We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First trip to St John

Fort Wayne, Indiana
Level Contributor
6 posts
19 reviews
Save Topic
First trip to St John

We are taking our first trim to St. John 11/30-12/6. What are the must sees and dos? We are staying at the Westin which I know is under construction but are active people and would like to take in some hiking, snorkeling, etc. Also, love good food and drinks. Any advice on the musts would be great so we can pack it all in.

CT
Destination Expert
for St. John
Level Contributor
6,084 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: First trip to St John

I would rent a car today! There is so much to see and do but you will really need a vehicle to get to it all.

I HIGHLY recommend picking up a copy of Feet, Fins, and 4WD. You can get it on Amazon and it will outline beaches, hikes, snorkels, and great tips on enjoying the island.

Food Suggestions in no particular order:

Sandwiches from Sam and Jacks for the beach

Happy Hour at High Tide, Joe's Run Hut, Motu, or the Beach Bar

Dinner at Rhumblines

Dinner at Banana Deck

Lunch at Sun Dog Cafe

Roanoke, Virginia
Level Contributor
143 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: First trip to St John

Agree with Tink...also go to Salt Pond and the "quiet side" of the island, have a burger at Skinny Legs, stop off in Coral Bay for good food at a number of places, hike the trails, go to Vie's beach to rest snorkel and relax and get a wonderful lunch at her shop there, All in all, get a jeep, cruise the island stop ate each and every beach, read each sign, stop and talk to the great local folks and have a ball....we're 17 days away from our 4th trip to paradise.

Pa.
Level Contributor
6,040 posts
129 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: First trip to St John

Definitely get a car. We rent on St. Thomas and take the car barge to St. John, don't have four-wheel-drive, but will just hike to the beaches that require four-wheel-drive. I would also suggest getting the trail bandit map. You can find it on the Internet to contact him and he will mail you a copy before your trip to help you plan your hikes and snorkel stops along with the other books on St. John. Also suggest saint John, off the beaten track for a good book. Excellent snorkel spots well worth the trip are brown bay, kiddlebay, grootpan bay, and the Yazwi point snorkel. All require hiking, esp with no four-wheel-drive, the longest would be about 1 mile to yazwi point. Other very nice snorkels with limited to no effort are Francis Bay up to Mary's point, cinnamon cay, and Hawks nest towards Caneel and Dennis Bay to Jumbi.

If. You like hiking, I would suggest the reef Bay Trail hike. You can hike it yourself, snorkeling the bay, and then hike back out, or you could arrange it through the visitor center who does tours on Tuesday's I believe and they will arrange for boat transportation at the end to take you back to the visitor center so you don't have to hike the 2 miles out. I would also suggest seeing some of the various ruins around the island. The ones that Annenberg are very nice.

Def Sam and Jack for sandwiches or take home dinners that you can cook in your microwave. Their homemade chips a really good too. Morgan's mango and the Ocean Grill were both excellent for dinner. Deli Gretto had good pastries.

Bourbon, IN
Level Contributor
433 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: First trip to St John

My St. John routine is... eat, snorkel, rum, eat, more rum, sleep and repeat!!

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for St. John, Cruz Bay
Level Contributor
3,330 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: First trip to St John

For a first time visitor I'd skip Kiddel and Grootpan bays. I love them, but the roads are bad and the brush on the access road to Grootpan is car-scratchy.

Tinkdellerbee recommended Pam Gaffen's book, and that works nicely. My favorite is Gerald Singers "St. John Off the Beaten Track." Sounds like you like to get out and about, so pack a lunch and hit two beaches a day. Head back to your favorite on your last day.

I'll tell you, I set out to do EVERYTHING on my first visit to St. John. 30+ visits later? I'm not done yet. But, my favorites from my first trip are still there: Maho Bay, Francis Bay and Leinster Bay.

Cheers, RickG

Fairhope, Alabama
Level Contributor
489 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: First trip to St John

Our first trip to STJ is coming up Dec. 2-12 and I plan to follow NeednSun's routine to a T. The rest will fall in place. I have several items on the bucket list though will go with the flow. All you STJ TA'ers give such helpful info, you can't go wrond with anyone's suggestions here.

Edited: 5:26 pm, October 29, 2013
kod
Nokomis, Florida
Level Contributor
1,561 posts
280 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: First trip to St John

Get the Singer book as it is best for hikes and snorkels. Its a must. Hikes are Rams Head, Caneel and Margaret Hill, and the seldom mentioned but great views Tektite/cabrite trails.

Snorkels: Trunk a must, as well as Maho and Francism Salt Pond Bay, South and North Haulovers ( need booties)

Restaurants: Zozos, LaTapa.

Drinking: Woodys, Beach Bar when live band.

These are my favs.

NC
Level Contributor
873 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: First trip to St John

Oh you are going to have a Blast! You didn't say if you were staying in the Villas or Hotel - Save a little money and bop to the Grocery Store for Snacks/Breakfast. Hit the Happy Hour there around the Pool Bar if its open and ask for a VOODOO Bucket - to share!!

I agree with stopping by Sam & Jacks - Fresh good eats & I love their healthy smoothies. Deli Grotto is awesome too - however, both of these places do not take CC. If you're super active, like we are, we jog down to Cruz Bay - great Happy Hours can be found but you have to stop by Woodys for theirs - it just wouldn't be right! Grab a Pain Killer. Motu is a nice, relaxing bar looking out toward the water - ask MJ to make you up a batch of watermelon/raspberry Sangria - to die for!! Joes bar-b-q is not pretty, but its cheap & plentiful! Our favorite for a nice dinner is La Tapa. The guys that owns/operates Sun Dog Cafe just opened a new restaurant so check it out in Mongoose Junction - right beside Sun Dog.

People recommend books - don't overwhelm yourself - STJ is pretty easy to figure out. For hiking, everyone suggest Reef Bay, but I tell you one I like better - right off from Mongoose Junction is Caneel Bay - get to the top, theres a bench and the view is to freakin die for. For snorkeling, just go straight out to Lenister Bay - hike out and when you see the buoys off to the left, drop in and snorkel up & down those buoys. If you're a strong swimmer - hike out to Waterlemon & swim around the Cay. If you have the time and want a great day on the boat - I agree with going with Kekoa - they are the best!!

We've been going over 22+ years and still just LOVE IT!!

New Jersey
Level Contributor
3,518 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: First trip to St John

St john off the beaten track is a really terrific book, we leave for our third visit next week and I still bring the book. The detailed maps alone make it my go to guide. The descriptions of each beach and exactly where the reefs begin are well worth the purchase. Stj while small is very lush and mountainous so it is easy to drive right by what you are looking for , but the book helps with landmarks etc....there was a recent trip report by a first timer who although they hit all the right beaches they did not get in any decent snorkeling because they did not know where the reefs where.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
3,518 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: First trip to St John

St john off the beaten track is a really terrific book, we leave for our third visit next week and I still bring the book. The detailed maps alone make it my go to guide. The descriptions of each beach and exactly where the reefs begin are well worth the purchase. Stj while small is very lush and mountainous so it is easy to drive right by what you are looking for , but the book helps with landmarks etc....there was a recent trip report by a first timer who although they hit all the right beaches they did not get in any decent snorkeling because they did not know where the reefs where.

Edited: 5:53 pm, October 30, 2013
Get answers to your questions about St. John