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 St. John, USVI

Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI
Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI

St. John, USVI Information
Contributed by
Nancy Norris

Language and Currency
What is St. John Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?

St. John, USVI Port Reviews

Language and Currency

English is spoken and the currency is the US Dollar.

What is St. John like?

The smallest of the US Virgin Islands, measuring 16 sq. miles, St. John is located about 5 miles east of St. Thomas on the Pillsbury Sound. More than 2/3 of the island has been designated as a US National Park, which has allowed it to maintain an unspoiled beauty not found on the other US Virgin Islands. Heavily protected coral gardens surround the island of white sand beaches, crescent shaped bays, emerald cays and turquoise waters. This lush mountainous island, home to over 900 species of wildlife, offers spectacular panoramic views and numerous hiking trails. Life here is slow-paced, low key and peaceful, much to the liking of the 3500 very friendly residents. Don’t expect much nightlife on this pristine island as nature is the real draw and creates its own serene ambiance.

What is the weather like?

Like all the US Virgin Islands, St. John enjoys year round temperatures that vary from 70° to 90°F. The water is an almost constant 80°.

Where does the ship dock?

Ships actually dock in St. Thomas and a trip to St. John will require a ferry ride. Grab a taxi or catch a Vitran Bus ($1) from Market Square to the Red Hook Ferry dock. Ferries run every hour starting at 6:30 am, at a cost of $3 one way ($1 for children) for the 20 minute ride to Cruz Bay. Ferries also depart from downtown Charlotte Amalie but on a much more limited schedule and cost $7 one-way for a 45 minute trip. Smaller ships anchor quite a way from the harbor and tender into the ferry dock.

Where is the shopping?

There are two main shopping areas in St. John, both very close to the Cruz Bay ferry dock. Mongoose Junction is just up the hill along the main road about 5 minutes from the dock. Wharfside Village is steps away from the ferry dock. If you are lucky enough to visit St. John on the last Saturday of the month, otherwise known as St. John Saturday, you can enjoy the day long feast and crafts fair in the center of town.

What is there to buy?

Although you will probably reserve most of your shopping for St. Thomas, the art galleries, studios, upscale boutiques and jewelry stores offer many local crafts and artwork. Look for handcrafted jewelry with petroglyph designs, and replicas of zemis (ancient religious figures retrieved at the Cinnamon Bay archaeological dig).

What is there to do?

Some of the best snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, hiking, sailing and underwater photography are to be had in and around St. John. Once you arrive by ferry to Cruz Bay, you can hop a safari bus to take you to one of the numerous beaches on the island. Although it can get crowded, one of my favorite is Trunk Bay. This beautiful beach has a 225-yard underwater snorkel trail. Fifteen underwater plaques identify the coral reef and fish life you encounter on the self-guided tour. Restrooms, showers, snack bar and snorkel rental are available on site. If your ship is in port long enough, in order to avoid the heaviest crowds, plan to visit Trunk Bay in the afternoon, as many of the cruise ship excursions are scheduled for morning. Another excellent snorkel beach is Leinster Bay, but it requires a short hike to access. On Caneel Bay, Honeymoon Beach is a favorite of day sailors. If you want a less populated beach, then head for Hawksnest Beach. If you don’t wish to spend the day at a beach, take a 2 hour taxi tour of the island which includes a stop at Annabergs Ruins, an abandoned 18th century sugar plantation. The ruins offer exhibits on Danish colonial life and slavery, demonstrations of native cooking and crafts, as well as tours of the portions of the plantation that are still intact. If you prefer to venture out on your own to do some island exploring, jeeps can be rented at Cruz Bay for the day (just be aware if you rent a 4X4, driving is on the left and no road will take you completely around the island). You can take to the hiking trails on foot, horseback or mountain bike. No matter what your plans, just make sure you have checked the ferry schedule and allow enough time for the return trip to St. Thomas and then back to the ship.

Is there anything of “Don’t Miss” quality?

Personally, I think everyone’s first trip to St. John should include a trip to Trunk Bay to experience the underwater snorkel trail.

Are there any great restaurants or bars?

As I am an avid boater, one of my favorite spots is Skinny Legs on Coral Bay. This sports bar is not much more than a shack, but serves one of the best burgers in the Caribbean to the yachting crowd who anchor nearby. I have not sampled the West Indian cuisine that is offered in the gourmet restaurants on the island, so if you happen upon one that is exceptionally outstanding, please share your discovery.

 Port Reviews

  • Jan Buker,

    We’ve docked every other time in St. Thomas, but there were three ships already docked and the Dawn and one other ship anchored in the harbor and we more

    3 users found this review helpful.
  • Fred,

    Having been to St. Thomas previously, we already knew the best thing to do was to take a taxi to the Red Hook ferry and go directly to St. John, arguably one of more

    1 users found this review helpful.
  • Danny,

    We took a shore excursion boat trip over to St. John to snorkel. Our snorkeling destination was Trunk Bay, but in the open-air bus along the way, we also saw more

  • Christine Woerner,

    In the afternoon we headed out on the Leylon Sneed for a snorkeling trip to St. John. This excursion was the highlight of our trip. Enjoyed the hour and a half more

    1 users found this review helpful.
  • Scott Smetana,

    After doing my research before the cruise, I knew I must see the beaches of St. John and go snorkeling. I was right! This was one of our best days on more

    15 users found this review helpful.
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     St. John, USVI Shore Excursions


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