Earlier this week, I shared Part 1 in my mini travel guide for the Virgin Islands. And today I’m sharing Part 2, which covers St John, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, and Jost Van Dyke. Let’s get to it…
First up is St John.
We drove our rental car onto a ferry from Red Hook in St Thomas, which took us over to St John. We ate a quick bite at a little dive bar not far from the ferry terminal. There was a hot dog ‘cheers’ involved. Then, we jumped back in the car so we could get to the beach.
The beaches seem to be well marked in St John – plenty of signs, so we didn’t need a map. And we basically just kept driving until we hit Trunk Bay. There are a lot of little scenic stops to jump out of the car and take a few photos. I know it seems totally touristy, and it is, but the views were too pretty not to stop for a couple of photo opps.
On Instagram, I posted this photo of me at Lindquist Beach, which I mentioned was the second most beautiful beach I had ever been to. A couple of people asked what my #1 pick was. Trunk Bay is my fave. Which is where all of the photos above were taken (minus the one of the houses on the cliff – that was the view from the ferry on the way to St John).
I stayed in the water nearly the entire time at Trunk Bay and it didn’t start to get crowded until late in the day. And even then it wasn’t that bad.
There was also a small outdoor shop for snorkeling equipment, sunscreen, etc right by the beach, and a food stand where you could get lunch, drinks, and ice cream. You know I like ice cream, right?
On our way out of St John we thought about hitting up a couple of other beaches (there are several right in a row), but we couldn’t find a place to park so we high-tailed it back to the ferry before it got dark.
We did a little snorkeling at Norman Island, which was the spot that inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s book Treasure Island. We swam inside the caves and explored the reefs a little. Honestly, though, snorkeling freaks me out a little bit, so we didn’t stay in the water long. If you like snorkeling, you should definitely check out this spot though.
Jost Van Dyke was one of the last beaches we visited on our trip. I didn’t get any pictures of it because I was pretty over taking photos at that point. So no photos. But I wanted to share our experience there anyway.
Several people told us that Jost Van Dyke has the prettiest beaches in all of the Virgin Islands, but I’m going to have to disagree with them on this one. We may have been in the wrong area, but this was by far the most crowded beach that we went to. It felt like what I imagine Lake Havasu to be like on spring break – filled with boats and a whole lot of drunk people. So, while I’m sure it’s awesome for some people, it wasn’t our favorite. Do I sound like an old lady, or what?
That brings me to Virgin Gorda. We stopped at The Baths on a boat tour and walked around for a while (and took pictures) before swimming back to the boat. The Baths are geological formations of big boulders and granite grottos that you can walk and swim through. Definitely worth checking out – I found it to be pretty memorable even though we weren’t there long.
Side Note: The boat that we took to Virgin Gorda anchored a GOOD swim away from land. But I really wanted to get photos, so I put my camera (my 7D, not my iPhone) into a water resistant bag and held it out of the water, while I swam to shore with one arm. I am 100% certain I looked like a total idiot and it was actually really tough to swim that far with one hand in semi-choppy water. But hey, I did get three pictures out of it, so I guess it was worth it, right?
So that was our trip to the Virgin Islands. If you made it this far, you are a trooper…and deserve a small bouquet of flowers or cake for your efforts. That was a lot of photos.
Read Part I in the travel guide to St Thomas.