Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Gert van Dijken, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Gert van Dijken, Editor
Edition 131
January 1, 2003

Last Update January 9, 2003

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1/ PRESS RELEASES AND OTHER NEWS

ANTIGUA: BRING YOUR FIRST MATE AND CELEBRATE SAILING WEEK AT CURTAIN BLUFF RESORT

Curtain Bluff in Antigua  offers exclusive 7-night rate during Sailing
Week 2003 *

    St. John’s,  Antigua (December 12,  2002) – Experience
the excitement and rush of seeing hundreds of sailboats, sails raised,
catching the trade winds and surging through the Caribbean seas.  Join
sailors  and spectators  from  around  the world  as  the 36th  Annual
Sailing  Week begins  off  the coast  of  Antigua.  This  “grand
daddy” of  Caribbean regattas will  take place April  27 through
May 3, 2003.
        
    There’s no better  way to experience Antigua’s Sailing
Week   than  with   Curtain   Bluff’s  seven-night   “Sail
Away”  vacation,  available  April   27  –  May  4,  2003.
“Sail Away” guests become part  of the action as they sail
during the race on Curtain Bluff’s luxury yacht, the Sentio, and
are privy to a private celebratory party at Curtain Bluff owner Howard
Hulford’s cliffside home for a grandstand view of the first race
as it sails by on Sunday, April 27.  Included in the 7-night rate is a
choice  of two  types  of oceanfront  luxury accommodations  including
$5,995 for  a Junior Suite or $7,395  for the Grace Bay  or Morris Bay
suites (prices  are per  room, based on  double occupancy  and include
taxes  and gratuities).   This vacation  rate  is for  two guests  and
includes  three full  meals a  day,  bar drinks,  afternoon tea,  hors
d’oeuvres at  cocktail time, nightly  entertainment and numerous
activities including waterskiing, scuba diving (for certified divers),
sea kayaking, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, tennis, squash, use of the
full-service fitness center including bayside yoga and more.

        The  resort’s Grace Bay  and Morris  Bay suites  are new
this  season, featuring one  or two  oversized bedrooms  with in-suite
bathrooms, spacious  living rooms, and  sliding glass doors  that open
onto  sprawling private  terraces with  outdoor Jacuzzis  and sweeping
views  of the  turquoise Caribbean  waters.  At  750  square-feet, the
Junior Suites boast a luxurious  bedroom with a king sized bed, marble
bathroom and  a sunken  living room with  sliding glass  doors opening
onto a beachfront terrace.  Fifteen  pairs of suites connect to better
accommodate families.

        Curtain Bluff is located on  20 lushly landscaped acres on the
south  coast of  Antigua  and  is surrounded  by  two beautiful  sandy
beaches.   Under the  same  ownership and  management  for over  forty
years,  Curtain  Bluff  offers  a total  of  seventy-three  beachfront
accommodations  including eighteen Deluxe  rooms, forty  Junior Suites
and   two-one-bedroom  rooftop  suites,   with  connecting   rooms  to
accommodate   families  or   large   groups.   In   addition  to   the
comprehensive (all-inclusive) rates which in addition to meals and bar
drinks cover most of the  activities available to guests, a freshwater
pool and two  beaches are available.  Breakfast and  dinner are served
in  the  open-air dining  room,  with  a view  of  the  ocean and  the
hotel’s grounds,  and lunch and  refreshments are served  at the
Beach  Club.  Live  bands play  every evening  for dining  and dancing
enjoyment.

        For   Curtain   Bluff   reservations  and   information   call
1-888-289-9898 (in New York City 212-289-8888), or visit Curtain Bluff
online at www.curtainbluff.com

***Photography is available upon request***

COZUMEL: ISLA COZUMEL HOTELS & RESORTS PRESENT 2003 DIVE PACKAGES

COZUMEL, Mexico (Dec. 20, 2002)  -- Sixteen hotels and resorts located
in Isla  Cozumel, the  largest island in  the Mexican  Caribbean, have
announced value-priced dive packages for 2003.

Brisas Cozumel  offers 2003 all-inclusive three,  five and seven-night
dive  packages ranging  from $399  to $929  based on  per  person, per
night.  All  packages include deluxe  accommodations, two-tank morning
boat dives with  dive master, use of tanks, weights  and belt, as well
as  a snack  and  water.   Formerly Costa  Club  Cozumel, Brisas  also
includes  airport transfers,  breakfast, lunch  and dinner  daily, and
alcoholic beverages  from 11  a.m. to 11  p.m.  For  more information,
visit www.brisashotel.com or call toll-free 1-877-454-4355.

Casa  Mexicana presents  dive packages  ranging from  three nights/two
days of  diving starting at $193  to seven nights/five  days of diving
starting at  $465.  Packages  are priced per  person, based  on double
occupancy,  two-tank dives,  unlimited tanks  for shore  diving, daily
full  breakfast  buffet,  a  free  T-shirt, free  affiliation  to  the
hyperbaric chamber  and are valid Jan.  3 through Dec.  31, 2003.  For
more information call toll-free 1-877-228-6747.

Casa Del  Mar Cozumel features five different  dive options, beginning
with a three night/two day package starting at $185 and extending to a
seven night/eight  day package starting at $442.  The packages include
accommodations,  daily  breakfast, boat  diving,  unlimited tanks  for
shore diving, a  T-shirt, welcome drink, and a  10 percent discount at
Nachi  Cocom  beach  club.   Rates  are per  person  based  on  double
occupancy,  and are  valid from  Jan. 1  to Dec.  22, 2003.   For more
information visit www.casadelmarcozumel.com or call 1-800-235-5892.

Coral Princess  Hotel & Resort  offers three night/two days  of diving
packages starting at $238 and seven night/five days of diving packages
starting at  $574.  Rates are  per person, based on  double occupancy.
Packages  include  standard  deluxe  room, daily  breakfast,  two-tank
dives, 20  percent discount on  massages, 15 percent discount  on food
and  beverage per  room,  one  free welcome  shore  dive, a  30-minute
snorkel tour to  San Juan Reef and 25 percent  discount on car rental.
Packages  are valid  from Jan.  3 to  Dec. 25,  2003.   For additional
information  and  reservations,  visit www.coralprincess.com  or  call
1-800-253-2702.

Days Inn  Villa Iguanas  offers five nights/three  days of  diving for
$435 per person, double occupancy and seven nights/five days of diving
for  $650  per  person,   double  occupancy.   Both  packages  include
accommodations, daily  continental breakfast, two tanks  per boat dive
and all taxes.   Packages are available from Jan. 1  to Dec. 20, 2003.
For   more   information    on   packages   and   reservations,   call
1-800-325-2525.

El  Cid La Ceiba  Cozumel features  a three  night/two days  of diving
package starting  at $250,  a five night/four  days of  diving package
starting  at $446,  and  a  seven night/five  days  of diving  package
starting at  $551.  Packages  are priced per  person, based  on double
occupancy,  and are  valid from  Jan. 1  to Dec.  21,  2003.  Packages
include hotel  accommodations, daily breakfast, two tanks  per day for
boat dives,  unlimited tanks for  shore diving, a welcome  drink, beer
bucket  and  taxes.   For   information  on  additional  packages  and
reservations, call 1-800-437-9609 or email delmar@cozumel.com.mx.

El Cozumeleño Beach  Resort offers a variety of  dive packages ranging
from  three night/two  days of  diving packages  starting at  $401, to
seven night/five  days of diving packages starting  at $943.  Packages
are  per person,  based on  double occupancy,  and  include ocean-view
accommodations,  two tanks  per  day, all  meals  and beverages,  room
service, daily activities program, mini golf, game room, non-motorized
water sports,  gym and diving T-shirt.  For  information on additional
packages   and  reservations,   visit  www.elcozumeleno.com   or  call
1-800-437-3923.

Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort  is offering two dive packages in
2003.  The three night/two days of  diving package starts at $299, and
the seven night/five days of diving package starts at $718.  Rates are
per person,  based on double  occupancy and are  valid from Jan.  1 to
Dec.  19, 2003.   All packages  include two  tanks per  dive, weights,
belt, soft  drinks in  the boat and  unlimited shore dives.   For more
information   on   additional   packages   and   reservations,   visit
www.fiestamericana.com or call 1-800-FIESTA1.

Hacienda  San Miguel  Hotel  &  Suites features  a  variety of  diving
packages  ranging from short  dives to  exclusive insider  dive trips.
Short dive  packages start at $439  for 3 night/four  days and insider
dive trips start  at $995 for 7 night/8 days.   Packages are per room,
based on  double occupancy, and include hotel  accommodations and free
upgrade to deluxe  suites upon availability, personalized certificate,
daily  in-room continental  breakfast,  two tanks  per dive,  weights,
beverages on  board, and  a two-hour snorkeling  trip for  non divers.
Regulator and BCD  rentals are available for $6  each, per person, per
dive.    For   information  on   packages   and  reservations,   visit
www.haciendasanmiguel.com or call toll-free 1-866-712-6387.

Melía Cozumel All Inclusive Golf & Beach Resort presents all-inclusive
dive packages ranging from three nights/two days of diving starting at
$419 to seven  nights/five days of diving starting  at $970.  Packages
are per  person, based on  double occupancy and  include all-inclusive
deluxe accommodations, airport  transfers, two-tank dives with weights
and all taxes and gratuities.  Formerly named Paradisus Cozumel, Melía
Cozumel   offers  additional   information   at  www.solmelia.com   or
1-800-33MELIA.

Plaza  Las   Glorias  Cozumel   provides  three  dive   packages  that
incorporate  diving  with  island  excursions.   From  May  1  through
Dec.  18, 2003,  rates start  at $713  for a  three-night  package and
extend to $1,676 for a seven-night package.  All three options include
an ocean-view junior suite, daily breakfast buffet, two tanks per dive
and passes  to Chankanaab Park,  Punta Sur Ecological Reserve  and the
island museum.  Rates are per  person, based on double occupancy.  For
more information, call 1-800-342-AMIGO.

Presidente Inter-Continental  Cozumel features five  dive packages for
2003, based on ability level.  Rates begin at $650 with the ^ÓDiscover
Scuba  Diving^Ô package  for  five nights  superior accommodations,  a
welcome drink,  daily breakfast  buffet, discover scuba  diving lesson
with private instructor, two days  of one-tank shallow dives, and dive
equipment.  The ^ÓDive Cozumel^Ô  five-night package for $788 includes
deluxe  accommodations, welcome drink,  daily breakfast  buffet, three
days of two-tank boat diving,  unlimited shore diving, one night dive,
dive equipment,  and fruit and water.  The  most comprehensive package
invites  travelers to  ^ÓGet Certified  In Paradise^Ô  for  $1,148 and
includes  five nights  deluxe accommodations,  a welcome  drink, daily
breakfast  buffet,  private instructor,  five  academic modules,  five
confined  water sessions, four  open water  training dives,  PADI open
water manual and  table, one tank boat dive  and equipment.  Rates are
per person based  on double occupancy.  For more  information on these
and       other       advanced       diver       packages,       visit
www.cozumel.intercontinental.com or call 1-800-327-0200.

Reef Club  Isla Cozumel  Beach Resort offers  four, six  and eight-day
dive packages with rates ranging from $301 for three nights/one day of
diving,  to $825  for seven  nights/five days  of diving.   Valid from
Jan. 1  to Dec.  22, 2003,  packages are per  person, based  on double
occupancy, and include all-inclusive hotel accommodations and two tank
dives per person.   For more information visit www.reefclubcozumel.com
or call  toll-free 1-888-773-4349.  Sol Cabañas Del  Caribe features a
variety of dive packages ranging  from three night/ two days of diving
starting at $274 to seven  night/five days of diving starting at $625.
Packages  include ocean-view  accommodations, tanks,  weights, airport
transfers  and breakfast.  Packages  are priced  per person,  based on
double or  single occupancy,  and are  valid from Jan.  3 to  Dec. 19,
2003.  For  information and  reservations,  visit www.solmelia.com  or
call 1-800-33MELIA.

Suites Bahia  and Suites  Colonial, both located  steps away  from the
heart of  San Miguel, are  offering five packages of  varying lengths,
all valid  from Jan. 1 through  Dec. 31, 2003.  Dive  package rates at
Suites Bahia  start at  $159 for three  nights/two days of  diving and
extend  to  seven  nights/five   days  of  diving  for  $385.   Suites
Colonial^Òs three  nights/two days of  diving package starts  at $157,
while the  seven nights/five  days of diving  package starts  at $381.
Packages are  priced per person,  based on double  occupancy, two-tank
dives, unlimited tanks for  shore diving, daily continental breakfast,
a free  T-shirt, free affiliation  to the hyperbaric chamber  and are.
For more information call toll-free 1-877-228-6747.

Named "Cuzamil"  by the  Maya who inhabited  it more than  2,000 years
ago, Isla Cozumel or "land of the swallows" is located in the state of
Quintana Roo,  east of the Yucatan  Peninsula.  Cozumel, approximately
30 miles long  and 10 miles wide, has  an international snorkeling and
diving  reputation  with   the  world's  second-largest  reef  network
featuring  limestone caves,  tunnels  and rare  black coral.   Cozumel
Reefs National Park, a protected 30,000-acre national area covering 85
percent of the island^Òs dive sites and embracing the southern section
of  Cozumel,  was created  in  1996  for  the purpose  of  conserving,
monitoring and researching the reef formation and its natural habitat.
In 2002 a U.S. News & World Report Travel Agent Survey recognized Isla
Cozumel as the North  American/Caribbean destination offering the best
vacation   value.   Visit   Cozumel   on  the   World   Wide  Web   at
www.islacozumel.com.mx.

ROATAN: SOL AIR: FIRST DIRECT FLIGHT ARRIVES IN BAY ISLANDS

New airline launches convenient, low cost direct flights to Roatan

Roatan, Bay  Islands- Sol Air announced  today that the  first of its'
weekly  direct Saturday  flights from  Dallas  has landed  in the  Bay
Islands of Honduras.  The airline,  which began operating in July, now
flies into Roatan Island, the largest of the Bay Islands.

Visitors  to  Roatan  flying  from  Dallas previously  landed  on  the
Honduras mainland  and took a smaller  plane to La  Ceiba before being
transported to the island.  The  direct route shortens flight time and
provides a more comfortable, hassle-free trip.

"Our goal is  to provide passengers to the  Bay Islands, and Honduras,
with an exceptional flying  experience based on our quality guarantee.
This includes  superior customer service  from the time the  ticket is
booked until the customer has claimed his luggage at the airport where
the journey  began. We offer exceptional ground  and on-board service,
with  no  additional  or  hidden charges  or  restrictions,"  explains
Ricardo Martinez, president of Sol Air.

Visitors  traditionally   see  the   Bay  Islands  as   an  attractive
destination for family vacations as well as providing world-class reef
diving.   However, the  cost of  airfares  has made  traveling to  the
destination  prohibitive.  The  creation of  Sol Air,  along  with the
introduction  of the new  route, will  reduce the  cost of  airfare to
Honduras, and the Bay Islands, by more than fifty percent.

Sol Air  understands the importance of developing  a good relationship
with  the travel  market and  has  developed a  strategy that  ensures
visitors  traveling  to  the   Bay  Islands  have  the  most  positive
experience.   This plan  includes providing  convenient flights,  at a
great price, throughout  all seasons.  Sol Air is  also paying special
attention to every minute detail  from the booking process, through to
reliable baggage collections and overall service.

In  keeping with  its' low  cost strategy,  Sol Air  will  maintain an
economy class US $399 roundtrip airfare annually, from Miami, and $499
from Dallas.  The company uses a newer, modern fleet of Boeing 737-300
aircraft.

Through  its regular  Miami  to  Central America  route,  Sol Air  has
already collected  a loyal following of satisfied  passengers. A study
conducted by the  University of Tegucigalpa showed 99%  of all Sol Air
passengers would  use the  airline as its  preferred air  partner when
traveling to the destination.

Passengers  flying with  Sol Air  have a  choice of  daily  morning or
afternoon flights  from Miami  and a once  weekly flight  from Dallas,
which is direct to the Bay Islands.


Issued by:                      Sandra Sampayo
                                Bay Islands Marketing
                                sandra@bayislandstourism.com
                                +504 455-5841 (Roatan, Bay Islands)
                                www.bayislandstourism.com

On behalf of / info:            Ricardo Martinez
                                Sol Air
                                +504 220-6543 (Tegucigalpa, Honduras)
                                rmartinez@solair.net
                                www.solair.net

2/ JOURNEYS FOR JANUARY 2003

ROATAN, HONDURAS BY LESLIE BARDELLI

Three times a  charm!!!  What can I say after our  third visit, June 1
. 15, 2002 to  the Inn of Last Resort in Roatan,  Honduras that I have
not said  already except,  we.ll probably go  back for a  fourth visit
next year.

The Inn of  Last Resort suits us perfectly!  Easy  diving with lots of
colorful  fish, creatures  and coral,  great food  and accommodations,
helpful  and  pleasant staff  and  a  chance  to relax,  relax,  relax
surrounded by blue water and blue skies.

My husband and I have spent 2 weeks in each of the past 3 years at ILR
and although with each visit  some things have changed, we have always
had a Great  time.  ILR is a small, rustic resort  set on Gibson Bight
(which is a  small cove or harbor,  they say one of the  safest of the
island).  The resort is made up of 4 buildings.  The lodge which faces
Gibson Bight encompasses the dining room, bar, lounge, game area, gift
shop, TV and  library.  The other 3 buildings  are the guest quarters,
each with  10 rooms on 2 floors.   The 4 buildings form  a square with
cement walkways and tropical gardens  in between.  The rooms are large
and rustic  with wood  paneling and flooring.   Each room has  a queen
size bed and 2 twin beds.   The bathroom is small with a stall shower,
but functional.  All the rooms are air conditioned with 2 ceiling fans
as well.

Each room  has a large open  closet with built in  shelves and hanging
space as  well as  overhead storage for  say your luggage.   The rooms
have a large window that faces out into the jungle like gardens.

The food is great.  This trip the Inn had a new restaurant manager and
he was still trying out some new recipes.  So after many meals we were
asked what we thought.  Breakfast  is whatever you want off a standard
menu  (Eggs,  Bacon, Sausage,  French  toast,  Pancakes, Toast,  Fresh
Fruit, Juice, etc) or the daily special.  Lunch and Dinner are a fixed
menu that is  posted in the Lodge.  Lunch is usually  a one plate meal
such  as  Chicken  Kabob.s  with  rice  and  beans,  Baked  Fish  with
vegetables  and rice,  Spanish Enchiladas  with rice  and beans  or on
picnic  day ILR.s  famous Fried  Chicken and  potato salad  and always
served with  some kind of cookie  or cake for dessert.   Dinners are a
little more formal with several courses.  Dinner starts with some kind
of appetizer such as soup, pasta, salad or maybe even shrimp cocktail.
Then the main course is meat, potatoes and vegetables.  A few examples
that we  had were  Pasta with tomatoes,  Bacon Wrapped  Filet, Broiled
Potatoes  and Cheesecake or  French Onion  soup, Lobster  tails, Baked
Potatoes, Peas and  Carrots and Banana Pie or  Tossed Salad. Baked Red
Snapper with  Pasta and Key Lime  Pie.  All the  meals were plentiful,
but you  can always ask for  seconds.  There are  appetizers served at
the bar  each evening before  dinner.  The bar  in on a  check system.
Each time  you get something from the  bar or the gift  shop they fill
out a slip and have you initial it.  That way you need no money during
your stay.  On you last day, you settle up your bar bill.

So now your wondering about the  diving, isn.t that why we came?? Yes.
The diving  is great.  ILR has 2  large dive boats the  Miss Susan and
Special Lady.  Each has a dry box as well as area in the center of the
boat.   They have 2  rinse tanks  in back,  one dedicated  to cameras.
There  is plenty of  storage under  the benches  for weights  or fins.
They have  a platform on the back,  so you enter via  Giant Stride and
then 2 ladders  for exit.  The boats are covered  and their roofs have
access via a ladder for those who want to sun bathe on the ride.  Most
of dive sites are within a  10-minute ride of the resort and there are
3 single tank  dives planned per day.  Most of the  time you come back
to ILR  for your surface  interval.  It gives  you a chance  to change
film,  batteries, get a  soda or  whatever.  Dive  times are  8:30 AM,
10:30 AM and 2 PM.  Dives are lead by a Divemaster and last usually 50
minutes with a  3-minute safety stop required.  Depending  on the site
some of  the dives are a drift  and others are moored.   The diving is
mostly  wall diving, going  down to  a planned  depth and  then slowly
working your way  back shallow.  Once a week the resort  does a 2 tank
AM dive,  usually to  the other  side of the  island, since  the coral
formations are different.  We even had the opportunity to go to Mary.s
Place this trip.  Mary.s Place is  a site that what closed for several
years and is now open with  restrictions.  For those staying at ILR it
is a  90 minute  boat ride to  get there,  so that day  we only  did 2
dives,  but  Mary.s Place  was  a neat  dive.   Once  a week,  weather
permitting they also have a picnic lunch down on West Bay Beach.  They
also do  one boat  night dive a  week, omitting  the 8:30 AM  dive and
adding 6 PM.

The  life is  incredible!!!!   All  of the  sites  have tropical  fish
galore.  This trip was lots of  turtles.  We saw turtles at least once
a day  if not more.   We only saw  a few Spotted  Eagle Rays all  at a
distance.   Even thought  this was  our 3rd  trip to  Roatan  there is
always something new to look for and see.  After 12 days of diving and
16 rolls  of film later my  camera was glad  when the trip came  to an
end.  There is so much to see, the slower you go the more you can find
and finding something unusual is the golden prize.  They have a set of
Humann.s books so that you can  look up any fish or creatures you want
to identify.

The  dive shop is  just a  few feet  away from  the boats.   They have
several fresh water rinse buckets out on the dock for your gear at the
end of  the day.  Each room  has four pegs  in the shop for  your gear
storage and the shop is locked when no one is inside and at night.

The resort has a lagoon that is a short walk from the room with a dock
and chairs to watch the sunset  and it is beautiful.  The water at the
dock is about 4-5 feet deep and goes to about 10 feet out by the reef.
There is a  natural cut in the coral  with a marker on it  and you can
swim through and be  out on one of the dive sites,  Fish Den.  You can
dive from the lagoon any time,  just let them know ahead and the staff
will have tanks down there for you.   Fish Den is a nice dive site and
is easily navigated at night.

What else can  I say?? What more could you want,  eat, sleep, dive and
relax.  A perfect diving vacation.  There are some places that you can
visit topside and the Inn has a receptionist who can help you make any
arrangements needed.

Be sure  to check out their  website at http://www.innoflastresort.com
or email them your questions at dive@innoflastresort.com.

ST. JOHN BY JOY AND BO IVESTER

December 15-22, 2002

We  just  returned last  night  from  our  second incredible  trip  to
St.  John. The  first time  that we  vacationed in  St.  John (October
2001), we stayed at the Westin. This time we decided to rent a home on
the Coral  Bay side  of the island.  Our villa, La  Sirena, overlooked
Kiddle Bay, which is located just  on the other side of Salt Pond from
Coral  Bay. The  location of  the villa  was very  remote (but  it was
fabulous to  be so far away  from everyone and  everything (except for
the donkeys  which came to  visit each night).  The home is  very new,
having been  completed in July of  2002. It was a  perfect retreat for
two  couples,  but  would  definitely accommodate  additional  (older)
children  in a third  sleeping area  which is  located in  an upstairs
loft. The  owners of the home reside  on the island, which  was a plus
for us as they were  available to answer questions when necessary. All
in  all the  home was  excellent for  our needs:  small  pool, outside
pool/cabana area, well-equipped kitchen,  and inclusion of all desired
random supplies (i.e., coolers, beach chairs, CD player).

On to the trip...

Day One

We arrived  on Sunday night and were  met at Cruz Bay  and escorted to
pick up our rental car and then on to our villa (after a short stop at
the Love  City Minimart for some  basic supplies) by the  owner of the
home.  After a brief orientation and a bit of unpacking/unwinding, and
with nightfall quickly closing in,  we headed to Shipwreck Landing for
dinner and a few beers. The  atmosphere there is great.and the food is
very  good.   Both  of   us  had  the   Mahi.one  blackened   and  one
.herbed.. After some unwinding, we  headed back to La Sirena to settle
in for the night.

Day Two

Rising with the sun, we got up early Monday morning and headed out for
Kiddle Bay, which is visible from our villa. The realtor.s description
of  the  home  indicates  that  it  is  a  .two  minute  walk  to  the
beach.. They were right on the  money; it took us about two minutes to
walk down a path to Kiddle Bay. The beach is beautiful, but is made up
of smooth round dark pebbles, and the bay is less protected (resulting
in   rougher   water)   than    some   of   the   other   beaches   on
St.  John.  Regardless,  it   is  a  very  .swimmable.  and  beautiful
bay. After walking back up the  trail, we jumped in the car and headed
to Salt  Pond Bay. This  is a  great place to  relax on the  beach and
snorkel. We headed  up the left side of the bay,  then across and back
down the right side, seeing tons  of multicolored fish, a turtle and a
stingray  along  the  way.  Around  2pm,  we  headed  to  Pickles  for
lunch. Great sandwiches and Gazpacho! Post-lunch, we drove back up the
road  to Little  Lamshur Bay.  Lamshur  has, up  until recently,  been
difficult to  reach. However, the steepest  part of the  road has been
paved,  so  the bays  are  more accessible  than  they  once were.  We
snorkeled the second  bay (Little Lamshur), and saw  turtles, eels and
stingrays in addition to some beautiful coral and fish.

After Lamshur,  we drove the  east end of  the island where  there are
some  beautiful  views.though  the   majority  of  the  waterfront  is
inaccessible  or private.  We ate  steaks  at the  house Monday  night
(brought from the  states in a collapsible cooler  with dry ice) along
with broccoli purchased at the minimart.

Tuesday
Tuesday  morning  we  decided  to  hit  the  Brown  Bay  trail.  Given
directions by the owner of our villa, we parked near Estate Zootenvaal
(next  to  the  National  Park  firing range)  and  hiked  the  rather
challenging trail  (only about 45  minutes) to Brown Bay.  Worth every
ounce of effort, this is a beautiful secluded beach and bay! Again, on
the advice  of our villa owner, we  set out snorkeling to  the left of
the  bay. About  20  yard  out began  the  most incredible  snorkeling
experience I  have EVER had!  The coral is  so preserved, and  we were
able to see  multitudes of fish and sea life around  the reef. This is
by far the BEST snorkeling we have done in the islands.

After  our  hike  back  to  the  car, we  went  to  Skinny  Leggs  for
burgers. Great atmosphere and great  burgers. It always amazes us what
a small world  we live in-while we  were there a guy walked  up to our
table and said-"Are you Bo  Ivester? I went to Clemson University with
you". Turns out this person now makes his home on the island.

Dinner  that night  was pork  chops (brought  from home)  back  at the
house.

Wednesday
On Wednesday we drove into Cruz Bay to do some shopping and barhopping
before picking up some friends at  the ferry. Our favorite food on the
island is Uncle  Joe's BBQ (the best ribs,  chicken and macaroni salad
you can ask for), so we  had anticipated the opportunity to visit this
place since our arrival. After picking up our friends at the ferry and
a  short  stop  back at  the  villa,  we  headed  to Miss  Lucy's  for
dinner. The  restaurant sits  right on the  water near Coral  Bay, and
being one  of only two parties  there, we selected a  table outside on
the water. The  food, atmosphere and service here  were all excellent!
From mahi to crab  cakes and paella, all of our meals  were out top of
the line.

Thursday
On  Thursday we  chartered  a boat/captain  through  Odyssey in  Coral
Bay. Though our original intention  was to visit the BVI's and snorkel
some  of the out  of the  way reefs,  we wound  up sampling  more pain
killers at various  bars than snorkeling in the  islands. We did visit
the  Baths in  Virgin Gorda,  which was  overrun with  tour  boats and
tourists. After  that we  visited Foxy's and  the Soggy Dollar  Bar in
Yost Van Dyke and then Willy T's off of Norman Island. We did get some
snorkeling  in towards  the end  of  the day  in the  Caves at  Norman
Island. It's  still hard to  beat some of  the reefs off of  St. John,
though. I would definitely recommend  Brian and Wayne at Odyssey. They
are  more flexible  and  personable  than some  of  the other  charter
companies that we've dealt with in the past.

Dinner on Thursday was Island Blues (this was Pepe's last time we were
in  St. John).  The food  left a  bit to  be desired  (except  for the
outstanding wings!), but the atmosphere is great for a potential happy
hour!

Friday
On Friday we  headed back to Salt Pond Bay to  do some snorkeling. The
water was  a bit choppy, and  therefore a bit murky.  However, we were
able  to get  in a  pretty good  snorkel anyway.  Friday night  we had
dinner at Chateau  Bordeaux. The view and the food are  to die for. We
arrived early for a 6:30 reservation in order to enjoy the view before
sunset and wound  up watching a dark storm move  across the BVI's. The
food  at Chateau Bordeaux  was a  bit expensive,  but the  quality was
outstanding.

Saturday
On Saturday  we lounged by our  villa pool, and then  headed into Cruz
Bay late in  the morning. We again opted to eat  at Uncle Joe's, eager
to share our  delight with our friends. We spent  the day shopping and
again bar hopping in Cruz Bay, and then picked up salad makings at the
Star Fish Market to compliment a  steak dinner at our villa. We were a
bit  surprised  at  the  appearance  (quality) of  the  meat  in  this
store. The steaks,  chicken, fish and chops all  looked very good (and
the price was not out of sight), so this might be something to keep in
mind in the future.

On the way back to Kiddle Bay  we stopped at Voyages de st Jan in Cruz
Bay to  check out the  opening of a  photography exhibit by  an artist
that had drawn our attention earlier  in the week. After going to this
restaurant-which  we  thought  all  week  was  a  fancy  boat  charter
company-we were disappointed  that we had not visited  during our trip
for dinner or at least happy  hour. We settled for dessert to go after
looking at their yummy-looking menu.

Sunday
Our friends  left for an early  flight, and Bo  and I set out  for one
last snorkel at Little Lamshur. We spent about an hour at the bay, and
then headed back  to our villa to clean up and  pack. What a difficult
place to  leave, but it  was nice to  have Christmas waiting  upon our
return to the states.

A quick note:  Another writer had mentioned renting  Dinghy's to visit
some of the  beaches that are inaccessible by  boat (Crabby's in Coral
Bay, Little  Noah's Arks). However, the rental  companies suggest that
you stay  in the bay  (in which they  are rented) which  really limits
your "sightseeing" around St. John.

Our favorite places in order of preference.....
	Snorkeling: 1. Brown Bay, 2. Little Lamsheur, 3. Salt Pond Bay
	Eating: 1. Uncle Joes 2. Chateau Bordeaux (for upscale)
	Can't miss BVI's: 1. Foxy's 2. Norman Island, 3. Indians, 
        4. Sandy Cay

Resources and References:


jivester@mindspring.com
Our email address (for questions)

www.onlinevacations.com
Our villa rental service

http://www.usvi.net/usvi/html/st__john_map.html
This is a great map of St. John. Good level of detail (not too much or 
too little) not found (by us) anywhere else.

http://www.st-john.com/nps/trails.html
Good information on hiking trails 

http://www.usvi-on-line.com/usviforum.html
Forum discussion of  things to do, places to see etc.
St. John Car Rental, Inc. 
340/ 776-6103 

Chateau Bordeaux (Reservations Recommended) 
340/ 776-6611

Miss Lucy's Restaurant & Bar 
340/ 693-5244

Odyssey VI Boat Rentals
340-776-1080  odyssey@unitedstates.vi

Shipwreck Landing 
340/ 693-5640

Skinny Legs 
340/ 779-4982

Voyages de St. Jan 
340/ 774-1566

Singer, Gerald. (2000). St. John: Off the Beaten Track


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