ST. THOMAS, USVI, March 22, 2012—It’s not just the guests at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort who flock to Iggies Beach Bar and Grill on the east side of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Locals have long been a part of the scene at this laid back beachfront bar at Bolongo Bay, first voted best beach bar in the Caribbean in 2004 by the readers of Caribbean Travel & Life.
In the magazine’s most recent Best of the Caribbean Readers’ Poll, published in its March 2012 issue, Iggies has been recognized again as one of the top three beach bars, taking honorable mention honors along with Wreck Bar, Rum Point, and Grand Cayman. Rick’s Café in Jamaica came out on top.
Wednesday is Carnival Night at Iggies, celebrated with a Caribbean buffet, live calypso music and a show. Kids and adults alike form a human snake, holding on to the waist of the person in front of them, as they wind through the bar and onto the sandy stage, where Mocko Jumbie dancers on stilts later persuade the crowd to test their flexibility in the limbo dance. Cost for the evening is $38 for adults and $15 for kids under 12.
The Crazy Crab Tuesday special, offered very second Tuesday of the month, is another popular night to visit Iggies, when you can chow down on two pounds of the best crab available ($38-44 per person, depending on type of crab and season) with live steel pan Calypso music in the background.
Iggies is the only place on the island of St. Thomas where you’ll find nightlife in the form of live entertainment 365 days of the year, so if you’re staying anywhere in the vicinity of Bolongo Bay Beach, plan at least one evening at this island hot spot, stop by for lunch, or arrive in time for happy hour from 4-6 p.m.
Iggies is one of two restaurants based at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort. While not quite as flip-flop casual as Iggies, The Lobster Grille, a two-story, open air restaurant overlooking the pool with the ocean view beyond, features fresh fish dishes as well as Caribbean lobster just about any way you like it, including baked, grilled, sautéed over pasta and crab-stuffed. A gourmet touch in a still-casual atmosphere makes the second dining option at Bolongo Bay a hit for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Bolongo Bay, a 62-room oceanfront resort, family-owned and operated since 1974, was the first resort on St. Thomas to offer an all-inclusive option. It and has been included on the best all-inclusive lists in recent years by Caribbean Travel & Life, Sherman’s Travel and About.com. Frommer’s named it to one of the World’s 10 Best Beachfront Hotels.
If you’re staying at Bolongo Bay, you will want to book at least one excursion aboard its 53-foot catamaran, Heavenly Days. An opportunity to swim and snorkel with sea turtles near Buck Island is one possibility; another is a sunset cruise. Lots of water sports are available, including scuba diving with onsite dive operator, St. Thomas Diving Club.
Other St. Thomas dining options
If you do not go all-inclusive:
• Take a short walk down Bolongo Bay’s beach to Mim’s Seaside Bistro (http://www.mimsseasidebistro.vi/index.html) at Watergate Villas for an excellent alternate dining choice at the edge of the sea. Coconut curry lobster is the house specialty.
• Take a taxi into Frenchtown, right outside the capital of Charlotte Amalie, for a special gourmet dining experience at Oceana Restaurant and Wine Bar, set seaside in a building that once housed the Russian consulate (http://www.oceanavi.com/) next to the Inn at Villa Olga. Start with the mussels or grilled calamari and check out the nightly specials. You can’t go wrong with menu favorites, the Chilean sea bass and grilled ahi tuna steak.
• Visit the Bar at Paradise Point (http://sttparadisepoint.com/), open daily from 9 a.m.-10 p.m., across from Havensight Mall. Located at the top of Flag Hill, you’ll take one of three trams, which continuously make the seven-minute, 700-foot ascent to Paradise Point. Stay to drink in views of Charlotte Amalie’s harbor while sipping a “Bushwacker,” the bar’s signature drink, a blend of Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur, Amaretto, Kahlua, vodka, and coconut rum, topped with whipped cream and nutmeg.
• Time for a day trip? Take a 15-minute ferry ride to St. John, then tour the island; nearly two-thirds has been designated a national park. Browse the shops in Cruz Bay, the main town and port, then make your way to La Tapa (http://www.latapastjohn.com/) for an unforgettable contemporary Mediterranean meal. Try the paella (para dos) with chicken, seafood, spicy sausage & saffron risotto; finish with house made lemon-lavender ice cream or mojito sorbet.
Travel to St. Thomas does not require a passport for U.S. citizens, making it an easy getaway and popular choice for destination weddings. Bolongo Bay offers a year-round 50 percent discount on wedding packages for members of the military. For more info on Bolongo Bay and all of its packages, visit www.bolongobay.com. Information on the U.S. Virgin Islands: www.visitusvi.com
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