I {heart} Tortola!

by Heather on January 26, 2011

Our trip started early early early on Thursday, May 21 at the Denver International Airport. We first had to fly into Dallas (to meet up with Nate’s dad Jack, Linda, and her son Brandon and his girlfriend Liz). From there we flew to Miami International (definitely NOT a favorite in the airport world), and from Miami we flew into St. Thomas. One of the best things about that airport was the shot of Guava Rum that we got as we walked outside. Our taxi driver, George Sebastian, picked us up and drove us to an old Holiday Inn (I can’t remember the name of the actual hotel), where we checked in and had our first sampling of Rum Punch at the bar. Needless to say, with the incredibly busy day, the humidity, and the Rum Punch it was very easy for us to fall asleep that night!

The next day (May 22) we took a ferry over to Tortola, which is in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). It’s about a 45 minute ride, but so scenic that it feels like 5 minutes! When we got there, we had to go through customs (hurray, our first time to ever use a passport!), and waited on Nate and Jack to go get the rental car. Well, 45 minutes later they pulled up in 2 rental cars (shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone who’s ever rented a car before though). The funny thing is that in Tortola, the driver’s side is still on the lefthand side of the car, but you drive on the lefthand side of the road. We went and got some groceries and headed up to the Sunset House, our mansion for the week! That day we got to visit 2 different beaches, Cane Garden Bay (which was being set up for the BVI Music Fest) and Brewer’s Bay (which was completely empty but absolutely beautiful!) After a couple of hours we had to head back to the house and get ready for dinner, which was at Pusser’s, a restaurant known for their rum. Afterwards we headed back to the house and watched part of the NBA playoffs before hitting the sack!

On May 23, we got to take a ferry over to Virgin Gorda, another island in the BVI. There we rented a car and drove over to The Baths, an amazing beach where there are massive boulders jutting out of the water and some of the best snorkeling I’ve ever seen. We ate at a sweet restaurant overlooking the water, and it had a pool right by our table to swim in as we waited for our food. We snorkeled around The Baths for a bit, then took a truly amazing hike through the boulders and water caves until we came out on a practically empty beach, Devil’s Bay. This place was perfect, with shallow water about 20 yards out, great snorkeling, boulders to climb on, and the water was so gentle and clear. Everyone else snorkeled, but I just floated on my back for who knows how long. We drove over to Little Dix Bay Resort (very swanky!) and walked through the resort grounds for a few minutes before catching the ferry back to Tortola. That night we enjoyed a dinner with salmon, 3 different kinds of rice, corn on the cob, and our own homemade Rum Punch. We watched another NBA Playoff game, and got ready for one last full day on Tortola!

Sunday, May 24 we woke up to another gorgeous day on the island. We wanted to get some pictures of the house we were staying in, so we drove down to Long Bay Resort and took some pictures of the house from the beach. Then we done off-roading in the rental cars down to our favorite beach of the trip, Smuggler’s Cove. This place was amazing! It was a 360 degree gorgeous view, a beach bar (card table with liquor on it, fresh fruit, and a blender hooked up to a car battery!), and a small stand with local handmade jewelry and clothes. We spent the entire day there, snorkeling, floating, singing and dancing in the water, and sleeping in the sun. That night we went back to the house and had a great Mexican dinner, complete with Rum Punch and NBA playoffs!

Monday, May 25 we left the island of Tortola, taking a ferry back over to St. Thomas (the US Virgin Islands), where we had to go through customs again. We took a taxi over to the Marriott Frenchman’s Inn, an incredible resort on the island. We had lunch at the restaurant there, and went back to the rooms to unpack and rest for a little bit. We ended up taking a nap (all that relaxation wears you out!), and then went down to the hotel pool for an hour or so. That night we went to Mafolie’s, which has the best view on the island and some of the best food too! It was an incredible view, and the food was perfect. That night we went back to the hotel and crashed!

Our last full day, May 26, was spent on St. John. Nate and I decided that should we ever decide to move to an island in the Caribbean, St. John would be it. It’s still part of the USVI so we could work there, it’s slightly tourist-y so there’s a lot of different people all over the island, but most of the island is a national park, so it’s not overwhelmingly crowded. We snorkeled at 3 different beaches that day: Frances Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Trunk Bay, all of which were just amazing. We got to eat really great Mexican food at Margarita Phil’s, and spent some time in a spice shop that had a great selection of spices, rubs, coffee, and tea. Finally, we hopped back on the ferry to St. Thomas, and decided to spend an hour at a little place called Duffy’s Love Shack. This place was so much fun! They had great drinks that all came in custom glasses that you could take home with you! Nate got some drink in a parrot glass, and I had mine in a pirate mug. I still drink out of mine every day at work now! That night we all hung out in Brandon and Liz’s room, watching some more basketball and just enjoying the last day.

Wednesday, May 27 we got to the St. Thomas airport bright and early. After saying goodbye to Jack and Linda, us kids sat down and started pouring through the 800+ pictures we took on the trip! Our plane left shortly after that, so we settled in for the flight to Miami. Brandon and Liz had a short layover there, so Nate and I said goodbye to them. We had a 6 hour layover, and decided to rent a car and drive to South Beach and see what all the fuss is about. I gotta say, I’m still not sure what all the fuss is about, other than mostly-naked people running around everywhere. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I found this annoying more than anything. The best part about South Beach was the delicious crab shack we ate at on Ocean Drive. The food was amazing, and a great deal in comparison to the rest of the restaurants there! Shortly after that we drove back to the airport and just rested by the gate. The flight wasn’t amazing, but I guess it’s hard to complain after having such a great time.

Told you it would be long! We loved being able to get away and explore a new place together. I’ll try to get some more photos up soon, but don’t want to make any promises!

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