In case you're thinking about going on a tropical island vacation, I've compiled this short preparation guide, to help you if you've never been to the Virgin Islands before.
First, what you don't have to worry about:
What not to take on a St.John Vacation
(when staying in a rental villa with Caribbean Villas & resorts)
- more than one large roll-on luggage bag per person
- an Igloo Cooler; the villa we rented had 3
- Laundry Detergent; I took a sample pack of Tide, there were 3 other packets at the villa and a large box of powdered Tide as well. There was fabric softener too.
- Garbage Bags; ample supplies of kitchen and large trash bags were provided
- Bug repellent (DEET); villa had 3 spray cans
- more than 2 pairs of socks
- dress shoes; it's all casual
- rum; it's extremely cheap on the island
- bath towels & wash cloths
- an umbrella; you're gonna get wet, don't worry about it
- plastic 16oz drinking cups; villa provided. The 4 I brought, remained unused
- wet wipes / baby wipes; villa recycling septic systems can't take them
- a jacket or sweater; it's the tropics and it does not get cold
- a National Park Pass; it doesn't get you into the beaches where you have to pay for access, but it's ok, since it is only $4
- a bottle opener or cork screw; the villa had a plethora
Before your first trip to one of the 3 small groceries on the west side of the island, take an inventory of what is in the fridge and pantry. We found Tequila, Jim Beam, Sambuca, 2 bottles of Margarita mix, 3 bottles of salad dressing, pickles, butter, blue berry preserves. We left the Jim Beam & Sambuca =P Bleh! Then, at the grocery, be careful not to over-buy food. Remember, it's all brought in by ferry and the prices are hiked accordingly.
- $7 Ben & Jerry's pints
- $5 Organic Spinach
- $8 Orville Redenbacher 3 pack of Popcorn
...we left in the condo, for good karma.
What one should bring on a St.John Island Vacation
- tons of sunscreen; 1 can of spray/day in the sun
- cash; many places do not accept credit cards (like the ferry ticket office!)
- waterproof camera with which to take underwater photos, or photos in the rain
- flask of favorite whiskey; I brought Makers Mark
- dried Fruit & nuts; Apricots, Mango, Almonds, etc
- antihistamines if you have allergies; it's the tropics, everything is in bloom
- duffel bag to put island purchases in for the flight home
- beach towels, 2 per person. Yes, the condo provided 4 towel, but it's nice to have extras.
- Ipod; villa had speakers in each bed room and the living room area
- shampoo & soap sample sizes
- yoga mat & an old sheet to spread out under it (villa provided mats were really disgusting, covered in little kid goo & slime)
- books to read; I took Armageddon in Retrospect, K.Vonnegut; A Brief History of Time, S.Hawking; The Truth About Chuck Norris - 400 Facts About The World's Greatest Human, I.Spector; Afghanistan - A Short History of Its People And Politics, M.Ewans, and finished all except the Ewans work)
- Organic Lemons (& Limes if you got'em) from your backyard citrus trees for your drinks
- PATIENCE. Not much happens quickly on the island. Foot & auto traffic is slow. Service is slow. Progress is slow. Swimming while snorkeling is very slow.
Money leaves your pocket quickly. The weather changes quickly. I've heard barracuda swim very quickly, but we did not see any barracuda this trip - not even that guano crazy barracuda-wanna-be governor who quit her job and now spends her time on Facebook and getting paid to talk to the gullible!
I hope you find this short guide helpful. If you have any questions, do not be shy about asking in the COMMENTS section!
1 year ago