complete, easy-to-use, fun, travel guide to exploring St. John, Virgin Islands.
It tells you exactly where to go, how to get there, and what to do and see
when you arrive.
It has everything you need to know about St. Johnís thirty-nine beaches: swimming beaches, snorkeling beaches, nude beaches, sunbathing beaches, lovely deserted beaches, rough and windswept beaches.
It has in-depth, step-by-step information on dozens of local hiking trails Ė from ten minute shady downhill strolls to rugged, sun-drenched, up and down mountain trails to isolated beaches.
Do you want to get the most out of your vacation while walking, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and touring St. John? Then this is the book for you!
(140 pages, with numerous maps)
You've made it to the island - your long awaited vacation in the American Paradise is about to begin. You're standing on the ferry dock or sitting on your balcony admiring the view. Now what?
St. John is not large, not very developed, not very populous, and not very sophisticated. If your idea of a dream vacation features glitzy nightlife, tons of shopping, noisy casinos and lots of people - you are on the wrong island.
However, if you have arrived on St. John in search of natural beauty, friendly people, a vibrant community, and a pristine environment - then you are in exactly the right place.
Why? Because St. John is unique. It has a distinctly different history than St. Thomas, St. Croix or Tortola. There are subtle reasons for this - cultural, tribal, geographic, and agricultural reasons. St. Johnians have always taken pride in their well-deserved reputation for being fiercely independent, self-sufficient, and community-minded. What other tiny tropic island would refer to its only town as 'Love City?'
Another reason St. John is so unique is because of the National Park. Over half the island falls within its protective boundaries. No other island in the Caribbean has expended so much money, time, talent, careful thought, and hard labor to ward off the corrosive influence of modern man.
You say you want beaches? There are 39 of them - big ones, little ones, crowded ones, and lonely ones. There are beaches for sunbathing, beaches for beachcombing, and beaches for snorkeling. We've got sandy bays, rocky bays, mangrove bays and even salt ponds. There are beaches which are only two steps from your car, and beaches that you can only get to by hiking a long way. A few of our beaches have shops, snack bars and facilities - but most are splendidly undeveloped and natural.
No matter how idealized your expectations of the 'perfect tropical beach' may be - we've got a beach which will meet or exceed them. Guaranteed.
Hiking? St. John has ten minute and all day trails, easy trails and rather hard trails - and trails to historic ruins, isolated beaches, and salt ponds teeming with birds. There are over 20 miles of trails just in the park alone.
As for historic sites, there are ruins of five windmills on the island, old sugar cane factories, plantation Great Houses, mysterious petroglyphs, and even the landmarks of one of the most important slave insurrections in the world.
St. John roads snake alongside some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, and regularly offer breathtaking views of both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Taxis are available to take you to some of the more popular beaches, but the best way to fully explore St. John is by rental jeep.
There are many curve-by-curve 'jeep tours' within this book, and one of them is just right for you, whether you're able to spend an active day or a leisurely month exploring the island.
We do, of course, have night life and shopping - and we certainly know how to party. Cruz Bay has a wide variety of shops, restaurants and bars but you don't need a guide book for that - just wander around town and enjoy. Wednesdays and Fridays are the biggest nights for live bands, but there's usually music somewhere on other nights. Special events, like a fish fry or benefit dance or baseball game or kite flying contest or historical lecture are advertised by posters all over town.
OK, now where are the beaches, the ruins, the protected forests and the trails? What should you do if you've only got one day? How can you get around the island?
That's what this book is for - to tell you what's out there, how to get to it, how to find it and how to enjoy it.
Welcome to St. John. Have fun exploring.
Salt Pond Road is on the "other side" of St. John and has some beautiful white sandy beaches, just like the North Shore Road, but also offers some other styles of beach design. The beaches reached by this road, in order from Coral Bay are: Johnson Bay, Friis Bay, Drunk Bay, Salt Pond Beach, Ram Head Trail Beach, Great Lameshur, Little Lameshur, Europa Bay and Reef Bay.
Since these beaches are on the east and south shores, they are protected from the Northern Swells (St. John's version of a blizzard). So if you can't snorkel the North Shore because of northern swells, it will be calm at Salt Pond and Lameshur.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Taxis do not normally go to Coral Bay or Salt Pond. They never go on the Lameshur Road. Check with your hotel or campground's activities desk to see if there is a Salt Pond Trip. Otherwise, you are going to need a rental jeep to go to any of these beaches. The road to Lameshur Bay (seriously!) requires four-wheel drive and many rental companies prefer that you don't take their cars to Lameshur. It is possible to walk the last part of the road to the beach (about 1 mile over a hot, steep hill).
It takes about 1 hour to get from Cruz Bay to Salt Pond, so it's possible to do this trip in a half day. However, there is so much to do at Salt Pond and Lameshur that it's better to make a full day of it, maybe even stopping for dinner at one of the restaurants in Coral Bay on the way back.
MOST FACILITIES: Little Lameshur, Salt Pond Bay
SHORT HIKE REQUIRED FROM ROAD: Salt Pond Bay
LONG HIKE REQUIRED FROM ROAD: Drunk Bay, Ram Head Trail Beach, Europa Bay, Reef Bay
WIDE, LONG SANDY BEACHES: Salt Pond Bay, Little Lameshur, Reef Bay
ROCKY BEACHES: Johnson Bay, Drunk Bay, Ram Head Trail Beach, Great Lameshur, Europa Bay
DIFFICULT SWIMMING, GREAT BEACHCOMBING: Drunk Bay
LOTS OF PEOPLE: none, (Little Lameshur and Salt Pond Bay will have the most people, maybe 30 on a really busy day).
REEFS TO SNORKEL: all except Drunk Bay
BEST SNORKELING: Salt Pond Bay
DIFFICULT ROAD TO REACH: Great Lameshur, Little Lameshur, Europa, Reef Bay.
Copyright by Pam Gaffin. All rights reserved.