Thinking about vacationing in St. Thomas? Here are some useful St. Thomas travel tips from Drew on fun things to do while vacationing at Bluebeard’s Castle Resort! Drew has worked for SPM Resorts for more than six years, and has regularly visited Bluebeard’s Castle Resort in St. Thomas over the last several years. Many of his close friends have asked for help planning their upcoming trips, so Drew compiled the “good-to-know” list in hopes of helping them enjoy an even better island experience. We hope this information will help you, too.
I usually take US Airways. Depending on the time of year, some airlines limit their routes and service to St. Thomas. Other airlines are Delta through Atlanta and Spirit through Ft. Lauderdale. You can even fly to San Juan, PR and then take Jet Blue over to St. Thomas.
2. RENTAL CAR
I do recommend a rental car. I usually go through Avis. Hertz is also there, and I think Budget. They are located right there in the airport by the baggage claim.
3. THE PROPERTY AT BLUEBEARD’S
Bring good walking shoes. The property of Bluebeard’s is VERY hilly. You’ll get a work out!
4. FOOD AT BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE
The store next to the lobby. Stock up on snacks for late night, like nuts, granola bars, junk food, water/soda/beer/etc. Make sure you check on the size of your refrigerator in your room before stocking-up.
Two of the best island restaurants are located at Bluebeard’s Castle:
Room With A View is owned and operated by George. The restaurant provides air conditioning, and an unbelievable view of the island. They also have a huge wine selection, and I’ve heard the happy hour is an awesome deal. The food is awesome, too. Seriously, fine dining at a very reasonable price (compared to the rest of the island.) I really haven’t had a bad meal here. If duck is ever on the menu, that’s what I’ll usually get (at most restaurants), but when you’re on the island, you’re probably crazy for not ordering seafood…
Banana Tree Grille is owned and operated by a husband and wife team – Liz and Jerry. The restaurant is not air conditioned, but provides an open air environment instead. You’ll get a great view of the island here, as well as fine dining and good food. The breeze makes dining here very comfortable and the meals are gourmet-level, with a great staff!
Again, these are two of the best restaurants on island, so I would recommend planning to visit each.
Looking for more simple food? Have breakfast at the Pool Bar, which is located next to the pool at Bluebeard’s. At 8 a.m., it is the first spot open in the morning for coffee and breakfast. Additionally, the you can purchase coffee at the Castle Store beginning at 7 a.m.
The Cabana Bar at Bluebeard’s has fun evening events, like karaoke, and serves wings and pizza-type food. The chef is well known and has a culinary education background, so food is good. This is a good place to get a beer. The Bar overlooks the pool at Bluebeard’s (it is up one level) in the center of it all.
That covers the food options at Bluebeard’s, but, of course, this is subject to change based on the season. Feel free to call ahead to check on what is open.
5. FOOD OFF-PROPERTY
If you want to hit up the grocery store for things not in the resort store, you can go to the store Pueblo. From the resort, head down the hill and toward the cruise ships (away from downtown Charlotte Amalie). Turn left across from Yacht Haven Grand.
Looking for better coffee? – In Yacht Haven there is a Bad Ass Coffee Shop. (That is really the name.) This shop serves coffee and baked goods.
6. MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
For breakfast, go to Gladys’ Café. Both Gladys & Pauline are great. To get there from the resort, drive like you’re heading back to the airport. On the main road in front of the harbor, if you park facing The Greenhouse restaurant, it will be two alleys to the right. Try some of their hot sauce. I like their new mango flavor. If you like hot sauce, and buy some, they will ship it to you. A great gift!
The Greenhouse Restaurant is also great. I LOVE their fish tacos. This is a good spot for lunch, and features an open air atmosphere. The Greenhouse is right in town. If you find parking, you’re lucky – cherish your parking spot. Maybe plan to eat here when you do some downtown shopping.
Looking for some good sushi? Beni Iguana’s Sushi Bar & Restaurant is located near the cruise ships in the harbor. In the same parking lot, across from this restaurant, is a shop that has pirate treasure. Sean is the owner of Beni Iguana’s. If you are traveling with any children, they will love it here. Many of the items around the restaurant are from an actual sunken treasure. Sean has found a ton of stuff, including coins, cannon balls, etc. In 20 minutes, you’ll learn more about the island history than you’d ever imagine.
There are a number of good restaurants in Yacht Haven. Definitely don’t rule these out for lunch and/or dinner. They are open air dining, next to the docks. So, keep your eye out when you take a stroll in this area near the docks. Also, there are great shops for shopping.
Some other restaurants include…
Oceana Restaurant- In French Town. From the resort, head back like you are going to the airport. Turn LEFT once you pass Windward Passage. You’ll pass a ball field and a McDonald’s. Never had a bad meal. First class. Fine dining for dinner.
Feeling adventurous? Head over to the town of Red Hook. This is an awesome little town, and you can catch the ferry from there to St. John’s. There are a number of great restaurants and shops there to check out. Red Hook is about 20-30 minutes (depending on traffic) from Bluebeard’s Castle.
7. THINGS TO DO
Learn the history of Bluebeard’s Castle. Take a Castle Turret tour on the property, which is offered Mondays and Fridays at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. The cost is $10 per person.
Take some pictures around the property at Bluebeard’s. The property has great photo locations including a Castle Turret, Cannons, fountains, statues and last, but certainly not least, THE VIEW.
Relax by the pool!
Enjoy a deeper level of relaxation! Get a massage at Bluebeard’s Castle!
Head to Yacht Haven Grande. This is the newest of the shops and features many designer items.
You should also be a tourist for a day. Visit the shopping district in Downtown Charlotte Amalie.
I’ve heard diamonds are the jewels of choice to purchase while on island. Many guests who have been visiting St. Thomas for 20+ years recommend the House of Rajah. The owner is George.
Also, I think you can really get a deal on a Rolex, if you’re in the market for that…
I have not spent time on the beach or personally taken a booze cruise/excursion, but many people recommend them. I’d get out on the water for a day, if I were you. You can sail over to the British Virgin Islands. Everyone always talks about going to Soggy Dollar Bar & Shop. The Activities Director at Bluebeard’s can give you lots of tips and recommendations.
You don’t need your passport to go to St. Thomas, but I always bring mine just in case. You will need your passport if you head to the BVIs.
There are a lot of water activities in St. Thomas, from snorkeling to SCUBA to booze cruises, to dinner cruises, to sailing to a number of islands.
K-9 Joe – I highly recommend you meet K9 Joe. He will give you a three-hour tour of the island. There is lots of history and he can probably suggest some great things to do.
Be sure to walk the historic 99 Steps and check out Blackbeard’s Castle, too!
Magen’s Bay – You’ll go here if you’re looking to do a day at the beach. Keep an eye out for the guy that climbs coconut trees unassisted. Seriously, he climbs with just his hands and feet! It is a sight to see. Give him a few bucks, and he’ll cut open a coconut for you to enjoy some fresh coconut milk…
FERRY TO ST. JOHN’S
If you have a rental car, you can take the rental car to St. John’s for the day. You’ll have to take the car on the ferry, cruise over (about 30-45 minutes, I think?) and drive around the island. St. John’s is a very undeveloped island – I think there might be one traffic light… Rent some snorkel gear and check out the underwater trails at the public beach/park. Have lunch at Skinny Legs. Have a beer down town before you catch the ferry home.
Take a drive through the University of the Virgin Islands – St. Thomas campus. I couldn’t imagine going to school somewhere other than Clemson, but if you take 15 minutes, even on your way to the airport, definitely check it out.
The staff at Bluebeard’s is awesome and available to help if you run into any issues. Call the resort at 340-774-1600.
You will go through customs on the way home. You’ll need to have a customs declaration form filled out.
Same rules apply when going through security, but there is a liquor store that is in the terminal. Great prices if you want to get a nice bottle of scotch or other liquor.
It is usually warm in the terminal, so be prepared to relax for a while since they ask you to be there three hours prior. I would suggest two, but that’s me…
There is a bar and restaurant in the airport terminal if you get bored, along with a gift shop and several jewelers…
Have a safe trip!
GO Next: St. Thomas Travel Guide