10 days of rain, said the forecast as we were preparing for our trip. The one tropical vacation we make sure to treat ourselves to a year. When my boyfriend started expressing his desire for crystal clear water, I knew just the place. I had spent a few years living on an island in the middle of the Caribbean. "Let's go to St John" I told him. I knew I could promise him exactly what he wanted, which was to swim with the creatures, bask in the sun and see the many shades of blue.
When the forecast in the islands says there is a chance of rain, it usually means a few scattered rain clouds that quickly move over head, all the while giving a much needed break from the strong rays of the sun. Little did I know that May is rainy season and the first few days it poured.
We didn't let that interfere with our jungle/beach excursions. Citing quotes from our favorite tv personality Bear Grylls of Man vrs Wild as we hiked down the treacherous paths in our flip flops. In total awe of all the little creatures that seem to be living on every inch of the forest floor, to then appear onto the perfect beach. Water so clear you can see straight to the bottom, even though visibility wasnt at its best. We immediately saw a set of sting rays on the prowl, trapping small pools of fish into the rocks. The seagulls perched closely watching their every move. All in sync like a well choreographed dance. Every animal has its part in the food chain and survival mode is in full swing.
My boyfriend and I really love animals, like really love them. We find them much easier to relate to then humans, a deep connection and a passion to keep them safe. Our interest in nature has grown immensely since living in one of the largest cities in the world. When you live in NYC and you're a sensitive person, you tend to grow an overall awareness to all things growing and living. Once you are off the city streets we are like children again, ooooing and ahhing over everything. We are deprived, maybe we are getting older, or simply realizing that thats what matters. Nature is so darn important guys. Man, will never create anything as beautiful. Local animals that ran wild included herds of goats, donkeys, chickens, deer, birds, wild pigs not to mention the sea life, reptiles and insects.
Where We Stayed
When I was choosing where we were going to stay during our trip I opted for something a little different. There are two main resorts on island; Caneel Bay and The Westin. Both are large, full of all those luxury resort amenities that many seek on a holiday. My boyfriend and I are a little different and tend to look for things with local charm, that are down to earth, eco conscious always a plus and to really embrace the island lifestyle.
I chose Concordia Eco-Resort for its remote location, beautiful views and everything that it had to offer. They have a variety of different room options or eco tents. Anything from a modern studio which is fully equipped with kitchen and drinkable water (most of the island uses cisterns, so bottled water is drank). All of the buildings and eco tents perched up along the steep hillsides with wooden stairs and walkways leading you through the dense trees. They offer yoga, have a nice restaurant, and a handful of other amenities. The staff friendly, attentive and helpful. Rosanne in particular really made our stay a great one. Once it gets dark the forests come alive, making loud noises just like you would hear in any nature recording. Hermit crabs roam the forest floors, the second they hear you near they tuck into their shells and often start rolling down the hill. Lizards and birds are everywhere, as well as your fair share of bugs and other creatures that live on the island.
The hiking trail that leads down to Salt Pond Bay is only 15 minutes and well worth it for the awesome snorkeling. We swam with two turtles, saw huge sea urchins and lots of fish. Renting a jeep is definitely ideal if you choose to stay on this part of the island. Estate Concordia is about a 10-15 minute drive to the small town of Coral Bay which is on the opposite side of the island from the main port town of Cruz Bay. In Coral Bay you will find more restaurant and bar options. We tried and enjoyed Skinny Legs, Aqua Bistro, Donkey Diner for breakfast and Shipwreck Landing. I recommend trying anything blackened and eating loads of fish. If you can get your hands on Josephines arugula (only local farm) you will be a happy camper. Some really tasty local tropical drinks (yes we admittingly drink those on vaca) are a bushwhacker, rum punch and painkillers.