Vacationing in St. John and the U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands are an American territory, English-speaking, use the U.S. dollar, and offer a lot of choice in terms of what to do and good restaurants. The Virgin Island archipelago encompasses the three U.S. Virgins-St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas-and numerous islands a part of the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) in very close proximity to the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
St. John is a special place. Seasoned Caribbean travelers call it the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, and no one who visits can fail to be romanced by the loveliness of its scenic charms and the friendliness of its inhabitants, whose leafy hills and crystalline waters are largely incorporated into the Virgin Islands National Park, is a pristine nature lover's retreat
On the whole, the islands are small and closely spaced, making it easy to hop from one to another. St. Thomas has good airline connections and is home to the capital, Charlotte Amalie, a popular cruise-ship port. The most populous island, St. Croix, has its own distinct feel, with varied colonial architecture and rum distilleries to tour.
Getting There: Fly into St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Island airport (STT)
Ferry: Catch the hourly on the hour ferry from Red Hook on the east end of St. Thomas (a 30 to 45 minute taxi ride from the airport) or the ferry from Charlotte Amalie (near the airport but much less frequently). The ferry dock in St. John is right in the center of town in Cruz Bay.
Geography: St. John has numerous beaches, one qualifying in the top ten beaches in the world, with wonderful snorkeling, interesting and sedate hiking trails, plantation ruins, and coral reefs teeming with life. More than half of the island's area has been placed under the aegis of the National Park Service. Rising steeply and quickly from the shore, St. John's ridges climax in three peaks of 1,100 to 1,200 ft. There are over 800 species of plants. More than 160 species of birds have been recorded in and around the park and, of these over 25 nest on the island.
Climate: The weather is very pleasantly tropical, year-round. Afternoon average temperatures range from 82° in January to 88° in August and September. The average annual low is 74°F. Monthly rainfall averages 1.6 inches (February) to 5.8 inches (September)
*** ALTHOUGH PASSPORTS ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN - PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP! ***
You will need a passport to visit the British Virgin Islands,
which you may very well want to do, so we highly recommend having a Passport with you.
When departing the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. Immigration requires all persons, including Americans, to provide proof of citizenship. This can include a passport, or a certified copy of a birth certificate with a photo ID.
Restaurants: Extra Virgin, 18N 64 W, Lime Inn, Morgan's Mango, Ocean 362, Beach Bar Café, Woody's Saloon, Rhumb Line, High Tide, The Bakery, Skinny Legs (Coral Bay). Many are new and renovated since the 2017 hurricanes and are very nice. There are restaurants too numerous to mention, but these provide good service and quality with a variety of fare and price and provide lunch and/or dinner.
Food and Liquor: St. John Gourmet Market (most convenient to Kaleidoscope Villa), Starfish Market, Starfish Gourmet and Wines, Pine Peace Market.
Shopping: Mongoose Junction shopping, Warfside Village Shopping.
Attractions: Reef Bay Trail, 5000 acres of Virgin Islands National Park, countless sugar plantation ruins.
Activities: World Famous Beaches, Swimming, Scuba-Diving, Snorkeling, Boating, Sailing, Wind-Surfing, Jet-Skiing, Deep Sea-Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Horseback-Riding, Beach combing, Sight-Seeing, Eco-Tourism, Shopping at Duty-Free-Shops Library, Whale Watching (from Kaleidoscope Villa occasionally in March),