Saint John’s Travel Tips
St. John’s Island is one of the U.S. Virgin Islands and is located just 40 miles east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. It is a popular destination for US tourists but expensive place to visit. Most of the tourists here tend be couples, families, or people with more disposable income. Most of the island is national park where you can go on lots of treks and see a variety of wildlife. The main draw of the island is the stunning beaches and great resorts that draw people here for relaxing vacations.
- Accommodation: St. John’s doesn’t really do budget hotels and hostels, but campsites are popular and cost around $13 USD per night. Guesthouses are another budget option and prices begin at $50 USD per night. Hotels start around $100 USD per night.
- Food: Lunch and casual meals cost between $15 and $20 USD. Dinners with wine will cost $50 USD. There isn’t many budget food options here. Most hotels and resorts provide free breakfast.
- Transportation: Most of St. John’s is easily walkable and makes for a good stroll. Otherwise, taxis are usually around $6 USD around Cruz Bay.
- Activities: As ever, diving is likely to be the most expensive thing you will do on this island. Expect to pay $90 USD per tank. Entrance to the National Park is $4 USD and $21 USD for a guided tour.
Money Saving Tips
- Camping – The least expensive way to visit St. John’s is to stay on a campsite. These are well equipped with amenities.
- Just Walk - Since the island is so easily walkable, skip getting a taxi and just walk.
- Have a BBQ – Food on the island is expensive but there are a few BBQs dotted about the island which offer delicious food for relatively little money.
Top Things to See and Do
- Beaches – The beautiful beaches are endless on the island of St. John. There are more than 35 in total. Cruz Bay is perhaps a good place to start your tanning. Solomon’s Beach is famous for nudity. Honeymoon beach is nearby and small whereas Hawknest Bay has good snorkeling opportunities and is easy to visit. You can rent tents or bungalows in the woods or near Cinnamon Bay.
- Diving – The island has a lot great dive spots around. The blue warm, crystal clear water provides great opportunities to see tropical fish and coral. Booking in advance can usually get you a discount than booking the day off.
- Watersports – There are all kinds of watersports on St. John. You can windsurf, snorkel, go kayaking, and sailing. Jet skiing and kite surfing are also an option. Really, there’s nothing you can’t do on this tourist catering island.
- Annaberg Ruins – Located on Leinster Bay Road, this is where the Danes maintained a thriving plantation and sugar mill after 1718. Admission is free and the trail to get there is only half a mile long. You can continue your walk along the Leinster Bay Trail.
- Hiking – The Virgin Islands National Park is probably the island’s biggest attraction and has 20 miles of hiking trails. The Leinster Bay trail will bring you past swamps and coral inlets with markers to help you identify animals and plant life. A very popular hike is the Reef Bay Hike. It is 2 1/2 miles long and you get the opportunity to stop at the sugar-mill ruins.
- Helicopter tours – If you’ve brought plenty of savings with you, you can take an aerial tour of the island as well as some neighboring islands. This is definitely one to get the cameras out for – you will experience stunning views and some commentary is included by the pilot. Starting price is $99 USD.
- Boat rentals – Renting a boat lets you visit the island on your own terms. You can bring some snorkeling equipment. Bring lots of food and drink supplies if it is going to be a long day.
- Festivals – St. John’s carnival takes place in late June and traditionally culminates owith a 4th of July Carnival parade. Most of the events take place in the Cruz Bay area. The annual Blues Festival takes place from the 16th to the 20th of March.
- The Tap Room – St. John’s flagship brewery, The Tap Room, is located in Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay. Choose from the likes of Tropical Mango Pale Ale and liquid Sunshine Belgian Wheat Ale.
- Annaberg Plantation – Once an active sugar producing factory, all that is left of this 518 acre plantation is ruins. They are protected by the Virgin Islands National Park, and are open to the public. The windmill is of particular interest and was built between 1810 and 1830.
- Go to the Spa – If you are in the Caribbean, chances are you are on vacation, which means it is time to kick back and relax. Days at the spa are a perfect way to put that plan into full motion. Get a massage and immerse yourself in the serenity of the island lifestyle.
- Maho Bay – This is a popular beach to visit because there is a cheap campground nearby. Host to over 100 tent-cottages, this area is a highly publicized area for eco-tourism.
- Hurricane Hole – This bay is protected by the arms of the many mangrove trees that grow in it. It is an amazing place to go snorkeling, because there is a beautiful and wildly colorful nursery of fish, nestled in the water beneath the trees.