Saturday 23 June 2018

6 Reasons to Visit St. John This Year

Image: Pixabay

The weather in the UK recently has been magnificent but if you want to get away then a trip to the Caribbean may be for you. If like me you are one for a more activity based holiday then the tropical idyll of St. John offers so much. Have a read of today's guest post to find out more about it.

"With tropical forests to explore and stunning beaches and oceans to play in St. John is the location for those wanting to escape and enjoy the outdoors. You can relax in one of the St John homes for rent so your stay is as comfortable as possible while you can still go out and enjoy all that St. John offers.

1. Virgin Islands National Park
One of the things that make the island of St. John so special is that so much of it is protected as part of the Virgin Islands National Park. Around 60% of the island forms part of the Virgin Islands National Park and takes in around 7,500 acres plus over 5,000 acres of adjacent ocean.

Take advantage the unspoilt beauty of the national park which features both coral reefs in the ocean and tropical forests on land. It is rare to in such a popular Caribbean holiday destination such large areas free from man-structures such as hotels, resorts and restaurants.

You will find evidence of people once living and working in the national park area. The Annaberg Plantation was once a sugar factory and windmill. The ruins have now been partially restored and allows visitors to sample what life was like as worker in the 17th century.

2. Boating
Step off the lad and onto a boat to explore the waters around St. John. You'll be in expert hands with the boats being captained by professional locals. Take the opportunity to sail out in the turquoise Caribbean waters for day or go round the coastline visiting the different beaches. If you are looking to do further water based activities ask one of the locals to take you out first to find the perfect place for snorkelling, scuba diving or swimming.

3. Snorkelling 
Image: Pixabay

If you're wanting to make the most of the trip to St. John then learning to snorkel is a must. Experience another world you can only find underwater. Even the beginner snorkeler can find hard and soft corals and tropical fish without going too far. A popular snorkel destination is Watermelon Cay with breath taking views above and below the water. To get there on foot take the route from Leinster Bay and walk about a mile before you get there.
For younger visitors head to the resort of Caneel Bay where you will find beaches with shallow entry areas. Children will love the thrill of being able to see the wide variety of colourful fish for themselves. If you want to find other snorkel spots ask a local guide for the best place for your ability level.

4. Visiting the Breath taking Beaches
You could spend a whole holiday exploring the many different beaches of St. John. Each is as stunning as the other. If you think of Caribbean beaches with swaying palm trees, crystal clear blue water and of course of white sand then that is what you are going to find. With the protection of the Virgin Islands National Park you can enjoy these beaches without the urbanisation that has occurred in so many other holiday islands. At Maho Bay look out for sea turtles while Oppenheimer is a favourite with the locals.

5. Hiking

Image: Pixabay

Inland one of the major features of St. John are the hiking trails. The Reef Bay Trail takes in forests, ruins, a spring-fed waterfall and reflection pool plus the Taino petroglyph rock carvings. For those wanting a real challenge when venturing into the hills then try the Bordeaux Mountain Trail. Going through dense forest the trail elevates 1,300 feet in one mile. For those wanting a gentler and more accessible route then the Cinnamon Bay Nature Trail has a mix of boardwalks and paved paths to walk through. For a hike with a real view then try the Caneel Bay Trail. At the top is an observation point with views out to the neighbouring islands plus if you are lucky Puerto Rico.

6. Dining on Local Eats
Being surrounded by such beautiful waters its not surprising that fish features so highly on local menus. At Cruz Bay you'll find the highly acclaimed fine dinning experience of the Extra Virgin Bistro and The Terrace. For a real taste of the local Caribbean cuisine such as curried goat, plantains or freshly caught red snapper then De’ Coal Pot is the place to try. For a more chilled out vibe head to Coral Bay for The Thirsty Donkey. It's named after the after the St. John donkeys that you will see strolling past this bar. They are famous for their Sunday brunch menu with international inspired dishes. You can also grab a beer from the local Coral Bay brewery Drunk Bay. Around the island you will find a restaurant for whatever you feel like eating or drinking with beach shacks to family-friendly diners.

The Bottom Line
For a Caribbean island with a difference then St. John is the destination of choice. The mix of sandy beaches for relaxing and clear seas for water activities it is an island for those wanting something more from their usual holiday. After a day's hike head out to restaurant for a meal with a local taste but international quality. Will St. John be on your holiday list for this year?"

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