St. Johm, USVI

St. John is the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, only 9 miles long and 5 miles wide. This lush island is one of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean and it has gorgeous beaches right out of central casting. Covering three-fifths of St. John is the mountainous Virgin Islands National Park, which has beautiful hiking trails. Along the way one can explore the ruins of the 18th c. Annaberg Plantation, which once produced sugarcane, rum and molasses, while seeing many plant and bird species unique to St. John. A third of the park is submerged below the sea and so a wonderful and very fun snorkeling trail was created. Good snorkeling and diving can also be found off many beaches particularly Leinster Bay on the north side.

Adorable Cruz Bay, the capital, has some very nice shops and restaurants. Nightlife is pretty quiet but there are a few amusing bars. Nearby is Caneel Bay Hotel where one can go for really yummy breakfast and lunch buffets. It also has a perfect sunset view for drinks. Coral Bay on the other side of the island is very quaint with a couple of good restaurants and fewer tourists. When not on one of the fantastic beaches like Hawksnest or Trunk Bay, a fun day trip is chartering a boat with a captain to cruise around the British Virgins stopping for a picnic on a deserted islet. There are also several places on the island to rent ocean kayaking and windsurfing equipment or schedule a fishing, snorkeling or diving excursion. Tennis and riding are available too as are masseurs to come to one’s house.

Local currency is the US dollar. Fly to St. Thomas and take a water taxi or the ferry (20 minutes) over to Cruz Bay.