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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Birchenough

Side Trip to St. John USVI

While we were visiting St. Thomas we took the ferry to St. John to spend the day there. St. John to me is one of the most prettiest, and most untouched island of all the USVIs, and if you visit the USVIs this should be a stop no matter what.

In 1956 over 60% of the island became a part of the Virgin Islands National Park. What is amazing about this National Park it extends into the ocean and includes the coral reefs that surround the island also. So not only is the land protected but the reefs are also to keep the ocean eco system alive. Today there are no hotels in the Park, before hurricane Maria & Irma hit the Cannel Bay Resort was leasing the land from the Park, the resort was completely destroyed by the hurricanes and so far has decided not to rebuild. We did have the pleasure of having a drink a Cannel Bay Resort about 20 years ago and it may have been on the most beautiful resorts I have ever seen. If you are inclined to stay on land, you can camp in the National Park, and enjoy all the island has to offer.

When you visit the St. Thomas as much as we do you start to figure out ways to get around that don’t cost a fortune. We wanted to go to St. John but didn't want to take a taxi across the island when you can take the safari bus that cost $2 to cross the island from Crown Bay Marian to Red Hook, where one of the ferries is to Cruz Bay, St. John. You can also take a longer ferry from the Port of Charlotte Amalie to St. John.

From the bow of the ferry entering Cruz Bay

I will tell you our favorite beach is Trunk Bay, but someone told us to go to Maho Bay, and it didn’t disappoint one bit. The water and the beach was beautiful, the sand was perfect and there was a little village across the street selling food and drink. The nice thing about Maho Beach vs. Trunk Beach is Maho Beach is much calmer and better to just chill out in the water. Whereas Trunk Beach has waves and a bit rougher beach. To me they are both awesome and I'd go to either any day.

Our trip to Maho Bay also gave us the idea that one of these vacations we are going to have t sail the USVIs and make this a stop. The Bay was full of charter boats (see the last picture in this post). This would be one of those stops that would be perfect to host the Captain's Dinner at. This is the one dinner we eat on the boat. We usually like to eat dinner on land and experience the culture, food and people of where we are visiting, since that is why you go away to experience other cultures and food.

A sign from Maho village, across the street from the beach

When we left the beach we went to one of our favorite bars in St. John, Woody's Seafood Saloon and had some peel and eat shrimp, shark bites (mahi-mahi pieces sautéed in seasonings) and Painkillers to wash it all down, how can you go wrong.

We have been to St. John many times and make it a point to visit the island every time we are in the USVIs. There are other points of interest to visit and see from the old Sugar Cane plantations, where you can walk through the ruins of where rum was once made.

To seeing all the wild donkeys, yes donkeys that roam the island. There are about 60 wild donkeys, which doesn't seem like many but when you are on a small island (approximately 19 square miles, which is about the same size as Manchester-by-the-Sea), which seems like a lot. A few years ago a couple months after hurricane Maria & Irma we had the pleasure of meeting a few of these donkeys on the side of the road and they were quite friendly. They were very inquisitive of us, we were able to get close and even take a selfie.

Our encounter with the wild Donkeys

Lastly, I will leave you with a view of Maho Bay from the road above.

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