After this cruise paradise in our minds is spelled: T - O - R - T - O - L - A
Seriously. Our ship docked around 6, and was only in port until noon. We were pretty bummed that our very last island visit was going to be so short (we were able to get off the ship at 7) so were definitely determined to get the most out of the day.
We were some of the first off the ship and to the taxis waiting to bring us to the beaches, it wasn't even fully light out. There was a cab "Madame" (she was probably just the dispatcher, but she was totally in charge) who said the best beach for us to see was called "Brewer's Bay". Since we were the only ship in port she said it would be pretty quiet.
Quiet - or completely empty! The sun hadn't even come all the way up on this side of the island, so the roosters (FYI - Tortola has about 100 million chickens....prepare yourselves) were crowing like crazy....for like an hour.
We just hung out on the beach and read until the sun came up fully, Talk about relaxation.
We brought our snorkel stuff (sans flippers) with us because the cab Madame said there was actually a pretty reef in Brewer's Bay, so as soon as it was sunny enough we donned our stylish masks and hit the fish finding.
Elysia was stuck on the beach, because for some reason she decided she didn't want to bring her snorkel gear. :-P She will never live this mistake down.
The water was amazing. Perfect temperature, perfect current (aka, none) a gorgeous reef, and TONS of super cool fish.
The water around the reef wasn't very deep, maybe 10 feet at the deepest point (where we were at least) so we had to be really careful not to hit our legs on the rocks, or the coral.
Can you even believe these photos!? Thank God we bought the GoPro (seriously, best purchase of our lives) and thank God we listened to the cab Madame and went to Brewer's Bay! It stayed nearly completely empty the entire time we were there.
I gave my snorkel gear to Elysia for awhile so she could see the amazing-ness of the reef too. I got to spend a little time finishing my book (I was reading Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs) and lay in the sun. No complaints!
I'll go ahead and apologize for the number of photos already - we had SO many amazing shots from Tortola I can't cut them down as much as I maybe should...so I hope you enjoy!
Of course Megan started doing handstands.....I would be worried about her health if she didn't! :) We couldn't hold back the goofy at this point.
We only got to enjoy the beach until about 10:45, because we didn't want to miss the ship's departure! Our biggest concern on every island was missing the ship (we were never even close) so we probably cut our beach time shorter than we needed to, but better safe than sorry.
Our morning cab driver sent his brother back to pick us (and four other people) up again right around 11. The best part of Tortola is definitely the beach - the worst part - the roads. OH MY GOODNESS....talk about horrifying.
Our driver was gracious enough to stop and let us take a picture of the cruise terminal bay before heading down the (insanely steep and horrifying) road, but I'm actually pretty sure he just stopped to let the engine cool down.
We made it safely back to the cruise terminal (thank God) and got to hear an amazing Caribbean band playing in the new area they're building. (FYI - the Tortola cruise terminal is currently [as of October 2015] under construction - but it's shaping up to be an amazing port). I don't even hesitate for a second to say that Tortola was our favorite.
Bye bye, Tortola! We loved visiting!
Island #3 of our cruise was the beautiful St. Maarten. We ate breakfast on the back deck of the ship so we could watch the island pass as we pulled up to the dock.
We made sure that we were ready (as usual) to get off the ship as soon as it docked and was cleared by customs. Our only plan for St. Maarten was to find a beach and relax in the sun!
We found a cab in about five seconds, and they took us to the closest nicest beach in the area (we didn't want to drive for more than 30 minutes). Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the beach - that's what happens when I'm lazy about blogging!
The beach we ended up at was super cute - the water was beautiful and it was nearly private! There was a "resort" (kinda...it was tiny) on the beach, and a couple of restaurants and shops so if we'd wanted lunch or drinks we would have been all set.
The sky in one direction of us was beautiful - but to the other direction (as was usual at EVERY island we visited) there were crazy dark clouds!
We weren't worried about potential rain - every vacation we've taken has had threatening skies - but we always pray for beautiful weather, and that's what we always end up with!
We tried snorkeling around the beach, but the water was a little silty because there were quite a few waves, plus it was all just sand so we didn't really see many fish.
Clearly we are still learning to use our GoPro....
On the way back to the boat we obviously had to be tourists....so we posed in front of the St. Maarten sign!
Sailing out was gorgeous - we saw a rainbow (we actually saw one almost every island!) and the ocean was perfectly calm. Perfection.
Until next time, St. Maarten!
I know I've only blogged half of the islands we visited on our cruise - but I have a fun surprise! Thanks to my super awesome (nerdy) husband I have a great video of our snorkeling and beach adventures in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Tortola.
Why take a cruise to the Caribbean? The islands, of course! We stopped at four during our trip - first of which was Puerto Rico. Honestly, I wasn't excited about it.....I really didn't know what to expect from the island, and they said not to go for the beaches since it was extremely windy - so we just headed into town.
Most of the shops were closed when we first headed into town so that option wasn't available, but we saw a fort from the pier - so we made a beeline for it!
It was SO HOT. Seriously. Like 100
The fort was pretty cool, minus being so freaking hot out.......so inside was basically a sweatbox. We wandered around a little bit, but as soon as we saw a doorway we headed right down to the water.
There was an amazing breeze by the water, so we hung out there for quite awhile
Exploring the fort was really cool - not really a place we'd go back to again, though, I think we saw most of it on the first visit. The heat got to us pretty quickly, so we headed straight into town to try and find the place piña coladas were invented.
The old part of San Juan was actually pretty interesting - pretty in places - ugly in places. We had a pretty decent walk from the fort down into the city so by the time we actually made it we didn't hang around in the streets very much.
The birthplace of the piña colada was a great little place called Barrachina, and it was the perfect escape for the crazy heat.
After our fantastic lunch at Barrachina we headed straight over to a delicious chocolate restaurant and got dessert (not that we needed it). Casa Cortes was so good.....we just wished we hadn't already filled ourselves up on chicken wraps and piña coladas.
Delicious. Seriously. If you ever travel to San Juan I would absolutely recommend going to Casa Cortes & Barrachina, it's worth the walk and the prices are actually very reasonable.
We were in San Juan from 8am until 4:30pm, so we had to make sure and be "all-aboard" the ship by 4pm at the VERY latest (trust me, some people pushed it). Sailing out of the harbor was even prettier than sailing in, but unfortunately these photos will never do it justice.
Dreamer, decorator, wife, business owner, personal fitness trainer. 20-something.