St. John (USVI) Directory
St. John (USVI) Overview
Of all the islands, St John is probably the most unspoiled, thanks to the contribution of one of the world's best known philanthropists, Laurence Rockefeller. Had it not been for Rockefeller's gift of money and his desire to preserve beautiful St John, the landscape would probably look more commercial, much like the other Virgin Islands. More than half of the island is designated as US National Park land, making for a wonderfully unspoiled tropical island with 22 preserved nature trails.
St John CoastLine
In 1956, Rockefeller purchased 5,000 acres from the Danish West Indies Company and gave it to the United States to initiate this preservation project, which celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2001. Within the park are many beautiful beaches, some of them among the most photographed in the Caribbean; it also has a bounty of wildlife, birds and marine life, and provides a clean nesting places for a variety of turtle species.
Virgin Islands National Park, renowned throughout the world for its breathtaking beauty, covers approximately 3/5 of St. John, and nearly all of Hassel Island in the Charlotte Amalie harbor on St. Thomas. Within its borders lie protected bays of crystal blue-green waters teeming with coral reef life, white sandy beaches shaded by seagrape trees, coconut palms, and tropical forests providing habitat for over 800 species of plants.
Trunk Bay, Hawksnest Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Maho Bay are just four of the dozens of beaches. Cruz Bay, the center of activity on St. John, contains colorful shops, lively bars, and fabulous restaurants.
Cruz Bay is the "Downtown" of St. John. Shopping and dining are plentiful, with local artwork, luxury items, and local and international cuisine. The Elaine lone Sprauve Library and Museum near downtown Cruz Bay contains historic artifacts and works created by local artists. Nearby Hawksnest Bay has a pristine beach popular with snorkelers for its nearby reef.
Most accommodations of St. John are located in and around Cruz Bay, the ferry drop-off point from St. Thomas and the location of most of St. John's shopping and dining. Accommodations on the island include luxury all-inclusive resorts, charming inns, and private homes and villas. All lodging is within easy reach of the Virgin Islands National Park and the famous beaches and cays along the north side of the island.
Unlike St. Croix and St. Thomas, St. John offers camping for its visitors. Cinnamon Bay Campground, "the most famous campground in the Caribbean," is just a two-minute walk from Cinnamon Bay Beach. The campground offers equipped cottages and tents as well as basic campsites. The eco-resorts of St. John, including Maho Bay Camps and Concordia Eco-Tents, provide tents with porches, basic kitchens, and beautiful views. Harmony on Maho Bay cottages that run on solar and wind power and are built almost exclusively of recycled materials.
Overall, St John has a small community feel and has managed to stay quaint in spite of controlled tourism development. At one end of the main town of Cruz Bay is the attractive shopping area called Mongoose Junction, built of local stone. Beautifully designed, the Junction includes upscale shops, art galleries and restaurants. The town has a variety of small restaurants, and a couple of inns like the popular Tamarind Court, one of the island's best accommodation values. It's located only three blocks from the main ferry pier.
|St. John Facts|
Travelers with Disabilities:
The Virgin Islands is a difficult destination for travelers with disabilities, but not as difficult as several years ago. Many businesses have made modifications to better serve people with disabilities. When making travel arrangements it is always a good idea to ask questions about accessibility to pools, beaches, dining facilities and the lobby. Newer accommodations have ramps and accessible ... more
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