15 Pictures That Might Make You Jealous

In case you missed it on Instagram (follow me here), we were on vacation last week. We took the Carnival Liberty out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and stopped each day on a different island.

To say I had an amazing time would be an understatement. It was my first real vacation as a grown up. We didn’t go for any particular reason. We had no agenda and no plans. We just went. And oh, how glad I am that we did.

All photos were taken with my old iPhone 5 with a gloriously cracked screen and are unedited. I’d highly recommend using an old iPhone as a camera while at the beach. It was super portable, did the job, and I never worried too much about it getting stolen or damaged.

In case you’re interested, here are some photos and a review of our experience on each island.

St. Thomas

Magens Bay St ThomasRelaxing at Magens Bay St ThomasView of Carnival Liberty Ship from St Thomas

  • Went to Magen’s Bay
  • Most beautiful scenery from the beach
  • Jungle looking landscape
  • Rode in an old pickup truck that had been converted into a 10 passenger vehicle
  • Secluded beach but easier to have more space and privacy if you walk down the beach, away from where the trucks drop you (and every other tourist) off
  • Probably the most beautiful view from the beach of all the beaches we went to

Barbados

Beautiful Beach in Barbados Feet in the Sand in Barbados

  • Ported in Bridgetown
  • Went to Bayshore Beach
  • Difficult to enjoy because of all of the vendors and people hassling you
  • Started an inside joke with N where we repeatedly ask the other person “you want to jetski?” “you want to see the turtles?”
  • Felt the least safe
  • Calm and warm water
  • The hassling and general yuckiness of always feeling like they were trying to sell you something made this my least favorite
  • Was later told by a retired Canadian couple that there are tons of great, less touristy, more secluded beaches in Barbados and what we saw wasn’t indicative of all of Barbados

St. Lucia

View from Fort Rodney St Lucia Port St Lucia Pigeons Island St LuciaFloating in Caribbean

  • Went to Pigeon Island and hiked up to Fort Rodney
  • Most beautiful view from our trip
  • The port was nice, not industrial looking like some of the other ports
  • Jungle landscape that was so green and lovely
  • Calm water you could just float in
  • Had low expectations and was therefore absolutely blown away

St. Kitts

Shipwreck Beach St Kitts St Kitts where Caribbean and Atlantic MeetCarib Beer in St Kitts View from Shipwrecks Beach St. Kitts

  • Went to Shipwreck beach
  • The landscape was dry and desert like, a stark contrast to St. Lucia
  • They used to grow sugar by now they make parts for electronics, which showed in the number of factories and the large industrial area
  • Took a decade old Mercedes van up the side of a mountain and then back down
  • There were no guard rails and the original road was closed off due to landslide
  • I was effing terrified the entire ride
  • When we arrived at Shipwreck beach, we found it was secluded and beautiful
  • Very few vendors, rented two beach chairs and an umbrella for $15
  • Had more than a couple of drinks so I wouldn’t have a panic attack on the drive back over the hill
  • Ultimately decided that the view and safe, laid back experience was worth the terrifying drive
  • For the record, N thought the drive was “fun” and “the view was pretty”

Sint Maarten/St. Martin

Orient Beach St Martin Amazing ViewOrient Beach Dogs Allowed

  • Saved the best for last – it was my absolute favorite
  • Took a van from the Dutch side (Sint Maarten) to the French side (St. Martin) to go to Orient Beach
  • There are closer beaches but Orient Beach was worth the ride
  • Actually had waves – not too big, just enough that they were crazy fun to float over but never scary
  • There were dogs! Seems like a lot of vacationers brought their dogs with them or maybe they were locals (they weren’t strays)
  • The color of the water was unreal, the most extreme aqua of all the islands
  • After a week of super calm water, I’d forgotten how fun it is to ride the waves
  • Next time we go to the Caribbean, this is where you’ll find me

As a note, for years I’ve read blogs where it seems like the author goes on vacation after vacation. Every time a blogger posted her vacay pics, you can bet I was sitting in my office, jealousy pouring out of my eyeballs. Because see, I thought vacations were crazy expensive. I assumed we just weren’t the kind of people who could vacation. I’d never been able to afford a vacation before but I guess I’d never really tried that hard to afford a vacation.

Turns out, cruises aren’t that expensive. We wanted to see a bunch of places and we got to. I liked that so much of everything was paid for before we ever got on board. I didn’t love the cruise environment (meh it was fine, it just wasn’t my favorite part) but I loved seeing a new place every day. It was good for my adventurous, cautious heart. And we didn’t break the bank doing it.

If you’re interested in a cruise, consider checking the prices a couple months out. We booked this cruise in March and, because it was so close to the sail date, the prices had dropped drastically. For the record, I just checked and there is a 7 day cruise in September leaving from Miami for $359 per person.

Also, a big thanks to Casey from Road Less Traveled Vacations for her advice and insight about whether or not we should buy the drink package (we didn’t, and I’m glad). Thanks for your help, Casey!

p.s. In case you missed it last week on Blog Brighter, here are 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a Blog and 15 Beautiful Brush Lettered Fonts.

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  • These pictures are so lovely!! I’ve never been on a cruise but Island hoping sounds quite awesome 🙂
    Glad you had an awesome time!

    Liefs,
    Yara

    • Thanks so much, Yara! That’s pretty much what we did last week – lots of island hopping. It was so fun!

  • Valeri

    Small world, I’m going on the same cruise next week! We fly to San Juan Sunday morning and are cruising on the Carnival Liberty. Glad to see you had a good time! I feel pretty meh about cruises as well, but it’s such an affordable way to see the world that it’s hard to turn down 🙂

    • So cool! We really enjoyed it. I had never been on a cruise before so the Carnival Liberty is my only experience. I can’t believe how big it is! I hope you enjoy the trip and let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  • I’ve been watching your updates on Instagram and wow! I’m so jealous, you’re right. I’m glad you had such a fantastic trip!

    • I only had wi-fi for like 10 minutes every other day so I didn’t get to instagram as much as I would have liked. That’s kind of embarrassing but it’s true.

  • Ha! I love Casey’s blog too. It’s a small blog world after all!

    • It is! Casey is fabulous and she was so kind to help me.

  • Looks amazing! And I love the striped bikini. Super cute.

  • Lauren Harrelson

    I’ve been seeing your instagram pics, and waiting for you to blog about this! We’re going to ST. Martin the end of June, and I am SO FREAKING EXCITED!

    • GREAT CHOICE going to St. Martin. It was my absolute favorite. Go to Orient Beach and enjoy! So excited for you!

  • I think St Lucia would be my favorite! An island with a rainforest? Yes please! This is a great way to list the stops on your trip! I love hearing recommendations on what to skip or what wasn’t so great when visiting a place; it sure saves some people the trouble!

    • I had heard some not great things about St. Lucia at dinner on the first night (from someone who hadn’t been there but had heard not great things). I think because my expectations were so low, I was absolutely blown away. The scenery was just unreal.

  • Looks like you guys had an awesome time! I’m from the beach so my vacations are usually mountain vacations. I’ve never been to the Caribbean! Seeing these photos and hearing about your travel experience (I’m a cautious adventurer myself, ha!) definitely make me feel like I would love this as well! Thanks for sharing! x

    • I had never been to the Caribbean either. We always vacationed at the Delaware beaches but the Carribean water was just something else. I couldn’t believe how clear it was!

  • Mae

    What a fun trip! How smart to use your old phone! I’ll for sure bring mine on our cruise this summer.

    • I debated bringing my DSLR but decided against it, since I wanted to focus on enjoying myself and not taking pictures. Bringing my old iphone was great because I didn’t freak when it got sandy.

  • Amazing!! It looks so beautiful where you traveled!! Hope you had fun!

    • We had a wonderful time. Thank you!

  • I’ve never been on a cruise but I am always impressed by how affordable they seem. It looks like you had a really beautiful trip! I love the photo of you floating in the water-adorable!

    • It was super affordable. I was stunned. I was like, can they really feed us for that amount? Obviously alcohol wasn’t included but I got to see 6 different islands in a week for less than $1,000 (that includes airfare).

  • so gorgeous! I’ve only been to St. John but all of these islands look amazing!

    • St. John was one of the ones we didn’t see! I heard great things about it though. All of the islands had gorgeous beaches but the waves in St. Martin really did it for me.

  • Looks like you had a great time! I’ve been on one cruise and loved it, for all of the same reasons you loved it.

  • Yeah if I did jealous I would be jealous indeed but I don’t so I am not……………………………just saying

  • Looks so beautiful! A beach with dogs, does it get any better than that!

  • Kait

    Stunning! I’m so glad you guys got the chance to go!!! 🙂

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  • I’m jealous because this same itinerary was my first (and only so far) cruise 3 summers ago! We had an opposite experience in St. Lucia, I had really high expectations, and the tour we took we were literally followed around the island by people trying to sell us things and guilt tripping everyone who didn’t give in. I don’t think I’m a huge “cruise” person, but that itinerary was the ultimate way to see the islands.

  • Betsy

    So oddly enough, I’m pretty sure my boss and fam (from Missouri) was on your cruise. I actually thought that when I saw your pictures, but I didn’t see a reference to a cruise so thought you might be island hopping. They had a great time, and we’ve been hearing about it all week!

  • Heart-eyesing up a storm here – that water!!!

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