St John

Aug 14th, 2008, 04:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 8
St John

I have already paid for my airfare and villa on St John. Now a friend of mine is talking about some crime incidents he experienced while down there. Also he mentioned that the people native to St. John hate white tourists. I am bringing my 70 year old parents and my 12 year old twin girls there and now I am concerned that it isn't going to be safe. Any thoughts?
evcobe is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 312
Sorry, I was just curious as to where you are staying? Thanks.
chgeeb is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 04:54 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 8
I am staying at Island Manor at Hart Bay
evcobe is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 04:58 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,085
St. John, like every place in the world, has crime. But it is hardly what I would consider a dangerous place. If you exercise reasonable caution, you should be fine. Reasonable caution, by the way, includes locking the doors of your villa at night.

St. John natives do not hate white tourists, but common courtesy is a big issue when you go to the Caribbean, and people will get particularly bristly when you don't show it. I can't even begin to say how important it is that you acknowledge people, smile, and say good morning or good afternoon when you walk into an establishment. And goodbye when you leave. And dress and act appropriately. Beach attire is suitable only at the beach, not in town.

I'm curious, though, about the "crime incidents" your friend experienced. Crime in general seems to be on an upward swing throughout many islands in the Caribbean, but I have not heard of any recent serious incidents in St. John.
doug_stallings is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 04:58 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Not true we have been based on St John since 2000 we are from Maryland and we love the island great place to go,we spend 8 months a year on island
garyvanhoven is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 06:06 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 15
We spent the past two summers vacationing on STJ with teenage daughters. We rented a car and traveled the entire island both times. There was never a time when I felt unsafe, but you must use common sense just as you would anywhere else. I'm not going to tell you STJ is a perfect place with no crime. But, I will say that as long as you use good judgement (as you would anywhere else), you will have a wonderful time.

Don't roam around late at night when stores and restaurants are closed. Lock your doors and windows at night and when you're away, lock your car, and don't leave valuables unattended on the beaches. These are normal precautions folks take even at home.

While there is probably some racial tension (as there is elsewhere), I certainly never felt I was hated because I'm a white tourist. The West Indian culture lends itself to a slow pace of life and the local people are a bit more reserved and modest. It's their nature and should be respected.

While you are there, be sure to greet people in stores and on the street with Good Morning, Good Day, and Good Evening. I love the response I receive and wish it were practiced more in the states. Keep beach wear at the beach and wear appropriate clothing in town. The residents don't want to see tourists running around half dressed. It's their home, not a resort.

I would not hesitate to go back again. As a matter of fact, I plan on returning as much as possible and would bring parents, children, and friends.

Two really good books you might want to buy, if you haven't already, are "Feet, Fins, and Four-wheel Drive" by Pam Gaffin and "St. John Off The Beaten Track" by Gerald Singer.

Have a great trip!

pjayer is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 06:21 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 15
evcobe - I found this post on VINOW ( It's a question asked by a STJ tourist and is an answer from a STJ resident.

Even to a direct question of "places to avoid," some posters will always tell you that STJ is clearly safer, cleaner, and better than Nirvana. It is in the nature of the people who want their memories and remembrances of STJ to be perfect-unfortunately it is not very helpful particularly in response to an inquiry to a forum.

STJ is a remarkably safe place for most people and most behaviors-that was STT Resident's real point. I will add a couple other warnings. As in most places in the world, wandering aimlessly around after closing time is never a good idea. In particular the area around Pine Peace Market (my favorite store) and the basketball court should be avoided after the store closes; most of Cruz Bay for that matter gets sketchy after the restaurants and bars close.

Not all locals in STJ are black. Race aside, do not let any confrontation with a local escalate to an altercation!

Do not think that because you are near the police station late at night that you are safer-it is an area to avoid late at night.

There are a few street people in Cruz Bay who may come up to you. Even though they are usually harmless, as a first time visitor you would be best to avoid them.

Guidebooks and villa manuals are all pretty good about informing guests of precautions to take to minimize burglaries. Read them and believe them.

Since many posters will never say anything negative about STJ; reading the forums may give you a sense that STJ is all good. While that is mostly true, it is not totally true. Be prudent and it is very unlikely that you will have any problems.

pjayer is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,532
evcobe: I don't agree that posters do not say negative things about STJ. I recall many reports that said they found the locals surly or just not friendly. We have a home there and I have to say not everyone is friendly. And there are always some nut-bags who are hatemongers and nay-sayers. But that just means it's like anywhere else. There has been greater racial tension over the past few years due to a handful of horrible crimes (mostly not against tourists and not because of tourists). It's a complicated sociopolitical scenario, but it hasn't changed STJ from being one of the best destinations anywhere. Every now and then, someone might say something politically incorrect, but there isn't a trend of hate crimes. STJ is a real place. It isn't one big resort. Many tourists tend to forget that they cannot expect cordial service and welcoming smiles everywhere they go on the island. IMO, that kind of attitude is exactly what breeds resentment in people who live there no matter what ethnicity. Could you imagine what it would be like to live in a tourist attraction like DisneyWorld? That being said, most locals are pretty nice when approached with courtesy and respect. I've also come across the few jerks who are thoughtless and rude as well. As for your friend's experience with crime, I wonder what they were? Was he mugged? Did he experience theft? Those crimes do happen but are not prevalent. I have never experienced any truly negative incidents on STJ, which doesn't mean I don't think I could. I lock my car and house doors and take all other sensible precautions. I brought my 70 year old parents before, and our 5 year old has been going to STJ since infancy and plays with visiting and local kids. Chances are your family will have a wonderful, safe time.
Tuxedocat is offline  

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