St. John Virgin Islands Overview
St. John is divided into four subdistricts known as Central, Coral Bay, Cruz Bay and East End. The island has a high level of affluence and is often called the “Beverly Hills of the Caribbean.” Many people venture to St. John for destination weddings or to enjoy a tropical getaway. Much of the coastline is untouched and hiking trails lead through the ancient ruins of 18th-century Danish plantations. Although a popular tourist destination, St. John is a place that’s great for rest and relaxation.
One way to get a great view of the city is to take a taxi tour from Cruz Bay. There are also a number of ferry docks in this subdistrict. If you’re looking for a day of adventure, Cruz Bay has bars, restaurants, boutiques and beachy pastel-painted homes. Life in St. John is slow-paced compared to the big-citystyle of St. Thomas.
Since most of the island is comprised of Virgin Islands National Park, you’ll find this is the top attraction on St. John. The park features a total of 12,624 acres of submerged land and water. There are more than 20 miles of hiking trails and a fascinating array of wildlife, including pelicans and the mongoose. Interested visitors can take a guided nature walk through the park and wander ruins of former plantations.
You can head to Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins and explore the history of the 18th-century mill and plantation. Admission to the plantation is free and guests can learn more about where the Danes kept and maintained the sugar mill after 1718. Annaberg can easily be found east of Trunk Bay along Northshore Road. You can even get a guided walk through the area on certain days of the week.
Things to Do
Trunk Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is has some of best attractions on the island. Here you can soak up the sun and enjoy a relaxing day in the white-sand beaches or a dip in the water. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can follow the underwater snorkeling trail to see grouper and parrot fish as well as snapper.
For those who want to explore reefs and dive at a shipwreck, head over to Hawksnest Beach. It’s here where the golden sands and hills pull visitors into paradise.
Top Restaurants and Shopping
If you’re looking for high-class dining, you’ll find great eateries at luxury resorts in Caneel Bay. There are also West Indian restaurants to give you a delicious taste into the local flavor. Keep in mind that dinner may cost a pretty penny at some of these posh dining locations, but many other establishments have a lot to offer at a reasonable rate. Dinner is a big deal in St. John, and you’ll quickly learn that it’s one of the island’s most popular forms of nightlife.
Families will find delectable locations in St. John, including Cafe Roma, Miss Lucy’s and Rhumb Lines. The best pizza on the island can be found at Cafe Roma while Miss Lucy’s offers parents the perfect opportunity to introduce their children to West Indian cuisine. Over at Rhumb Lines you’ll find a Caribbean atmosphere with some of the best appetizers on the island.
Each and every one of the boutiques and shops found in Cruz Bay are special and individualized. Many of the shops are found at Mongoose Junction, a 5-minute walk from the ferry dock in a woodsy area beside the roadway. Retail lovers will want to visit Wharfside Village before heading home. This shopping center is near the ferry departure point and is a complex of courtyards, alleys and patios intertwined between boutiques, restaurants and bars.
If you’re looking for a piece of Caribbean art to bring home with you, Bajo El Sol is the place to go. It’s here where island artists showcase their award-winning paintings, sculptures, ceramics and jewelry.
Some travelers may want to take home a souvenir. At Bamboula in Mongoose Junction, you’ll find gifts from the island, the Caribbean, India, Indonesia and Central Africa.
If you’ll be on the island on the last Saturday of the month, then St. John Saturday is one thing you won’t want to miss. This is one of the most fun experiences you can have on the island and begins early in the morning in the center of town. Throughout the day, vendors bring handmade items to the event, which spreads across the park. You’ll find jewelry, hand-crafted goods, clothing and food made from local ingredients.
No matter what you’re looking for in a vacation, St. John is a great Caribbean destination. You can enjoy lounging on the beach or enjoying the nightlife of Cruz Bay. Water activities are plentiful, as are adventures through the hiking trails that will lead you into the island’s historic Danish past.