St. John, USVI. I can not even put into phrases how I really feel after leaving this island, apart from I really feel like I left a chunk of my coronary heart right here. I all the time love touring to the Caribbean, however this journey was totally different. This island left a mark on my coronary heart like no different…a lot in order that we instantly booked a return journey and I can not wait. It’s such a particular place as a result of two-thirds of the island is the Virgin Islands Nationwide Park. A lot of the island is protected and preserved. For that motive, this isn’t the holiday to take if you happen to’re in search of an all inclusive resort – there’s none of that right here. Villas appear to be the preferred option to keep on the island, which suggests serving your self (and hitting the grocery retailer for meals!). So simply hold that in thoughts! Additionally, many eating places and actions DO shut for hurricane season, so be certain to test their web sites relying in your journey dates!
I’m sharing the whole lot we skilled on the island on this publish and a few issues I realized throughout our keep. I hope you discover this publish useful if you happen to resolve to go to the island! Please keep in mind to be respectful of this particular place, particularly to the locals. We made certain to greet them with “good morning” or “good afternoon,” as we realized that is necessary to them. Additionally, island time is an actual factor! 😉
Learn how to Get There & Transportation
Crucial factor to learn about attending to St. John is there is no such thing as a airport on the island. You must fly into St. Thomas after which take a ferry to St. John. We have been in a position to ebook a non-public taxi from the airport to Pink Hook, which is the place one of many public ferries is situated. The journey from the airport to Pink Hook is about 40 minutes or much less. The Pink Hook Ferry has frequent ferry occasions, and it takes solely 20 minutes to get to St. John. This sounds a bit extra difficult than is definitely is – we had a really clean expertise. I bought our ferry tickets on-line proper right here. There may be one other ferry as properly, together with a automobile ferry, however we rented our automobile on St. John.
Additionally, you do NOT want a passport if you happen to’re from the US! Nonetheless, having them helped expedite our airport expertise on our manner again house. Presently, we solely wanted a damaging PCR Covid take a look at inside 5 days of arrival to the island that we would have liked to submit by way of their journey portal in addition to present proof of upon arrival. We didn’t want a take a look at to return. **UPDATED 4/4/22: Please head to the USVI Journey Portal for the freshest information!**
And on the word of renting a automobile, you HAVE to hire a Jeep Wrangler. HAVE TO. And ebook it SOON after you ebook your journey as a result of they run out! St. John may be very hilly, so that you want 4WD. Additionally they drive on the alternative aspect of the street than we do within the US, so it took a bit adjustment! I stored repeating, “KEEP LEFT!” If you already know, you already know, haha. There are a selection of Jeep leases on the island. I counsel discovering an organization that can decide you up on the ferry, or one you may simply stroll to from the ferry dock. They’re all just about proper there anyway!
The place to Keep
There are such a lot of locations to remain on the island, however I believe it’s necessary to know there’s no all inclusive resort right here. The primary resort is The Westin, as Caneel remains to be present process renovations publish hurricane. We selected to remain in a villa as a result of we needed the privateness and to have the ability to prepare dinner at house. We discovered a ravishing villa in Nice Cruz Bay known as Villa Royce, which we figured was a fantastic location as first timers because it’s just a few minutes close to city. Villa Royce was completely spectacular – actually a dream. The view of Nice Cruz Bay was simply beautiful….I miss it a lot! We even had views from our showers. It was so quiet, peaceable, and felt distant…like we have been overlooking everybody else from our quiet piece of paradise. The youngsters cherished watching the boats come out and in on a regular basis.
Villa Royce had all of the facilities we would have liked and extra. Having a double washer and dryer was useful, as there’s no linen service within the villa. We additionally had a grill (which we used incessantly) and excessive finish home equipment. The bed room have been all within the home (some villas have bedrooms with out of doors entry solely), which I favored due to the youngsters. We actually had the whole lot we would have liked and extra, and it made the journey that rather more fulfilling. I can not suggest this particular villa sufficient – it was a dream!
I believe staying in Nice Cruz Bay for our first go to was the proper transfer for us, however we at the moment are planning on staying in direction of the seashores for our second journey! It didn’t take very lengthy for us to be taught the fundamentals of the island, and really feel extra comfy now!
St. John Seashores
There are such a lot of seashores on the island and I really feel like we barely even touched the floor. Nonetheless, the seashores we did go to have us hooked and desirous to return ASAP. They’re essentially the most stunning seashores I’ve ever seen out of all of the Caribbean islands I’ve ever visited. I’m satisfied that’s as a result of St. John is generally a Nationwide Park and subsequently preservation and safety of the world is a precedence. The snorkeling is totally different on each seashore – the ocean life we noticed was in contrast to wherever else! And for that reason, St. John may be very specific with defending their coral reefs. We used particular reef secure sunscreen (do you know NOT all reef secure sunscreen is definitely reef secure? Verify the substances…no O substances could be listed!) with a view to defend the reefs. We have been very respectful of their guidelines! We additionally introduced a Neso tent that could possibly be arrange without having to stay poles within the floor (I learn that is necessary due to turtle eggs). Under I’m itemizing the seashores we visited!
HONEYMOON BEACH: There are a couple of alternative ways to get to Honeymoon Seaside, however we paid for the shuttle (most likely the simplest manner and it runs incessantly). We weren’t certain how shade choices can be on this seashore, so we truly reserved a cabana prematurely by way of Virgin Island Ecotours. I really feel it was value it, as we had a couple of individuals in our occasion who most popular to not be within the solar. It additionally got here with a cabana attendant who introduced us drinks and meals! The seashore was merely beautiful – I swear I’ve by no means seen seashores as stunning as on St. John.
CINNAMON BEACH: If I needed to decide a favourite, it will be Cinnamon Seaside. The sand was like powder, the water crystal clear and turquoise blue as far out as I might see, and it was quiet! That is truly the longest seashore on the island, and subsequently you will have extra room to unfold out. We went all the way in which all the way down to the west finish of the seashore and loved each second of our time right here. Parking is shut, too! There are not any leases on this seashore, although, so be sure to convey the whole lot you would possibly want!
MAHO BEACH: This seashore was by far the perfect for seeing sea turtles! It’s a nesting floor for the turtles, so that they’re in abundance. We have been in a position to snorkel out to see them, however I additionally rented a transparent backside kayak ($30 for two hours) on the sports activities rental stand so my daughter might see them without having to swim. It was a tremendous expertise! This seashore had a wide range of leases out there from chairs to floats to water sports activities gear. There was additionally a seashore bar as properly. Parking is true close to the seashore, and the retailers are instantly throughout the road. A terrific seashore for households! Right here’s a shot I grabbed from my GoPro.
TRUNK BEACH: It was a bit overcast the day we visited this seashore, nevertheless it was nonetheless spectacular. It’s voted within the high 10 seashores of the world, so we needed to make a go to! It’s additionally the house to the Nationwide Park Underwater Snorkel Path. We didn’t full the path this go round, however plan to subsequent time. They’d chair and snorkel gear leases out there for a worth. The seashore was simply beautiful…and it was wonderful watching the pelicans swoop down for his or her meals. Phrases actually don’t do these seashores justice.
We didn’t even make a dent within the wonderful seashores St. John affords, so we’re tremendously trying ahead to our return journey. Should you do go to, simply please keep in mind to be respectful. When you see the marine life and nature throughout you, you will have a better appreciation for shielding their house. I can not stress this level sufficient.
Issues to Do
Once more, there’s a lot to do on St. John that we couldn’t cram all of it within the week we visited. Which, once more, is why we booked a return journey! This island has a lot to supply, I can not stress that sufficient!
SALTY DAZE CHARTERS: There are such a lot of wonderful boat charters on St. John, however what units Salty Daze aside is that they personal the one pontoon boat on the island! Salt Deck is a double decker pontoon boat full with water slide..yep, a water slide! My youngsters completely LOVED it! As a result of it’s a pontoon boat, it primarily hangs out within the Coral Bay space and is unquestionably extra for a chill, enjoyable day on the water. Additionally they have Salt Shaker which is able to go to different components of the island!
We advised Captain Landry we needed to hit some snorkeling spots, and he delivered! All of us had an opportunity to snorkel, and my oldest noticed a sea turtle! We then loved some grownup drinks, Irie Pops (they’re on board!), and floating within the bay with the occasional slide down the water slide. It was absolute paradise, and we have been so grateful to expertise it.
After we relaxed a bit, we headed over to Lime Out, the floating taco stand! We swam over from the boat and had scrumptious tacos on their floating lily pads. The tacos have been so, so good – even the youngsters thought so. It was a enjoyable and distinctive expertise, and one we extremely suggest if you may make it occur whereas visiting!
We ended our constitution by loading up on Salt Deck merchandise. They’d lovable rash guards and hats, and we cherished the boat a lot we simply couldn’t assist ourselves. We already booked a constitution throughout our return journey!
NIGHT KAYAK: My husband and I made a decision so as to add in a final minute night time kayak so we might have an adventurous date night time one night! This launches from the Westin in Nice Cruz Bay, we booked our tickets proper right here. This was a cool expertise – we have been in clear backside kayaks with LED lights hooked up so we might see marine life at night time underwater. We have been in a position to see a number of fish feeding throughout our tour, and it was stunning to see the bay at night time underneath the celebrities. Oh, and we painted our faces with glow face paint! Provides to the enjoyable of the expertise 😉
HIKING THE NATIONAL PARK: Two-thirds of St. John is nationwide park, which I believe is what makes it so beautiful. My husband and I managed to hike to the Petroglyphs on the Reef Bay Path throughout our final full day on the island, and whereas it was positively exhausting within the warmth, I’m so glad we did it. It was strenuous, so I don’t suggest taking babies. It was all downhill to the Petroglyphs, after which again up hill to the automobile.
The Petroglyphs are historical rock carvings left behind by the Pre-Columbian Taino. It was SO COOL to see them. There’s a waterfall right here as properly, however there wasn’t a lot water throughout our go to. We additionally noticed darting dragonflies (that almost scared the crap out of me, if I’m being trustworthy), and a number of different wildlife. Extremely suggest this hike if you happen to can – the petroglyphs are unimaginable to see in individual. And one particular petroglyph can solely be discovered on St. John, and has turn out to be an emblem of the island. You’ll be able to learn extra about them right here.
The place to Eat
There are such a lot of extremely beneficial eating places on St. John, it was inconceivable to attempt all of them (therefore the return journey!) I’ll embody the checklist of suggestions from my Instagram neighborhood under my very own private suggestions. We actually didn’t have ONE dangerous meal on the island..not one! The meals manner exceeded all of our expectations! I’ll say, the meals is unquestionably expensive. However we knew this going into it. Additionally, if the restaurant requires a reseveration, make it manner forward of time. They ebook up FAST. As a reminder, many eating places do take a while off throughout hurricane season (we visited on the cusp of that) so simply test relying in your journey dates!
Additionally, if you happen to’re staying in a villa, I extremely suggest ordering groceries forward of time. We positioned an order by way of Starfish Market so meals can be delivered to our villa on our day of arrival. We ate breakfast at house each morning, and a few dinners as properly. In any other case, there are markets on the island you may simply store in. However once more, needless to say meals is greater than within the states! We introduced some dry items with us as properly.
SKINNY LEGS: This was one of many high beneficial eating places by far! We had lunch right here previous to our afternoon constitution aboard Salt Deck. They hand make their hamburgers, and also you get a tremendous half pound of lean floor beef thats insanely scrumptious (I bought mine with no bun!). The bar environment was actually enjoyable with pennants and license plates of various faculties and states all through. We ate outdoors of their “Again Yard” on a picnic desk, which was the right informal expertise. Additionally they had scrumptious drinks! I had a Coconut Swizzle that was very refreshing within the warmth. There’s additionally a youngsters meals menu!
THE LONGBOARD: This was extremely beneficial due to their world-famous Frozen Painkillers! It lives as much as the hype, too, so positively add it to your order if you happen to eat right here! I cherished the entire vibe of this place…tremendous cute decor and a scrumptious drink and meals menu. All of us had tacos, mine being on bib lettuce as an alternative of a tortilla (although they’ve corn tortillas!). My tacos have been the Braised Pork Stomach and the Pulled Jerk Hen Thigh, and so they have been tremendous accommodating to my gluten and dairy free request. Undoubtedly cease right here for no less than a drink if you happen to’re on the island!
CAFE ROMA: We heard unbelievable issues about this Italian restaurant, and weren’t certain if it will stay as much as it’s hype. I really feel that while you’re from NY and CT, Italian meals doesn’t examine while you eat it wherever else apart from Italy (particularly pizza – we stay in New Haven county with a number of the greatest pizza within the US!). The meals was FANTASTIC. I ended up with only a salad with blackened hen as gluten free choices have been minimal, however my husband and mother tried a couple of pasta dishes in addition to the pizza they ordered for the youngsters and everybody mentioned it was one of many high Italian meals they ever had. They declare to be house of the “Roma Coma” and everybody agreed!
HIGH TIDE BAR & SEAFOOD GRILL: This restaurant is true on the seashore close to the ferry dock with wonderful views of the sundown! The vibe was so relaxed and the meals was AMAZING. I do know I hold saying this, however I swear we ate a number of the greatest meals ever on St. John! We ordered the Conch Fritters, Coconut Pineapple Curry Hen, in addition to meals off the youngsters menu for the youngsters, and it was all so scrumptious. We additionally tried the Excessive Tide drink, which was the official drink of Kenny Chesney’s No Footwear Nation Tour, and it was a bit too good if ya know what I imply! Oh, and I purchased a bunch of merch from their store! Extremely suggest checking this place out! They have been additionally accommodating to GF and DF.
EXTRA VIRGIN BISTRO: Since we introduced household on this journey, my husband and I have been in a position to seize final minute reservations for a date night time right here! I’ve heard so many nice issues, and it lived as much as the hype. Once more, the vibe was so superior, and my husband and I each had the 14oz rib eye the was cooked to perfection. I actually like that they supply their meals domestically and in addition develop most of their herbs proper on web site! Additionally they give credit score to the fisherman they supply their fish from on the menu. We had such a scrumptious meal, positively ebook reservations right here if you happen to can!
LIME OUT: Floating taco stand?! YES, PLEASE! We stopped right here on our constitution with Salt Deck and it was so enjoyable!!! Such a novel expertise, plus the tacos are DELICIOUS. You sit on these lovable “lily pads” and so they float your meals out to you. Completely lived as much as the hype, so make this a should see if you happen to come to the island! We are going to for certain be again!
IRIE POPS: We stopped right here a number of occasions all through our journey! Additionally they have coolers of pops in many various shops across the island. Irie Pops are handcrafted, DELICIOUS, all-natural, native, and natural popsicles which might be dairy free, vegan, and gluten free!!! Therefore why we stopped a lot 😉 They’ve a wide range of flavors, and we cherished each single one we tried. Additionally they have vegan delicate serve ice cream! I can promise you everybody in your loved ones will LOVE their pops. I solely want I might ship them again house!
ST. JOHN’S SCOOPS: One other good spot for ice cream! They’ve 20+ flavors of home made ice cream, sorbets, frozen yogurts, smoothies, and slush puppies! The youngsters loved getting ice cream right here in a wide range of flavors and toppings. It’s situated proper in Mongoose Junction, so its simple to seize whereas buying round!
Different suggestions you all gave that we weren’t in a position to attempt simply but (however positively plan to!) are listed under:
Dave & Jerry’s Steakhouse
Coco Jim’s (for smoothies!)
Soggy Greenback Bar (situated on Jost Van Dyke, BVI. We have been unable to go to right here throughout our journey)
I hope I put the whole lot I needed to say on this publish!!!! It’s been per week since our return and I nonetheless really feel like I’m on a St. John excessive. We’ve got determined to make a return journey through the youngsters break in April, and I’m counting down the times. Our complete household agrees it’s the perfect place we’ve ever visited, and I hope down the street we will doubtlessly personal a trip house there. Should you resolve to ebook a visit, let me know! 🙂