When the U.S. Virgin Islands are your canvas, breathtaking settings aren’t hard to come by. But even a crown of tropical jewels has one gem that stands above the rest: the island of St. John. The smallest and least developed of the USVI (in fact, 60% of the island is protected as part of Virgin Islands National Park), St. John feels like an island getaway within an island getaway. That’s why we chose the pristine coasts of “Love City,” as the locals refer to their island, as the setting for our Westin St. John Resort.
Located on 47 lush acres facing the turquoise waters of Great Cruz Bay on the island’s southwestern coast, our resort offers the ideal scenario for family vacations, weddings, business meetings or a spur-of-the-moment escape, as well as the perfect base of operations to explore St. John and the Virgin Islands.
Accessible by ferry from the sister island of St. Thomas, St. John is truly a haven for nature lovers. Some of the island’s beaches, like Cinnamon Bay, offer a great variety of activities, from snorkeling to kayaking and more extreme activities like windsurfing. Others, like Maho Bay, are more popular with families and locals because they have a more relaxing atmosphere thanks to the calm and shallow waters. If you’re feeling more adventurous and like to snorkel, you can’t miss a visit to Trunk Bay and its world-famous 225-yard long underwater trail.
Hiking is one of the best ways to admire the beauty of St. John and a great opportunity to venture into its past. Take a hike along Reef Bay Trail, which takes you through the ruins of abandoned sugar estates overgrown with natural vegetation. If you visit in the summer, you can pick and enjoy some of the fruits that grow near the old sugar mill, such as genips and tamarind. The National Parks Service offers guided hikes that are full of interesting facts and history so you can learn while you explore the local sites.
There are many ways to get around the island and experience its beauty. You can take a helicopter ride and take in the sights from the sky, take a water taxi or rent a car; just remember to drive on the left side of the road. Take a scenic drive along St. John’s Centerline Road and enjoy the panoramic views.
After you’ve had enough fun in the sun, make your way to Cruz Bay where you can spend some time browsing the art galleries and enjoying the shops, restaurants and bars. Here, you will find Mongoose Junction shopping center and its colorful little boutiques offering one-of-a-kind crafts and gifts.
A visit to St. John wouldn’t be complete without trying the local cuisine, and a favorite place of locals and tourists alike, Miss Lucy’s, serves some of the islands best food: conch fritters, spicy callaloo stew, kettle-cooked paella and fried fish.
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