|itsislandtime > St. John > Our Favorite Island|
Feb 5, 2004, 13:40
For the past several years, my husband and I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel to all three of the U.S. Virgin Islands - St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. It is St. John, the smallest of the three islands, to which we most often return. The endless hustle and bustle on St. Thomas, and to a lesser extent on St. Croix, does not exist at all on St. John. If you are looking for a quiet, untouched tropical paradise, St. John is the place to go. Here you will find no high-rise hotels, no large shopping areas, no casinos, not even an airport - just endless beauty, peace and quiet. If this is not what you're after, this is not the place to come.
St. John is not a flat island, as some in the Caribbean, but a lovely, hilly, thickly forested island. This is mainly due to the fact that about 60 percent of the island consists of the Virgin Island National Park. This prevents over development of the island in the way that islands such as St. Thomas have been develope
Caneel Bay Resort was our choice of accommodations on the island for many, many years. At the beginning, Caneel Bay was a luxurious, all inclusive resort - a beautiful, garden-like place that catered to all our needs - so much so that we had no desire to leave the resort during our visits there - everything we needed was there, beautifully done by a very congenial staff. Down through the years, management changed at Caneel Bay, along with other changes around the resort, in the name of progress I guess, and we found ourselves investigating more of the island around us, rather than limiting ourselves to the resort grounds. It was the best decision we ever made! It was unbelievable what we had missed all the previous years!
We now rent a charming villa called Little Whim, when we stay on St. John, and would not be without our rental car to investigate every inch of this island gem, from the beautiful, green, tropical forests to some of the most pristine sandy beaches in the world. There are also many walking trails to investigate for those so inclined. The National Park Service on the island is available with tips so that visitors can make the most of their time while on St. John.
Driving on the island is an experience for those of us used to driving on the right in the United States. Driving on the left is the rule on St. John. We have found that when we are out and about in our 4-wheel drive, even though there are only two main roads on the island, we never leave home without our maps!
Even though parking is a little tricky in the tiny town of Cruz Bay, St. John's principal port, it is always fun to visit. There you will find a few dozen quaint shops and some great restaurants. For the more adventurous at heart, you can drive along the winding, hilly roads to Coral Bay on the east end of the island. Even though Coral Bay is somewhat remote, it is well worth the drive out, since the feel there is completely different. At your disposal are wonderful, informal eateries, nifty small shops, and beautiful vistas - and expect things to be even more laid back there than in Cruz Bay. Even the vegetation there is different from the rest of the island.
I could go on, but in the end, I can't say enough about the beauty and serenity of this island. If you are looking for the complete escape, give it a try. Fly into the airport on St. Thomas, then hop on the ferry for a short ride to Cruz Bay and begin your adventure in this island paradise.