Steve and I spent 12 years visiting Jost Van Dyke for vacation each year. We stayed at a small boutique hotel, called The Sandcastle, which was located on White Bay Beach for a week every April. Jost is known as the “Barefoot Island” due to its laid back nature and pristine beaches. About 300 people live on Jost and the only way to get there is by boat. The island got really popular a few years ago when country music artist Kenny Chesney wrote several songs about it and filmed his videos here. That’s when we stopped coming here for vacation because it just wasn’t the same quiet little island anymore. That being said, Jost is a great place for a day trip and it’s still the barefoot island as I left my flip flops in the boat and never wore them from the moment we arrived.
We chartered a powerboat and captain for the day and met Captain Rob at the marina on St. John. It’s about a 15-20 minute boat ride from St. John to Jost and you have to clear customs as you are going from the USVI to the BVI. Our first stop was Great Harbour which is where the customs house is located on Jost. Great Harbour’s main “road” is just the beach and there are several bars and restaurants lined up along the shoreline. The most famous of them being Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, owned by Foxy Callwood. No one knows how old Foxy actually is but he’s still there, strumming his guitar and entertaining guests with his silly songs and jokes. Foxy’s used to be our late night hang-out on Jost when we stayed. Our joke was that we would go here for “one drink” which usually ended up being more like 10 drinks – it’s that kind of place at night but is really quiet during the day. And they make a STRONG drink here so be careful!
We actually did have only one drink this time though – a first, I think. After popping into his shop called the Foxhole, we bought some t-shirts and then walked down the beach to see what else was open, which isn’t much. Jost was hit hard by hurricanes Irma and Maria and lots of rebuilding is still underway.
We then met back up with Captain Rob and decided that we would take a cab over the hill to White Bay Beach and Rob would meet us over there in his boat. The reason we did this is because there is no dock at White Bay which means you do a “wet landing” and have to swim into the beach if you arrive via boat. This is how the famous bar on that beach, the Soggy Dollar Bar, got its name because everyone pays with soggy dollar bills from swimming in. We were ready for lunch by this time and, frankly, I don’t like to be soaking wet and dripping when I’m trying to eat. So we jumped in the back of a truck (their version of a taxi) and they were nice enough to stop for a few photos from the taxi.
White Bay is where we used to stay and you can see why by looking at pictures of the beach. It’s an awesome quintessential Caribbean beach with white sand, turquoise water and views of the other islands. It has just a few beach bars and restaurants on its shore. Pre-hurricane, it was lined with huge swaying palm trees that had hammocks strung up between them. They have rebuilt the bars and replanted the palms which are still taking root so a lot of progress has been made. However, I was pretty shocked when we stepped out of the car because all of that lush, green vegetation is now gone. It doesn’t look the same at all, which made me really sad but I know in a few years, it will look like it’s same old self again. We were starving by now so we stopped at Hendo’s Hideout on the beach for some lunch where we munched with Captain Rob (we always invite our charter captain to have lunch with us – we think it’s the nice thing to do to pick up the captain’s lunch) on some shrimp quesadillas and Steve had a delicious cheeseburger.
After that, we stopped into the famous (and rebuilt) Soggy Dollar Bar. The Sandcastle Hotel, which used to be attached to the Soggy, was completely wiped away by the hurricanes and has yet to be rebuilt so that was kind of depressing but they still make a great painkiller here, which is where the drink was invented. Of course, we stopped into their gift shop, said hello to some of the old staff that we knew and bought a few t-shirts.
However, the Soggy Dollar was really crowded today, as it always is now, so we continued our walk down the beach to Seddy’s One Love Bar. We loved hanging out here during our previous vacations and it’s still a much more chill place to sit and have a drink on White Bay. Seddy himself (he is Foxy’s son) was here doing his magic tricks for the guests.
We had a few drinks here and just enjoyed the scenery, the music and the nice breeze from across the bay. It was turning into a great day.
By late afternoon, we had to head back down the beach where Captain Rob was hanging out on the boat so we could make the return trip to St. John. We waded out to the boat with our bags carried on top of our heads so they wouldn’t get wet, climbed in and started the trip back. It was kind of bittersweet leaving Jost after only a few hours here as we used to stay 7 or even up to 10 nights on island. We had so many trips here with friends, laughing our butts off and we have such great memories of our time here. The island has changed a lot over the years with its increased popularity but if you are in the Virgin Islands, definitely plan a day trip to Jost – you won’t regret it. Also, if you are on St. John, Captain Rob from Sunshine Daydream, was fantastic. His boat was roomy and comfortable and in great shape and he’s a super nice guy and very knowledgeable about the islands. He does snorkeling trips and trips to other islands as well.
Next time we visit St. John, we will plan to do a Jost day trip again!