St. John in January
When the hustle and bustle of everyday life starts to feel a little overwhelming, I like to wash my worries away in the luminous Caribbean Sea — and 10 tropical days on sunny St. John, USVI definitely did the trick! From Cruz Bay to Coral Bay there are no stoplights, no sirens, and no worries. St. John is taking a new and trendy approach to island life after hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
Upon arrival to the island we picked up our jeeps from St. John Car Rental and were greeted at the ferry dock by Vicki from the villa company who showed us the way to our residence for the week. The drive through the Virgin Islands National Park was beautiful with picturesque views of the many bays on the island. We rented a 3-bedroom house located in the heart of the national park overlooking Cinnamon Bay and created a quiet oasis to settle in. We ended our travel day with a beach-side dinner at High Tide Bar & Seafood Grill. The walk-in atmosphere set the tone for relaxation and island time.
Our week was packed full of sand, snorkeling, and sun. The best snorkeling spot involved a quarter mile hike to the scenic and secluded Salt Pond. In the wake of the hurricanes, the famous coral reefs were destroyed; but don’t worry, sea grass has grown where the reefs once were and with it sea turtles and squid have flocked to make their new home. But they aren’t the only wildlife calling the island home — wild donkeys, goats, chickens, and deer run free and frolic through the park, beaches, and town center!
One of my favorite days was the private charter that took us to the legendary Baths in Virgin Gorda, BVI. In an effort to preserve the sea life around the bay, boats are no longer permitted to dock at the baths so we started our visit with a medium-distance swim to the shore. For me, this was a number one highlight. As a lover of the water there is nothing as glorious as swimming free in the Caribbean Sea. Getting to the baths involves a light climb over large rocks, so I would recommend bringing a light water shoe if you have sensitive feet.
St. John has amazing restaurants with fresh caught seafood. My two favorite restaurants were Morgan’s Mango and 1864 Restaurant. Morgan’s Mango is famous for Tuesday Lobster Night where they serve fresh caught lobster 1.5 lbs and larger! If lobster isn’t on your personal menu the whole snapper and osso buco dishes are to die for. 1864 Restaurant, named after the coordinates of St. John, boasts an eclectic menu with killer cocktails and a romantic atmosphere. Located in Mongoose Junction, 1864 Restaurant is the perfect place to have a great dinner followed by a little retail therapy!
Reflecting on my time in the islands, I completely understand why country music icon Kenney Chesney has centered his career around island love. St. John is so resilient and beautiful even after the destruction and blossoms a little more every day.