1st Timer in St. Johns

Old Feb 4th, 2006, 07:33 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2003
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1st Timer in St. Johns

We {along with another couple} are going to St. John at the end of March for 8 days and are lucky enough to be staying with friends who live there. I would like your suggestions on where to eat, what to see and about snorkeling {equipment rentals, cost etc}. I know that our friends know lots, but I love to plan ahead and scout out things to do and places to eat. Also, where would you suggest we take them out to eat as a "thank you" for their hospitality? Any other suggestions would be welcome. We are in our mid 50's and are all active.Thanks so much for any ideas!!
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 07:45 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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The following are places that I have really enjoyed and have become special to me. Much depends on your tastes and interests.
Resaurants:
Zozo's in Cruz Bay- Dinner excellent food ask for an edge of the building table at Sunset. Watch the sun slip behind the mountains and the twinkling lights of St. Thomas appear.
Equator at Caneel Bay ( you do not have to stay there.) - dinner For the same reasons as above.
Lime Inn in Cruz Bay Lunch and/or dinner Deliciousfood great Caribbean flavor.Within walking distance of shops.
The Terrace at Caneel Bay, Lunch and enjoy Caneel bay Beac - Beautiful with great snorkeling ( head for the side with the rocks lining the edge.
Shopping in Cruz Bay. A wide range of goods and prices in small botiques.
Riding Horses from Caralina Coral, both beach and national Park rides available
Diving - Low Key Water Sports - Cruz Bay Diving and Kayaking available.
A terrific book for pre planning is Beaches of St. John Included are colored photos of every beach, directions to each beach and best spots to snorkel, and an airial view of the entire island with each beach location identified.

The gift would depend on your host's tastes. Food and wine on the island is very expensive. A nice basket of wine, cheeses and other goodies especially from your home area, may well be appreciated.
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 01:46 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Good snorkeling places are Caneel Bay, Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay.

Here is a new map of St. Johns that has color aerial photos.

www.cccarto.com/wmaps/virginis/index.html
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 02:21 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Just a point of clarification. The name of the island is St. John (no "s"). St. Johns is the capital city of Antigua. This is somewhat important for "newbie" travelers because if you book a flight to St. Johns you are apt to end up on the wrong island.
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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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A Traveller: Very good point. My father-in-law almost ended up going to the wrong island due to that very mistake.
DebitNM: Do you know whether your friends live closer to Cruz Bay or Coral Bay? Also, it will be easier to make suggestions if you identify a couple of specific activities you are interested in. St. John is 2/3 national park and its main draw is its natural beauty and resources, and its history. The main physical activities are of course water sports, and hiking. Of course, it also offers the usual vacation spot amenities of shopping and spa services, so it helps to specify your interests. St. John actually has many terrific places to eat. Any specific cuisine?
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 08:35 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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A rental agent who accidentally forgot our arrival time & left us on the dock made up for it by treating us to dinner at Morgan's Mango. Food is great, and we've gone there every year since. If you go not long before sunset, and sit on the tables immediately to the left or right at the top of the steps when entering, you'll get a great sunset view, and wonderful photo op. We like going to a different beach every day, have some favorites. Avoid the popular beaches during cruise ship days (check schedule & other info on the Virgin Islands Daily Newspaper). Francis Bay is great. Snorkeling good on all beaches, but we enjoy Newfound and Waterlemon. We always do a boat day trip during our week there Baths @ Virgin Gorda, or JVDyke is close by. Sandy Cay was fun. We like to go in shops in St. John, even if we've been in the same ones all week. You can always take a day or 1/2 day and go shopping in St. Thomas, interesting shops on side streets.
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Old Feb 12th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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Thanks for the all of the info!! Always good to get advice from those who have actually been to a place.
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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O2BCarib, you mention taking a day trip to the Baths and snorkeling elsewhere. What company or boat is good to book with? Where to they go? I heard Normal Island or the Indians is good too.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old Feb 18th, 2006, 07:49 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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We go out with Ocean Runner every year. We did the Baths, then on the way back did lunch at Norman Island at Willie T's [a boat anchored in the water--fun} then snorkeled at the Indians [saw a shark] then snorkeled awhile at Newfound Bay which was beautiful.
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Old Feb 18th, 2006, 09:12 AM
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Many great restaurants recommended here - we have also enjoyed Stone Terrace and Asolare but one of our favorite spots for a special meal is Chateau Bordeaux with magnificent views of the islands and water especially as the sun sets, but our experiences have been it is a bit pricey but worth every penny. Dependingn on where your friends live, you might want to take transport out and back if you really want to enjoy some nice wine and not have to negotiate the roads back.

Agree you should definitely go with a guide on a boat for a day to enjoy other islands and spots - we have loved snorkeling at the Indians, near Normans Isl, Willie T's (even if you see it and don't eat there) you can also dock and eat at JVDyke or other islands, see the Baths (we anchored off and swam in and walked around then swam back to our boat) - the snorkeling is less crowded and we saw the most interesting fish around the Indians. Last trip our guide also docked off the newer facility on JVDyke and took us for a great short hike to a little hidden cove where you can swim and the waves came crashing in periodically giving a whirlpool effect which was delightful. Just remember to bring your passport if you are tooling between USVI and BVI's on the boat.

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Old Feb 18th, 2006, 01:50 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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found the card- just in case you need a different rental co than the one mentioned - the rental company we have used many times is Nauti Nymph - out of Red Hook on St thomas but also with boats at the Westin dock in St. John. We have been very pleased w/ their guides and planning of the day with us.
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Old Feb 18th, 2006, 01:50 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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sorry, web site is www.st-thomas.com/nautinymph
and their number is 800-734-7345
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