honeymoon bliss: u.s. and british virgin islands

If I listed out the ideas we had and places we looked into for our honeymoon and the time we spent deciding, you’d think we were nuts. We found it so difficult to choose what to do – take week off and go somewhere close or take two weeks off and go somewhere far away? Relax on a beach and stay at a resort, or stay at an Airbnb and be more adventurous and active. The options were endless and we got overly excited at all of the possibilities.

We strongly considered Greece, Bali, Thailand, the French Polynesia, St. Lucia, the Virgin Islands, and Hawaii. We decided on the U.S. and British Virgin Islands when we realized we could only take a week off of work (since we’ll be taking another week off soon after to go on a family vacation to Italy). The trip to St. Thomas is only about 3.5 hours, which meant we wouldn’t have to waste a full day traveling back & forth. We also realized we wanted warm weather and a combination of relaxing and adventurous – which is why we chose to spend half of the time at a resort on St. Thomas and the other half in a beach bungalow on Virgin Gorda.

Trip Recap

We’re so happy with the decision we made. We loved every single part of our trip and had the perfect amount of things planned, leaving enough time for relaxation and some spontaneity. The weather late April was supposed to be ideal – it was 80 and sunny the majority of the time with only two days of rain and gloom.

It was pretty obvious to me that the Virgin Islands would be beautiful, but I didn’t realize how much we’d enjoy it beyond the beaches and picturesque sights. We enjoyed spending time with each other – one on one – for the first time in a long time. Sure, we live together, but we only see each other for a few minutes each morning – and nights and weekends have been hectic (to say the least). Spending quality time together in such a gorgeous location was a treat – and the addition of some spontenatety and adventure made it one of our favorite trips ever.

Travel

  • We flew straight from Newark to St. Thomas, a 3.5 hour flight. Super easy and stress-free if you’re planning on starting the trip in the U.S. Virgin Islands like us.  If you’re trip is starting in the BVI’s, you’ll want to fly into Tortola (and might have to connect through Puerto Rico).
  • We stayed on St. Thomas for 3 days and Virgin Gorda for 3 days, but also had the chance to visit the islands of St. John, Yost Van Dyke, and Cooper Island during day trips. The ferry system is easy to navigate and runs to and from territories.

Accommodations

  • We chose to splurge a little for the first few nights on our honeymoon and stayed at the Ritz Carlton on St Thomas. Everything about it was wonderful – the food, the beach, the pool, our room – it was exactly what we wanted.
  • We stayed at Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda for the second half of our trip, which we absolutely fell in love with. We’ll 100% be going back more than once.
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Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas

Day 1, St. Thomas

Naturally, we went right to the beach bar & grill at the Ritz to get lunch upon arrival in St. Thomas. The Virgin Islands are famous for a drink called “The Painkiller,” which is a mix of rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, orange juice, and nutmeg. Kc probably ended up drinking about 700 of these throughout the course of our trip – starting with the few we drank during our first delicious lunch.

That night we decided to head to Carnival, which is a huge local celebration in the middle of Charlotte Amile, the main city on St. Thomas. Still on a bit of a wedding high, we spent hours there and had so much fun. There weren’t many other tourists, so it was really cool to be immersed in the culture of the island right off the bat. We got homemade food from little stands (fried chicken and lobster), played carnival games with kids for hours, tried different flavored rums from local vendors, and danced to Caribbean music like no one was watching. It’s a night I’ll never forget.

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Day 2, St. Thomas and St. John:

We took advantage of the beautiful morning and laid on the beach at the resort for a few hours. Since we both can’t sit still for too long, we decided to go over to St. John for the second half of the day (just a 15 minute ferry ride from St. Thomas). Before hopping on the ferry, we got lunch at a cute local spot called Fish Tales, which we loved and would recommend for a casual lunch or dinner!

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{Details: Wore this hat almost every single day – get it here}

When we got to St. John, we stopped in a cute little bar called Woody’s to grab a few waters before heading to the beach. The woman inside invited us in and told us she makes the best drinks on the island – couldn’t pass that up! We hung out there for a little before getting a cab to Trunk Bay, which was absolutely stunning. We fell asleep on the beach for a while, then went to happy hour in Cruz Bay at an heavenly place called Beach Bar before heading back to St. Thomas on the ferry.

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Trunk Bay Beach, St. John
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Trunk Bay Beach, St. John

{Details: Diff eyewear sunglasses – get them here!}

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Beach Bar, Cruz Bay, St. John

Day 3, Island Hopping the BVI’s:

For the third day of our trip, we booked a island-hopping boat tour called The Bad Kitty. It was so much fun and something we’d recommend (for people w/o kids). It wasn’t the most luxurious experience – the boat was a little crammed and the amenities could have been better, but for the price, it was worth it. We cleared customs for the BVI’s and went to Virgin Gorda and did a tour of The Baths (which was unreal), stopped at a “secret spot” to do some snorkeling, went to Cooper Island to have some lunch (which was delicious and so cool), and then stopped on Yost Van Dyke for some beach-bar hopping.

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Cooper Island, BVI’s

{Details: Bikini by Kiini, get it here}

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The whole experience was not only stunningly beautiful, but so much fun. We loved every stop we made, but our favorite was Yost Van Dyke. At that point, we’d already had our fair share of rum punches, so swimming up to The Soggy Dollar to continue drinking in the sun was a scene out of my dreams. The ocean was so insanely blue and clean, the good vibes were high, and the drinks kept flowing.

It was a day for the books – we needed a pretty long nap when we arrived back in St. Thomas at 4pm. We opted for room service that night because the day seriously just took the energy out of us.

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Yost Van Dyke, BVI’s
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The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI’s

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Days 4-7, Virgin Gorda, BVI’s:

For the second half of the trip, we traveled by ferry (about an hour and 45 minutes long) to Virgin Gorda, which is in the British Virgin Islands. We had to stop at customs – so if you plan on going to the BVI’s from the USVI’s, make sure you bring a passport! Once we arrived by ferry, we hopped in a cab to the other side of the island, where we had to get on another short boat ride to get to where we were staying – Bitter End Yacht Club.

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From the moment we arrived, we were treated so well and could tell we were going to have a really hard time leaving. It was so beautiful, but also so different from anywhere we’d ever been. It’s essentially a stop for people who are living (short-term or long-term) on their yachts or sailboats – so we were among some pretty interesting people who were at Bitter End as a stop on their tour around the Caribbean, or even the world. Another cool thing was that there are no cars on Bitter End, so you either travel by foot or by boat from island to island.

Bitter End Yacht Club itself has a few restaurants, a pool, shops, activity center (complete with little rental boats, kayaks, SUP’s, etc), a snorkeling center, a few bar areas, and more. There are also about 25 bungalows lining the beach for visitors not staying on a boat. We loved our bungalow – it was so comfortable, clean, had a hammock (score), and the most amazing view.

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View from our bungalow at Bitter End

Things To Do at Bitter End

I could go on and on about how we filled each day, but I’ll just list some of the things we really enjoyed:

  • Saba Rock: Located on it’s own little island, this ‘resort’ has a few guest rooms, an really cool bar, and a great restaurant.
    • It was a 3 minute boat-ride from Bitter End (which they provide for free), so we went there multiple times – for the fish feedings (which was really cool), and for dinner and drinks. The food was really exceptional – especially the seafood (the lobster was the size of my torso).
  • Hog Heaven: We heard about this BBQ place from a bunch of people, so we had to give it a try.
    • On a rainy afternoon, we got a boat back to the main island of Virgin Gorda, then a cab up to the peak of the island. The BBQ was unreal – we got friend chicken and ribs, which we devoured within minutes.
    • The views from Hog Heaven were incredible and really put into perspective how remote the north sound of the BVI’s are… a collection of little islands surrounded by amazing yachts and sailboats.
  • Sunset Sail: We took a sunset sail (booked via Bitter End) around the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, passing by Larry Page’s private island, Richard Branson’s islands, Prickly Pear National Park, and a few others. It was a beautiful way to see these islands – something I’d never imagine I’d have the chance to see in my lifetime. At $5,000 a night to stay on Neckar Island, I’ll put that at a stretch goal on my bucket list 🙂
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Dinner on Saba Rock
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View from Hog Heaven, Virgin Gorda

Other than that, we honestly didn’t do too much. We went to bed early and slept in late, sat on the beach, watched wind surfers, fed fish off of the docks near our bungalow, enjoyed drinks and snacks at the beach bear, took plenty of naps, laid in every hammock we came across, and explored every part of the stunning property.

Sometimes I leave a place and although I’d love to visit again, I don’t feel like I need to unless the opportunity presents itself, of course. But this place was different– we both agreed we’d prioritize coming back as soon as possible. It’s just a special place and it’s hard to explain why until you’ve been there.

That being said, I’d suggest this trip to anyone looking for a fun yet relaxing honeymoon or a week-long getaway. We have other specific suggestions and tips, so feel free to reach out if you have questions!

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