Looking into sustainable travel we’ve been exploring many different methods, innovations, and practices. Recently we came across this unique getaway found in the Virgin Islands. They pride themselves on conservation and minimizing pollution and off-setting carbon. From solar panels, rainwater collecting, cleaning initiatives, and more, they have created a sustainable slice of paradise. The owners, Jason Reynolds and his wife, Coral, do all this while offering guests an unforgettable stay. We got in touch with Jason to find out more about what makes their spa and camping ground so environmentally friendly.
Could you give a brief history of how you started VICG and what you had in mind in its development?
My wife, Coral, and I recently purchased the campground from the previous owners. We took over operations on February 10th of 2022. The campground was built in 2006 and welcomed their first guests in 2007. Coral and I spent the last two years searching for a campground to start the next chapter of our lives, when we stumbled upon VICG in a late-night Google search. After months of joking about it being the one, we took a leap and flew out from Los Angeles to do a site inspection in September 2021 and here we are. The campground was developed with the goal in mind of providing a low-impact way to enjoy paradise. With the heightened awareness around sustainability over the past few years, we now feel that we are well positioned to take advantage of the new and innovative quality products available to take the experience to the next level.
You say VICG is an eco-sensitive resort. Could you go into detail on what measures that includes?
Let me first say that being eco-sensitive means learning every day. As a society, we have become so conditioned in what we do and how we do it, that we don’t realize the impact of our everyday activities. We are constantly doing research to ensure that we are doing our best to make responsible choices. All water to the campground is supplied by rainwater captured in a 51,000 gallon cistern system. We recently partnered with Virgin Islands Clean Coasts to obtain a 4-stage water filtration system. This allows us to provide our guests with clean, filtered drinking water direct from the tap and discourage single use plastic bottles. Each guests receives a rum punch (or just punch for the little ones) in a sustainable water bottle that they get to keep and reuse throughout their trip.
The suite has a private bathroom that uses an incinerator toilet to dispose of waste and a small kitchenette. Our 8 eco-cottages share a bathhouse and kitchen pavilion.
The water for the showers is heated using solar water heaters and the gray water captured from the sinks and showers is used to flush our low-flow toilets. In addition, as we look to replace and update supplies, systems, and materials around the property, we are dedicated to green solutions that bring a more luxurious feel to the experience.
Additionally, we offer $5 off in our gift shop to any guest that collects and removes a bag of trash from Limestone Beach, just across from our driveway.
What are the main environmental concerns in your location, is it geared toward marine life in particular?
The primary environmental concerns in our area are waste disposal and protection of marine life and water ways. Being on a small island, we live in a very delicate eco-system. We are working on putting together a comprehensive waste program to better address our needs. Currently we are only able to recycle aluminum cans through our waste management provider.
How does VICG set itself apart? Is there anything particularly nuanced, strange, individual about your accommodations?
VICG is unique in that it is away from the hustle and bustle of St Thomas and even St John. The island’s primary beach attraction is Honeymoon beach, where you can order food and drinks from Dinghy’s Beach Bar & Grill. In addition, Fort Segarra on Water Island is an unfinished US Army fort that was built around the time of World War II and abandoned in the years to follow.
Guests gather in the kitchen pavilion each night to cook their dinners and good conversation always ensues. People love to brag about what they did that day and takes notes on what others did so they can go enjoy it too.
Do you have any plans for the future in terms of sustainability? Any special plans or events in the future?
We have a lot of plans for the future but have to remember to take it one day at a time. We want to make the switch to solar power in the near future and expand our cistern capacity. Additionally, over the next 5 years, we will be working to replace our cottages with hurricane resistant buildings that will be 100% self-sustained.
Being sustainable doesn’t just mean buying sustainable products, but also getting as much life out of the products that we currently have even if they don’t meet the grade for sustainability. We are constantly evaluating the greenest solutions for our needs and sometimes that means sticking with what we currently have and reevaluating at a future date.
Do you work closely with any other environment-conscious collectives or charities?
We recently partnered with Virgin Islands Clean Coasts to procure a water filtration system for the campground. Through a grant program that they offer, much of the cost was supplemented, allowing us to ensure we put together a top-quality, reliable filtration system in which our guests can be confident.
What are the best activities at your resort?
The absolute best activity at our resort is to kick back and let the trade winds carry your worries away as you relax and look out over the sea from the balcony of your room. Honeymoon Beach is also a great place to spend your days, whether sipping on your favorite cocktail or snorkeling for turtle sightings, everyone falls in love with Water Island here.
We want to thank Jason for taking the time to detail Virgin Islands Campground. If you are planning an eco-friendly holiday be sure to consider this spot. You can book accommodation through their website here.