St.Thomas St. John

Old May 18th, 2013, 07:44 PM
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St.Thomas St. John

My husband I NEED a trip to unwind and recover. We are celebrating 20 years of marriage this year and I want to go to a place that offers beauty and peace. We have had 3 great losses this year and we need recovery time.
We know NOTHING about either location. We are 50+ and active. We need your experience to guide us.

Tamie
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Old May 19th, 2013, 06:03 AM
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hi tamie, i'm sorry you've had a rough year.

best of the best is caneel bay resort on st. john. definitely peaceful & beautiful with seven beaches on the property. good snorkeling & hiking on st. john.

st. thomas is a very busy island with great duty free shopping & not much peace & quiet with exceptions of high end ritz or mid-range secret harbour beach resort.

really need to know more about your style, what activities you enjoy & a specific price you're willing to pay for accomodations to give useful advice. when will you travel? how long to stay? is fancy food important? would you consider other islands? do you have passports?
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Old May 19th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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Tamie: I would also want to know what sorts of activities you want to experience. Do you want a hotel, a condo or an individual villa? Are you looking for night life or quiet contemplation? Are you sailors, hikers or the "sit on the beach" type?

I would have to disagree with virginia about St Thomas. There are plenty of places that will provide peace and quiet. ;-)
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Old May 19th, 2013, 04:51 PM
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I agree with Virginia that St. John would offer more peace and quiet than St. Thomas. Virgin Gorda in the BVI would be even better if time permits. It would help to know any budget constraints. Would you consider a villa?
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Old May 20th, 2013, 01:53 PM
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St john all the way
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Old May 20th, 2013, 03:42 PM
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St John is the much more quiet island. You'd likely come thru St. Thomas and take the ferry over.

If you have a passport, you might also look at some other islands. USVI is one of the places I've only been once and it didn't wow me like some other destinations I love (Jamaica, Hawaii, Mexico).
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Old May 21st, 2013, 06:36 AM
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St John IMHO, is 100 times better than St Thomas. 2/3s of the island is protected & undeveloped. Small secluded beaches that literally are meant for magazine covers. Amazing snorkeling from shore. Excellent choice of restaurants. Perfectly safe to travel around the island on your own exploring all the different beaches. And for the ultimate "unwind & recover" situation, you have a plethora of private villas to choose from. St Thomas has some okay areas, but really can't hold a candle to St John as far as quiet & beauty goes.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 11:06 AM
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+1 for St John. There are 2 resorts - Caneel and the Weston. Caneel would be my preference. But there are also LOTS of beautiful villas for rent. A villa affords you privacy and the chance to really unwind at your own pace. And many of the villas have pools/hot tubs to speed your recovery. Coral Bay is the quiet side of St John. If you find yourselves in Coral Bay - try Aqua Bistro. The chef, MJ, is one of the best on the island.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 07:54 PM
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I just returned from trekking the U.S. Virgin Islands. I would never go back. It has Aspen, CO prices and it has no island vibe. I think many people go there thinking its safe because its part of the U.S. and is safe.

Lets start with the water. All sewage is pumped or leaches into the ocean. Its legal for ships to just dump gray and black water anywhere which you smell around any port or marina.

Next its not what I'd call friendly. Don't get me wrong not everybody but for the most part. Most are nice if they want your money but there are good people there just like anywhere.

The taxi drivers will try to rip you off. Get the price to your destination and halfway there put the cash in the center console. This will help you avoid them trying to change the price at your destination.

Prices are so high everywhere its a joke. On popular Cokie Beach in the off season a coke and two hot dogs runs 20.00 from a slum like beach side shanty.

Oh and you have a good chance of being robbed or killed at this beach by the locals. Also just off this beautiful reef its littered with trash, broken beer bottles, well you get the idea. Also be gone before dark no matter how tough you think you are.

On to St. John. What can I say its mostly nature reserve. That's good but plan on $60.00 to pitch your tent and sleep with one eye open.

With all this said keep in mind I'm 6' 210 lbs and have been trained to fight very well. I was not messed with much but had to keep my guard up at all times. I was alone thankfully I did not have a female to worry about. I was spearing my own fish and have seen some of the worst places in the world. I mention this because I know all the ways to fly under the radar and not stand out and I still never really let my guard down in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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Old Oct 4th, 2013, 05:56 AM
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Geez Mr noinfotoday.....

Not sure how you managed to see the USVI as such a bad place. I agree that Coki beach isn't the best place around, but if you base a lot of your opinion on that one spot, you really missed the boat. "Good chance of being robbed or killed"??? Please provide all the news articles of robbings & killings of tourists you have to make such a statement. Sure common sense is definitely needed in parts of STT, but your statements are beyond overboard.

St John is one of the most beautiful islands in the caribbean. It is very safe to venture out on your own. Most people don't go to STJ to "pitch a tent"....and "sleeping with one eye open" doesn't paint a very realistic picture of this island. I have never heard such a negative view of STJ in any reviews I've read. I would bring my entire family there without even giving it a second thought.

Perhaps you'll find safer areas around Disney?
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Old Oct 4th, 2013, 06:14 PM
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Hmm, I smell troll...

" All sewage is pumped or leaches into the ocean. Its legal for ships to just dump gray and black water anywhere which you smell around any port or marina." Uh..no.

"Oh and you have a good chance of being robbed or killed at this beach by the locals." What is a good chance? 1 in 1,000,00?

" I was spearing my own fish..." And I am sure you were following the local laws.

" I know all the ways to fly under the radar and not stand out..." and yet they were all trying to rob and kill you?
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Old Oct 8th, 2013, 11:01 AM
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I agree eastender.....noinfotoday obviously has some sort of agenda. His post is full of complete BS.
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Old Oct 8th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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Though I don't agree with all of what noinfotoday stated, I do agree with some. I didn't care for St. Thomas either. I agree that the Island is just down right dirty. We saw tons of trash and junk heap piles everywhere especially on the side of the roads. Though nothing happened to us, I didn't get that "safe" vibe, like I have in other destinations. We saw plenty of locals drinking and smoking weed on the beaches. There has been plenty of news articles regarding crime there. Just Google it and see for yourselves. We thought the snorkeling in St. Thomas and St. Jon was overly hyped especially after being to other destinations. I agree also we didn't run into many friendly locals. The cab drivers, as well as the tourists brave enough to rent a car there, drive like crazy people. We saw several wrecks.

Most people on this forum love St. John. Many are repeat visitors. St. John to us was a bit too rustic and boring. But, if you're looking for a quite getaway with nothing much else to do, then it's a good option.

Is St. Thomas/St. John your only options? They're are way better Caribbean Islands to spend your vacation on than those. IMHO
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Old Oct 8th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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KVR,

If you think the snorkeling on STJ is "overly-hyped"....I think you may have missed the good spots. You & I have been to several of the same areas for good snorkeling such as Grand Cayman, Riviera Maya, etc......and trust me, STJ has some incredible areas to snorkel if you get away from the tourist spots.

I'm not a huge fan of STT either, but it does have some beautiful areas. Charlotte Amaile is certainly not one of them. But as with anywhere, get off the beaten path, and you'll find the beauty.
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Old Oct 9th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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Bassguy66, we didn't see it like that and we spent time in several areas. Felt the same way about the snorkeling in Curacao also. We will probably never go back to find out any different. I did not like it and wouldn't waste my hard earned money going back. I even decided against a cruise we've been wanting to do out of San Juan as all routes go to St. Thomas.
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Old Oct 9th, 2013, 03:10 PM
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I will say the snorkeling on St John was a lot better when we visited in 1999 and in 2004. We went last year and the snorkeling was still good but a noticeable difference from our previous trips. I later read in Feet, Fins & Four Wheel Drive that "Global warming is also the cause of the 2005 coral die off - 50% of our coral died that year".
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Old Oct 10th, 2013, 07:48 AM
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KVR,

I found the snorkeling at popular spots like Trunk Bay horrible....all bleached coral, and way too crowded. The easier to get to spots like Maho, and a few others are also average at best. If you go to places like Salt Pond Bay, and swim out a (couple hundred) yards, it's amazing out there. Haulover bay is tough to access, but the reefs were fantastic. Waterlemon Cay is an island that was about 150-200 yard swim, but surrounded by soft corals and tons of life. Not sure if you made it to any of these, but they are great snorkeling areas, just tougher to access. If you did, and didn't like them, I guess we'll agree to disagree.
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Old Oct 10th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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Stevie,

We went in 06/07, and saw the bleaching at Trunk Bay.....but by getting away from the easy access spots, there is plenty of great reefs left on STJ....just have to work a little harder to get to them.
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Old Oct 10th, 2013, 01:36 PM
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I would have to think anyone who thinks this is a great place and made comments to my post has a hidden agenda but more likely deep pockets. Agreed stay in a nice resort and its no worries. Backpack it and things change. Nobody would disagree that cookie beach is a dump. Also as far as the laws it is legal to spear fish. Common sense applies here. (aka populated areas). Disney Land, really? Wow! Yes you safe in the tourist spots (or should I say to Disneyland the resorts) and that is fine. My message is meant for backpackers and travelers who are island hopping and really want to get off the road less traveled.
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Old Oct 10th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Oh and by the way were do you think the sewage goes. Show me on a goggle map. Here wise guy go to St. Thomas. Lets just pick Emerald beach at the Best Western. Walk down the steps halfway between all the buildings and u will notice a strange trench in the sand. Go put your nose in it. Also visit a marina and jump in the water. Hum smells like sewage.

You have seen Disneyland and you can find it anywhere in the world. You just have to pay for it. This place is not echo friendly on a whole. Also you ate dinner at a resort. I cooked mine on a beach at dark. Probably we have seen a different side of the island life.

To clear it up yes its beautiful, yes it has problems. Thank everybody for your comments. I have been over critical. From your point of view I understand how you disagree. This was not a review for everybody.
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