Luxury Caribbean Villas & Learning to Swim

Should You Learn to Swim before Arriving?

Whether splashing in the pools at our Mooncottages Luxury Caribbean Villas or enjoying unlimited activities in the ocean, people come for the water. One of the major attraction for people visiting the Virgin Islands, is surely the water. But if you’re a person who doesn’t know how to swim, aquatic enticements sink fast.  There are endless amazing beaches both large and small, shallow and challenging to enjoy. I mean just look at this inviting shot below. It just draws you into it’s watery warmth. And, there is nothing more erotic than swimming alone on a deserted beach with the one you love.

Francis Bay : Coral Bay, St. John

Francis Bay : Coral Bay, St. John

Although there are endless things to do in the Virgin Islands that don’t require getting wet, being able to swim greatly expands your recreation options. Therefore, why not learn to swim … and learn it well enough so that, by the time you arrive you’re ready for the water? Swimming lessons are available in almost every town or city, at community pools and fitness centers. Plan your lessons as far in advance of your trip as possible, so you have plenty of time to learn and practice. If you have fears or phobias about swimming, consider hiring an experienced private instructor. A pre-screening will help determine if his or her teaching style suits your comfort level. For those fearful of the water, patience is a swimming instructor’s most important attribute.

Think of all of the great reasons to learn to swim:

Health. Swimming offers a very effective workout. It utilizes and tones the major muscle groups, burns calories, and can be beneficial for people of any age or weight.

Self Confidence. It feels good to develop any new skill, but swimming enhances your capacity for survival. Knowing you could take care of yourself enables you to feel safer in the water as well as aboard a boat of any size.

Safety. Knowing how to swim is a life skill that could one day save your life or the lives of others.

Fun. Once you learn to swim you can explore snorkeling, scuba diving, waterskiing, and swimming with dolphins, or take full advantage of your local water park.

Romance. You can slip outside to join your partner for a spontaneous, moonlit, midnight swim at your private romantic luxury caribbean villa. (We saved the best for last!)

Come swim with us at any of our incredible Mooncottages Luxury Caribbean Villas selected exclusively for couples.

ST John Villas and Spectacular Coral Reefs
Rum and Coke View - Romantic Caribbean Couples Getaways

Rum and Coke View

OK … yes, believe it or not this is really one of the spectacular ST John Villas views where you can sit back and and enjoy the spectacular Coral Reefs of the Virgin Islands. Right from your Plantation Chair here in front of you is Hurricane Hole – a Federally protected area and part of the Virgin Islands Coral Bay National Monument. Think about it, Mount Rushmore underwater right in front of you as National Parks go.

And, believe me, sitting still and sipping something cold is always an option worth considering. My advice to people coming to the Virgin Islands and to one of our romantic ST John villas the first time is not to “over plan.” Get here first. Relax, the first day. Look around. Smell the atmosphere up here in this pristine area of Coral Bay. Move slowly. Listen to the wind and sea. But, most of all, realize that the best place to visit might very well be the place you are sitting.

But now, after a little while at one of our ST John Villas, your natural instinct to explore will gradually take over the urge to be like a Caribbean couch potato enjoying the incredible ST John vistas from any of our villas. So, after you’ve had enough of the beauty up here in ST John 500 feet above the water, it’s time to go down below a few feet into the water. If you look to the right of this photo just to the right of the post, there is a low spot in the island chain. That is Haulover on the East End of ST John and one of the best snorkeling spots around. On the side closest to you (the right side of the road when you get there) is less challenging snorkeling. Follow the coast either way and enjoy! But, on the Tortola side of this low area where ships used to be actually “Hauled over” from one side to the other, is  Haulover North. This more challenging area is great for snorkeling in deeper water. Be sure you go out on a calm day to explore, earlier in the morning is usually better. Slip and swim and dive above and through the myriad of living coral animals below you and see large schools of fish everywhere. Be sure not to miss taking a deep breath and diving down to explore the quite cool below and feel like a fish.

All in all, there, the Virgin Islands has more than 372 miles of coral reefs.  And, some of the best you’ll find right here on ST John. Most all of our villas have all the snorkel equipment you need to enjoy the coral reefs below. Yet the reefs are greatly in need of our protection. You can play a key role in preserving these fragile natural treasures, by following these essential guidelines:

Practice safe and responsible diving and snorkeling. Do not touch the reef or anchor your boat on the reef. If you go boating near a coral reef, use mooring buoy systems when they are available. Contact with the coral will damage the delicate coral animals, and anchoring on the reef can kill it, so look for sandy bottom or use moorings if available.

Don’t touch! Keep your fins, gear, and hands away from the coral, as this contact can hurt you and will damage the delicate coral animals. Stay off the bottom because stirred-up sediment can settle on coral and smother it.

Dispose of your trash properly. Don’t leave fishing any kind of litter that pollutes the water and can harm the reef and the fish. If you see trash left by other people, pick it up.

Report dumping or other illegal activities. Environmental enforcement cannot be everywhere, and your involvement can make a big difference.

Don’t start a live rock aquarium.  Although this living rock is still harvested legally in some places, its collection is devastating to the reef organisms’ habitat here.

Never feed marine life. Fish feeding has been shown to alter the natural community structure of the reef. Allow the fishes to eat their natural food.

Support conservation organizations. Many of them have coral reef programs, and your much-needed monetary support will make a big difference. A good starting point is The Nature Conservancy.

Thank you for your mindful support of the Virgin Islands’ coral reefs.

STOP Hiking on ST John ‘Cuz Fun is Addictive

You know, when people come to stay at Mooncottages one of the first thing they always ask is where’s the best hiking on ST John. This NOT easy. Because there are so many best places to hike on St. John—because its so available everywhere. But, here is one of the best and one of my favorites. And, you won’t want to stop here as hiking on ST John is amazing–and addictive. You may find yourself scheduling hikes three times a day.

Ram Head Trail, a 2.5 mile hike (round trip) that features gorgeous, changing landscapes and spectacular views of the island’s eastern and southern coasts.

Take the only road through Coral Bay about 2 miles to Salt Pond Bay Beach. Begin your journey at the south end of Salt Pond Bay Beach. The first 0.3 miles is all downhill to the bay, though soon afterward you’ll be ascending into a lovely forested area. Once “out of the woods” you’ll discover a delightful blue cobblestone beach. Pause awhile. Stretch out your hamstrings. And enjoy the view of Rams Head, looming in the distance.

Continue walking 0.25 miles along the rocky shoreline. Along the way, you may notice bold or whimsical arrangements of stones, the handiwork of hikers who passed this way before you. Feel free, likewise, to express yourself in stone, if you are so moved!

The ravines deepen and the winds increase dramatically as you ascend Ram’s Head Point.  If you venture to the cliff edges please watch your step, because you’ll be looking at a 200-foot drop into the sea. The views at the peak are the reason many people come to St. John, again and again.

If you have the energy on your way back, consider going for a swim or snorkeling at Salt Pond Bay Beach, a worthy destination of its own.

Wear hiking shoes. When hiking on ST John, sandals or flip flops will not properly support your hike through the rocky terrain and occasionally steep inclines, nor protect your feet from the profusion of barrel cactus on the rail.

Drink water and use sunscreen. Both are essential in conditions of intense heat and physical exertion. And wear a hat. Stay hydrated!

Hike Ram Head Trail at sunrise or sunset. The early morning is cooler, there will be fewer people on the trail, and the beauty of the light at that time of day defies description. At dusk, bring a flashlight. Watch the stars from the top. Hiking on ST John is not merely addictive … it’s AWESOME.

See you on the trail!

Can I see Stingrays on St John USVI?

Can I really see stingrays on St. John? Of course you can! Stingrays on St. John can be found in many areas of the island.