The Gem of the U.S. Virgin Islands :: Articles :: St. John :: St. Thomas + St. John :: Virgin Islands Vacation Guide
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The Gem of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Gem of the USVI

Come enjoy the ecological
wonders that beautiful St John has to offer.

While the other US Virgin Islands may hustle and bustle, St. John is a laid-back bit of Caribbean paradise. Two-thirds of the island was donated in 1956 to the United States by Laurance Rockefeller for use as a National Park. The result of his generosity created an unspoiled get-away offering tranquil beaches, sleepy lagoons, underwater coral gardens, scenic roads, well-maintained walking trails, lush foliage and fascinating plantation ruins.

Just three miles from St. Thomas, the island of St. John is not only scenic, but populated by a number of independent free spirits. "Love City" - as it is affectionately called - is home to artists, artisans and others who value its unique tropical setting. You'll find St. Johnians open, friendly, quick to lend a hand and very much in love with their island.

Gem of the USVIThe quaint streets and walkways of Cruz Bay will guide you through a mecca of artisans' shops, stores, galleries and fine dining establishments for all tastes. A short walk across from the ferry dock brings you to Mongoose Junction. Plan to spend time at Mongoose Junction with great shopping for jewelry, resort wear and hand-made gifts in an area bursting with one-of-a-kind shops, casual or fine dining.

Ecotourism in St John is an exciting and adventurous way for people of all ages and experience levels to learn about the environment. Virgin Islands Ecotours offers two unforgettable possibilities: a Hike & Snorkel of Lind Point and Caneel Bay's Kayak, Hike & Snorkel Adventure. The knowledgeable Nature Guides promote the appreciation, care and protection of the environment. The quality of information given combined with the amazing scenery above and below the water, makes these experiences truly memorable.

Take a ride to the other end of St. John on Route 10 and you will find yourself sightseeing along the meandering road that leads to Coral Bay. During the 8-mile trip, you may spot a deer, a donkey, an iguana or a mongoose.

Once known as Cruz Bay's quiet little sister, Coral Bay is coming into her own as others have discovered the charm and beauty of this outpost. Artists, salty sailors and characters from around the globe reside here and have many a tall tale to tell the willing visitor. Grab a seat at a local bar or restaurant, kick back and the entertainment comes free.

Quaint and charming treasures can be found in Coral Bay. Snorkeling in waters along the pristine untouched beaches is truly a thrill. Locals are friendly and eager to point you towards their favorite secret hideaways. You'll find Coral Bay the "get-away-from-it-all" side of St. John. Don't miss it.

During your travels, you will want to take time to visit the National Park and its natural charms. The St. John Tourism Bureau in Cruz Bay offers a full complement of brochures, maps, flyers and 4-color posters free for the asking. Visit the Visitors Center at the National Park dock and you'll discover a wide variety of activities, including self-guided walking tours and a unique snorkel tour.

Whether you plan to shop, dine, tour, swim, snorkel, hike or simply stroll among the unique shops you are sure to find St. John offers everything you envisioned in a Caribbean paradise. Visit, and enjoy...Love City is easy to love.

Photo: Laurance Rockefeller at Caneel Bay, 1950's. Courtesy of Caneel Bay archives

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