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Some Typical Questions

How is the Airport?

The main airport is the Cyril King Airport, just west of Charlotte Amalie.  It is a single-runway airport with just enough length for medium size jets.  The flight path in is beautiful.  It is a short walk from the plane (no jetways) to the terminal.  After your baggage is collected you walk out the main doors and there are a row of large passenger vans (the taxis) with a coordinator outside to direct people into the proper taxi.  They try to arrange it as efficiently as possible so that they're not driving to all parts of the island to drop people off.  The taxi drivers are typically pleasant and the drive to Cowpet, about 10 miles, travels through a variety of different areas that are fascinating to look at.  One thing to note is that there are not a lot of flat areas in St. Thomas! 

What is there to do at Cowpet Bay East?

Besides enjoying the unit or relaxing on the balcony of Tara #7, there are a number of activity options on site.  A typical day might be to have coffee and breakfast in the condo and then head down to the beach.  If you want to get in a little exercise before hanging at the beach, there is a quiet walk you can take around Cabrita Point.  You will walk along the Ritz Carlton beach and take the access road around Cabrita Point.  It is about 3 miles, with little traffic. You can check out the scenic views and walk past several mansions under construction.

 

When you get back, you could fill one of the small coolers we provide with ice from the freezer and load some drinks and snacks for the beach.  There are usually chairs and shade available, but we have some chairs, an umbrella and beach towels in the foyer storage closet that you can use.  You will walk down about 100 steps to get to our beach.  If you do not want to bring your own snacks or drinks, you can stop in at beachside bistro Sangria's to do so.

There is a rental shop at the beach where you can check out kayaks or canoes.  They also have snorkel gear, although we have several sets in the condo foyer closet that you can use.  The water is warm and there is a marked swim area or you can swim along the shore.  

 

If you do not want to be on the beach there is a large resort-style pool at the adjacent Alysian Hotel. You will need a pass, which we provide, but it is a fenced-in facility which is suitable for kids.  The adults can also enjoy the hot tub that is part of the complex.  

As the afternoon sun fades you many want to explore dining and drinking options at the Caribbean Fish Market restaurant on site.  Starting at 6:00 pm they have great Happy Hour drink and appetizer specials.  These may be enough, but if not, the main restaurant is available for a full Caribbean meal!  We might then retire back to the condo for a balcony conversation or tv before calling it a day.

What is there to do Outside of Cowpet Bay East? (Red Hook Version)

There is literally an unlimited list of activities to do outside of Cowpet Bay East.  You can find these on many of the various St. Thomas websites, but we have developed some of our favorites.

A great start to the morning might be to walk or take a taxi down to the town of Red Hook.  It is just over a mile away, but you will be descending a hill on a winding road and you need to be careful.  Traffic runs on the opposite side of the road from mainland US and although we have not seen a lot of people staring at their phones as they drive, pedestrians should walk very defensively with brighter clothing.  It's always good advise to assume that drivers are not going to see you.  Roads can be narrow and there may not be much of a shoulder to stand back on so you need to be prepared.  Once you get about half way to Red Hook from Cowpet there will be more road shoulder room to maintain your distance from the road.

Near the halfway to Red Hook, there is a beach called Secret Harbor at that mark which is highly recommended.  You'll see a sign on the south side of the road to direct you there.  It is one of the favorite beaches on St. Thomas, with a fine restaurant and bar.  Snorkeling is also excellent at their beach. 

 

When you get to Red Hook there are a number of restaurants and shops.  I personally like to stop at Lattes in Paradise for a cappuccino and ham/cheese bagel sandwich.  As you sip your drink you're sitting above the American Yacht Harbor.  There is a lot of activity to watch as charters prepare for their tours and mega-yachts load and unload people and supplies.  We don't have that in Illinois!  If a bagel isn't enough there is Bernies Bar and Grille.  They have one of the best omelette breakfasts that I've found there.  If we need some grocery supplies there is a slightly upscale grocery store called Moe's Market where you can buy food and put together a great salad bar.  Red Hook has one of the best Mexican food restaurants on the island, Agave, and has some finer dining places such as Hook'd, The Easterly or Pesce Italian.  If you want an in-between place, there's Duffy's Love Shack across the street or Tap and Still next to the American Yacht Harbor.  There may be others, but we're still exploring.

What is there to do Outside of Cowpet Bay East and Red Hook?

We are not getting paid for any recommendations here, but are just pointing out some activities that we have done so far and enjoyed. (The list of unenjoyable activities is practically non-existent!)  

One of our favorite outings was signing up for a four hour snorkeling cruise through Ocean Surfari.  They have a shop in Red Hook and one of their tours leaves from American Yacht Harbor.  It was just over a $100 per person for a four hour cruise that included snorkel stops around St. John, a pizza party, dancing and all of the drinks you could consume.  The open bar tends to enhance your dancing prowess!

Another day trip was to take the ferry from Red Hook to the nearby island of St. John (about $20/person) and walk around the town in Cruz Bay.  There are a number of shops, bars and restaurants there.  Sometimes they have festivals you can enjoy.  If you want to combine a little exercise with the beach there is a 1-mile trail through a section of the National Park (St. John is about 80% National Park) where you end up at Honeymoon Beach.  They have gear rentals there, a great beach and a nice food shack and bar.  it is a great place to spend the day.  You can take an open-air taxi back to Cruz Bay and the ferry if you do not want to (or can't) walk back.

Spending at day in the port city of Charlotte Amalie is also a great outing.  You could take a taxi into the city, where they have some great restaurants and shopping.  One of our favorite stops is a small, family-owned restaurant called Sugar Cane Grille.  It is on the second floor of the Bunker Hill Hotel (the first place we stayed in St. Thomas).   My favorite meal there is the Lobster Tortellini, and it was about $45.  The cruise ship port is in Charlotte Amalie, so on days when ships are in port there may be a lot of tourists walking and riding around.  You can check a cruise ship schedule on line to see when it will be busy.  It's like a college campus town in the summer; the best time to go there is when the students are out of town.

We have not taken a private charter boat trip beyond the snorkeling cruise, but chartering a smaller boat can be a great experience.  We actually bought our own small fishing boat last year and use it to island and beach hop.  There are so many options and a lot of Virgin Island activities are centered around boating.  Almost all of the beaches in the USVI have mooring balls or tie-ups where you can tie up a boat.  There are floating restaurants where you can find food and there are certain beaches such as Maho Bay (St. John) and Magen's Bay (St. Thomas) where there is an abundance of large turtles to swim with.  Swimming next to a 5' long turtle is quite the experience!

Leaving the Island

Sadly, there comes a time when our vacations have to pause.  When that time comes, the condo is ready and you're packed, you have a few options to get to the airport.  One is to call a taxi from one of the many services that are on the island.  We've never had a bad experience with a taxi service and in general they are helpful and pleasant. It will take about 20 minutes to get from Cowpet to the airport.   There is the 3-hour recommended time to get through airport security and such, but we have never experienced that.  It really depends on the day of the week and other factors.  We tend to travel on Tuesdays, when airfares are the least expensive, and generally there are few delays.  The airport terminal is pleasant with some shops, food and drink so spending some extra time there before your flight is not a problem.

Security Cameras

St. Thomas, in our experience, is a fairly safe place.  Our location in Cowpet Bay East on the east side of the island, is probably safer than other areas.  We have an Amazon Blink security camera on the condo front entrance but there are no other cameras inside the space.  If the entry camera is an issue for guests we can remove it for your stay.

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