Top 5 Unique Experiences in the Virgin Islands
We all know that every trip to the Virgin Islands is a great one filled with sun, sand, boat trips, and frosty beverages but there is a lot more to take advantage of on Saint John. This year has been really unique in a lot of ways for all of our visitors so in keeping with that theme we thought it’d be fun to lay out our top 5 Unique Experiences in the Virgin Islands for your next trip down here!
Become a Mermaid for the day!
Mermaid Swim VI, located on Saint John is a distinctly unique experience, sure to make for a fun day for adults and kids alike. Featuring tails of all different colors and themes, the participants can choose their own tail and guide Crystal D’Abbraccio will meet you at your villa or beach of choice for a fun filled day in the life of a mermaid or merman!
Experience Virgin Island Culture with Carnival!
The end of every May marks the beginning of our Carnival on St. John; some people specifically plan their summer vacations around being here for carnival and rightfully so! Carnival is looked forward to by residents and visitors alike and we all celebrate when the flags go up, signaling the beginning of Saint John Carnival! There’s SO much to do and look forward to and some of our favorites are Food Fair in the park where local cooks prepare for days to feed a crowd local favorites like fried Pates, Delicious Callaloo soups, and sweet tarts, all washed down with local fruit juices or frosty beers while enjoying the local entertainment and chatting with friends. We also LOVE village. Village consists of small temporary structures that are erected in the parking lot next to the old customs building, and every single booth offers something different, be it Electric Lemonade, the best Roti’s EVER, or the best Pates on St. John, you can really find any local treat you’re looking for and we always love comparing pates from different booths. You can’t forget the great Caribbean music that echos through Cruz Bay nightly, and Carnival ends on the 4th of July with one of our favorite days. In the morning is our parade, a fun filled local event with great groups in traditional carnival costumes, and that evening we have traditional fireworks set off from a barge off shore so they shimmer over the water. It’s one of our favorite days to be on St. John, and we highly recommend enjoying the festivities if you’re planning to be on island.
Explore off the beaten path beaches!
One of the best Unique Experiences in the Virgin Islands is exploring off the beaten path and St. John has beaches on beaches on beaches to explore! One of our favorites is Dennis Bay; generally un-populated, and absolutely stunning, we love spending a quiet afternoon here relaxing. To access Dennis Bay, you park at the small parking lot off of the North Shore road with signs for Peace Hill; as you ascend the path to the ruins at the top, if you pay attention you’ll see a small path to your right about half way up which will lead you on a winding trail down to the beach. Not only is Dennis Bay great for relaxing, but for the more experienced snorkeler, there is EXCELLENT snorkeling around the rocks just off the beach to the left. This is definitely an activity for experienced snorkeling because there can be strong currents, and some waves once you get out to the good snorkeling and it is a bit far from shore.
Hike off the Beaten Path!
You all know Saint John is full of hiking trails, and while some are old favorites like Reef Bay and Margaret Hill; we love pushing adventurous visitors to explore more of the off the beaten path hiking trails! Our biggest resource for this is the book called, “St. John Off The Beaten Track,” by Gerald Singer. I think everyone who visits Saint John should have a copy of this book, it has resources and information for everyone, even if you’re not a fan of hiking! On our days off when we want to do something active we love looking through the book to find something we haven’t done before. It makes for a really fun and unique Virgin Islands Experience.
Visit During Hurricane Season!
Gasp! Did we just recommend visiting during hurricane season after what happened last year? We sure did. Hurricane season starts June 1st and ends December 1st, but for the Virgin Islands, it is really September and October; both months, coincidentally, where we have temperate conditions and little to no crowds. With travel insurance and an open mind, a trip during September or October could be really really special. The beaches are empty, the bars are empty, and while some of the restaurants are closed, the ones that are open won’t have any wait and will be filled with locals enjoying where they live. It’s also our favorite time to go boating; the water is flat calm and warm, and pretty much everything in the BVI is open for business with zero lines or crowds. Other bonuses: flights are inexpensive, villa offer big discounts, and the overall vibe of St. John is quiet and low key; a big example of a truly Unique Experience in the Virgin Islands.