was just too crowded and active for us so we decided it was time to visit some other islands and use our vacation time to revisit Europe and travel to some new places like Morocco and Italy.  That was almost 5 years ago and we finally decided in 2017 that it was time to venture back to the Virgin Islands.

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Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI (tripadvisor.com)

After booking a great deal on airfare and getting first class tickets for what I normally pay for coach seats, Hurricane Irma and then Maria swept over the USVI and BVI.  We had originally planned to spend 4 nights in a private villa on St. John in the USVI and then spend a few days in the BVI on either Virgin Gorda or Tortola.  Fortunately, the villa we had rented on St. John was hurricane-proof and made it through the hurricanes with little to no damage.  However, all of the hotels we were looking at for the 2nd half of our vacation (Little Dix Bay, Peter Island Resort, Guana Island Resort) were all literally wiped away.  So, we ended up deciding to spend our entire stay on St. John in a private house, rent a car so we could drive ourselves around the island and charter a boat captain for a day to take us around to other islands.  Near the end of our trip, we will be day tripping to Jost just like all the other tourists we used to get annoyed by when we stayed there.

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Hawksnest Beach, St. John USVI (tripadvisor.com)

So, a little different this time but I’m looking forward to some forced downtime.  Our plan is to relax, pack a cooler and head to some of the amazing beaches that St. John has to offer.  We may do a little hiking, a little shopping and just hanging out at our villa which sits on a hill with an amazing view of the islands and has a private pool.

View from our St. John Villa (Ginger Thomas Villa) – Mandavilla Properties

We’ll be driving around the island for a few days and will definitely be checking out (and snorkeling) several different beaches.  More than 50% of St. John is a national park so it’s very underdeveloped and retains its natural beauty.  The trees are making a fast comeback in the tropical environment and the island is green again based on recent pictures.  There is still some obvious hurricane damage in some areas, mostly from structures, but the beaches are still gorgeous with white sand and blue water.  The other good news is that most of the island’s restaurants and bars have reopened and been rebuilt (as are the grocery stores and shopping) so we should be just fine finding a good cocktail and some fresh seafood for dinner.  At this point we are counting the days as we already have the “DIF”, aka, the Dreaded Island Fever.


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