Monday, October 26, 2015

MAHO BAY, ST. JOHN, U.S.V.I.

 
 
The Most Photographed Twin Coconut Palm


Maho Beach is another beautiful beach in St. John.
lined with coconut palms.
 A perfect beach for the little ones with its shallow entry, and calm waters.
It is sheltered from the sea and currents because of its position.

It is one of the longest beaches on the island,
 so you will always find a nice quiet spot, sunny or shady at the beach.
It is also the narrowest beach in the island,
where literally you are a few steps to the water.
Easy to go back to your cooler if you need a refreshment.
  
Maho Beach is the best place to see, and swim with Sea Turtles.
My children had so much fun snorkeling here.
Every few feet you'll definitely encounter a sea turtle.
 We found that the best time to see the Green Sea Turtles are early morning,
and late afternoon
when they feed at the sea grass beds.
Just like Trunk Bay,
you will see an array of sea life, from colorful fishes, and stingrays.
The best snorkeling spot for this beach
is on the west side of the bay.


PIN ME!

 
Maho Beach was rated a definite ("5 x 20") 100 stars by my Little Taz.
 x 20

For Mom,
 it would have been a perfect 100 stars but this beach lack amenities.
And parking is on the side of the road.
If you come late, parking would be quite a challenge.
Come prepared with a cooler full of refreshments and yummy goodies if you are planning to stay most of the day.
The best time to come is on weekdays,
 weekends tend to get busy for this is also the locals favorite beach.
 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

TRUNK BAY, ST. JOHN, U.S.V.I




Trunk Bay



Considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Virgin Islands.
Known  for its 225-yard long underwater trail.
A "must not miss" on anyone's beach list.
Definitely, the highlight of our trip at the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Little Taz snorkeling at the crystalline waters of Trunk Bay

A gorgeous pristine white sand beach, has crystalline water,
and the best snorkeling trail so far, that we have visited.
If you wander about 50 -100 feet beyond the trail,
you'll see more coral formations and more varieties of fish.


My husband and my daughter snorkeling.
 
Trunk Bay's clear water and colorful sea life promise to give anyone who tries underwater photography a spectacular photo opportunity.
I was lucky enough to photograph a trunk fish with my Gopro,
 which I must suggest the best tool to have if you have the love for snorkeling.
We brought our own snorkel gear,
 but if you don't have one, you can rent at the Rental Shack.

And if you're feeling hungry,
there is a concession stand
that offers sandwiches, burgers, non-alcoholic refreshments, and cocktails.
Most visitors do bring their own cooler filled with delicious food
 and cold drinks.
 
There are plenty of showers and restrooms available.
The facilities are  very well maintained. 


Trunk Fish at Trunk Bay
Parrot Fish

Sea grape trees offers plenty of shade.
The best spot was right next to the Lifeguard tower.
 


Setting up under a Sea grape tree.
 
My children rated this beach, 5 stars.

Little Taz with his new friends.

Plenty of fish to see on the shallow part,
the kids were able to swim to the Coral Island with no problem.
The water was calm and clear, 
they were able to see the stingray from the beach without getting close to it. 
 
Smooth, clean, white sands.
 
 

Trunk Bay beach is breathtaking.
We all fell in love with this place.
We can't wait to go back.
 
 
 
Note:

  • A fee is collected between 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Parking is available, but if you come late, it will be a challenge to find parking.
  • Beach Chairs and Snorkel gear are available at the Rental Shack.
  • It is good to have a swimming noodle or snorkeling vest in case you get tired, and a great tool to have for the not so confident swimmers.
 
Nope, we're not in a pool.
That's the beautiful crystalline water of trunk Bay!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Annaberg Sugar Plantation

 
 
Annaberg Sugar Plantation, a breathtaking National Park
we visited at St. John, U.S.V.I.
Its offers a glimpse of rich agricultural history.
This historic trail takes you through restored ruins on the plantation grounds.
The kids had a lot of fun running around, and climbing the ruins.
They had a lesson of history while having fun.
This place is a photographers dream.
 




Amazing view from Annaberg Sugar Plantation.
You can see the Sir Francis Drake Channel, the British Virgin Islands,
 and you can see down into Leinster bay.

 
As of 1780, Annaberg was one of St. John's biggest sugar producer .
The ruins included a windmill, slaves quarters, factory, horse mill, boiling house,
and other structures associated with sugar production.
It has the largest and tallest windmill in the Virgin islands.
Besides producing sugar,
other products produced in Annaberg were molasses and rum.
 


Slaves were forced to work the plantation in 1717,
 until the slaves revolt in 1733 that later lead to the abolishment of slavery.

 
Today, the ruins is protected by the Virgin Islands national park,
 and is open Free to the public.
To learn more about this plantation ruins,
 
Turpentine Tree native to the West indies.


Sugar Mill


Note:

  • The ruins is an easy hike from the parking lot to the top of the hill.
  • If you take a taxi to the site, the taxi will drop you off at the entrance.
  • There is more to see than what I have posted, we were not able to finish our tour of the site because the kids were excited to snorkel the underwater trail of Trunk Bay.
 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Coral World - St. Thomas U.S.V.I.


As I was reading about St. Thomas,and things to do in the island,
one of the activities that caught my attention was Coral World
and their list of water activities.
Coral World is a small Ocean Park,
they have various water activities such as
  • Sea Trek - Helmet Diving a fun concept where they put a helmet on your head which traps air so that you can go down up to 25 feet on the ocean floor and see marine life, and what's great with helmet diving none swimmers can do this activity,

  • Snuba - it gives you complete freedom of movement and ease of breathing under water as the air tanks are located at the surface being carried on a raft,

  • Swim with the Turtles

  • Turtle Encounter


  • Shark Encounter
  • Sea Lion Swim/Encounter


I shared this information with my children,
 and of course Little Taz' attention was caught immediately
by the Sea Lion Encounter.
It's a perfect interactive activity for him and my husband
 without me worrying of him drowning, being the overly protective parent that I am.
I booked the activity, they went, and had tons of fun.
Little Taz was raving about the experience.
We were the coolest parents after this activity.
;)

The South American sea lions were gentle, and affectionate.
My husband and Little Taz were able to snuggle and pet the sea lions,
they played games, and they were able to feed them some fishy treats.
Coral World does not allow personal cameras,
but they will take photos for you for a fee.




While the boys were enjoying the Sea Lion Encounter,
my daughter and I explored the Critters Corner 
and had our little encounter with the beautiful Lorikeets.
This birds are very sociable and we were able to hand feed them.
We purchased a cup of nectar for a small fee.
 




We then walked across the Lorikeet Garden
where we found a bunch of pre-historic looking creatures
hang-out,
The Iguanas.
You will find Iguanas everywhere in the island.
You will find them on Sea Grapes and some on rocks.
They were all over the park and they are not afraid to come up to you.
It's mostly the other way around,
people run away when the Iguanas come close to them.

And if you're lucky, you get to find Mr. Hermit Crab on one of the rocks too.
 

This is Coral World's air conditioned underwater observatory.
It descend 15 ft. underwater to the reef.
My children enjoyed watching the guests that opted for Snuba and Sea Trek.
So if you're not a strong swimmer, afraid to go underwater, or just don't want to get wet,
the observatory is the best way to enjoy the underwater sea life.


It didn't take us long to explore Coral World.
 2 hours without activities, and add another 1 hour if you opted for one. 
So we headed down to Coki Beach adjacent to Coral World.
We were more excited in feeding the fish.
We were told that the fish loves to eat Dog Biscuits,
and they would come up to you to feed. read more ...
 
 
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Note:

Program duration for the Sea Lion Encounter:

- 50 minutes, including check-in, orientation, interaction, and photo processing (animal interaction time: 15-20 minutes)
- Each child under the age of 13 must be accompanied by a participating adult.
- Unfortunately, non-participating observers are not allowed into the sea lion area.
- Personal cameras are not permitted, but Coral World staff will take photos of your experience for   you.

Coki Beach, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

 

 
 
It didn't take us long to explore Coral World
since we didn't do all the water activities.
So we headed down to Coki Beach adjacent to Coral World.

I enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere at the shores of Magens Bay.
If you're looking for a more party-like day,
with reggae music playing in the background all day,
this beach is for you.
The atmosphere on this beach really brings you
the essence of real life in the Caribbean.



Coki beach is popular to both locals and tourists.
Just like any other beach in the island,
the beach gets crowded when multiple ships are in port.
On busy days,
parking can be a challenge. I suggest a taxi ride.
If you're asking how easy or difficult it is to get a taxi ride back to your place?
Well, not too hard. There are oodles of taxis.
For those that come in their vehicles, parking can be a challenge.
Since we visited Coral World,
we didn't have any problem with finding secured parking,
they had plenty for their guests.
.


The beach was just a few steps down the stairs from Coral World.
We set up our chairs and umbrella closer to the rocks,
the best spot to snorkel.
And the shadiest part of the beach.
Unlike Magens Bay, this beach has limited natural shade.




We were very excited that we are able to literally swim amongst the fishes.
We were told that the fish loves to eat Dog Biscuits,
and they would come up to you to feed.
Yes, you heard me right! DOG BISCUITS!
The kids had a blast feeding the fish!

Late afternoon, fishes have been fed too much they refuse to eat.


Coki Beach is lined with Beachside kiosks connected by a boardwalk,
shacks, and roadside food trucks
that serve sandwiches, burgers, and local dishes.
The local vendors supply an array of goodies from beach necessities,
 artwork, bags, t-shirts, wraps,
and marijuana.
YES ... AGAIN YOU HEARD ME RIGHT!


No need to get up from your beach chair,
for the Beach waiters will also serve you
refreshing smoothies or the alcoholic drink of your choice.
There is a dive shop onsite, a hair braider's booth,
 another booth that rents snorkeling gear, floats, noodles, and beach chairs,
and across the road is a jet ski rental booth,
for 1/2 an hour rental they charge $60, the cheapest by far, others charge $90.



The hundreds of fish close to shore, 
which came waist deep of my Little Taz with a dog biscuit in hand,
got a thumbs up from  my children.
And thumbs up from me with the crystal clear water
three times clearer than Magens Bay , and soft white sand.
Thumbs down for some of the unruly crowd,
noise, parking, and not so clean facilities.
We used the facilities at Coral World.


 
Nothing can ever ruin our fun, 
we have learned that if we focus on the things that we love,
the distractions disappear.
We come home with great memories.
 

Fried turn-over in one hand and a painkiller on the other,
reclining on a beach chair, watching the sun go down
is definitely my kind of vacation.

 
other related posts:

 
NOTE: 
 
  • If you like a serene atmosphere, skip this beach.
  • Get here early to avoid the big crowd and leave before sundown.
  • Do not leave valuables in the car, leave it in your hotel safe.
  • Most concessions are cash only.
  • Bucket of Beer - 6/$10  Large Glass of Cocktails $8-10 Food $5-15
  • Parking $5
  • If you forgot cash, there's an ATM at Coral World.
  • Reading reviews about this beach, For some, they find some of the personalities at Coki beach as creepy, but for me I find them nice and entertaining. Don't be scared to have a conversation with them, you'll learn so much from the locals. Give a smile and you'll get one back!



 
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