A girl’s gotta have fun when she travels, right? I think that the absolute best way to have the most fun possible is to take part in activities that you might not otherwise participate in when you’re back at home living your ordinary life. St. Thomas, USVI has many activities for the adventure lover, be it thrilling sports adventures like fly boarding or sky diving to “soft” adventure opportunities like kayaking or zip lining. When you travel with your friends on a girlfriends getaway, you absolutely have to include a few adventurous activities to even out your days of sun worshipping at the beach or it just wouldn’t be right.
How about a night kayak tour? Night Kayak at Adventure Center at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef Resort & Cove has glass bottom kayaks that are like nothing else you’ve ever seen. Clear bottoms and lit from underneath with powerful LED lights, each kayak accommodates two people with the person in front as the power rower and the person in back steering. This may seem obvious to you, but as someone who has been in a kayak only a handful of times in her entire life, I was a little concerned about the entire process. But Dave Tracy and his team from Night Kayak went out of their way to provide us with safety information and guidance, but in an extremely entertaining way. I think the most important thing that we remembered was that we were taking part in kayaking for fun and not to become experts overnight. During the kayak tour we were given information on the area in Frenchman’s Reef and we had the chance to see a variety of marine life including fish and sea turtles. The night kayak tours are 90 minutes in duration for only $49 per person and are available seven days a week. Choose from the 7pm or 9pm excursion and be ready to get wet and have fun! I only had my iPhone with me, which I left on shore as I didn’t want to ruin it, so here is a quick Vimeo video from Mark McKellar that will give you a better idea of how great this experience truly is.
TSG Tip: I had read online that some people were getting motion sick from being in the kayak and also looking down into the water from the kayak. As someone who often gets motion sick, I can tell you that for me this was never a problem. However, should it be, you’re close enough to turn around and get out without issue. Don’t forget to bring your waterproof camera and tips for the staff.
Night Kayak with LED Lights
PO Box 11480, St. Thomas, VI 00801
I don’t know about you, but some time during my vacation I probably want to hit the spa. Be it for a workout or a massage or both, you’re definitely going to find me there. During my stay in St. Thomas, I had the opportunity to visit Sugar Bay Beach Resort where I not only took a yoga class, but also had a mini massage compliments of the resort.
When you arrive at the resort and enter the main reception area, the bright Caribbean blue and white decor is at the same striking and relaxing. To go down to the spa, you take a shuttle to the spa building, which is a mere minutes away from the main building. After checking in, we were quickly given a tour of the spa, which included all of the spa facilities on the main floor as well as the gym on the second level. At 10 am I was treated to the most enjoyable yoga class by Sharon Treinkman of StellarTimes Yoga. Sharon was positive, supportive, and really encouraged each person in the class to push themselves farther than they would have on their own, me included. I’ve taken yoga classes in the past, but haven’t in a very long time, especially after losing weight. I was so impressed with how I was able to move and stretch in ways that I didn’t know I could and it really made me want to take yoga classes back home. See how trying something new can open you up to new possibilities? I highly recommend taking a class and staying for any of the services at Journey’s Spa, including a facial or a massage. After my 30-minute mini massage, I was off again although I was unbelievably more relaxed than I as at the start of the day.
TSG Tip: Don’t forget to pack a change of clothes and sandals for the showers if you’re not staying at Sugar Bay Beach Resort.
Sugar Bay Beach Resort
6500 Estate Smith Bay, St. Thomas, VI 00802
Sharon Treinkman, E-RYT200
6501 Red Hook Plaza – Suite 201, St. Thomas, VI 00802
Studio Phone: 340-777-3154
With a name like Travel Shop Girl, one would expect me to go out and shop during a trip and of course, I did. Whether shopping at an open air market like Vendors Market, high end shopping at Yacht Haven Grande, or checking out the small shops and boutiques selling one of a kind items, there’s more than enough of an opportunity to find something special during your trip to St. Thomas. Don’t forget US residents are allowed up to $1600 worth of duty free goods purchased in the USVI so shop til you drop!
As for me, I was hunting for a battery charger for my Nikon. I knew if I searched Main Street in Charlotte Amalie I would find one and sure enough I located Boolchand’s at 31 Main St. I was able to buy my charger and continue shopping. You’ll find an abundance of the much expected jewelry, liquor, and souvenir stores on this street but keep looking and you’ll also find more unexpected items such as local art, antiques, or custom jewelry, clothing, or sandals.
Looking for a unique gift for yourself? Of course you are! How about one of a kind sandals from Zora of St. Thomas? Zora, the owner, first opened her shop in 1962 and still works in it today. Each handmade sandal is made from the finest full grain leather and all soles are made of durable leather. Go in and have Zora take your individual foot measurements and construct a sandal that’s perfect for your feet. Whether you have high arches, flat feet, or anything in between, Zora can make a sandal that works for you. While you’re there, check out their canvas bags, backpacks, waist packs, travel bags, jewelry, and other items. This place is so popular that people who have had sandals made in the past will come back time and time again for new sandals and other items from Zora.
After walking around and shopping and before heading back to the hotel I stopped for a quick drink at Big Kahuna Rum Shack. If you’re looking for free Wifi, you can also find that here. I ordered a Grand Margarita Crush during their half price happy hour that looked great, but was so incredibly strong. If for nothing else, it’s a great place to sit and have a drink and people watch after an afternoon of shopping.
Zora of St. Thomas
5040 Norre Gade Ste 2, St. Thomas, VI 00802
Big Kahuna Rum Shack
5130 Dronningens Gade, Royal Dane Mall, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI 00802
What happens when you put a big block of ice in the middle of the Caribbean? Well, one might think it would melt, but that’s just not so. At Magic Ice you’ll view world class ice art created from 16 artists from different parts of the world that emphasizes the rich history of the Caribbean. Located in a 10,000 square foot warehouse, all of the walls and sculptures are made of ice and yes, there’s even an ice slide you can slide down until someone tells you to get off. The sculptures are from the “Golden Age of Piracy,” although I’m still unsure how the adorable ice dog fit into that. After donning my parka/cape, I was so ridiculously hot I couldn’t think straight. I forgot to put the battery in my camera and once inside, I didn’t want to take my gloves off because it was so cold. But strangely enough, once you exit and return to the heat of the island, you might be like me and wish you could venture back inside for a few more minutes. Before you exit, make sure you stop at the bar and get your drink included in your admission. I tried the Cruzan Coconut Rum and it was great!
Magic Ice opened in 2012 and is open year round 7 days a week: Monday-Thursday from 10 am – 5 pm, Friday from 10 am -8 pm, and Saturday/Sunday from 11 am – 5pm. Admission includes your entrance fee, a parka-like cape, gloves, and leg coverings if you’re wearing shorts, a skirt, or a dress; a drink served at the Ice Bar, and the glass in which your drink was served.
TSG Tip: Don’t plan on this as an all day event. Plan on going to break up a day of shopping or exploring and enjoy it for what it is. Germaphobes be warned! Garments are cleaned between uses with Lysol spray. Just giving you a head’s up on that one.
21 Donningens Gade, St. Thomas, VI 00802
Always up for an adventure, I certainly was pumped and ready to go on my last day in St. Thomas as we headed over to Tree Limin’ Extreme for a zipline adventure. Only constructed two years ago, this is one of St. Thomas’ latest adventure opportunities and it’s a perfect introduction to anyone interested in trying out a zipline course. In our group of four, I was the only one who had tried zip lining before, but that didn’t matter as our guides, Daniel and Leon, took great care of us throughout our entire stay. My previous experiences with zip lining were far different as in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico we had to hike up to begin; deep in the Amazon in Colombia I had to climb over 100′ up a rope to begin my zipline experience and finish it off by not only rappelling down, but then kayaking back; and my last experience was in Jamaica, a more tame experience than my prior two experiences.
The course itself is an ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology) certified zipline course situated high in the rainforest of St. Peter Mountain. On the course you’ll see spectacular views of Magen’s Bay and Jost Van Dyke and Tortola (the BVI), and so much more. When you check into Tree Limin’ Extreme, it’s a modern and high tech procedure. Complete the waiver on an iPad, pay for your experience and any extras you might want such as a helmet with a GoPro camera attached, lockers, or beverages. From there you move over to the area where you are fitted into your two-point harness before being escorted up the stairs to the nearby vehicle, a Pinzgauer, a Swiss army vehicle, which takes you to your first waiting area for instruction. For some the ride up will be as thrilling as the zipline itself! Although the guides go out of their way to be highly entertaining and funny, they do tell you everything you could possibly want or need to know for a safe experience. The overall course takes between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 hours to complete and you might have to wait on the platforms at times for groups that are ahead of you. Lastly, you must be at least 8 years of age, no taller than 6 feet 6 inches tall, no less than 70 lbs. and no more than 275 lbs.
Our guides, Daniel and Leon who are both from Haiti, also happen to be a few of the workers that were hired to build the experience. Daniel, for example, was one of the workers who installed the steps we walked up to before we got on the vehicle. They had to have seen incredible drive and determination from these two men as they then hired them to work the zip lines. Want to read more about the people who work at Tree Limin’ Extreme? Read their bios here. In case you’re wondering what “Limin” means, it means to “hang out,” which you’ll do quite a bit of on the six zip lines and two sky bridges on the only zipline canopy tour in the US Virgin Islands. The rate per person is $109 for adults and at the end of your time at Tree Limin’ Extreme, you’ll agree that it was worth every penny! I will have the video of my experience up shortly on YouTube, but in the interim, make sure you check out my still pics from the video above.
TSG Tip: Wear comfortable clothes (closed toe shoes, breathable fabric shirt, shorts/pants) and bring tip money for your guides. This is an ideal course for anyone who hasn’t tried zip lining before, but is on the tame side for anyone looking for anything “extreme.”
Tree Limin’ Extreme
7406 Estate St. Peter, St. Thomas, VI 00802
Phone: 340-777-ZIPS (9477)
No matter what activity you choose with your friends during your girlfriends getaway, you’ll absolutely find something to please everyone. If not, prop up your Debbie Downer friend in a chair and have her sit and wait until you’re done with your adventures. Eventually she’ll get tired of waiting and will want to join in on the fun.
Next time we’re headed off to St. John so don’t forget to come back and learn more about everything you need for your next girlfriends getaway.