lobstaroll123
(Traveler)
08/26/13 08:10 PM
24.91.53.168
St John

We are taking our first trip to St. John in just under 7 weeks. We will be staying at the Westin. Please give us any suggestions for places to visit, things to do, and restaurants to visit. We have spent 17 years going to SXM but our first to St. John and want to enjoy it as so many posters have just raved about it. Many thanks.

sxmsandbum
(Traveler)
08/26/13 09:40 PM
75.13.160.176
Re: St John

We too have been going to SXM for 20+ years and making our first visit to STT with a side trip to STJ next spring. Looking forward to your trip report and any suggestions made.

TomB
(Traveler)
08/26/13 10:41 PM
173.44.65.17
Re: St John

Welcome to the USVI

Both STT and STJ are very different from SXM.
I will not compare and contrast and try to stay focused on question at hand.

Both islands have a nightlife, but the day time is what is all about.
ST Thomas (STT) is more active after the sun goes down, but no casinos etc..

Snorkeling off the beach is amazing so I hope you guys are swimmers.

There are no umbrellas, chairs, or beach bars on the beaches, especially STJ, because the beaches are shady naturally with local trees and bushes and part of the National Park. Most villas provide chairs and coolers.

Highly recommend a day trip over to Jost Van Dyke. It can be done by a day sail or a ferry ride. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Our favorite is to get a private boat like Palm Tree Charters and go wherever you want with a knowledgeable Capt. Little pricey for two great for six

Much like SXM, it is all best to pay attention to the cruise ship schedule to avoid crowds on certain beaches on certain days.

The drink of the USVI is a Bushwacker
The drink of the BVI (in case you do a day trip) is a Pain Killer

You will be driving on the Left Side of the Road. KEEP LEFT!
(Really not that hard)

If you like to hike STJ has some amazing trails
If you like to shop STT was made for you

Just a heads up for the Westin folks. A nice resort, but it is one of the few places on the island that actually has grass and is built on a manmade beach. Beautiful Pool.
To find the beauty of STJ a rent-a-car is a must!
For that matter STT you need a rent-a-car also.

I will let someone else jump in.


BEERMAN
(Traveler)
08/26/13 11:24 PM
71.178.50.20
Re: St John

I have a trip report from March in the archives if you're interested in reading it.

The Westin is a nice resort and you'll love it there, but get out and explore the whole island. Check the cruise ship schedule and if you can pick a day with zero or at least minimal ships in port go to Trunk Bay.



Cinnamon Bay is a nice beach with bath houses, outdoor restaurant/cafeteria, small store, and there's a beach shack with drinks and chairs you can rent if you like.

Maho Bay is our favorite and it has restrooms now but no other amenities except for the beauty! Look up my trip report Blue Moon on the BVI forum for photo's, I think it's day 9 and conclusion.

If you have a jeep try Francis Bay and Leinster Bay to get away from the crowds. Leinster is about a mile walk on a flat trail, easy. Waterlemon Cay is out there and the snorkeling is great. You'll also find the Annenberg Ruins there and it's worth the visit.

In Cruz Bay check out Mongoose Junction and Wharfside Village for shopping.

Cruz Bay restaurants, Lime Inn is a must for lobster or whole blackened snapper! The Beach Bar at Wharfside has great bar food and the location in the harbor is great.

We really like Skinny Legs, Shipwreck Landing, Island Blues, Sweet Plantains and Aqua Bistro on the Coral Bay side.

There's A LOT to see!


stevemac
(Traveler)
08/27/13 03:59 PM
50.157.163.183
Re: St John

All of the beaches are amazing and Cruz Bay is fun at night. Definitely get a car and drive the whole island. The most popular hike is from the Nat'l Park Center over to Salomon Beach. We went 1st thing in the morning (take some water) and had the beach to ourselves for a few hours. We saw a green stingray and a turtle swimming along the shoreline. Snorkeling was pretty good on the right (east)side. There's a store within walking distance from the Westin for room snacks etc. Westin pool is very nice. We also had a fun day snorkeling and over to Jost with Surf Safaris, google 'em up and see if it's a good fit for you.

TomB
(Traveler)
08/27/13 04:36 PM
65.207.86.2
Re: St John

stevemac reminded me of something... Get an underwater camera or housing for your camera. Lots of fun!



Here is a quick tour around the beaches of St John. Starts at Cruz Bay and goes clockwise around the island. Well it is not all of them, but some them... I did this about 3 years ago and probably should update with more beaches and better pictures, but you will get a sense for what you are in for. Enjoy



The Beaches of St John


MissinStT
(Traveler)
08/27/13 05:10 PM
207.193.242.50
Re: St John

We love St. John here are some things not mentioned above:

Get the Fun, Fins, and Four Wheel Drive book. It has a ton of great ideas and directions.

We did the Reef Bay Hike through the Park Service. It was about $25-$30 pp and was well worth it. You park at the National Park building in Cruz Bay and they take you up to the top of the trail by taxi. From there you take a guided hike down the trail to the beach where a boat brings you back to Cruz Bay. Along the way the Ranger will speak about the flora and fauna with a stop at the Petroglyphs too. At the bottom of the trail are the ruins of the old sugar mill. Really a great time and very informative.

We also hit Dennis Bay Beach this year and found it to be beautiful. Not crowded at all we practically had the beach to ourselves on a Sunday afternoon. It is a short hike down from the Peace Hill parking lot. We were able to take a cooler and chairs so it's not too tough.

We hit up Spyglass in Warfside Village for happy hour this trip and really enjoyed it. They offer several apps for $5 and have drink specials too. The staff was fun and friendly and the view is great.

We did La Tapa too this trip and really enjoyed that meal.

Welcome to the USVI and have a blast.
Chip


**DONOTDELETE**
(Unregistered)
08/27/13 09:47 PM
70.196.68.72
Re: St John

Wow, just wow. Thanks for posting this.

BEERMAN
(Traveler)
08/27/13 09:52 PM
71.178.50.20
Re: St John

Post some photo's for the STJ first timers! This is Cinnamon Bay. The building is a small museum for the ongoing archaeological dig and attached to it is a small shop with BEER, shirts, chair rentals etc. You can rent water sport equipment here as well.




RickinAtlanta
(Traveler)
08/27/13 10:03 PM
76.20.230.6
Re: St John

That looks like the old empty building we used to put our cooler on the deck and stand in the water and just bask in the beauty??

maytrix
(Traveler)
08/28/13 04:22 PM
38.111.3.130
Re: St John

We stayed at the Westin for a week with friends. We had a Jeep for the week and ended up going to a different beach each day. It was a great way to spend the week and we had a blast!

surf
(Traveler)
08/28/13 04:27 PM
108.124.77.148
Re: St John

What was the original name of the Westin? I was there for the big opening party but cant remember the name?

BEERMAN
(Traveler)
08/28/13 05:19 PM
174.252.99.155
Re: St John

Grand Hyatt?

surf
(Traveler)
08/28/13 08:55 PM
108.111.106.250
Re: St John

It just came to me..Virgin Grand

lobstaroll123
(Traveler)
08/31/13 10:47 PM
24.91.53.168
Re: St John

You are all amazing. Thank you for all of your suggestions. Can't wait to go.
Will post a trip report when we return.



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