Solano Stories

Vacation in Carribean

Written By: Rex Solano - Nov• 18•15

This blog is written by Jessica Solano.

I Swear this Life is like the Sweetest thing I’ve ever known: Vacation in the Caribbean

*** Note: This one is a long one…

As always, I preface this story with how it all came about! The first girl I ever met in North Carolina was Tiffany. After she showed me my current apartment, introduced me to her friends, and showed me around Raleigh, we instantly realized that I was just the Asian version of her! Tiffany always does things over the top on her birthday, so when she invited me with her to go see St.Barths, St.Martin, and Anguilla, I jumped at the dream opportunity.

Tiffany is a researcher and a planner. If you go on vacation with her, she is like a walking Trip Advisor, you would’ve almost mistaken her knowledge as a local! She knows where all the top restaurants are, top sights we need to see and what people have said and how long it may take, etc.

St. Martin — We took a flight from Raleigh to St. Martin because taking a flight from Raleigh to St.Barths is an entire savings worth, which is why going to St. Barths is a travel destination for a lot of celebrities or those with a private jet or entourage. St. Martin is interestingly split between the French and the Dutch, which is why the same island is referred to as St. Martin or St. Maarten. We didn’t stay here long, since we basically used this island to jump on a boat to St. Barths, but we had Caribbean food the first night, which was the start of my foodie adventure! I ended up having a shrimp salad, baked chicken, and a whole bunch of Caribbean sides! I was surprised that I was going to like it as much as I did. Every restaurant down this tiny road was packed! The first thing I noticed about the French is they love their wine and alcohol, but they also love to dress! Even though we were near the coast of the island where everything was dirty, murky, wet, and smelled like the sea, everyone was still dressed in their heels and fine jewelry, ready to eat!

Due to bad weather, the Catamaran we were supposed to take to Anguilla was cancelled, so instead we woke up early to catch the ferry to St.Barths and when I talk about this part of our trip, trust me, that I am not exaggerating. Tiffany warned me about this ferry ride and knowing me who has a history of motion sickness whether from a car or a crazy ride, I knew I had to brace myself. Well… When you first all get seated on the boat, the man starts passing out plastic bags and a piece of paper towel to every single passenger as the boat starts moving, that’s when I knew… I have not been on a ferry ride like this before. It starts off like any other boat, and then maybe about halfway through your stomach is going up and down, side to side, in knots, leaps, holes in the sky, everywhere else but where it should be and you almost wonder if you will survive the rough seas. An entire family got sick and you can imagine the chain reaction on this boat. There is no air circulation unless you went to the top of the boat, you’re sitting in warm close quarters with other people, and then you hear that sound and start to smell someone’s breakfast, who could handle it? I told Tiffany I can’t talk, I need to focus on not getting sick, well, I got sick. Thankfully, I got sick towards the end and all I had was ginger ale. Just Imagine trying to keep it together for an hour and a half.

Tiffany had read that it’s something to do with that specific location on your way to St.Barths where you approach a change in oceans. I guess it’s the price you pay to get to a pretty island since I heard the flights aren’t so calm either. It’s not called Ferry St. Barf or The Vomit Comet for nothing.

St. Barths — We have arrived! OMG! It’s beautiful! It reminds me of the movies with yachts everywhere on arrival! Rich people drinking and smoking cigars on their yachts, laughing and partying in the sun as if they just closed billion dollar deals! It’s still very much a small island, definitely smaller than Oahu.

We stayed at Tom Beach Hotel, a beautiful hotel right on the beach! They had first class service everywhere in St. Barths, not sure if they just assume everyone has money, but we were clearly the youngest of the majority of vacationers! As you check-in, they offer you a welcome cocktail. You get a handwritten note addressed with your names to enjoy your stay. There are only 12 rooms at this hotel. But after a few days, Tiffany and I realized from the minute you walk into the door they were taking notes because as the concierge changed shifts, they knew exactly who we were, what we requested, what we needed without us telling them our name or room number. Anything you need, they will do everything in their power to make sure they can fulfill it.

We decided to rent a car since most of the places we were planning on going would be all around the island and well because it’s an island, taxi prices are ridiculous and no uber! After we mentioned the rent a car to the hotel, they had the rental car right there in the parking lot the next morning for us to take. I was the driver of the island since Tiffany was a little too scared about the way they drive there. There were a lot of steep hills and you begin to question whether your car can make it up that far, many sharp blind turns, and on top of that, narrow roads overlooking steep cliffs that felt like they could only account for one-way traffic. I don’t mind driving, but I knew I had to drive like a Grandma to ensure our safety.

Each morning, there was complimentary breakfast, which just included coffee and a bread basket. It was a choice between American coffee or French coffee, American coffee was just regular coffee and we didn’t quite ask, but all the French would order these small cups of coffee with foam on top not sure if it was a cappuccino in a shot size or espresso shots with foam? Oh, and the French love their coffee. Every cafe or restaurant had one of those huge espresso machines. Nespresso is the American Keurig there. The hotels had Nespresso machines just like mine in the hotel rooms. Even though it was only bread, it was by far the best bread I’ve ever had and they would put six different types in there to try.

DAY 1. We stayed at our hotel for drinks and food. We ate at a beautiful sushi restaurant on the harbor. A live band was playing, the singer sounded like Louis Armstrong and he was from Greensboro, NC, about an hour from where we live. He looked happy to see us! They put our sushi in a big sushi boat!

DAY 2. Where to start.. This was a loaded day. I could start with the views, the food, or the beaches. We started on this 15 to 20 min hike down to Beach Colombier. It was a short hike, but it was a workout when you’re stepping on steep steps in the hot sun. Our calves would let us know the next day! OMG! The view is like you would never believe!!! Islands and water in the distance and yes, yachts everywhere. We took a few panoramas to take in the entire view.

We ate lunch at Tamarin, the #1 restaurant on the island. We had the hardest time finding this place. The signage around the island isn’t always the best, but at the same time you also couldn’t really get lost on such a small island. You walk in and it’s very tropical, so green it almost looks fake with ponds, lily pads, palm trees, with I think a caged toucan, and a random roaming black cat. It was majestic! The seared tuna salad was on point with presentation. We learned really fast at restaurants that water is not free, we either had to drink wine, a cocktail, sparkling water, or bottled Evian! I think at one restaurant we asked can we just have iced tap water and they couldn’t really understand us, but eventually gave it to us.
Our French Sparkling Water at Tamarind

We then went to check out Saline Beach, at all the beaches we went to, the French women are always topless. I assume it’s because of tan lines, but I also think it’s just their culture just like Brazilians and their bathing suits. Either way, they all had fit bodies. I don’t think we saw a single person that wasn’t fit.

We headed towards Nikki Beach for their day club. They have very little night life, but they do have this day club on Sundays from 3–7pm. This was where all the young people supposedly hang out and as we walked in, our bartender from our hotel flagged us down! He had already had a lot to drink, but I guess because the island is so small every bartender knows each other, so he was pretty much exempt from paying for any drinks. He would flag his bartender friend and say get these ladies drinks, they are my friends. Apparently, the bartender at Nikki Beach was the best bartender in St. Barths, he had award plagues on the wall for some contest. He truly was a mixologist. When you watched him make you your drink, he would smell it, pour a drop of something, stir it, sprinkle stuff in it, and when he put the lemon garnish he would grate it and coat the rim of the cup. It was like watching a magician. On average, he may have spent a couple minutes on each drink and he was fast to create those kind of drinks in a busy atmosphere. OoooH.. the one thing I liked, he was creating shots for this guy and with all the leftover alcohol he told the guy to open his mouth and he just poured the rest in. I wish America didn’t waste alcohol, but I think on this island they have a lot of alcohol to give!

They still do the same thing in American clubs where if someone orders something crazy they make a huge fanfare, except here it’s like a $10K champagne bottle probably half my size.

Since the sun had already set after we left Nikki Beach, we walked back to our hotel on the beach and as we were heading back we noticed our hotel was having Sunday BBQ nights on the beach and it was starting in 10 minutes. They grill your food right there on the grill. I expected BBQ to be like any other BBQ, but whatever sauce or seasoning they chose, the beef just melted in your mouth! Tiffany and I split shrimp and beef and he grilled them on kabobs.

At our hotel, they did housecleaning twice a day. In the morning, they tidy up the room and replenish your daily bottle of Evian and in the evening they send you more towels and give you two little brownie desserts.

DAY 3. Today was Tiffany’s birthday, so she had all of the hot spots she wanted to go to on this day. First, we worked out on the beach! We did some light jogging and some strength exercises.

We got ready to go to the best breakfast buffet on the island at Eden Rock Hotel. It overlooks the beach. I loved the fresh pressed juices they had and I wanted to try every one of them, so I got the green juice (kale,apples,) and the red juice (beets, carrots). They were so good, I could just drink that every morning. Of course at a buffet it’s your one time to make room to try everything. We got an omelette, bread of course, and the fruits were marinated and sweetened with other flavors like vanilla apples, cinnamon peaches.. so delicious.

We laid on the beach for a little bit, where our favorite bartender was working so he got us both a free drink for her birthday. I politely declined since there was too much alcohol and not enough water for my body.

We ate lunch at Do Brazil, known for their views of Saline Beach. This was where we received free vanilla rum shots, three shots each I believe for Tiffany’s birthday.

We ate dinner at Bonitos, one of the top restaurants. Perfect restaurant for the evening, it’s up on top of a mountain and overlooks all of the island. The interior is so cute. I can’t quite describe it. Again, they’re all about presentation, the bartender spends about an average of a few minutes on each drink with all of the garnishes he puts together, you can see the extravagant smoky Moscow mule I got and it really tasted smoky, it was an exciting taste twist! This is where Tiffany got a sparkler put in her dessert for her birthday.

Day 4. I had to have my last minute complimentary bread basket fix and one more cappuccino the way the French make it. I am still craving it now. We were supposed to meet up with a friend I used to go to college with, but it didn’t work out when you don’t have full communication. She’s always there all the time because her boyfriend is finishing medical school in the Caribbean. It would’ve been the perfect opportunity to see each other! Unfortunately, it was so hard to get in touch without wifi to message her back, so it got really difficult. All in all, everyone has to go see St. Barths once and eat there at least two or three times, or as the French say, Bon Appetit!
TravelCaribbeanSt Barths
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Solano Stories
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