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Nature’s own paradise

Two-thirds a National Park (see map), St. John is the most virgin of the U.S. Virgin Islands, blessed with many beautiful beaches and bays, fine anchorages and verdant hills. And the resorts (see info and rates) and villas on St. John have generally been developed to reflect its heritage and designed in harmony with its natural environment (photo: VillaRentals).

Cruz Bay. The main habitation and port of entry for St. John, Cruz Bay (see map), of course, has customs as well as all the modern services, including banks, grocery stores, post office, jeep rentals, taxi-buses to beaches, etc. The National Park Service Visitor’s Center is here.

In Cruz Bay itself, the work of the St. John artistic community can be found in its shops, especially at Mongoose Junction, a shopping enclave of natural stone, shaded terraces, and lush greenery. Cruz Bay has many fine restaurants, including Morgan’s Mango, a "neo-Caribbean experience."

Caneel Bay. Caneel Bay, home of the luxurious Caneel Bay Resort (see rates-low price guarantee) built on the site of a 18th century sugar plantation. Caneel Bay itself is a fine anchorage.

Trunk, Cinnamon, Maho and Francis Bays. An underwater snorkel trail for beginners at Trunk Bay and a hike to an abandoned plantation house and old sugar mill at the Annaberg Ruins at Francis Bay are maintained by the National Park Service.

MahoBayIcon(DanBurch).jpg (6130 bytes)Cinnamon Bay has the only camping in the St. John National Park. See a Documentary History of the Cinnamon Bay Plantation 1718-1917.

Turtle(DanBurch)Icon.jpg (4763 bytes)Nearby Maho Bay, a day anchorage, has a well-stocked store, restaurant, and showers at Maho Bay Camps (rates and availability), with their unique tent-cottages (photos: Dan Burch).

MahoBayIcon(DanBurch).jpg (6130 bytes)Coral Bay. A cruiser’s paradise and the site of many old ruins from plantation days, Coral Bay has many well regarded restaurants, including the elegant Chateau Bordeau. The Coral Bay Watersports dive company is here.

Villas on St. John.
While St. John has been spared major development, there are many splendid villas, most individually designed.

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Getting Here. Having no airport itself, St. John is reached from St. Thomas in the USVI by ferry or water taxi from its downtown Charlotte Amalie dock, about 3 miles from the St. Thomas international airport. Rental cars are available there, with car barges connecting St. Thomas at its Red Hook ferry dock. St. John can also be reached from the British Virgin Islands.

St. John Vacation Guide. A good source of information about St. John.
Diving And Snorkeling Guide to the U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John by Susanne & Stuart Cummings, Second Edition 1993, from Pisces Books. Click here to order.