Category Archives: To Do

Exploring Buck Island from St. Croix

exploring buck island

St. Croix’s Buck Island, USVI. Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.

Just off the coast of St. Croix lies Buck Island, a small, uninhabited patch of land that also happens to be a national monument. The National Park Service protects the island and the surrounding reef, which sees about 50,000 visitors per year. Snorkelers enjoy exploring Buck Island and swimming its underwater trail—one of only three in the United States. Turtle Beach, on the west end of the island, has picture-perfect white sands and turquoise waters, perfect for relaxing. It was voted one of the world’s most beautiful beaches by National Geographic readers.

Exploring Buck Island can be difficult to do on your own. In order to preserve the vibrant marine life of its coral reef, it is only accessible by boat. If you’re staying at Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort on St. Croix, however, this natural wonderland is just a short boat ride away. Family-owned and -operated Buck Island Charters is the only chartered tour company that takes visitors to Buck Island on sail power alone, and it’s been doing so since 1968.

exploring buck island

Sun on the water off Buck Island. Photographer Ellen Sanpere. Courtesy of NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

It’ll be smooth sailing aboard one of their two trimaran sailboats, the Teroro II or the Dragonfly, with Captain Carl or Captain Heinz at the helm. They’ll treat you to a personalized tour of Buck Island National Monument that includes sailing, snorkeling and hiking.

The half-day trip aboard the 42-foot Teroro II departs the Green Cay Marina at 9 a.m., returning by 2 p.m. at the latest. The cost is $75 per person; for children ages 11 and under, the cost is $55 each. Children ages two and under are free.

“Weather permitting, we sail to the underwater trail first and spend an hour there snorkeling,” says Captain Carl. “We provide all the snorkel gear and excellent instruction with a guided tour through the marine garden and time to do your own exploring. We then sail over to Turtle Beach and spend about one-and-a-half hours there. You can go on a self -guided hiking and photo tour, or snorkel some more, or just enjoy the beach.”

The 38-foot Dragonfly is also available for private charters, for those interested in a more customized experience. The Dragonfly can accommodate groups of up to six people, with a charter rate of $570.

Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit, beach towel, sunscreen, hat or cover-up, water shoes, camera, bottled water and anything else you’d like to eat or drink during the trip.

Captain Heinz and Captain Carl are a father-son team that have been sailing the St. Croix waters for more than 30 years. They enjoy sharing their local knowledge with visitors and would love to have you aboard!

To reserve your spot on Captain Heinz or Captain Carl’s next excursion, call 340-7218-3161 or email teroro@msn.com. Both are U.S. Coast Guard certified and National Park Service approved. For more information on Buck Island Charters and exploring Buck Island, visit www.gotostcroix.com/heinz. Rates and trip details are subject to change.

Aruba: Hottest Honeymoon Destination of 2017

Why Aruba for your honeymoon? The answer is simple. Aruba is bursting with some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the world, as well as fun adventures, amazing food and rich culture. It’s one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, with one of the highest GDPs. Situated outside the Hurricane Belt, you probably won’t have to worry about weather ruining your plans. And Aruba boasts the highest number of sunny days compared to any other Caribbean island.

Learn more about the island as a honeymoon destination here. There’s so much to do, from horseback riding to kayaking to shopping and spa days. Divi Resorts also offers unique honeymoon packages at two of its Aruba resorts: Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort and Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort. Enjoy a luxurious welcome turn-down service as well as a romantic candlelit dinner and daily breakfast for two. Learn more about Divi’s exclusive honeymoon packages here.

Bonaire: One of the World’s Best Islands for Snorkeling

bonaire snorkeling

Calabas Reef, just off the shore from Divi Flamingo Beach Resort

Bonaire was ranked No. 4 in a prominent Islands.com list of the world’s best islands for snorkeling, in the company of outstanding islands such as Fiji, Dominica and Maui. The list points to Bonaire’s 200-plus caves, beautiful fossilized coral and crystal-clear water. You can see the entire list here.

Island Adventures: Escape from St. Maarten for a Day

escape from st. maarten for the dayStarting to feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? St. Maarten offers so much to do and see—but even if you somehow weary of its unique half-French, half-Dutch makeup and its stunning beaches, this amazing island still has a few surprises up its sleeve. St. Maarten is nestled close to some of the most beautiful spots in the Caribbean. From St. Barts to Saba, the perfect escape is out there for pretty much everyone.

Aqua Mania Adventures, the water sports and tour provider that partners with Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, currently offers six day trips off-island.

Edge to Saba — Enjoy a quiet getaway with plenty of time for sightseeing in picturesque villages, hiking in the rainforest or scuba diving in world-renowned dive spots.

Edge to St. Barts — St. Barts has gained a reputation as a decadent vacation hideout for the rich and the famous. Don’t worry, though—ordinary folks are welcome, too. You might even spot a familiar face from TV or film! Enjoy fabulous boutique shopping and some of the finest cuisine in the Western Hemisphere.

Lambada to Prickly Pear & Anguilla — Experience the pure, unspoiled splendor of Anguilla and its tiny neighbor, Prickly Pear Cay. Spend the day snorkeling, swimming and just relaxing.

Tango Dolphin Discovery — Visit Dolphin Discovery’s new park on Anguilla, the largest natural habitat dolphin park in the Caribbean. This is your chance to swim with dolphins.

Tango to Cove Bay — You’ve definitely earned a trip to Cove Bay on Anguilla. The white sand beach is your home for the day as you enjoy the view of St. Maarten’s lush, tropical hills.

Tango to Shoal Bay — Shoal Bay on Anguilla is considered to be one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Land at Cove Bay and travel by taxi to Shoal Bay, touring the length of Anguilla. Then sit back, relax and spend the day in paradise.

Barbados Will Host the Caribbean’s Largest Arts Festival

Caribbean Arts Festival CARIFESTA 2017

Courtesy of the Caribbean Journal

This summer, Barbados will host the 13th edition of the Caribbean’s biggest arts festival, CARIFESTA. More than 3,000 artists and craftspeople will come to the island August 17-27, 2017 to showcase their best work. The festival features an incredibly diverse range of artwork, from dance, theater and music to the visual arts and fashion to food and literature. The theme is “Asserting Our Culture, Celebrating Our Selves.” The opening and closing ceremonies will take place at Bridgetown’s well-known cricket stadium, the Kensington Oval, a short drive from Divi Southwinds Beach Resort. If you’re traveling to Barbados in late August, consider yourself very lucky!

3 Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Trips on St. Croix

day trips on st. croixWhen you’re staying at Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort & Casino, you may want to spend your entire vacation relaxing by the pool, but if you decide to venture beyond the resort, there are plenty of unique day trips on St. Croix to satisfy your taste for exploration and adventure.

Drink with Pigs at Mt. Pellier Hut Domino Club — Yes, it’s true. You can share nonalcoholic brews with the two resident pigs at this charming, tucked-away restaurant and bar. Journey to the rainforests on the island’s west side for this quirky experience. The pigs will greet you from the safety of their pens, and if you offer up an O’Doul’s, one of them will cheerfully accept it, chomp down on the can and enjoy a cold one with you. The restaurant and bar is open seven days a week.

Hike the Annaly Bay Tide Pools — If you’re an outdoorsy type, try hiking the two-mile trail between Carambola Beach and the Annaly Bay Tide Pools. The path winds through the stunning rainforests along St. Croix’s northwestern coast. Be sure to stay hydrated and bring snacks. You’ll be rewarded with a beautiful array of natural tide pools that you can swim in (but don’t forget your water shoes to guard against the rocks!).

Kayak Salt River Bay at Night — Experience the breathtaking natural phenomenon of bioluminescence on a guided nighttime tour of Salt River Bay. Salt River Bay is home to millions of microorganisms that give off light when the water around them is disturbed. It’s mesmerizing to watch the water light up like a glow stick when you dip your kayak paddle into it.

There’s no shortage of fantastic day trips on St. Croix! Share your favorites in the comments below.