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St. John isn’t only the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands – it is also, by far, the greenest. The lush Virgin Islands National Park takes up approximately 60% of the island, making St. John one of the most pristine, unspoiled islands in the Caribbean. The Virgin Islands National Park contains a staggering array of ecosystems, including forests, ponds, coral reefs, beaches, and mangroves. Take a tranquil walk through the park, lounge on the island’s legendary white-sand beaches, or take a kayak or boat tour through crystal-clear water.
St. John Villas
To get a glimpse of early St. John, stop by the Annaberg Plantation Ruins. There, you will see partially restored ruins of an 18th century sugar cane plantation. The staff at the interpretive center will talk to you about plantation life. The overlook at the hilltop provides a panoramic view of the British Virgin Islands.
Cruz Bay is the main town on the island; it is populated with numerous shops and a variety of restaurants which are visited by tourists and locals alike.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking on the many park trails (the Virgin Island National Park Service has a Visitor Center in Cruz Bay that offers a free trail map and guide to the extensive hiking trail network).
The National Park maintains an underwater trail in Trunk Bay that is a great introduction for novice snorkelers. Salt Bay on the south coast near Ram's Head provides for shelter from the winter swells and lucky swimmers have a chance to swim with sea turtles.
Go out on an all-day-sail. These frequently are wonderfully crafted sailing yachts with crew to provide for your every need and take to you lovely remote spots. Lunch, beverages and snorkeling gear are generally provided.
For those looking for some fun, be prepared to bring your dancing shoes, cause you will be taken in, and guaranteed to dance, if you resist the urge, the clubs will draw you in to listen to the music and have a blast.
Skinny Legs in Coral Bay, noted to have the best Burgers on the island, with live music on Friday and Saturday nights in season, they have a horseshoe pit, darts and TV’s for football season, a great place to kick back and enjoy the game or come in and have a drink.
One of the prettiest beaches on St. John is Hawksnest and offers great snorkeling and peaceful lounging. The limited services (no food vendors or changing rooms) tend to keep the cruise groups away.
Part of the National Park, Trunk Bay’s marked underwater snorkeling trail is good for beginners. Changing facilities and snack bar can be crowded.
Another popular beach, Cinnamon Bay, offers great snorkeling, changing facilities, snack bar and windsurfing equipment rental.
While a bit out of the way, the remote Salt Pond Bay offers sheltered swimming and lots of wildlife including wild goats, donkeys, and sea turtles.
St John enjoys a tropical climate. The peak period for traveling is January through April. However, if you are interested in snorkeling, then the best time to visit would be in the early summer, when the winds are calm making the best possible viewing in the calm waters.
The temperature ranges from 70’s to 90’s during the day depending on the time of year, with the peak travel period averaging daytime temperatures of 70-80 degrees, and at night it can sometimes be cool enough for a light sweater. There is more rain during the fall than at other times, but when it does rain it is usual quite short, but intense rain, fortunately February and March, which are among the busiest for visitors are the driest months.
- Two thirds of St. John is the protected Virgin Islands National Park, making it the least developed of the US Virgin Islands.
- Ferry is the most common way to get to St. John. Passenger and car ferries leave frequently from neighboring St. Thomas.
- St. John does not have an airport.
- Currency is USD and credit cards are widely accepted (sometimes with a processing fee)
- We recommend a 4-wheel drive rental car while on St. John – this will allow for easier navigation through the island’s hilly terrain.
- Weather in the summer months average temperatures in the mid 80s, while the cooler months (Dec-Feb) average in the mid to high 70s
- Don’t miss St. John’s pristine white sand beaches, or a day out on the boat admiring the island from the sea.