PMV....And Didn't Love It
Hey, guys! My wife and I just returned from St Thomas for what was sort of a PMV. We knew there would be challenges and a lack of "normal" representation of the island because of the pandemic, but we at least wanted to check it out for consideration....and we had the trip booked since February. We have been visiting various islands in the last couple of years with an eye on a possible retirement location just a few years away now. We knew within the first couple of days that STT isn't for us. It's just not the "vibe" we're looking for. It's a little busy for us, even with no cruise ships, etc. and just doesn't seem like a good fit. STJ was more to our liking, but probably out of the running as well. I do wonder if STX is any different???
I'm only posting this to say thank you to the people on this forum that posted helpful information and to reinforce the benefit of a pre move visit (PMV) for others considering a move. IMHO, you cannot make that decision surfing the internet. You gotta get on the ground! 🙂 That being said, we had a great vacation and had a lot of fun. We might see you on the island again...but it'll be as visitors and not "locals". Haha. Thanks again for the insight and information!
I can only give you feedback about STX. We have been to STT on one day trips and it was way to busy for us as well. We did our PMV four years ago and I feel it's much more relaxed here on STX. Problem now is the covid, I honestly do not think you can get an actual feel for the islands right now due to the fear that this pandemic has brought upon the people. My wife and I were discussing it last night over dinner and we can feel a subtle change in the people and what the past four months have done to them. If you want more info, feel free to PM me and I'll give you my email. It is wonderful here, think your timing wasn't right.
I've been going back and forth between FL and STX since 2007, even spending whole summers there (I am a teacher). Just got back last week and in spite of Covid, it seemed amazingly normal to me. Give yourself some time, keep going back if you still have doubts/questions....
I should have said amazingly normal compared to the Keys, which is where I live. Masks, distancing, etc
We find a big difference in vibe and other things between STT and STX and STJ is certainly unique simply due to it's much smaller size. We noticed this on our fist visits over 20 years ago.
As some of you know we have been ramping up our retirement plans for STX for the past couple of years, with a retirement date of 3/1/2021. I’ve been working from home since early March, like many folks, so I came down to STX for a couple of weeks to get a feel for both summer living and to see what effects COVID-19 is having. We’re flying back to Boston tomorrow (Monday) and I can only say the visit went by like the blink of an eye. If I didn’t have some hard commitments this week I’d extend the stay. The more time I spend on STX the more convinced I am it was the right choice for us. While it’s a little warmer this time of year, you can’t beat the sunshine, the beaches, the water, the hiking, the food and of course the people. Sorry to be going off-island but with a little luck I may be able to spend my last few months of my career working remotely from here. After that, it’s all good.
Having visited STT several times, I understand why you wouldn't want to live there.
I couldn't live there either.
I understand the initial posters reaction - a short visit, during these Covid times and if they thought that was too busy a vibe then for sure it is 'not a good fit' as they said. Island life, STT or any other, is not for everyone we all realize.
STX is about 3 times bigger than STT or STJ and quite a bit of a different feel to the economy, culture, population mix and terrain.
I have lived on STT for 45 years full time, mostly in the boating and service industries as my work life, raised my family, own my house and will likely live out my days here. Being familiar with the island after so long it is a much better fit for me than moving -anywhere - and trying to make that fit. Plus I have been in the same house for 40 years and packing it up and moving is not a task I really care to consider. I can certainly state the 'vibe' has changed here over my time on island and probably everywhere else in 45 years so it does take the resilience and ability to adjust to "progress" because things change!
@daveb722 Thanks for the offer! The only thing that is keeping the USVI in the running at all is the possibility that STX is a better fit for us....and we do like that it's a US territory. Part of that (a small part in the grand scheme of things) also relates to the fact we are divers and heard the diving there is really good as well. We'll likely get down there at some point to check it out and I may take you up on getting your info for more details. Thanks again!
My wife and I had similar experiences to the original poster in 2012/3. I think the tourists and bustle of STT we to much for us. Then we gave STX a try (and never looked back).
We found the more rural setting to be very relaxing and the 'vibe' to be much more comfortable. In a week, we determined that we'd be back for more visits and we bought a condo in 2014. We had the condo for several years and used it as a 'home base' while we decided if STX was where we really wanted to retire. Over the years, we realized that we were often driving to the west end of the island for the beaches, hiking, diving, etc.
Last year, we came to a decision point about the boat and decided to look at houses before we bought the boat. We were lucky enough to find a house that fit our family perfectly on the west end in the hills north of Frederiksted. We decided to buy the house and look at a smaller sailboat some time in the future. I've been on island since early April, and I'm convinced that we made the right decision for us.
@ICatchBadGuys feel free to pm me as well and I'll be happy to provide any context or information that I can. If you haven't made it to STX, it might be worth a visit.
Best of luck!
@Scubadoo Thank you! This has left us keeping STX on "the list". On a side note, how's the diving on STX? Any idea? We heard it's good and if the island is also a better fit for us than STT, that would be pretty awesome. 🙂
My wife and I are divers and we enjoy it on STX. There are easy shore dives on the pier and at Cane Bay. You can get air cards at dive shops in both locations. There are also a few wreck dives you can do from shore, but most are pretty good swims.
Boat dives cost about the same as I remember them being on STT, but we found one shop that gives a pretty significant local discount to residents (there may be more). The wreck diving seems similar to STT but mostly smaller wrecks. There's good wall diving at Cane Bay from shore, Salt River and several more wall sites along the north shore are accessible from boats.
The diving on STX is excellent, much better than STT in my opinion. Great dive sites on the North shore. The wall runs from Salt River to Davis Bay beach and can be reached easily by shore dive in some places. The wall is only a short swim out at Davis Bay beach and is as good as any boat dive. West end has good diving as well including the pier but we prefer the wall and other North side sites.
STX diving is fantastic! 3 of my 5 dolphin encounters in many years of diving have been in St. Croix, 2 on the north shore and this one of three at the pier just a few weeks ago.
I forgot about the dolphins. We were on a boat dive last year on the wall just coming up from the dive when 3 dolphins decided to visit the boat. We spent a good 15 minutes swimming around the boat in the gear with the dolphins.
My wife and I have had a few awesome dolphin encounters travelling back and forth from Buck Island.
If you Catch Bad Guys for a living you will not like STT that much. Coming from a former Bad Guy Catcher, we moved to STX in 2012 and enjoyed a good 7 year run, yes even with the storms of 2017 and several trips to Florida for body repairs and replacements. We bought great mid-island house and renovated it to suit us. But alas, the wear & tear of the previous 60+ years on our bodies and the need for better medical care caused us to run for the states. You will love STX if you visit, it has everything STT, STJ or for that matter the BVI's has to offer just a little slower pace. Don't compare the Bad Guy Catchers there to the States.
@ca-dreamers Haha! Copy that. Good to know! STX has intrigued us, especially with the follow up posts people have provide here. So we'll probably give it a visit. We are in good health (now), but figure that any island we move to will eventually lead to selling and moving back at some point in our lives, for all the reasons you mentioned. If we do make a serious run at STX at some point can I DM you about firearm ownership there? I know the USVI will issue permits to retired LEO......but I don't know if you took advantage of that. If so, I'd like to pick your brain and get the non-government take on how it REALLY works. Lol. That's a ways down the road though so.... Thanks for the information!
St. Croix is not for everyone. That being said, there are a lot of people here who can afford to live anywhere on the planet. You have to be self-contained, associate with people who have a positive outlook, and disregard the things that do not affect you personally. There are things to hate, and things to love, like everywhere else. I just spent the last five years in Florida, and couldn't wait to move back home. Having to drive through a pothole or endure a day-long power outage is not enough to make me want to pack up and leave, but for some it is. I remember one song by The Eagles (The Last Resort) which ends with the words "you call someplace Paradise, kiss it goodbye"...so I'm not entirely averse to negative comments that keep people away from here. The Caribbean is one of the places that will survive the impending feces-storm. I find it comforting to have 40,000 gallons of water sitting under my living room floor in a cistern, knowing that I cannot legally collect water from my roof in Florida, for one.
You have to be self-contained, associate with people who have a positive outlook, and disregard the things that do not affect you personally. There are things to hate, and things to love, like everywhere else.
Very well put, I share your outlook on life.
Well said, JahDrivesAFerrari.
The USVI certainly isn’t stateside. Self sufficiency know how is a must. Keep the glass half full (preferably with a rum cocktail) at all times. Keep your sense of humor intact. And patience... lots of patience.