Trip Coach: January 23, 2007
Susanna Henighan, author of Moon Virgin Islands, answered your questions about the Virgin Islands.
Susanna Henighan: Hi guys and welcome to today's chat. It is a beautiful sunny day here in the Virgin Islands, and I'm ready to answer your questions. So let's get started!
Durango, CO: We like to travel once a year with our best friends and we each have young teenage/preteen sons. Our trips usually revolve around snorkeling, hiking, and "easy" adventures (nothing too dangerous) for the kids and great beaches, but quiet locale for the grown-ups. We like to stay in condo-type hotels to save on meals and prefer places where we can experience local cultures rather than cookie-cutter, touristy, mega resorts. One of our favorite trips was Ambergris Caye, Belize, but we would like to find somewhere with better, "walk-in" beaches. Any suggestions in the Virgin Islands? Thanks, Mini
Susanna Henighan: Dear Durango:
Thanks for the questions.
The island that comes to mind is St. John. Estate Concordia or Maho Bay Camps are two of my favorite places to stay. Both are within the Virgin Islands National Park and have facilities for you to self-cater. Kids will love the unique accommodations, and there are tons of activities available (hiking, snorkeling, kayaking are the most popular). The beaches on St. John are fantastic -- beautiful white sand, coconut trees, reefs to snorkel on.
St. Croix might also be a good choice -- it has nice hiking, great scuba diving, and a lot of historic sites. The beaches are nice, but not as nice as those on St. John. You could check out Cottages by the Sea, which has some very cute little cottages right along the Frederiksted Beach.
I hope that you guys have a great vacation.
Washington, DC: Are there any major advantages to visiting the British Virgin Islands as opposed to the U.S. Virgin Islands? Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
Susanna Henighan: Dear Washington, DC:
The main advantage to visiting the BVI is that it is a little bit more off the beaten path, so you feel less like one of the crowd. That said, there are places in the USVI that are remote and peaceful, and places in the BVI that are crowded. If you are intersted in a charter yacht vacation, than the BVI is your choice -- it has the greatest choice of charters and is closest to the best cruising ground.
The BVI has a reputation of being a little more upscale than the USVI, and the islands are less Americanized. I hope that helps.
Levittown, PA: Hi, my friends and I (early to mid thirties) are hoping to go on a vacation to one of the virgin islands in March. We are looking for an all inclusive that has a beautiful beach, good food, decent shopping, and above all--nice atmosphere! There are so many places to go and i was hoping you could tell me which you'd pick to go to. (i'm hoping to spend about $1500 or less per person). Any help or suggestions would be so appreciated. Thank you
Susanna Henighan: Dear Levittown,
Here are a few ideas that you could check out:
The Sugar Mill on Tortola is a charming little hotel, with great food and a lovely small beach right across the road. It routinely wins awards for good service. Its atmosphere is laid-back, but clearly upscale. (There is very little shopping nearby, however).
The Hotel on the Cay on St. Croix is located on a tiny island in Christiansted Harbour. There is a nice beach on the island, and tons of shopping is a VERY short ferry ride away. There is a restaurant too, but you might want to eat some of your meals at Christiansted's fabulous restaurants. The atmosphere is festive and welcoming.
On St. Thomas try Marriot Frenchman's Reef (1-888-236-2427), which offers inclusive pacakages, has a nice beach, and is close to Charlotte Amalie's famous shopping. This is a large resort, but it offers some attractive package deals, and the air link to St. Thomas is very good.
If you want something really unique, check out Cooper Island in the BVI. They have a handful of villas, a good beach, watersports centre, and restaurant. This is a real get-away.
And, since you asked, I would choose The Sugar Mill simply because it is a small hotel, and the food is excellent.
Duarte, CA: Do they use american dollars there?
Susanna Henighan: Dear Duarte,
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