leaving for st. john in a week...suggestions?

Apr 2nd, 2008, 06:33 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 91
leaving for st. john in a week...suggestions?

We'll be heading to St. John in one week with our 4 children.
I'm wondering if we should take a day trip to the B.V.I's? Does anyone have any info on the cost?
Is the trip worth it...or should we just concentrate on the beaches of St. John? We will only be there for one week.
The kids aren't little-they are 8,11,13,and 15 and don't need much more than a beach to snorkel/explore.
Any suggestions/favorties/must see items concerning St. John would be appreciated! Thanks!
jcjc is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,477
A trip to the Baths on Virgin Gorda is a treat, and the Aquarium @ Coki Beach on St. Thomas, + the STT shopping scene might be interesting. The St.John beaches are incomparable for beauty, water, snorkeling.
xkenx is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Just came back from St John/BVI trip and personally I prefer the beaches on Tortola. None of them are crowded and there is a wide variety of surf/no surf. I think kids would really enjoy the surf on Josiah Beach or at least watching the surfers.
shariej is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 10:51 AM
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If they like to snorkel, the area around the Baths is great fun. I also remember taking our children on a snorkeling 'tour' if you will of the underwater national park. It was nice because there were lighted plaques with the picture and names of the fishes to identify. We also like cinnamon bay as a quieter spot. If you want to splurge, the lunch at caneel bay might be worth it. They also seemed to like the Lime Inn, Skinny Legs, Chilly Billy's and the Fish Trap. I assuming you have a car since the cabs get a little spendy - they charge by the person, not by the cab, for the distance.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 12:17 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 371
Fish Trap is closing/closed but there are many great restaurants. Uncle Joe's Bar B Que is great as is Cafe Roma. There are a ton of great snorkel spots, from the north shore beachs to the less crowded south shore and the wild east end. If you're really into snorkeling and are comfortable in the water I can recommend some of my favorite locations to snorkel.
Pulley is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 12:29 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

Pulley-we are really into snorkeling and would appreciate your suggestions. We've been to Grand Cayman twice (we're returning this summer) and are very excited to see how the two places compare as far as snorkeling goes.

My husband and daughter are dive certified, as well. Any suggestions for a good dive shop/dive site? I think they've already found a few places but any suggestions would be interesting.
jcjc is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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We've found RedSail Sports to be very reliable for diving excursions. While the prices may seem high, I wanted to feel that the gear our children was using was 100% safe.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 03:06 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 371
jcjc, here are some of my favorite snorkel sites. You'll need a car but to us that's must on St. John anyway. These are not in any particular order.
1 - Hawksnest, an easy snorkel in usually calm water.
2 - Denis Beach, park at Peace Hill take the trail to the small beach. You'll probably be the only ones there. Enter just to your left and go left or right.
4 - Caneel Bay, their main beach has a very easy snorkel for those not really comfortable in the water and it's actually pretty good.
5 - Cinnamon Bay, snorkel around the cay. It's about 100 yards off shore and you might see some tarpon.
6 - Francis Beach, looking at the water walk as far right as you can and snorkel from there and partly around the point. Don't go too far it's gets a little rough.
7 - Chocolate Hole. I've never seen anyone but my friend & I snorkel here. It's little long of a swim, but easy, to get to the good stuff. Stay to the left entering the water and go around the point. It's really cool, you can be 15 yards from shore in 40' of water.
8 - Reef Bay, not for beginners, IMHO, espeially if it's rough but the rewards are amazing. The contrast between the white sand bottom and coral heads are awesome. You could make a day trip here by walking along the beach to the end of the Reef Bay Trail. Go up the trail and see the petroglyphs.
9 - Haulover Bay, my personal favorite. Way over on the east end, it's takes a ride to get there but the corals are beautiful.
10 - Rainbow Beach, pretty easy and nice coral and fish.

I've used Lowkey Watersports for all my diving on St. John and they are great. They are located in Cruz Bay. Give them a try.

Well I could go on and on but I'll wait for my trip in August!!!

PS - Where are you staying?
Pulley is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 05:51 AM
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The very best part of the main beach at Caneel for snorkeling is the part way to the left, actually part of Little Caneel beach rather than Caneel. All along that far left side (facing water) is usually terrific (have NEVER failed to see great schools of squid). Then, if you feel like it, keep right on swimming around that left point and on over to Honeymoon Beach and Solomon's Beach. Good snorkeling both places. The part of Caneel Beach off to the far right is also quite good; and on around to Paradise Beach.

With the kids, I'd say a trip to The Baths on Virgin Gorda is a must. Snorkeling is pretty good there (and in Spring Bay next door), but the formations are really something very special. Be sure to do the entire climb through them (to Devil's Bay). Many snorkel expeditions go from St John to the Baths and also to the caves at Norman Island (same trip usually, plus "the Indians" also great)-- all great fun, and each different.

We, too, like Cayman snorkeling-- but not as much as St John. (though I think the whole area of Eden Rocks is superior to anything on St John-- somehow more exciting with the wonderful depth and wild configurations).
poss is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 07:28 AM
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another vote for the baths. they are unique (except seychelles) and really loads of fun to explore. there are a couple spots where you use a rope to climb up a rock and there are a few ladders and ramps as well, in addition to climbing through & over the rocks and water. i'd try to go as early in the am as possible. the later you go the hotter and more crowded. (10am - 3pm)
here are a couple random shots i found to show the kids and there are lots of sites w/info: (ask them not to hate me for suggesting some sort of photo essay could be made for school)



and the baths beach: http://travel.webshots.com/photo/135...38640397IUFxXW
virginia is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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Pulley-thanks for taking the time to post the snorkeling and dive suggestions. I printed them out and placed them with the rest of the St. John info. that I'll be bringing with me.

Poss and Virginia-I'm definitely intrigued by the Baths. We are a little hesitant because we will only be on St. John for a week and want to see as much of the island as we can...and just relax, too. Plus my husband and daughter will be diving at least one day. I do think a boat trip would be fun and from what you both say it seems worth it to take a day away from St. John. I'll have to do some research...and show the pictures to my children and husband.
Thanks for your pictures and opinions.
(Virginia-photo essay....hmmm...not so sure that's going to happen! My sons are starting a scuba certification class when we get back and they have to bring their scuba books and start studying those..adding a "school assignment" might push them over the edge!)

jcjc is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 08:11 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Poss, I've never snorkeled the left so I'll try that in August. Another good spot is to keep going past Solomon toward Cruz Bay. Not spectacular but if your already there it's worth it.
Pulley is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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smetz is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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Hi jcjc:
I have had great success using Maho Bay as the first introduction to newcomers especially children. The sand is great, the water gets deeper very gradually and the snorkeling towards east end of the beach is a nice way to acclimate. It gets deeper gradually and there are lots of fish swimming around the rocks. You'll often see schools, clouds of small fry, and the giant tarpon (harmless) which are thrilling. Stingray, barracuda all within a relatively small area. A most do is dinner out at Miss Lucy's in Friis Bay (awesome setting) and not too fancy with kids. Also, Miss Vie's Snack Shack and her fantastic beach (small entrance fee) across the road out in the East End. Hawksnest is also a better introduction beach than Trunk or Cinnamon in my opinion because it has a wonderful reef very close to shore to explore. Have a great time and be sure to write a trip report!
Tuxedocat is offline  
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