Saint John (Virgin Islands)
Earth : North America : Caribbean : U.S. Virgin Islands : Saint John (Virgin Islands)
The main community on the island is Cruz Bay, located on the western side of the island.
First settled by Arawak natives and then by Carib natives who drove the Arawaks from the island in 1300. Discovered by Columbus on his second voyage to the "new world" and claimed for Spain. Later owned by the Danish who sold it to the United States in 1917.
It is customary to look all natives in the eyes and greet them with a "Good Morning" in the morning, "Good Afternoon" in the afternoon, and "Good Evening" after 5 pm. It is considered to be respectful.
Hourly ferry service from Red Hook, Saint Thomas (a 20-minute ride) is available to Cruz Bay, St. John and operates from 6:30AM, then hourly from 7AM - midnight. Ferry service from St. John to St. Thomas runs on the hour from 6AM-11PM. Less frequent ferries travel between Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas and Cruz Bay, St. John (a 45-minute ride). Ferries also run to and from Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada (in the British Virgin Islands).
Renting a car is the best way to see all the beaches and other sites. However, be aware that the terrain is extremely hilly, and you have to drive on the left. If you rent a car, it's a good idea to request a Jeep or other four-wheel-drive vehicle. Cab service is affordable and plentiful, especially to the north shore beaches.
The Vitran bus service runs from Cruz Bay over Coral Bay to Salt Pond and back every hour and is a great and affordable (1$ per person) way to cross the island, or to get to any of the numerous hiking trails that start around Centerline Road.
The surrounding woods and brush areas are often populated with wildlife. The park has 140 species of birds, 302 species of fish, 7 species of amphibians, 22 species of mammals and 740 species of plants. The only mammal native to St. John is the bat, and the six species are important pollinators of native plants. The island also has many other species of animals that are not native, including deer, goats, sheep, donkeys, cats, dogs, mongoose and pigs.
Currency, its access, and customs considerations are basically the same as for Saint Thomas. Cruz Bay has a few merchants offering jewelry, liquor and souvenirs, but somewhat more genteel than in most cruise ports. For items that benefit from duty-free importation, prices generally rival those in Saint Thomas. (See this topic for Saint Thomas; most advice applies, though St John is seldom overrun by cruise passengers shopping.)
Island shopping ranges from walk-up drink and food shacks to a stylish, tiered, open-air galleria/mall. Most are in or within easy walking distance of the harbor, e.g., the gallery of shops at Mongoose Junction.
St. John has more than 35 places to dine, ranging from chic and expensive restaurants to funky beachside food stands. After dark the island comes alive with hotel and villa guests seeking out one of the island's cozy and romantic restaurants.
The best cheeseburger in this paradise can be found at Skinny Legs in Coral Bay. Great food, excellent harborside venue, and an excellent place for a cold beer after a busy day of snorkeling. An absolute must even if only visiting the island for a day (or even part of a day).
St John Villa Great Expectations . Treat yourself by reserving your own private St John villa with sensational sunrise and sunset views, swimming pool and hot tub, and your own private basketball and tennis court. This St John villa has 4 Master bedrooms and 3 Guest Bedrooms and is a great setting for both family and friends vacationing together.
Crime is not a major problem in St. John. You will find residential villas and locals are very friendly. The usual common-sense precautions are advised, such as locking your doors, not displaying large amounts of cash, jewelry, or cameras (especially at Waterlemon Cay on the North Side of the island) Never use your car as a safe place for your wallet while at the beach. Otherwise, your stay on St. John should be worry-free.
Take a day sail to the British Virgin Islands - Virgin Gorda, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke - with snorkeling stops along the way. Be sure you have appropriate travel documents to enter the British islands and to return to the United States.