VI ECOTOURS BEHIND THE SCENES: MEET THE OWNER!
Wondering who’s behind the scenes of our island business and how it came to exist? We thought we’d take a moment to introduce you to our owner!
Meet Sybille Sorrentino
Sybille (pronounced Syb-ill-la) first moved to the Virgin Islands in 1982. She originally came to the VI to sail, having grown up kayaking and racing sailboats with her father in the Annapolis area.
Sybille earned her degree in international economics from George Washington University and has always been a multi-passionate entrepreneur.
She started her island career path as a brand manager for Gallows Liquor Distribution, then 3 years later, she purchased a small liquor company of her own in the BVI and spent the next 12 years growing it. Over her time there, she started the music festival in Cane Garden Bay, launched private label rums for local bars, started the BVI restaurant guide, and created many more community initiatives before eventually selling the company to Bellows & West Indies, which later became Caribbean Cellars.
While she was as in love with the Virgin Islands as ever, she made the difficult decision to move back to the states when her son, Luke, was born with special needs. His Down Syndrome and Autism required extra care and resources she could only find in the US at the time.
After a few years in Texas for his medical treatments, Sybille was able to bring her family back home to the US Virgin Islands. After a trip to the Galapagos islands, she felt inspired to get started in the ecotourism sector where she felt she could have some much needed fun, while also inspiring and educating people in nature.
Upon returning to St. Thomas in 2002, Sybille started an ecotourism business with boats catering to cruise ship tourists. Within a year, it had become quite successful, so she decided to merge and expand by purchasing the existing VI Ecotours business, originally started by two St. Thomas women, Joyce Bailey and Fran Newbold.
From there, she’s continued to grow VI EcoTours into the business you know today – first, through providing tours out of St. Thomas’ mangrove lagoon, and then a second location on St. John inside the Virgin Islands National Park at Caneel Bay Resort. At that location at Honeymoon Beach, she also operates Bikinis Bar & Grill, a watersports center, and offers guided tours. Sybille also owns St. John Fitness, the only public weight-lifting fitness gym on St. John.
Today, VI EcoTours provides hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding adventures out of both islands, St. Thomas and St. John, both of which now also include waterfront restaurants and bars.
Sybille’s personal motto is to work hard and play hard. She puts her heart into her business, while also making time to support her son, Luke, and daughter, Diana Sorrentino.
In business, Sybille’s top priorities are safety, fun, and education. She strives to hire people locally whenever possible, and is passionate about supporting the local community. When you live in a relatively isolated place, your work team often becomes like your family – and VI EcoTours is no exception. Sybille feels grateful to work with such an incredible group of people who are equally as enthusiastic about the natural environment as she is.
Sybille’s #1 favorite thing about her job is the opportunity to connect with interesting tourists from all over the world and getting to show them the unparalleled beauty of this destination. Receiving their letters saying that their ecotour was the best thing they did on their vacation makes her feel like she’s doing something right.
Sybille and the entire VI EcoTours team looks forward to meeting you on your next trip to the Virgin Islands. Please join us and reset your clock by immersing yourself in our unique natural environment. There’s no better place to experience the VI than on the water – let us share our home with you!