Although St. John is just a mere 10-minute boat ride from St. Thomas, it possesses a totally different vibe from her more “cosmopolitan” sister island. St. John’s simple and uber-laid back atmosphere, paired with the world’s most idyllic bays and beaches, make St. John the quintessential Caribbean island. With over 60% of its land area protected as national park land, there’s very little development, and tons of amazing vistas–each more beautiful than the last.
Cruz Bay, on St. John’s west end, is the island’s main city center. Don’t worry about missing this port town because this is where you’ll land when you take the ferry from St. Thomas. Cruz Bay is home to the St. John National Park Service, plus lots of great shops and restaurants. Head north from Cruz Bay to a series of spectacular beaches, each running from one to the next. Trunk Bay, Hawksnest Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Maho Bay are just a few of the St. John beaches that frequent the covers of magazines worldwide.
Chillin’ at the east end of St. John is Coral Bay. Known as the quiet side of the quiet island, Coral Bay is home to bars like Skinny Legs, snorkeling sites like Hurricane Hole and Concordia eco-camp.
When it comes to snorkeling, St. John holds up to its reputation. Its most famous snorkeling spot, Trunk Bay, boasts a 700-ft long underwater trail that is marked by plaques telling you of the sea life you’re swimming with.
If you’re allergic to rum, St. John Brewers, the only St. John-made beer, is for you. You can buy a bottle at Mongoose Junction, the island’s biggest shopping area.
When visiting the Virgin Islands, don’t miss St. John.