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“peaceful eco-friendly vacation”

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Virgin Islands Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 20, 2010

I chose Virgin Island Campground because it had the best reviews out of the various eco-camping options in the virgin islands, and it definitely lived up to my expectations.
It's not camping as you know it, but luxe camping with conveniences: private wood-frame-canvas-screen tent-cottages tucked into the trees, each with a comfortable bed, porch with a water view and cooler for beer, electricity, and even wireless for iPhiles. There is also a hammock and a cooking pavilion that is a wonderful place to have coffee and eggs and read in the morning light, or to enjoy a breeze while grilling dinner in the evening and chatting with fellow campers. As well as a room with a computer and TV for watching movies.

My only issue was the heat and bugbites that kept me up at night sometimes. I went in May, so I think the heat probably wouldn't be as bad in the winter. Also, the bikes available were too rusty and old to use, so I didn't get get to do any island exploring by bike. Regardless, despite the lack of air conditioning, the magical feeling of sleeping in a treehouse made it all worth it and I would choose to stay there, or a similar eco-campground on a future caribbean vacation.

I was impressed by several sustainable measures at the campground: electricity powered by onsite wind turbines, composting toilets (which didn't smell!), captured rainwater that is filtered for drinking and heated by solar energy for showers. Water is also conserved by spring-loaded faucets and pull-cord showers.

The island is home to Honeymoon Beach, which has it all: A shallow sandy bay that feels like a warm saltwater pool. Decent snorkeling - in one afternoon you can swim with a sea turtle, see a school of fish, and a stingray. Palm trees and picnic tables for shaded spots to kick back. Joe's Beach Bar for drinks (the closest thing to nightlife on the island), and Heidi's Honeymoon Grill truck for lunch as well as a weekly gourmet dinner, which was the best meal of the trip. I liked Honeymoon Beach better than the beaches on St John.

The campground is a fairly easy half mile walk to both the beach and the landing where a commuter ferry shuttles back and forth to St. Thomas every hour or so. In less than ten minutes, the ferry docks at a marina on St Thomas that has a restaurant, grocery stores, and a great dive shop, Blue Island Divers, so it was easy to get back and forth for diving. I only needed cabs for trips to and from the airport and for an excursion to St. John, which made me happy that this vacation was essentially car-free because because I saved money by not needing to rent a car or take lots of taxis around (plus squishing into stuffy and sweaty taxis on St Thomas was not fun).

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank twostars4arms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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263 - 269 of 303 reviews

Reviewed July 12, 2010

Excellent facility!!! It is technically camping, but pretty easy. The units are canvass cottages and are very clean and comfortable...with a real bed and very nicely appointed...of course there is no AC (an additional fan would have helped a lot!), We loved our stay at VICG and highly recommend it! Two suggestions for the owners: You must address the ice situation. Providing a cooler to use but then the only ice option is 5 little ice trays for 6 untis of people is a joke. Buy an ice machine or solve this some other way. Another idea is to provide golf carts to rent for shuttling to and from Honeymoon Beach. Overall, a unique and very cool place.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank RoamingCamper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2010

Very quaint little campground that is very clean and includes luxuries like a hot tub and a computer room with free internet. This is the ideal camping experience for couples and families with school age children and older. The campers usually reside into their cabins after dark and the place is very quiet after about 7pm or so. The camp sits on top of a hill that overlooks the ocean. The view is lovely. A steep road leads up to the cabins and common areas, so it's not the best place for very young or very old. There is a moderately rugged trail that that leads downhill to the only sandy beach on Water Island--Honeymoon Beach and is about a 5 minute walk from the campsite. The trail is steep in places and can be slippery after a rain. Bring some rugged shoes that you can get muddy. Honeymoon Beach is gorgeous. This beach is unique in that you won't find a lot of tourists-- you'll meet the friendly people who reside on the island instead. There is one beachside bar that offered delicious frozen drinks and and one Grill-type eatery open that served wonderful sandwiches. The hosts are extremely gracious and friendly. Bring a LOT of insect repellant (ones with Deet are best) and sunscreen and buy your food from Cost-U Less or other cheap grocery store on St Thomas before you ferry over. This is a place to R & R and there is no nightlife, or a variety of beaches to explore. My 7 year old daughter made so many local friends on the beach everyday, that she didn't want to leave. And my teenager appreciated the internet. We'll be back.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled with family
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Thank megamomof3kids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2010

We spent 4 days in May at Vigrin Islands Campground.

Paul and Deborah were on vacation when we were there but the folks running the place in their absence were great.

The whole atmosphere of the campground is relaxing and low key. The views from the cabin were fantastic.

Recommendations from our visit:
- Go to Pirates Cove on Water Island on Friday night for the pizza (they'll give you directions)
- Have dinner on Sat night at Honeymoon Beach
- Snorkeling in the calm bay to the left below the campground was good (saw a big barracuda too)
- Zora's in St Thomas makes excellent custom made sandals (but expensive!)
- Ask the locals how to ride the Safari bus on St Thomas. You can get around for only $1 which is much cheaper than the taxis.
- Buy fruit at the Gourmet Gallery but go across and to the right down the street to Pueblo for the rest of your groceries (much cheaper!!)

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank AdventuresOutfitting
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2010

Our favorite vacation is sailing. however, this year the mate wanted a lazy vacation with, especially, minimal travel. also, we prefer the simple, noncorporate, old, undeveloped caribbean, insofar as it can still be found. this led us to Water Island Campground, and it turned out to be exactly what we wanted.

we took a nonstop BOS-STT flight on 3/6. As usual we had carryon only, except the sailing gear was replaced with light food items that would be relatively expensive in the ilons, like our favorite coffee, cereal, bread, dried fruits, etc. as has happened to me before, some usair employee told me my bag was too big. however i was able to explain that a soft duffel adjusts to the space available. taxi to crown bay marina was 5-10 min, and we had plenty of time to visit the "gourmet gallery" for liquids and perishables and have a drink at Tickles, which is a decent pub/restaurant. as agreed, we called Paul at the CG to confirm that we were taking the 2:00 WI ferry, which docks right at Tickles. the ferry ride was also 5-10 min, and Paul was there to take us to the CG. the minimal travel goal was achieved, big time!!

upon arrival, Deborah gave us the tour. our tent/cabin had a beautiful ocean view and had all the necessary linens and towels, a cooler, 2 beach chairs, etc. we had a cabinet with dishes, glasses, cups, silverware etc in the common cooking area, the "pavillion", and space in one of the refrigerators. there is a picnic table, stove, a grill, a sink, and a great view.

the CG is very eco-friendly. the tap water is collected rainwater, with a filter unit available in the pavillion. there is a bathhouse with 2 composting toilets and 2 solar-heated showers. the solar-heated hot tub was next to our cabin. the cabins have both AC and DC from solar panels. there are 6 cabins. the DC came in handy Tu night when a transformer blew and there was no AC on the ilon.

i'd been a little apprehensive about sharing a bathroom, but it was absolutely no problem. i think i had to wait for a vacancy once in the entire week. there was light-moderate bug activity and we forgot bug spray, but there was some in the bathhouse.

Deborah also explained about the two nearby beaches, honeymoon and limestone, the good walks, and the various activities.

one of the best things about the CG is the extremely friendly atmosphere. Deborah and Paul will do anything they can for you. our fellow campers were uniformly nice, and it was great getting to know them, cooking along with them and sharing the picnic table. you can help yourself to food left by departing campers, and we really enjoyed Tim and Patty's penne :)

we didn't have the best weather. from arrival to monday morning it was cloudy and rainy, and slowly improved, with fri back to what i consider normal. so we went to the beaches in the sunny periods and walked in the cloudy periods. honeymoon is a really beautiful sandy beach on the west side of the ilon, with heidi's grill and joes bar. it is a short walk from the CG down a moderately steep path along which you might see a land tortoise or an iguana. to either side, away from the swim area, is fair snorkeling. a turtle or 2 live between the floating swim platform and the shore, and i spent a lot of time watching them. "The Cat" brings a load of people some days, but it's not too intrusive. otoh, i heard the mariott sometimes brings in 150, which would be horrible.

limestone beach is also a short walk down a path to the east side, facing a small reef. there is a narrow sandy region, perfectly OK for lying or sitting. there should be great snorkeling, but i wasn't able to find it. the view is excellent. we ended up sort of alternating beaches. our aim was to relax, and we spent most of the sunny time on the beach.

i heard that the best snorkeling is at spratt bay, but the local property owners have put a gate on the road and tried to block the area around the gate. some of the campers who took the long way around were asked to leave, so we didn't bother.

there is an old fort a decent walk away which is not much to see but which is on a high point with great views, and a lot of birds flying around the cliffs.

it's easy to get to st john via "safari bus" from crown bay to red hook and ferry to hike and swim. we didn't go but some other campers did and were very happy with the trip.

the cabin has a book of possible activities and recommended vendors. we wanted to go sailing so we called Karl, [--], who has the 37' ketch "Vandor". as i described above, it was a fantastic trip on Tu and Karl has my highest recommendation. Karl says he gets 99% of his biz from the cruise ships and he seemed to appreciate that we were sailors. Karl and mate Katie handled the boat effortlessly. my mate was on her best behavior and didn't critique his sail trim. a big plus for me was that he has masks with corrective lenses. again, i got a personal snorkeling tour from Katie, while other boats of the same size had 10-20 passengers.

the laptop in the "communications room" has no printer, but Deborah was happy to let us print our boarding passes in their house. then sat 3/13 Paul took us and our friends from Atlanta to the ferry dock, and we were off for a 1 1/2 hr delay and return to stormy, rainy boston.

if we do another land-based vacation, there's a very good chance we'll return to Water I. i can't imagine a better case of minimal travel from boston but real caribbean character.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank tomke3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2010

What a great new experience Paul & Debbie provided for us at their Campground on Water Island. The tents {more like small cottages} are perched high on the hill overlooking St. Thomas with great views of the water & sunrise.. They were very clean and comfortable. The service provided was great. Paul picked us up at the ferry dock and provided us with transportation when we needed it at no cost. The majority of transportation on the island is golf carts with very few vehicles on the island. We had 2 over 30 year old sons with us and we were worried that they might be bored, since there are no shops, restaurants and commercial establishments on the island. The highlignt for them was Honeymoon Beach which was only a short walk from the campground. We also enjoyed relaxing at Honeymoon beach and enjoyed Joe's Beach Bar and Heidi's Grill for food. We went to the Dinner on the beach on Saturday night and had a great meal.
There are only 7 tents at the Campground and it was nice to meet the other people from other places. You have a common community area for cooking and people gathered and shared their experiences of the day.
We really enjoyed getting away from all the tourist at St. Thomas and relaxing on Water Island at the Virgin Island Campgrounds. We will be back.

  • Stayed: February 2010
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Thank ArnoldsSantaClaus_IN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2010

The water island campground was a very wonderful,enjoyable and unforgetable place to stay.It was well managed and very clean.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with family
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Thank venuslasvegas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Virgin Islands Campground

Address: 64 Water Isle, 00802-7803, St. Thomas
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. Thomas > Water Island
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Water Island
Price Range: $152 - $275 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Virgin Islands Campground 2*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An Eco Sensitive resort with self-contained canvas eco cottages, each with an ocean view terrance. We are located in the St. Thomas Harbor, on a pristine 500-acre island, Water Island, which has regular ferry service (10 min. boat ride) to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Each cabin has pillow top mattresses, all 100% cotton linens (including beach towels), an outdoor cooking pavilion with an ocean view and the property is only 5 minute walk to the beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Virgin Islands Campground Hotel St. Thomas
Virgin Islands Campground U.S. Virgin Islands/Water Island

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