St John Trip Report

Jan 24th, 2000, 01:58 PM
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St John Trip Report

Just returned from 6 days on St John. A big thanks to all the posters on this board, your insights were invaluable. To return the favor (and keep the trip alive for a while longer) a trip report follows. Post here with any questions.

1. Flight into STT USVI, ferry from Redhook STT to Cruz Bay St John. Return ferry via Charlotte Amelia. Terminal to dock, the Redhook trip is shorter. Returned via C.A. as we had a morning checkout and an afternoon flight. The little I saw of STT, I must agree with all the posts as between STT versus STJ. St John is my pick—not even a contest. Anyway, if you find yourself with a few hours AND your luggage in C.A., a cab driver will hold the bags and pick you up at a designated place and time, leaving you free to walk about town. There are supposed to be lockers near the ferry dock, but I think they are closed on Sunday.

2. Rented a jeep (Denzel Klien) A must if you want to explore at your own pace. You can cab (or bus it), but not at your pace, when and where you want. The 1st jeep we had (St John’s Rental) was open air. We swapped it for a model with doors and locks, so we could leave some things in at the beach without worrying. Lots of signs regarding not leaving valuables in your jeep, the jeep with locks just seems safer in this regard. Next time I would be sure in advance to get something that locks.

3. Stayed at Cruz Views (CV 10). Just up a hill above Cruz Bay. The jeep was a must to get up this hill. Although you could no doubt walk it, it would get old doing it more than once a day (even then it may get old by the second or third day). Rented by Caribbean Villa, although we coordinated through At Your Service Travel, which I think is also on the Island. Theresa from At Your Service was a big help (800/854-1843). CV was a great place to stay. Clean, cozy and convenient to town. I agree with the recommendations about staying somewhat close to Cruz Bay, near most of the restaurants in town and other places to buy/rent things for your stay.

4. Beaches. The beaches on St John are, in a word: AWSOME. Most of the time we were there, a "disturbance" was churning the water on the north side of the island. This made things a little windy at times, and a little cloudy. Still, the north shore beaches were incredible. The snorkeling was not great at the beaches as a result of the disturbance. Still, we went to Trunk (a must see, if a little crowded), Hawksnest (another must see, and less crowded) and Francis (arguably the most beautiful of the three- and much less crowded). Also on the north shore, we went to Waterlemon to snorkel, without a doubt the best snorkeling we did (the left side of the island was great). Well worth the walk (about 10-15 minutes from the parking lot) and the swim (about 5-10 minutes from the closest point). For whatever reason, the water here was clear even though it was on the north shore. After the 1st day, we ended up every day on the south side beach at Salt Pond. This is also one of the longest beaches we saw. Perhaps the north shore weather was driving the sea up the sand and reducing the length of those beaches (??). Even though its a small island, Salt Pond on the south side was sunny when the north shore was cloudy. Also, because the winter "disturbance" comes in from the north, the water here was calm and clear. Great snorkeling on both sides of Salt Pond beach, up the left and around the point was best. We rented snorkeling gear when we got in town from the place in the shopping center near the gas station. Fine rental gear.
5. Restaurants. Favorite without a doubt was Lime Inn (the fish was great, as was the portobello sandwich—don’t skip dessert). Morgan Mango’s is next on the list (great frozen drinks and great food). The Fish Trap was ok and I thought the pizza at Café Roma was overrated. The one place we went that was not recommended by other posters was Ellington’s, which was ok, but not worth the price. Also, we picked up a boxed lunch which was fantastic from the place that is Andre’s at night, I think it's Billy something (sorry—also next door to the place we rented the snorkeling gear and across the street from the gas station).
6. Hope this is helpful. Now, where do I go next?
Jan 26th, 2000, 09:23 AM
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Thanks for the detailed trip report. We are considering a trip to St. John for later this year and your impressions are very helpful to know.

Regarding where to go next, I don't know what you're interested in, but we loved Costa Rica in '99 (especially central & southern Pacific coasts) and St. Lucia (southwest/Soufriere area) in '98 -- both were fantastic. I highly recommend both of them, especially since you seem to like unspoiled or less-touristy places. Beaches & snorkeling can't live up to St. John but St. Lucia does have some good beaches & snorkeling, and they are both incredibly lush, mountainous, beautiful tropical countries with great food and friendly locals. Costa Rica has monkeys & toucans and more wildlife than you can count, and a few nice beaches too. I have posted trip reports on both of these (St. Lucia here, CR on the Latin America forum).

Good luck!
Jan 26th, 2000, 01:32 PM
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Larry: Your trip sounds great. I'm am planning on returning to St. John this year (2nd trip). We didn't rent a jeep last time, but are absolutely going to this time. Can you expand on Salt Pond and/or any other beaches in that general area? I'm very familiar with North Shore. Also, one restaurant that never get's mentioned on this post is "La Tapa" right in the center of Cruz Bay, next to Woodies. This was my best dining experience. Thanks!
Feb 5th, 2000, 01:57 PM
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Really enjoyed reading about your trip to St John. Am going there myself but am unsure about whether to stay at one of the resorts or in a villahousecondo. Please email me with more details.
Feb 6th, 2000, 08:03 AM
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We did not see the resorts, so I really cant's compare. Everything I have read suggests that Caneel is wonderful and worth it if you can (or want to) spend it . For us it came down to price. For less that a week stay, we had limited options, but Cruz Views was less than 1/2 cost of the resorts. For a one week stay, the choices really open up. Note that with condo/villa rental you can get daily housekeeping and other resort type services. The only thing I would add is to try and stay within a short (10 minutes or so) distance of Cruz Bay if you plan to eat dinner out every night.
Feb 6th, 2000, 12:23 PM
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Larry we went to ST John a few years ago and loved it. Last year we went to Anguilla you may want to look into it .Its not a very lush island but the beaches and people are great there are about 30 beaches most times we had them to ourselves.This year we are going to virgin gorda so we can let you know.
Mar 21st, 2000, 08:40 AM
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I have to agree with an earlier Post on LATAPA - it was one of my favorite restaurants in St. John. Where do they find those FRESH veggies? The only place that served them. This island is the BEST of any place we have been including Hawaii. The only area I did not care for was Salt Pond, which everyone else raves about. The water was murky, little bugs everywhere and no breeze. Villa renting has become a must for us after doing it in St. John. We won't ever go back to a resort again, unless it is some place like St. Lucia or Jamaica where you really need all inclusive. /safety.
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