With the popularity of the Caribbean rising, many islands have become touristy and expensive Â– but not St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
At only nine miles long and five miles wide, St. John is the smallest of the Virgin Islands, and, many argue, the prettiest. It's the kind of place that has maintained it's cultural identity, but still welcomes visitors from all over the world. With a population of just 5,000, the residents of St. John know everyone and everything happening on the island.
This island is perfect for people who want an undisturbed island getaway at any price. Between resorts and campgrounds there is a spot for everyone on St. John.
Cruz Bay, St. John
Who goes to the islands for anything but beaches? You'll get your pick in St. John. All are beautiful and all are ready for your day of relaxation. Francs Bay has national park paths to follow, while Trunk Bay has an underwater trail to explore. Honeymoon Beach is ready for you, if you take a boat or a hike, and Cinnamon Bay is where archaeologists are researching cultural artifacts from over 1,000 years ago.
And speaking of past cultures, once you pry yourself off the sand, head over to the Annaberg ruins. Here you'll get a glimpse of the way the island lived before the U.S purchased it. This former sugar cane plantation is home to stone and coral remains of old quarters, a windmill, and former slave homes that will help you better understand the slave revolt of 1733.
To get up close with the gorgeous natural wonders of the island, make a trip to the Virgin Islands National Park. It's a quick visit, but you'll be stunned by the hills, valleys and beaches in the park.
If you're a lover of beautiful colors and natural wonders, be sure to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. Starting at Estate Hermitage and heading east to Haulover Bay, this botanical phenomenon stretched along the southern shoreline to give tourists a breathtaking view of an underwater treasure.
In St, John, if you can think of a nautical adventure, it's probably available - snorkeling, swimming, diving, jet skiing, you name it.
With all those pristine beaches in St. John to choose from, how can you ever choose? Don't. Rent a boat and sail them all. Prepare yourself for a day out to sea by picking up fresh fruit from the local vendors, pack a cooler, and hop aboard. Spend the day sailing along and when you see a beach you like, pull up for a quick dip.
If you need to stretch your legs, there are miles of hiking trails that crisscross the whole island. Trek from coast to coast and see gorgeous flora and fauna along the way. Maps are available, or ranger guided hikes can be scheduled at the U.S. Park Service office in Cruz Bay.
Food and Dining
St. John is a small island, so there's only so much room for restaurants. There may not be many places to eat, but these islanders cover pretty much any craving you may be having. From fancy and chic places, to roadside food stands, there's a meal for every budget.
While local seafood by candlelight should surely be at the top of your list, you'll want to make some time for a little laid-back fun. Many people say the best burger in the Caribbean can be found at Skinny Legs. Located in Coral Bay, this famous restaurant is always full of locals, tourists and sailors looking for a good meal and a good drink.
The island of St. John is very small, so getting around is not much of a challenge. Taxis are the safest and most convenient way of traveling around the island. Renting a car is possible, but rather risky. The roads are very steep and at time take sharp turns. The locals drive on the left side of the road, and most streets don't have signs.
If you need a quick way to get across the island, the Vitran bus system runs from Cruz Bay over Coral Bay to Salt Pond. Don't depend on it to stop at any other tourist destinations, though. It's a convenient way to cross the island.