just back STJ-trip report

Feb 4th, 2007, 04:23 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 50
just back STJ-trip report

We just came back from a wonderful trip to STJ. We stayed at the Westin and rented a studio up on the hill with a beautiful view. We were happy there, the only complaint was that right in front of our door was a turnaround point for the shuttle which went back and forth every 15 minutes or so and went into late at night. Another minor complaint is that the TV is in the livingroom section and not in front of the bed. (I can't sleep without the TV being on, so it is my complaint, it would be fine for most.)

We did not have time to explore other islands but did a lot of off road 4 wheeling and snorkeling on StJ. We started to go down the decent of Bordeaux Mountain but chickened out, other than that we went everywhere.

We went snorkeling at Salt Pond and swam with a friendly turtle and then took the hike to Rams head. It was not a bad hike but very hot, but the top was worth it. I found though that after doing the hike, it was grueling to say the least to make it to the top of the pathway (washed out road) that takes you to your car at Salt Pond.

We followed the path behind Caneel Bay to Honeymoon and then headed off to snorkel at Trunk Bay. They had advisories up that day and when we got to the beach it was very choppy, not ideal for snorkeling at all. Cinnamon was the same so we went to the East end instead to sitesee. The people being dropped off (probably cruise ship passengers) were not happy with the conditions that day since it was their only shot.

Next day the water was much more calm and went to Trunk where we followed the trail and as we were finishing going from the trail to the other side, we looked up and a cruise ship must have dumped everyone off because it went from a few people to very crowded in 15 minutes. We left and went to Cinnamon which was great snorkeling, we snorkeled to the cay and had great snorkeling around the left side. Cinnamon was our favorite beach.
Next to the Annaberg ruins and then to Waterlemon. We thought we would enter further down from everyone else and found an entrance point with a ton of tiny sea urchins. Not a good plan. Someone found an octopus, I found a huge jellyfish which almost got me. It was choppy out to the Cay but beautiful Coral. If we did not have our patches on (Transderm Scope) we would have been a little seasick. I think the Coral out shone the fish. Someone met us as were were sitting on the cay and he was hanging onto the boey (sp?) and had a huge welt or rash or something which he said was from hanging on it. I did see 2 barracuda or at least it looked like them.

We did do the Reef Bay trail on our own and very glad we did. We made it down in about an hour. (we stopped to read the signs) and 1 1/4 hours straight up. We are both pretty physically fit but it was a challange. If I were to do it over, I would have gone straight down without reading anything and taken the time to read everything on the way up. When we got to the Plantation the roof was covered with bats!! Tons of them, yuk!! On the way up we did see the tour from the Park Dept and they were moving very very slow. Some women even had shoes with little heals on them. I am glad we went on our own, even if we had to go back up ourselves. On down to the beach we saw 2 little sharks but we were getting eaten alive with noseums!! Speaking of those little buggers....

I was eaten alive while I was there, my husband was not. I came home with over 50 bites. I flew home with someone who works for the Parks Dept. and she said it was a bad week for them. She said it was very dry and then it rained overnight and they all came out the next day. It really was the only negative for the visit and I had 3 kinds of spray I used and nothing helped.

We have been to Aruba, Hawaii (twice), Bahamas and Mexico and I would have to say this ranks up there with our favorite, Hawaii. Hawaii is more rainforesty, tropical and STJ has a bit of ARuba with the Cactus. Hawaii is more green, STJ has nicer water and beaches. STJ has a charm about it but if you hate the beach and to snorkel you may get bored. The town of Cruz Bay did intimidate us at first and even felt unsafe for the first night but then we felt safe as we realized the "locals" really didn't pay much attention to us either way. I was a little surprised at some of the restaurants that looked like nothing on the outside to be a really nice restaurant.

Restaurants- I must say that the food experience for us was pretty lackluster on the whole but that is only because we are not super adventurous with food in general. We really don't care much for seafood other than shrimp and salmon so it does limit our choices.

WE went to Miss Lucy's for Sunday brunch and while the food was good (I had the banana pancakes) I was expecting a little more "WOW".

Rhumblines - I had a great Salmon. My husband wasn't hungry and just got soup.

In general the food is good but with the price you pay it always left us feeling a bit like the price should have left us with "WOW" but it never really did.

Lunch buffet at Caneel - the food was pretty good for being a buffet and the dessert selection was good.

Skinny Legs - I had a great burger and my husband had a delicious chili dog.

Banana Deck - food was good, we were both happy with what we got (we went for Lunch)

Paradiso - I had speghetti and meatballs (boring I know) but it was very good and my husband was happy with his choice. They had a killer choc. cake too.

Panini Beach - OUr food was good but felt ripped off a little by the appetizer. $10 for to tiny tiny pieces of toast with chopped tomatoes.

Bakery above Starfish market. (sorry forget the name). WE had breakfast a few times there. Good and reasonable.

Cafe Roma - good food bargain for what you get

Morgans Mangoes - I wasn't feeling super good that night but my husband had filet with crabmeat and was his favorite meal.

Simple Feast - has a sign that it was closed for remodeling since August.

The Lime Inn - very good food, delicious french onion soup.

Fish Trap - My husband thought was he ordered was very dry and didn't care much for it. I had Salmon and it was good but I liked Rhumlines a little more.

We rented from Conrad Sutton and it was very convenient to leave the car in his lot. We were happy with our Jeep Wrangler and we liked Conrad.

We had a 4 hour direct flight from Philly, not a bad deal. The only complaint is that we had a flight that was leaving at 2:00 and the Westin told us to take the 9 am ferry and we didn't realize that once you get dropped off at the airport you have to stay with your luggage or check in and go to customs. In other words we sat in the airport from 10-2 and felt like if we could have gotton rid of our luggage we could have spend the time touring St. Thomas.

Please ask any questions as I am sure I forgot to mention a lot. We had a great time and would go back in a heartbeat! The island has something about it that you fall in love with. We left our 3 kids at home and I do believe that our vacation would have ended up different had we brought them and we could not have done as much exploring, snorkeling ect. Thanks everyone for their help!!
sharonb is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 425
We're heading to St. John in April, I appreciate all your impressions and recommendations. Pat
rickandpat is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,532
Thanks for a great report. Yeah, those no-see-ums are absolutely awful, and they adore the beach and shady areas. I got pretty chewed up last time too. I would recommend to anyone going to the tropics to pack a very high DEET content spray.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,121
Sharon,
Thanks for the great report.I am also a fan of Hawaii (Kaua'i)...St John ranks right up there with Kaua'i.I did not care for Aruba.

Mae,

Yet, another person who has swam with a turtle in St John ......has to frustrate you just a little.I am sure that it will happen sooner or later.

Sharon,
I would also recommend a trip to Grand Cayman since you like to snorkel.It was the best that I have come acrossed yet.Not as pretty a island as STJ but more pretty than Aruba.GC also has some great restaurants.

Anyhow,thanks again for taken me back to STJ...for a few minutes.

Christie


christiegr is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 48
Thanks, Sharon. I like your advice to read the signs on the way back UP the Reef Bay Trail. We'll remember that for our planned hike in June! -Susan
gechter is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,870
Thanks for taking the time to post. I enjoyed your trip report.
ejcrowe is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 07:35 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,532
Christie: I can't even comment on it anymore! I just have to dig down deep and say "someday... someday will be my day..." but I can't complain about the many opportunities I'll have in the foreseeable future. I wonder what I'll complain about after I do see a turtle. Maybe it'll be the elusive dolphin or manta ray next.
Tuxedocat is offline  

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