St. John: Get Lost in This Breathtaking Jewel of the Caribbean
Beautiful pristine white beach, crystal clear water, ruins, petroglyphs, divine nature, all set amongst modern luxuries; it must be St. John in the Caribbean! Nearly 60 percent of the island of St. John is a National Park, and offers some of the most amazing water sports, land activities, history, great food, good shopping, and a culture that will make you want to extend your family vacation well beyond the time that you will spend here. The small island has the feel of being much more secluded than the other islands that are a part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, so use this time to unplug for the ordinary and explore the extraordinary. Get lost in the aqua blue waters, get lost in time, and get lost in this breathtaking jewel of the Caribbean.
Life’s a Beach and There’s Lots of Them in St. John
Beaches, beaches, beaches. They’re some of the greatest on the planet, and there’s plenty of options. Being a relatively small island, encompassing less than 20 square miles, you can check out a handful of the beaches. After all, there’s not quite like beach hopping to lift the weight of the world off of your back, and quickly get you into vacation mode. Some of the most popular spots worthy of a visit include:
Cinnamon Bay, Francis Bay, Hawksnest Beach, Honeymoon Beach, Jumbie Bay, Leinster Bay, Maho Bay, Salt Pond Bay, and Trun Bay. If traveling with a family, Maho Bay is a good choice, as it’s very family friendly, a local hangout, and calm and shallow waters. For something a little more remote, head over to Honeymoon Beach (accessible by boat and hiking trail). A visit to Trunk Bay, which is one of the most popular beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands will absolutely knock your socks off, by its stunning beauty, powder soft sand and outrageously good snorkeling opportunities.
Yes, the beaches have a way of sucking you in and make you wish that you never have to leave the warm sand that finds itself under your feet, but somehow, someway, you will have to branch out a bit to explore some of the incredible land activities that also await you on the island. Get your hiking boots ready, get them lace up, and begin to check out one of the many hiking trails throughout the island. From novice, to more experienced, the difficulty level is there for just about everyone looking to set out into nature.
But what if you don’t feel like hiking, and walking through this Caribbean forest of natural beauty? Well, then you’re in luck! Up until the 1950’s, the residents of St. John got around by traveling on donkey or horseback, so you have the opportunity to saddle up at the Carolina Corral and explore the island on the back of an animal. Now, let’s say that the waters are too calm, the hike is too slow, and the donkey just does not fill your lust for something a little more adventurous; again, you’re in luck!
How about trying a helicopter tour of the island, and sign up for a 30 minute or hour long tour from above? Caribbean Buzz Helicopters is a great place to sign up for a tour, and whether or not you’re just looking to hover hundreds of feet into the air to look down on this stunningly impressive island, or do some beach drops, this is the place to go.Sit back and relax to the sounds of Calypso music at one of the many beach bungalow bars and cafes that are sprinkled throughout the island, and chow down on some barbecue and jerk chicken. This is the life, no doubt about it.
However, as amazing as the land activities are, and how awesome the powder soft sand feels between the toes, St. John’s Holy Grail of greatness is unquestionably the waters that surround this island jewel. Do not let your trip go by without doing some sort of water activity, because it’s just what you need to do. Rent a boat, charter a yacht, taken a hidden reef tour, or paddle out in a kayak to look down into the abyss. Snorkeling or diving also must be a priority of the trip. St. John is well known for having some of the best waters in the world for these types of activities, so if you have never tried it, or you are a professional diver, these waters will not disappoint.
Dive down into the underworld that is made up of hundreds of different species of fish, sea turtles, starfish, and a colorful world that looks like it was dripped straight down from a Van Gogh painting. This may be reality, but there’s no question that once you dip your head down below the surface to get a glimpse of this alternate reality, you may never want to come up for air.It’s hard to believe that a place really exists. With its breathtaking tranquility, amazingly preserved sites, and laid back vibes, it’s hard to wrap one’s head around the fact that this place is less than a 3 hour plane ride from the mainland of the United States.
You have seen the pictures, you have heard the stories and you have dreamt of this dreamland, but until you land in this paradise, it will not completely sink in just how incredible and how much the island of St. John offers to visitors. Within just a few minutes of landing and then dipping your toes into the 80 degree waters, and relax in an outdoor cabana or atop of a lounged back beach chair, any cares that you may have had will quickly disappear into an entirely new fantasy land. Waste no time to get there, but then waste away once you are there. There’s no need for watches, and dead set agendas; just go with the flow and explore at island’s pace.