St.John US Virgin Islands
Why go to St.John Virgin Islands ?
There are three reasons most people come to St. John or other US Virgin Islands: beaches, beaches and beaches.
Virgin islands is a popular destination for Americans looking for a quick Caribbean getaway once winter arrives.
The island, which sits about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico, has been a U.S. territory since 1917, when we bought it–along with its larger and noisier neighbors, St. Thomas and St. Croix -from Denmark.
Today, St. John, the tiniest, least developed and most beautiful of the three major United States Virgin Islands, is home to around 5,000 people . Apart from iguanas and mongooses, island’s fauna include bats and wild donkeys .
Why St. John is a perfect Caribbean vacation destination
One thing that kept St John untouched , unspoiled and unhurried is is the fact that it is largely off limits to developers : More than half the island is taken up by Virgin Islands National Park , leaving the land dominated by tropical forest and beaches of fine white sand.
Thousands more acres of the surrounding waters – traversed in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, who christened the Virgin Islands in honor of St. Ursula and her 11,000 martyred virgin followers – have been declared a national monument. Trails wind through the ruins of Danish-colonial sugar plantations dating to the 18th century, when sugar, rum and slavery ruled St. John and the rest of the Caribbean.
United States wanted the Virgin Islands for the Navy , and in 1917 Denmark sold it for $25 million.
The North Shore
St. John’s north shore beaches — Hawksnest Bay, Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay, among others — are its most stunning attractions, but they are often congested during high season. Be ready to take a hike to get to some of the best , tranquil and deserted beaches . Those extra steps are an effective deterrent to large crowds. Closer to Cruz Bay are Honeymoon and Solomon beaches, which are adjacent to Caneel Bay but also accessible on the Lind Point Trailfrom the Virgin Islands National Park visitor center in Cruz Bay.
The campgrounds at Maho Bay and Cinnamon Bay have stores, restaurants and rental equipment.
There are technically no street signs, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem because St. John – the smallest of all US Virgin Islands – is easy to get around. Everyone knows everyone and where everything is.
Caribbean islands are usually known for high prices . Surprisingly , St John is not the case . It does have expensive places like Cancel Bay and the Westin , but there are many cottages and properties for rent at rather reasonable price. You don’t have to be among the rich and famous to enjoy one of the Caribbean’s brightest spots.
At the eastern end of the north shore road, the Annaberg ruins offer a little tour into the island’s history .At Cinnamon Bay, archaeologists are researching pre-Columbian culture dating to 1,000 years ago.
Getting to St.John US Virgin Islands
The only way onto St. John is by boat, usually the ferry from St. Thomas.Dawn to midnight between Red Hook, St. Thomas, and Cruz Bay, St. John, but there are six ferries a day from Cruz Bay to downtown Charlotte Amalie.
From the St. Thomas airport, take a 20-minute taxi ride (about $9) to the dock at Charlotte Amalie, then a 40-minute ferry ($7 a person) to St. John’s Cruz Bay. Or take a 40-minute taxi ride to the St. Thomas town of Red Hook and a 15-minute ferry to St. John.
Many rental agencies are near the ferry in Cruz Bay. It may not be necessary for Americans to carry a passport for travel to the United States Virgin Islands, but it’s recommended.
Once on the island, you can rent a car or take taxis, which resemble open-air shuttle buses – one-way fares max out at about $5-$7 per person.
Cruz Bay St John
Ahead from the dock, you see the small public plaza, with its benches and a dramatic sculpture of a heroic islander blowing into a conch shells.
As St. John’s busiest harbor and a hub for ferries coming from St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands, Cruz Bay is the closest thing St. John has to a city. It is easy to think that you’ve covered Cruz Bay after walking its narrow grid of streets for 20 minutes or so. But the best thing to do is to ask the locals where to go.
Downtown Cruz Bay, the island’s commercial center, is home to about a dozen restaurants, along with a growing number of shops and lodgings.
There are also small inns and guest houses in and around Cruz Bay, as well as a number of private homes and cottages for rent.
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