Stunning St. John – Video

I’ve said it many times before: St. John is one of my favorite destinations on the planet! It is the smallest of the three major U.S. Virgin Islands, yet St. John is widely considered the most scenic and most unspoiled of the three, arguably the grandest and most pristine found anywhere in the Caribbean. This is largely because Laurance Rockefeller, in 1956, donated his extensive lands on the island (roughly two-thirds of St. John) to the United States’ National Park Service, under the condition that the land had to be protected from future development.


Perhaps another part of the appeal of St. John for me is that it is most definitely a very laid-back place with a casual, almost quirky ambiance. St. John is wholesome and outdoorsy — hiking shoes and snorkeling gear are musts! And of course, it’s dramatically beautiful, with coral reefs, volcanic mountains, deep ravines, tropical greenery, gorgeous white sandy cove beaches (a.k.a. “bays,” each with a distinct personality I might add), and an arid east coast dotted with salt ponds and cacti.


I’ve been to St. John many times with family and I have some treasured memories there, but I have not been back since the one-two punch of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The island was hit hard by those two storms and, because of St. John’s steep topography, recovery efforts have been challenging. However, I’ve heard positive reports and I plan to go back there in a matter of days to see for myself. While I will have to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure, at least I will escape the newly established CDC restriction (effective January 26, 2021) requiring all international travelers returning to the U.S. to also present a second negative COVID-19 test within 3 days prior to U.S. re-entry. St. John is excluded from that new requirement because it and the other Virgin Islands are U.S. territories.


That brings us to our Travel Video share this month, entitled Virgin Islands 8K, which premiered on Vimeo just last month. It is a visually stunning tribute to the Virgin Islands National Park and was created by our friends at More Than Just Parks, once again directed by the talented Pattiz brothers. Of note, all of the footage used in the video was filmed after the 2017 hurricanes ravaged the island, so you can see for yourself what the island looks like today. In the creators’ own words:


 To make this film we spent weeks on the island of St John hiking every trail in Virgin Islands National Park and swimming every bay (for good measure). We visited the park after the 2017 Hurricane Maria damage and were frankly quite surprised by what we saw … All of our footage represents the park in its current, post-hurricane, status. Filming locations included: Trunk Bay, Maho Bay, Lameshur Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Reef Bay (trail, ruins, & sugar mill), Annaberg Plantation Ruins, Ram Head, Caneel Hill Trail, Margaret Hill, Catherineberg Ruins, Honeymoon Beach, Salomon Beach, Francis Bay, Waterlemon Cay, Little Lameshur Bay, and so much more.


So, without further ado, sit back and enjoy Virgin Islands 8K, featuring the spectacular island of St. John!


Sharon Betts,

Co-Owner, Travel Advisor

Sharon Betts