5-Days in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
I traded the island of Manhattan for St. John one year after becoming enamored by the crystal blue waters. In fact, I called Cruz Bay home for seven months while I recuperated from the corporate world. A few things have changed due to recent hurricanes, but the resilient spirit of Love City remains to welcome you to the tiny rock. Its stunning beaches and jungles offer all the pleasures of the natural world on one Caribbean island.
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Where to stay
The Westin St. John Resort Villas
Idyllic seaside hotel in St. John located within a private cove with pristine beaches and refreshing swimming pools.
Gallows Point Resort
Private oceanfront hotel that embodies the meaning of Caribbean harbor living with maritime design and unique offerings.
Lovango Resort + Beach Club, St. John
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Day 1: Explore the island
When you first land on St. John, explore the island in a car. It’s a loop, and you’re guaranteed gorgeous vistas everywhere you go. Remember that 75% of the island is National Park territory and undeveloped, so watch out on the road for animals and critters! Additional, most rentals are manual, stick shift; you will need to reserve in advance for an automatic car. There are also no street lights on the island, so try to park before sundown.
Make sure to stop by Trunk Bay, voted one of the world's best beaches. Bring a snorkel! It gets crowded, but it’s worth a stop. Don’t forget to take a picture at the scenic overlook along the way. Maho Bay is another excellent stop for swimming with wild sea turtles. It’s a great spot and a local favorite!
Stop at The Longboard for a drink and a fresh catch-of-the-day on your way back to town.
A note from Meredith
You can only get to St. Thomas by boat. Take the public passenger ferry, the public car ferry, or charter a boat and rent a car on the island. A car is an absolute necessity on the island! Taxis are unreliable and open air.
Day 2: Coral Bay
Venture further out to enjoy a hike. Ram’s Head is a Coral Bay favorite, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Choose sneakers or water shoes as you ascend the mountains! Start early because you don’t want to lose the sun, and the hike is several hours. Take a flashlight if you think it could even remotely get dark while you’re out, and bring bug repellent.
You’ll be too tired for most anything else that day, but try Zozo’s at Caneel Bay for excellent cuisine if you can muster the energy.
A note from Meredith
Bug bites are real on the island, so use your best repellant. However, the island does not approve of spray sunscreen so help protecting the coral reefs by keeping your stay green and clean. The coral reefs are depleted, and the chemicals we add through our sunscreen make it harder to bounce back.
Day 3: Aquatic activity and local nightlife
Hit the water, get snorkeling or get your scuba certificate in St. Johns. Not an active water type? Try grabbing a sail on Kekoa, a handmade wooden catamaran. The black sails are a staple in the Virgin Islands waters and can take you on an adventure to the hot spots like Jost Van Dyke and the Soggy Dollar Bar bar. Don’t want to stamp your passport? Charter a captain and a boat and let them be your private guide. Spend the day at Lovango Cay, grab lunch at a floating pizzeria, and bar hop like you’ve never before.
Day 4: Lobstering with the locals and bioluminescence
Why not try your hand at lobstering? Make friends with your captain or a local, and they’ll give you the scoop. But keep in mind that it’s not easy and is highly physically taxing.
Enjoy a romantic night-in, cooking together or serviced by a private chef to make the night unforgettable. Stargaze, and if you’re feeling extra romantic, take an evening drive with the Jeep top down. It is magical, and you’ll be surprised how many shooting stars you see. Hawk’s Nest Beach is home to bioluminescent phytoplankton if you're feeling extra motivated. The ocean waves glow!
Day 5: Shopping
On your last day, it's time to shop locally. The gold standard for fine handmade jewelry on the island is Bamboo Studio. This shop churns out original solid, recycled gold and sterling silver jewelry that can commemorate your time on the island. They are known for their hook bracelets and charm necklaces, a fun memento for the kids.
Need to Know
It is important to note that travelers should not drink the tap water. It is best to stick to bottled.
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