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Coral Bay Eco Retreat:Tropical Living Off the Grid: Hike to Beach!Natural,peace

Bedrooms 2
Half Baths1
Space 692 sq ft
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 5 nights


About the property

Tropical eco-cottage;If you loved Maho Bay,you'll love this!On hiking trail!

DON'T MISS THE MOVIE ON THE 'AMMENITIES' PAGE! Coral Bay Eco-Retreat: Tropical living off-the-grid, Live simply and close to nature on beautiful St. John. If you liked Maho Bay Camp, you'll LOVE this place! A hiker's and lovers' paradise, private and remote, open-air and silence. Solar-powered, located on historic Johnny Horn Trail, a one mile hike to primo snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay and Leinster Bay. Romantic with stunning views and spacious private decks overlooking Caribbean Sea, Coral Bay and the British Virgin Islands. On the border of the Virgin Islands National Park, only half a mile to Coral Bay restaurants, bars and buses to Salt Pond or Cruz Bay. With one bedroom, the Life's a Beach Suite, the retreat is best suited for a couple or two friends. A comfy inflatable twin bed is available.

Located directly on the historic Johnny Horn Trail (mile hike to famous snorkeling Waterlemon Cay beach!) and bordering the Virgin Islands National Park, this off-the-grid eco-retreat is an open-air/partially screened home that is solar-powered, cooled by the tradewinds, sustained by tropical showers and warmed by the sun. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Hurricane Hole and the British Virgin Islands to Virgin Gorda, the view is stunning and the sunrises are spectacular.

Coral Bay Eco-Retreat offers the unique opportunity to be in a remote location, yet only half a mile from the heart of Coral Bay and a mile hike to the beach. It's perfect for hikers and adventurers wanting to get away from it all and experience island eco-living “off the beaten path” in a tropical setting. Experience quiet for writing, relaxing or contemplation, punctuated by the sounds of the surf, birds, tree frogs, island sheep and donkeys. One guest claimed, 'As I watched the sun go down, I felt my blood pressure do the same!' Others have called this home a treehouse, as it is surrounded by trees and even has a tree growing right next to the bed!

The large open deck is nestled among the trees and is perfect for admiring the view, meditating during sunrise (we call it the Morning Show) or for star-gazing on a balmy Caribbean night. It offers a glass-top solar umbrella table for outdoor dining with a view, a Weber grill and a Pawley Island hammock for two for the owner's favorite sport: hammock-warming! It is accessed by 'the stairway to heaven', lighted by solar lights and dotted with hoop-vine, night-blooming cirrus and turpentine trees.

The deck connects through double cypress doors to the screened-in living room which has a large comfy sofa, old-style rocking chair, books, DVD player/screen, charging area for electronic devices and Caribbean art, mostly of Caribbean women, created by Caribbean women. Generally, a strong cell phone signal is usually available, especially for AT&T and free wireless internet..

The island-style open-air kitchen features a very busy hummingbird feeder and a coconut banana quit feeder, attracting many tiny yellow banana quits (official bird of the Virgin Islands) who greet you each morning. This old-time Caribbean style kitchen has a mermaid theme with hanging island baskets and kitchen antiques collected on down-island travels including iron skillets, kettles, even an old island school bell. The porch-style kitchen overlooks a herb /aloe/papaya/basil/banana herb garden and utilizes solar-warmed rainwater that is gravity-fed from a small water tower made of recycled 'drums'. For true water conservation and in keeping with old island traditions, the “dishwasher” is a dishpan/bamboo dish drainer in which dishwater is saved for deck and garden plants. It has a medium sized solar-powered frig (with tiny freezer for three ice cube trays), a non-electronic six-burner stove and oven (no microwave), a bar-style seating area overlooking the view, dishes, bamboo and eco-cookware, coffee-bean grinder, French press coffee pot and a stove-top toaster. Eight gallons of purified island drinking water (in recycled gallon jugs) are provided.

The "Life's a Beach" bedroom Suite offers fabulous views from your pillow, with a queen bed with natural cotton bedding in tropical colors, lots of pillows, a heavenly, puffy duvet and romantic and practical mosquito netting. Cooled by the tradewinds, there are also low-wattage reading lights and fan with its own solar system, so it's always available! It's an open-to-nature bedroom, has a private full bath, garden with island mural (created by our first guest), deck with a tree growing bedside the bed, a small frig and coffee maker, a coconut shell bird feeder and photos of St. John beaches.

Open-air bathrooms feature fixtures with water-conservation flushes, a half bath on the main-floor and an indoor shower and an outdoor garden shower. Rain water is collected from the roof, stored in cisterns, considered precious, limited and carefully conserved. Guests are encouraged to take the St. John Eco-Challenge: take cool-water, St John eco-showers (not hot), limit flushing, turn off lights, dry your hair in the breeze and leave a zero 'island eco-footprint, flip-flop style'!

At this eco-retreat, you are at one with nature; the perfect place for you if you're okay with walking up hills (from the driveway to the house!), up steps (25 of them to the house), love to hike and drive a rough trail in four-wheel drive. If you're not highly allergic, critter-phobic or sensitive to tropical gheckos (little lizards) or occasion flying bugs who visit this open-air home, you'll love it! Generally, the tradewinds keep mosquitoes and no-see-ums to a minimum and frogs and hermit crabs are our natural bug exterminators! Since it's off-the-grid, there are no hair dryers, microwave, dishwasher, hot water (Note: It is solar-warmed), air conditioners...or even a kitchen sink! But in their place are awesome views, privacy, gentle breezes, only natural sounds and star-lit nights...and internet! Take the St. John Eco Challenge and see how small your environmental carbon footprint can be!

If you want a great view, peace and quiet, eco-adventure and a natural setting, then Coral Bay Eco-retreat is the home for you! Must love birds!

More Details

Property Manager
Allison Smith
Member since: 2013
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
May 23, 2018

About Allison Smith

26 year resident of St. John, Allison offers her eco-home to fellow nature-lover guests as a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. She built the home herself (with a little help from her friends!) over a period of 15 years during a time of minimal access to basic construction services; ie she took materials up the rigorous Johnny Horn Trail in her jeep! She's created a natural home, complete with birds that land in your hand and hopes that you'll find the same serenity as you watch the sunrise from your bed! She lives on a nearby smaller island and is readily available to help in any way. She grew up in Florida and sailed to the Virgin Islands in her own sailboat, spending six months at sea en route. She has devoted her life to that of service, first as a school counselor, then as the 'island shrink' and founder and director of the islands first non-profit organization, the People Moving Forward Foundation. Guided to create spiritual growth opportunities, she created Rejuvenation Vacations, specializing in retreats for relaxation, yoga and spiritual growth. She has taught workshops and classes on A Course in Miracles, prosperity consciousness, living an optimum life experience and is currently studying to be a Licensed Unity Teacher through Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute. She leads weekly community meditation gatherings on Peace Hill and teaches Wednesday classes under the gri gri tree in Pickles Deli's backyard. She has a beautiful daughter, Angie, and five fabulous grandchildren, three of whom are on St. John.

Allison Smith purchased this cottage in 2000

Why Allison Smith chose Estate Emmaus

The Coral Bay Eco Retreat offers an opportunity to experience off-the-grid living in a tropical setting. The energy of the area, overlooking the VI National Park as well as bordering it provides a serene and peaceful setting with an awesome view and silence, a rare commodity in these times! At one point, it was a haven for 'rescue goats' who had been injured or abandoned, as an adjunct to the island's animal care center, hosting as many as 15 little goats in a stable built by her and her grandson. This house is like no other, unique and sweet, simple and close to nature.

What makes this cottage unique

* Location! Located on the historic Johnny Horn Trail, on the border of the Virgin Islands National Park, you're only a half mile jeep ride or hike from the heart of Coral Bay with its shops, bars and restaurants and a mile from the beaches of the VI National Park including the famous snorkeling of Waterlemon Cay. Peaceful and quiet!

* Unique home: open air, solar-powered, gathered rain water, trees growing through the decks, birds that land in your hand!Totally sustainable.

* Massage table on site for home-based massage visits


Estate Emmaus Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 692 sq ft
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 4:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 10:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 2 ...
  • Max. adults: 2
  • Not suitable for children
  • Parties/events not allowed
  • Pets considered
  • Non smoking only
  • Relax! The vibe is all about the hammock, in the love seat, on the couch, in the meditation chairs.
  • Rejuvenate! You have a busy life and hectic schedule, so it's essential to get your mojo back!
  • Re-energize! Resting and relaxing are essential to great health and spiritual peace. This is the place!
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Ocean View ...
  • Rural ...
  • Water View ...
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Budget
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster ...
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • 1 Half Bath
  • 'Master' Bathroom - toilet , shower , Part of the 'master suite', water conserving fixtures
    Main level bathroom - toilet , outdoor shower , Half bath on main level; separate outdoor/garden shower
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 2
  • 'Love Nest' Bedroom - 1 queen , Open air,mosquito net,adjacent bathroom,tree & birds by bed
    'Life's A Beach' Loft Bedroom - 1 queen , Custom-built bed, view of the BVI from pillow,steps from LR,
  • THE LOVE NEST includes suite of custom queen bedroom area with deck, overlooking Caribbean Sea, bright Caribbean organic cotton linens, lightweight comforter, lots of pillows, a tree growing through deck beside bed with coconut bird feeder, private bath with shower, bedroom garden, massage table and linens, bright Caribbean art, mural and painting on recycled linoleum, collage. Located on separate level with steps down from kitchen and open-air setting, mosquito net, reading light and fan. Views of sunrise and sea without having to lift your head! THE LIFES A BEACH LOFT features a custom queen bed, photography of St. John beaches by St. John photographers, a custom queen bed with bright Caribbean organic cotton linens, lots of pillows and views of the BVI, the sunrise and the sea without lifting your head! Accessed from the living room up steps lined with Caribbean artwork, open air, shutters, mosquito net, reading light, fan, safe.
  • Books
  • DVD Player
  • Video Library ...
  • Balcony ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Water Sports Gear ...
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Onsite Services:
  • Concierge
  • Massage
  • bay/sound
  • churches
  • duty free shops
  • festivals
  • forests
  • reefs
  • restaurants
  • ruins
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • horseshoes
  • paddle boating
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • basketball court
  • cycling
  • deepsea fishing
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • hiking
  • mountain climbing
  • sailing
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • snorkeling
  • sound/bay fishing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • wind-surfing
Although this is a two-bedroom home, it is requested that a maximum of two guests enjoy the home, primarily because it is off-the-grid and in terms of sustainability of rainwater and solar power, more than two guests is too much on the eco-system of the property. It is ideal for two people who want separate areas as well as a romantic setting with extra space for both guests to have their own space as well as the intimacy of the Love Nest or the Loft.


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(30 traveler reviews)

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Coral Bay Eco Retreat:Tropical Living Off the Grid: Hike to Beach!Natural,peace
average rating of 4.9666667 based on 30 reviews
Reno, NV

A uniquely charming and secluded open-air cottage with breathtaking views!

  • 5 of 5

Allison’s Coral Bay ecoretreat cottage was an absolute dream. My husband and I stayed there on our honeymoon in April 2017. I had a vision of a private cottage somewhere tropical, which was surprisingly hard to find! We stumbled across this cottage while searching all of central America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean for something, and I couldn’t have been happier with out choice. Allison warned us that it would be a rough 4x4 road to the house with a nice steep set of stairs. We felt pretty comfortable with that situation - we’re active, work in natural resources and have to drive bad roads for work a lot of the time - so we signed up. She is not lying about the road or the stairs! It was doable, but definitely an adventure :P It made us plan our days ahead of time so we minimized the number of trips up and down that road per day, which I ended up really enjoying. The cottage is adorable and it’s obvious that a lot of love went into the design. There are personal touches everywhere, and the open-air bedroom is so dreamy. It’s definitely the type of place you could be just sitting in the hammock, reading a book and letting the day pass by. We were never in a rush to leave the cottage :) I loved feeling like I was part of nature - the little bananaquit birds do come right up to you as if they’re asking for sugar, little anole lizards skitter around in the evenings, and we even saw a hermit crab crawling around outside. The kitchen frog didn’t show up until our last day when we accidentally left the kettle lid open :-o and found him in there the next morning!

We really enjoyed off-the-grid living. It ended up just feeling like a REALLY luxurious camping trip and we loved being on that natural camping sleep schedule: wake with the sunrise (absolutely stunning view out of the Love Nest), fall asleep shortly after sunset. This worked out most nights except for the one where we partied hard in Coral Bay and didn’t get back until 11pm - no worries, there are solar lamps to light your way up the stairs! I seriously would love to come back to this cottage. St. John was lovely, too. We made no plans other than “get on plane, get rental car to cottage” and it was still a magical vacation. We spent our days snorkeling in all the little bays that are easily accessible by jeep or on foot, we hiked the Johnny Horn Trail to Waterlemon Cay (do it! We saw 4 sea turtles up close in the water!), and successfully visited (I think) every bar and restaurant in Coral Bay.

  • Submitted: May 5, 2017
  • Stayed: April 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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2 0
Wheeler NY

Perfect treehouse for us!

  • 5 of 5

Seeking adventurous, good natured people! If you enjoy solitude, unbelievable views, a refreshing breeze, geckos on the spice rack, birds all around, hermit crabs traveling through your shower, driving your jeep like they do in TV commercials, plus you're willing to wash your own dishes, conserve resources (water and electricity are precious commodities here!), and grab a broom to sweep off the deck after a rainy or windy night, then this place is for you! If you crave a busy, sterile all-inclusive resort with drinks by the pool, maids and turn-down service, then keep looking.

Allison is a super host and the place is so lovely that it's hard to know where to begin. She responded to our texts and mini-emergencies promptly -such as referring a chiropractor when one of our group had a back issue flare up (she always adds, "tell him you're staying at my place, he's a good friend" with any referral).

I read another review suggesting not to use the kitchen. Au contraire! We cooked nearly all our meals here and packed lunches. Love this kitchen! Except one basket over the stove hangs too low for tall people;) so we used it on the counter to thwart bird attacks on our food. Bonus: the kitchen is in the shady part of the house so you can cook whenever and not get baked by the sun. If you're a serious cook, you will appreciate the well-seasoned cast iron pans in a variety of sizes. Two items to add- a mixing bowl and a cheese grater (so we improvised), but otherwise the kitchen has everything you need- including a coffee grinder (we brought our fav fair trade, shade grown, organic roasted beans from home). Word of caution: don't leave that banana you started eating and set down for a sec on the counter and walk away- not even for a minute! Those thieving pearly-eyed thrashers (birds sized like a jay) will help themselves!! Toss a dish towel, plate, or upside down basket over your precious food and all will be well, lol.

You really have to be the right sort of people to enjoy this quiet, out of the way treehouse for grown ups. We thought about camping but didn't want to schlep our gear here. This was more like glamping- you feel nestled in mother natures lap, but with a comfy bed and amenities like wifi and a charging dock whenever you want it. It was the perfect spot for us!

  • Submitted: Apr 3, 2017
  • Stayed: March 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Lebanon, VA

Peaceful tree-house living

  • 4 of 5

Warning- if you don't like camping and nature, this is not the place for you! Now that that's out of the way, the Coral Bay eco retreat was freaking awesome!!! This peaceful, secluded, off the grid tree-house lands you 'far from the maddening crowd'. In staying, one experiences true off the grid living with solar power, a propane stove, indoor plumbing fed by captured rain water, and discharged into a septic. There is an indoor and outdoor shower that isn't heated, so be prepared for a cool shower... but in the hot sun it can be refreshing. If it's too cold for you, just heat some water on the stove to bathe with. Be prepared for critters to scurry about and bring bug spray.... again just like camping (or perhaps eco-glamping in this case). You also want to stock up on drinking water because it's too risky to drink rain water stored in unsealed containers. This tree house was relaxing and helped me reset my circadian rhythm that was so interrupted from my busy and hectic job a software engineer. My hubby is an env. scientist, so needless to say, we both were in heaven. We experienced multiple engagements with the bananaquints you can hand feed, humming birds, geckos, lizards, hawks, finches, millipedes, and even found a tarantula in its hole! Sleeping outside, under the stars in the mosquito net, and being naturally woke up with the sunrise was awesome. Thank you, Allison, for sharing your retreat with us!!

  • Submitted: Jan 8, 2017
  • Stayed: December 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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  • 5 of 5

We had a wonderful trip. Allison was very thoughtful in checking up with us throughout the week. My daughter (16) and I loved being off the grid and so close to so much natural beauty. It was a cathartic trip for me. I needed it. Maybe metamorphic for her which is what I was hoping for. She has always loved animals and nature and this was a perfect place for her to experience the islands at as close as possible to its natural state. It was her first time in the islands and I am sure she will never forget it. I loved the hiking and the snorkeling...even though I had been to many of the trails and bays was almost like the first time all over again when you get to show it to someone for their first time. I would love to come back again and stay here again. Maybe bring the wife next time. It was an adventure.

  • Submitted: Apr 6, 2016
  • Stayed: March 2016
  • Source: Vacation Rentals, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks so much for the review and your kind words. It's such a joy to share something new and wonderful and natural with those we love, especially a teenager who appreciates it! That's how I feel about sharing the retreat with my guests...such a joy! I'm glad you had a great time and I'd love to have you back any time...with wife, daughter or as a solo Rejuvenation Vacation! All the best, Allison
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1 0

Peaceful retreat

  • 5 of 5

We stayed at Concordia twice but could never spend much time on our deck and enjoy the views because of wind, heat, or bugs. At this cottage, we were comfortably outside on our deck, day and night. The views are spectacular. Rolling over in bed to watch the sunrise never got old. If you haven't been to the island before, Allyson's care and attention will make you feel at home.

  • Submitted: Jan 23, 2016
  • Stayed: January 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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2 0

can't wait to go back

  • 5 of 5

We stayed for 10 days & it was one of the best vacations we ever had. It was relaxing, great views & very peaceful. We're already talking about when we'll return.

If you are looking to get away from it all - this is the place to go! It's worth the hike to the top.

Allison had every detail thought out in the house - it was very comfortable.

We highly recommend eating at Oasis for fantastic 'comfort' food.

We would highly recommend this place!!

  • Submitted: Nov 19, 2015
  • Stayed: October 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
15 Miles
St. Thomas (STT)
Nearest Barpub
0.5 Miles
Skinny Legs Bar and Grill
Nearest Ferry
7 Miles
Cruz Bay
Nearest Golf
15 Miles
St. Thomas
Nearest Restaurant
0.5 Miles
Oasis Pickles, Skinny Legs, indigo Grill,Miss Lucy
Nearest Beach
1 Miles
Waterlemon Cay famous snorkeling beach
Car: not necessary

The Coral Bay Eco Retreat is located in Coral Bay, St. John on the border of the Virgin Islands National Park, off the historic and challenging Johnny Horn trail, about half a mile from the beautiful Emmaus Moravian Church, a mile from the beach, a few miles from an organic farm. The Trail requires an adventurous spirit and is traveled only by 4 wheel drive vehicle, horseback or hiking. Hiking up the trail takes you to the historic Annaberg Sugar ruins, the Brown Bay Trail, Leinster Bay and the snorkeling gem, Waterlemon Cay.

Hiking or driving down the trail leads to the “heart of Coral Bay” with its popular restaurants and bars that often have live entertainment and where you can hang out with friendly “locals” such as Skinny Legs, Pickles, Island Blues, Aqua Bistro and Donkey Diner. There are two Coral Bay island markets with ATM’s and two mail services and shops including the CocoLobo complex. The Vitran bus stop is at the end of the Trail and offers an opportunity to travel west to the Reef Bay Trail and on to Cruz Bay or east to Shipwreck Landing, Miss Lucy’s, yoga classes at Concordia and beautiful Salt Pond Bay…and it only cost a buck! Beware, taking that bus sometimes involves long waits as it runs on island time. If you have a jeep or are a hitch-hiker (it’s generally safe on St. John), you can also access nearby Josephine’s organic farm or the world-famous northshore beaches of St. John, less than a mile-hike away.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Damage Deposit $500

There's a fully refundable $500 security deposit for first-time bookings. I send a request a week or two before your arrival and refund it promptly after your departure, assuming everything is okay at the retreat.
I'm willing to work out different payment terms; 50% payment at booking and balance due 60 days before arrival. Creative financing is okay too if you need to do something different.
Rates are subject to change until reservation is confirmed.
Rates listed are for 1-2 guests, extra fee for thrid person in order to be sustainable with resources.
Five-seven night minimum throughout the year and 7 night minimum during winter holidays.

Manager's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

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