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Trip Report St. John Trip Report

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Just returned from an amazing trip to St. John on April 16, 2016. We traveled as a family of 4 with our 2 kids, 6 and 7 year olds. We rented a villa near Cruz Bay from Viva Villas and was super impressed with the villa, which was new and beautiful, and the service we received from Viva. Here are some of our favorite experiences on St. John.

Beaches:
Maho: Maho is special. It is the first beach we went to and an excellent first choice for kids to get their sea legs. The sea is shallow a good ways out and it's wonderfully easy to see turtles and sting rays close to the shore. We went early (before 10am) one morning and we could see the turtles constantly poking their head out of the water. Amazing.

Francis: Another beautiful beach with a lot of good snorkeling with the kids. A Sting Ray hung at the shoreline all day, teasing us by darting around our legs!

Salt Bay Beach: Loved this natural rustic beach. We parked at Concordia and walked the easy 15 minute trail down to the beach. Saw lots of turtles in the late afternoon. We walked back up to Concordia and had a fun dinner at their cafe. Excellent afternoon out!

Soloman: To me, beautiful Soloman is probably the most stunning of St. John's gorgeous beaches. It's so picturesque. You'll need to hike from the Cruz Bay Park Center in town to get there. It takes about 30 mins along a well worn path with some good views. Kids had a blast counting the lizards along the way. My daughter and I arrived at Soloman about 10am while the only 3 people on the beach were packing up, leaving the 2 of us to be the ONLY PEOPLE on this beautiful beach. Oh...there was also an overly friendly chicken, so I guess we weren't totally alone.

We skipped Trunk because of the crowds. We spent only 30 mins at Hawksnest because the waves were 'rough' that day. We also hiked down to lovely Jumbie which has an off the beaten path feel. Only 3-4 cars can park at Jumbie, so it's never crowded.


Meals:
We ate our breakfasts and some lunches at the villa, but went out for all dinners.
Rhumb Lines - excellent Thai inspired food
Extra Virgin Bistro - Wow. This reminded me of a meal I'd get back home in New York City. Homemade pastas, burrata...YUM!
Morgan's Mango - Fun, welcoming atmosphere with good food. I had an amazing panko crusted fish dish and my kids' lobster was seriously delicious
Chateau Bordeaux - great lunch spot after a beach morning. Had the excellent shrimp roti.
Cafe Concordia - food was good (nachos were super good) but go for the atmosphere, the views, and the eco-friendly vibe. We went on Monday, which turned out to be Open Mic Night. Very lively!
Ocean Grill at Mongoose Junction - we went here once for lunch and it was surprisingly good. Would have returned for dinner if we'd had time.

Hikes - we didn't do anything too strenuous since we had our 6 and 7 yr olds with us, but these were all great -

Lindt Trail - use this to get to Honeymoon or Soloman Beaches
Reef Bay - we took the guided hike with the park service. This is a lovely hike, mostly shaded and downhill, with the end reward being another lovely beach. Book with Park Service and they will take you back to Cruz Bay in a boat. Book in advance! It's a full day activity.
Salt Bay Trail - lovely little trail down to beach or back up to Concordia

Having gone on mostly resort vacations with the kids before, I was a little worried that St. John in a villa would feel like more 'work' than vacation. But I worried for nothing. The kids loved the adventure of loading up the jeep, finding a new beach, hiking, and discovery sea life while snorkeling. We will without a doubt be back!

One more thing - the roads in St. John take some practice and confidence. The steep hills and switchbacks just to get our villa kept us on our toes! You need a Jeep for sure!

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