I’ve been traveling a lot lately — over the holidays and the past few weeks — which means I’ve had plenty of time to comb back through photos and videos to recap a recent trip to Caneel Bay Resort in the Virgin Islands.
Where we left off yesterday, Jess and I had just arrived at Caneel Bay Resort. While the trip getting there was a little dramatic (you can read that story here), at least we had a good story to tell from it… Ha!
Let’s get on with the rest of the trip, though. These photos!
Caneel Bay’s entire “campus” is sprawling across the island of St. Thomas, but it has this “homey” feeling, which is immediately evident in the fact that everyone is very friendly. (I mean, there were like 10 people at greeted us at the dock!)
The rooms are historic, spacious and charming, with bright blue tile showers and a door that opens straight onto the beach in your very own backyard.
Having both felt starved for a dose of Vitamin D, we changed into our suits, packed a pair of canvas totes (weighed down with good books and SPF), and found a spot of white sand…
Caneel Bay‘s beaches are lined with fun water accessories – kayaks, paddle-boards and colorful floats, to name a few. (They’re all free to use!) After an hour or so of baking in the sun, I wandered into the water and hopped on a stand-up paddle-board. It felt good to get a little exercise after such a long morning commute!
Hilariously, there are wild donkeys and deer that roam the property… And they hung around us a lot.
We had seen them in photos, but it wasn’t until one snuck up behind us at our beach headquarters that it became real. Apparently, they’ve been on the island for nearly a hundred years!
(They’re actually quite friendly, too… But I don’t think they like to be Snapchat’ed. Sorry, fella!)
Caneel Bay has a lot of dining options within the resort – Zozo’s, Turtle Bay Estate and more. We also ventured into town, where we did happy hour at The Longboard, Woody’s, Beach Bar and more. My favorite local spot is The Longboard – it’s got this East Coast feeling and a menu that has something for everyone. The drinks are amazing, too.
Even though our trip was cut short a half-day (due to that airport incident), it was nothing but good times, perfect company and a few scattered showers.
Here’s a bit more about what packed into the trip (which I’ll articulate as my recommendations for an itinerary if/when you’re planning your trip to Caneel Bay):
CANEEL BAY ITINERARY, DAY 1
Spend your first day exploring the resort. Mainly, the beaches – there’s seven of them total within the property. Caneel Beach was in our literal backyard, so we stayed put. Honeymoon beach is secluded and gorgeous, too.
Take advantage of the free snorkel gear, rafts and kayaks. Call it a day just before happy hour, shower and then head to dinner. Reserve a table (well in advance, if you can) near the railing at Zoszo’s around 5 p.m., when the sun starts to set.
ITINERARY, DAY 2
One morning, treat yourself to a massage in a private cabana that overlooks Scott Beach. Grab breakfast to-go and rent a jeep to drive around the island. Make sure you stop at Lookout Point for photos!
Head home, take a quick nap and shower up. Grab a frozen cocktail and hang out on the beach before your chartered sunset cruise.
(Side-note: The catamaran reminded me of the one I lived on in Thailand for a few weeks, which you can read about here).
Caneel Bay’s sunsets boast just about every color in the pantone palate; I must have at least 100 photos of various angles of the two sunsets we saw while we were on the island. Gorgeous!
As for the catamaran sunset cruise, I’d suggest wearing shorts or a longer dress – it’s windy (and I learned the hard way)! Once you’re back, head up the property for dinner at Turtle Bay Estate. The resort’s Chef (Nicholas) is unbelievable, and he’s been affiliated with the resort for a long time. Oh, and don’t skip dessert. Do. Not. Skip. Dessert.
ITINERARY, DAY 3
Sleep in or get up and get your workout on — Caneel Bay has a cute little yoga studio.
After some beach time, grab a cab (an easy walk from your room) and spend a long afternoon in Cruz Bay – St. John’s downtown area. Go for happy hour and apps at The Longboard. After you’ve got a bit of a buzz, head to Woody’s, grab a beer and sit outside for some exceptional people-watching. Talk to the locals and just observe the island culture – it’s really refreshing how people actually talk to each other instead of staring at their cell phones.
Later, head to the beach and walk along the restaurants, where you’ll have your pick of which bar seems to be the most happening. I’d suggest Beach Bar or Joe’s Rum Hut. Or, you know, both – you’re on vacation!
(Oh, and don’t be surprised when you see the locals wandering around with drinks in-hand – there’s no open-container law here.)
Jess and I did pretty much all of the above in the two days that we were in Caneel Bay (except the Jeep rental – we wanted to explore St. John), so you definitely can, too.
Caneel Bay is the type of place where you can spend a week’s time, though, too. Whether you’re going to relax, explore, experience, you’re in for a great time. Is it too soon to book a return trip?
Have you been to Caneel Bay Resort? If so, feel free to share your experience – and anything you’d add to the itineraries above – in the comments below.
Oh, and don’t forget to read about the Story of San Juan!