A few weeks ago I was going through photos on my phone and realized that I had never really gone through the photos that Robert and I took while on our honeymoon in St. John! Unfortunately, I do this a lot as far as personal photos go. I work so much with client photos & photos for my business that sometimes our 'personal' photos get put in a folder on my desktop, and I never take the time to look at them…much less post them!
One of my goals for 2015 (and for the years to come) is to travel more with Robert! So, this year I have decided to make an effort to be better about blogging about our travels & photos. Not only will they be fun posts to write, but they will also serve as 'scrapbooks' if you will, so that we can go back and reminisce down the road!
So, almost 9 months after-the-fact…here's our honeymoon recap!
(Disclaimer: I did not bring my camera on our trip. WHAT?! I know, I'm kicking myself. We only brought our iPhones, a point & shoot, and Robert's GoPro…so the image quality of these photos is not great! Next time I'll bring my nice camera, but for now, I'm just glad we have some pictures!)
When Robert and I were trying to plan our honeymoon, we had no idea where we wanted to go! We knew we wanted to be somewhere tropical with good snorkeling (Robert's loves to snorkel…he loves to do anything adventurous, really! After over 6 years together, I'm really starting to think he's a thrill seeker! ;)
At first we decided on Peter Island in the BVIs, and actually booked a place there. A few months before the wedding, we got an email saying that they were going to be doing major construction over a period of dates (like tearing down & rebuilding their seawall and the pier!) The week of our honeymoon was smack dab in the middle of that 'construction period' so Robert and I decided to cancel our trip! We're so grateful that the resort notified us, because jackhammers and cranes are not our idea of relaxation, ha! That put us back to square one 2 months before the wedding!! Yikes. I was a little bit nervous (okay a lot nervous) that we wouldn't find a place that we liked as much as the one in the BVIs. It was a major bummer. THEN we heard about St. John! It was perfect. We loved that it was still in the Virgin Islands, had great snorkeling and beautiful beaches, and it wasn't super busy (no major cruise lines port on St. John). We found The Westin Resort on St. John and decided it would be perfect for our honeymoon!
The day after our wedding we drove to Charlotte (one of our favorite cities!) and had dinner. We flew out on Memorial Day (which was great by the way- nothing was very crowded!) and it was a direct flight from Charlotte to St. Thomas! (Yay for no layovers!!)
We arrived in St. Thomas mid afternoon, and it was beautiful! Although, I have to say that I was surprised by the airport!! I had never been to the Caribbean before, so I had no idea what to expect! Everyone was so nice, but there wasn't air conditioning, and it ran on 'island time' ;) I ended up appreciating island time while we were there- the lifestyle is just so much more laid back. It was nice!
After a taxi ride (these were not your typical taxis- you'll see later) we arrived at the ferry dock. The easiest way to get from St. Thomas to St. John is by ferry. We had arranged the taxi ride and ferry ride through the resort ahead of time (I highly recommend doing this! They took great care of us!), so all we had to do was wait for the next ferry! There was a little dockside restaurant called 'Tickles' (HA!) and that's where Robert and I had our first 'island drinks' …it was fun and I'll never forget it! About an hour later the ferry arrived, and we departed for St. John! (Side note: this was my very first time on a boat in the ocean, so I was nervous (okay, I was FREAKING OUT!)…I'm not really a boat girl! Luckily, the scenery was stunning (which provided a great distraction) and Robert was there to assure me that all of the movements & sounds were normal…before I knew it we were pulling up to the Westin dock in St. John!
We were greeted there with ice cold 'rum punches', and they showed all of us around the resort (via golf cart) and then took us to our rooms! Shortly after that they delivered our luggage. I cannot say enough great things about the people who greeted us coming off of the ferry! They were so welcoming & so helpful! It was a great way to start our trip!
That night we were exhausted so we grabbed dinner at the resort and then headed to the lobby to find out what all there was to do & which excursions we wanted to go on!
The next day was gorgeous and we spent a lot of it on the beach at the resort. This beach was not huge, because there was also a marina in the inlet, but it was perfect for our first day! One of my favorite parts was watching boats come into the marina…especially the sailboats! Watching them glide into the marina was beautiful- blue skies, turquoise water, and white sails!
That night we decided to head into the town of Cruz Bay. It was a short taxi ride from the hotel, and Cruz Bay actually ended up being our 'go to' spot every night because of all of the restaurants, shopping, and different things to do!
Day 2 (Wednesday)
On our second day, we went on a snorkeling excursion that included a trip to the BVIs. The sail to the BVIs was a long but beautiful one! It was chillier than we expected on the boat. Funny story- the weather was not fantastic that day and it was really windy. Robert and I just happened to sit on the side of the boat that was getting pelted with ocean spray. By the time we arrived at Virgin Gorda, we were thoroughly soaked while the people on the other side of the boat were completely dry! Ha! It ended up being okay, though, because the sun came out and it was pretty warm- and we were still feeling nice and cool after our little ocean spray! ;)
Once we docked, the first thing we did was visit The Baths at Virgin Gorda…they were stunning! I had never seen anything like it in my life! Walking through them was fun too! There was a path (a better word might be obstacle course) through the rocks…there were wooden steps, platforms, and ropes that helped us navigate the 'course' inside the rocks! It was surprisingly slippery inside because of the sand and water, but it was so neat to be climbing in between the huge boulders.
After this we got back on our boat (a very little boat!) and headed to lunch at a restaurant on Cooper Island. It started to get stormy, and by when it was time to get back on our boat to head to our snorkeling spot…the ocean was choppy! (Right about this time I started freaking out again…the idea of getting on a little boat in the choppy ocean? Yikes!! But you only go on your honeymoon once, right?)
For our ride to the snorkeling spot, everyone (20 passengers and our guide) huddled under the covered part at the front of the boat because it was POURING rain! As we rode, she told us about a ship wreck that we were sailing over. Robert thought it was a cool story…while I was panicking because the boat was rocking so much! It was hard to keep our footing! (Also- I found out what sea sickness feels like!) Poor Robert- He is so adventurous and I am…well, not! I was stressed, a shade of green, and oh so thankful when we finally pulled up to our snorkeling location!!
Before we got off the boat, our guide threw bait into the water, and yellowtail snapper were swimming all around the boat!! They were really cool looking, and it was so neat to see them up close, but I had to muster up a WHOLE bunch of courage to jump in the water next to them!! Another funny story- before we got off the boat, our guide told us what to do if we were in trouble. They said if they saw us flailing, they would yell, "DIVER OKAY?" If we gave a thumbs up they wouldn't jump in after us…if we didn't they would jump in to save us! When I jumped into the water (next to the giant yellowtail snapper) I had a little bit of trouble with my gear. They gave us a float belt, and I was struggling to float, swim, and breathe through the snorkel gear. I was trying my hardest not to flail at all because I didn't want to be the girl who had to be 'rescued'!! In hind sight, I probably should have tried snorkeling off the beach before jumping off a boat and going right into it! Y'all it was a sight to see…poor Robert- I was so spastic and nervous, ha! Thankfully he was patient, and showed me how breathe with the snorkel thingy. And you know what? Once I actually stopped THINKING about what I was doing, it was easy!! When I finally got the hang of it, we had SO. MUCH. FUN. It was BEAUTIFUL!! We saw so many colorful fish, coral, sea urchins, and even a sea turtle!! How cool is that?!
When we got back on the boat for our ride home, I was (thankfully- especially for Robert's sake) much more relaxed! They served us 'pain killers', a traditional island drink, and we cruised home in the sunshine! It was a full day of exploring and adventure- Robert was totally in his element, and I learned that I was not as much of an explorer or an adventurer as I thought! Ha! It's okay, though, we learned that we compliment each other nicely! ;)
Day 3 (Thursday)
We spent our third day at one of the beautiful bays in St. John- Cinnamon Bay! Most of the land on St. John is a nature preserve, so the bays are absolutely stunning! Robert snorkeled while I read on the beach ;) We also walked to a little market near the resort for some snacks! We quickly found that food at the restaurants and on the resort was very expensive! It was really neat to visit the local market, and we got some fresh fruit, yogurt, and pretzels (our favorite snacks!)
That night we went into Cruz Bay again for dinner & shopping!
Day 4 (Friday)
We spent our 4th day at Trunk Bay which is a famous spot known for its snorkeling trail! I snorkeled again (this time off the shore!) with Robert! It was beautiful, but the other snorkeling was spectacular!! The difference in the two places was the the only way to reach the snorkeling on Norman Island was by boat! It had a more 'untouched' feel to it that made it absolutely beautiful! I would recommend both places for snorkeling, but doing a snorkeling excursion (to see the not so highly snorkeled places) was definitely so worth it & I'm really glad we had that experience!
This was our last day on St. John :( Since we had been bopping around the island all week, we decided to just take it easy and hang out at the resort beach. That night we went into Cruz Bay (yet again!) for dinner & shopping, and we had two awesome surprises! The 1st one was chickens at dinner (thankfully we had both ordered burgers!!) And 2nd- our last night just happened to be the night of the town's annual steel drum festival!!! It was such a fun experience! There were kids (not more than 7 years old) jamming away on the steel drums- SO much talent! That is by far one of my favorite memories from our trip!
On Sunday we started our journey home! The airport was crazy (if you are going to the airport in St. Thomas, make sure you give yourself PLENTY of time to get there!) Everything is operated on island time, so it took us a very, very LONG time to get our bags checked, get our tickets, and get through security! Once we got through everything, though, we had a little bit of time to relax in the airport before our flight! I was so excited to find that THIS part of the airport WAS air-conditioned! We boarded our flight later that afternoon and arrived in Charlotte late that night!
We had such a great time on the island, and I really enjoyed getting to experience the Caribbean! I have heard that on some islands it isn't great to leave the resort, because of safety issues. That's something that was great about St. John. We traveled all over the island, and not once did I feel unsafe! (Okay- the taxi rides were a little scary, especially on the hairpin turns next to the cliffs, but that was it!) We walked all over Cruz Bay and really got a feel for the local life! If you're looking for a tropical destination where you can experience so much natural beauty and enjoy exploring on your own, I would definitely recommend St. John!
Well, that sums up our honeymoon! I'm so excited to have written it all down- years from now we'll be able to come back to this post and reminisce! I'm looking forward to our future travels & our next adventure!
Do you have a favorite destination? I'd love to hear about your travels! Our next big trip will be to England, Scotland, and Ireland, so if you've been there please comment & share your favorite things to do & sights to see in those countries!