Rum Shop Ryan at Maho Beach, St John US Virgin Islands

St John Caribbean Castaways

Caribbean Travel Blogger: Rum Shop Ryan

SJVR: Welcome Ryan. For our readers that haven’t heard of you – can you tell us a bit about who you are and how you’ve risen to the top of the Caribbean Travel Blogosphere?

RSR: First of all, let me thank you for the opportunity to talk about a passion I think we all share, the Caribbean, especially after the hurricanes of Sept/2017. A little bit about me, hmmmm – I was born and raised in a small town just south of Kansas City, KS. Go Jayhawks! Ever since I was a small little pirate, I knew I wanted to live by the ocean. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. In 2001, after graduating from Pitt State, I loaded up a Uhaul and drove to to southwest Florida. No job, no friends, just knew I wanted to live on the coast of somewhere beautiful.

Living in Florida and traveling to the Keys was great, but I didn’t shake hands with the Caribbean until 2007. One of my friends decided to get married and St John Island was the destination. We were all big Kenny Chesney fans and his album Be As You Are, was a soundtrack to our lives. When I first stepped off the plane in St. Thomas I was blown away. The smells, the mountains, the water – it was like being smacked in the face with beauty. Then being able to stay on St. John, I was hooked. I told myself before I left, I needed to figure out a way to visit St. John and all the Caribbean islands as much as possible. That is where the idea of was born.

I knew how to build websites a little, and I loved to write. So the natural progression was to build a blog and work really hard to build a community of other salty pirates that had a passion for Caribbean travel and culture like I did. The site grew a following rather quickly and here I am. The site launched in 2009 and It’s been one fantastic ride.

Rum Shop Ryan at Trunk Bay St John US Virgin Islands

SJVR: Obviously it’s not all about the rum. But you definitely love your rum drinks! Would you mind sharing a few favorites …?

RSR: True, it’s definitely not all about the rum, but rum is fun and it’s goes hand in hand with the Caribbean. What are a few of my favorites? That’s a tough one. I tend to connect drinks to special memories, thus making the drinks special. So every time I sip one of those drinks, it’s like taking a trip down memory lane.

Love the Goombay Smash from the Bahamas. Castaway Crystal and I just got back from a trip to the Bahamas and this delicious island drink was being ordered quite a bit.

Always have to say the Painkiller. During that 2007 wedding trip to St. John, we did a catamaran day sail around the North Shore. We snorkeled, we laughed and we we drank Painkillers all day. It was just one of those days you’ll always remember.

The Killerbee is also a favorite. This drink can be found at the famous Sunshine’s Beach Bar on the island of Nevis. I took a sailing trip with Island Windjammers several years ago and we dropped anchor just of of Pinney’s Beach, where Sunshine’s is located. I had only 3, and could tell that I needed to get back to the boat so I didn’t fall asleep on a palm tree and get left behind. Tasted great though!

SJVR: You list over 40 Caribbean island destinations on your web site. That’s a lot of travel. Care to share a few of your favorite islands …?

RSR: I probably get asked this question the most. It’s hard to say. It’s kind of like asking, which child do you love the most. Each island is different and has a unique personality. Some are large, some are small, some have mountains, some are flat, some are great for shopping and parties, some are great for fishing and escaping the world.

I will say that St. John will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where this journey began and there’s just something magnetic about the people, the hills, the beaches…it has a hold on me.

Love the blue waters of the Bahamas too, I’ve never seen water so blue and clear. It’s almost as if the water is plugged into an outlet, it just glows like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Especially in the Exumas.

SJVR: Our readers may not know … you were recently married. Crystal, the newest Castaway, seems like a great addition to the Castaway Family. Traveling with a partner … do you see things in a different light …?

RSR: She is the best! I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in life, or better partner with RumShop.

Do I see things differently now that I travel with my wife? It’s a good question and one her and I just talked about in the Bahamas.

Before Castaway Crystal, I would mostly travel alone, going on press trips and experiencing the islands. It was great, don’t get me wrong, but there was no one there to share it with. I’d be sitting on a stunning beach or on the bow of a boat just amazed I was there…true pinch me type moments, but something or I should say, someone was missing. That someone was her.

Castaway Crystal is a great photographer and writer, so it’s a match made in salty heaven. Plus, I think people like to read more about a traveling couple instead of a soggy single guy, little more relatable I think.

SJVR: Nothing reminds us of a destination like food and drink. You publish a Castaway Cocktails Recipe eBook. Where can our readers order it?

Coconut Castaway Rum Punch recipe

RSR: Yes, it’s called Castaway Cocktails. Great name right?! There are 52 island drink recipes in it, one for every week of the year. Each drink has a beautiful photo and a fun little story to go with it. If you like to drink paradise out of a glass, then the Castaway Cocktails recipe ebook is for you!

People can get one here –

SJVR: Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself, the other islands of the Caribbean, and your experiences here on St John island, USVI.


Rum Shop Ryan is a successful Caribbean Travel blogger and rum expert! He brings his island adventures to over 30,000 monthly website visitors, 150,000+ Facebook Fans, 20,000 Twitter Followers and over 18,000 Instagram Followers. You can join him by visiting