What an amazing island St Thomas is! If you have never been, you absolutely must go. This was my first real solo trip and I must say that it was the best trip of my life. I stayed in a small hotel right downtown St Thomas called The Galleon House within walking distance of all the shops and restaurants.
When I travel, I like to get in with the locals, mix and mingle, make friends who can point me in the direction of the best places to go and things to see. The hotel is managed by a couple who keep the place very clean and safe, they are super nice and are from New York but they are hoping to purchase the property at some point and run it themselves. It’s not a 5 star by any means but the rooms are clean, the area is safe and they serve a delicious home made complimentary breakfast every morning. I met some awesome guests who were also staying there from Denmark, Chile and all around the US.
If safety is your concern while traveling solo, check out this article by The Solo Traveler:
On my first full day I took city bus for $2 (the locals call it a Safari) over to Red Hook, a little town on the other side of the island where I caught the ferry over to St. John ($18 round trip). The ferry leaves on the hour, every hour until midnight, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the island all day.
When I arrived in St John, I was hungry so I went walking around looking for food. I don’t want to eat burgers and fries and regular American food, I want real, authentic, local rice and beans, stew chicken and plantains. I really had no idea where to find this food, but I figured if I just started walking I should run into something. I walked for about 10 mins and ran into a Rasta man who sparked up a conversation with me. I asked him where the good food was hiding and he said, “follow me this way”, so he turned me around and we walked about 5 mins to a great local spot where everyone was eating all the yummy things! I ordered rice, beans, chicken, plantains, vegetables. Mr Rasta is a vegetarian so he just had rice, beans and veg. He bought me a bottle of water and we sat down and chatted up island life and politics, he was a lovely man and I appreciate his time and energy.
When we were finished eating, he offered to take me up and around the island, but I didn’t really feel comfortable with that since I didn’t know him and I was traveling alone, I thought it would be best to stick with a more reputable company to do the tours. There’s nothing to be afraid of when traveling alone, just be smart and keep your thinking cap on at all times. Just like you wouldn’t take off with strangers in Raleigh, you don’t want to do things like that anywhere else. I read a good article in The Discoverer with some really great travel tips, check it out HERE
After lunch, I took tour of the island, it’s super easy to get on a taxi (looks like a Safari truck with wide open seats) right where the ferry boat drops you off. It cost $25 and lasted several hours going all the way to the top of the mountain, stopping along the way to show us the amazing beaches, bays, and other islands (British Islands) you can see right about 20mins away by another ferry boat.
On the way down the hill, I had the driver drop me off at one of the amazing beaches called Trunk Bay, you absolutely must go here if you are visiting St John! You can also rent a Jeep for the day (which a lot of people do) and drive around yourself, you can’t really get lost, you just go up the mountain, and down by one main road. St John beaches are the best, definitely must go if you are coming this way!
On my second day I stayed on St Thomas island and went to Coki Beach. I couldn’t find a cab ride so I took the local Safari bus for $2 and then had to walk about 15 mins to the beach. No biggie, I wasn’t in any rush and I was there in no time at all. Coki Beach is where most of the people come from the cruise ships to party and hang out for the day, after hours it turns into a local hang out spot where everyone chills out listening to music, eating and hanging with their friends.
As soon as I got there, I found a drink stand where two older men were making delicious frozen drinks made out of fresh fruit and rum, absolutely delicious! One of the guys named Everette was so lovely and gracious to me the entire day. He made sure I had everything I needed, watched my bags while I went swimming in the ocean, and made sure I got plenty of great food while I was there. They sure know how to treat a lady on the islands! He said they treat their women like QUEENS, I can tell!
When I travel anywhere I pack very light, I don’t want to be weighed down with a lot of bags and I don’t need to dress fancy, that draws too much attention anyway. One great little find I made before I left were these awesome silicone travel jars that I could put my moisturizer, sunscreen and hair creams in. They were only about $10 on Amazon Prime and they worked great! No spills or mess at all, and the silicone ensures they don’t break if you drop them. Make sure you grab these before you leave on your next trip for business or pleasure!
A lot of people looked at me crazy when they heard I was traveling alone, and they even tried to project their fears onto me about the people of Saint Thomas and my safety. Honestly I was really upset that people have such narrow views and opinions about other people who look different from them, thinking that people of other cultures are something to be afraid of or have to watch your back around.
(Brown) islands and countries know that Americans look down on them and are afraid of them, they know this because of the vibes we give off while we are visiting, and the underhanded questions and comments made.
Everyone around the world has the same goals and dreams, to love and provide for their families. Nobody is trying to viciously hurt or bother anyone, people just want peace. This is why I don’t watch the news, they will have you terrified to leave your little town or country.
Visiting a foreign land is no more dangerous than going into some parts of the US, and honestly, I’m not scared to do that either. I have always had street smarts since I was young, I wasn’t very sheltered growing up and I was a teen mom. I’ve been broke raising a baby, taking public transportation everyday trying to make a life for me and my baby. I didn’t have anything handed to me in my life so I have always had to depend on myself and the relationships I made. I guess this is why it’s easy for me to pick up and travel by myself, I know that I will be fine and I know that the creator will provide and take care of me no matter what!
Have you ever visited the Virgin Islands? Which island was your favorite?