St. John Activities Guide

Things to do in St. John, USVI – Insider's Guide

Category: Land Activities

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Catherinenberg Ruins, St. John, USVI

The Catherinenberg ruins are ruins of a 18th-century sugar and rum factory. The consist of a circular horse mill and a very well preserved wind mill. They were part of the Hammer Plantation and are one of the oldest plantations on St. John

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Turks Head Cactus

The Turks Head Cactus is a small rounded Cactus with a big read head. It can be found at St. John’s East End where  the climate is much hotter and drier vs. the Cruz Bay area.

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Top 10 Things to do in St. John, USVI

Wondering what to do while on St. John? Our page currently has 99 activity suggestions for St. John. Wondering where to start? Here is our ultimate top 10 list.

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Ram’s Head Trail

Another must do while on St. John is the Ram’s Head Trail. It is a beautiful hike which starts at the very remote East End of St. John at Salt Pond Beach. There is always a nice breeze so it is also good on hot summer days.

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Hermit Crabs on St. John

Another interesting creature you will most likely see on St. John is a Herbit crab. These crawly little creatures live in shells that they haul around on their backs. They are also known as “soldier crabs” or “purple pinchers”.

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Johnny Horn Trail, St. John, USVI

Even after a few years on St. John I am still amazed by the beauty of the nature and the trails. Today’s story is about the Johnny Horn Trail, just half an hour outside Cruz Bay you can find yourself in total wilderness and enjoy tranquil, stunning views.

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Frangipani Caterpillar

We got this photo from Rock Hoppin’ yesterday and thought that make a nice addition to our Animals&Critters of St. John section. It is a Frangipani Caterpillar that will eventually turn into a giant moth, a common moth in the American tropics and subtropics in lowland habitats.

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Caneel Hill Trail

This is not an easy trail. It is a steep and steady incline, gaining gaining 719 feet of elevation in less than one mile. But the breathtaking view you will have from the top (pictured above) will totally be worth it.

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Santa Anna’s Gold in a Pirate Sea

Looking for a great book to read on St. John? Something written by a local author?

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Watch the sunset on St. John

Sunsets on St. John are amazing. One of our favourite places to watch the sunset on St. John is on North Shore Road. Drive past Mongoose Junction, up the hill and you will see a small parking bay to the left. You will see a great sunset from there.

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Iguana Watching

Iguanas are everywhere on St. John, you just sometimes have to stare at the same space for a while until you actually see them! The species found on St. John is called “Green Iguana” but that does not mean they are actually green (they are after birth but then change into various colors).

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Make Jumbies at Drunk Bay

The Trail that leads to Drunk Bay on St. John begins at the very end of Salt Pond Beach and heads inland towards the salt pond. It is a relatively easy walk with  no hills and takes about 20-30minutes. The trail then continues North on to the rocky, windswept Drunk Bay beach.

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Meet the Donkeys on St. John

The donkeys on St. John were imported in the 16th century to work on the sugar plantations. The slaves were freed and the plantations went out of business then another few centuries later the first cars showed up on St. John and the donkey were let go free. And they still roam around on St. John.

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Peace Hill, St. John

The Peace Hill hike on St. John  is a very easy one, but nonetheless very rewarding. It begins at a Parking off Northshore Road, about half a mile after Hawksnest.

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The Wave – Susan Casey

Another great book for any boater, surfer or water lover:

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Picnic at Salt Pond Beach (East End)

This beach feels different and also attracts a different crowd, since it is a very long drive from Cruz Bay and a relatively long walk down from the parking (about 15 minutes). Salt Pond is a beautiful bay with amazingly clear water. Bring a picnic and sit on the tables in the shade, enjoying the view.

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Reef Bay Trail Hike

The secrets of St. John’s tropical forests, petroglyphs, freshwater pools and sugar mill ruins come alive on the three-mile Reef Bay Trail Hike.  You will also see a 40ft waterfall, various plants and animals like deer, bats, land crabs, termite nests.

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Build a Mosquito Trap

Ok, St. John is paradise. The only true nuisance are the mosquitos. They are not only a nuisance, they can actually infect you with bad diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya Fever. Both viruses are transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes, which have black and white stripes markings. The National Park Service has actually just issued a warning about Chikungunya outbreak in the Caribbean.  In Makonde (African language), chikungunya means “that which  bends”, referring to stooped appearance of patients in severe pain.

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Visit Easter Rock

Easter Rock is a giant, majestic boulder right next to St. John’s North Shore Road (after Hawksnest and before Peace Hill). When driving East, it will be on the left hand side.

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Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins

In 1717 the Danes started huge plantations growing mainly sugar cane for rum. Slaves were forced to work on the plantations, gruelling hours sometimes from 4.00 AM to 10.00 PM. Life was very rough for them and in 1733 the slaves organized a revolt which ultimately led to the abolishment of slavery.

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Bird Watching – Francis Bay Trail

At Francis Bay there is a short loop trail with 2 entrances which is great for bird watching. You will also see deer and land crabs.

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Is St. John Sargassum Edible?

Lots of seagrass has been washed onto St. John’s shores overnight, so question that naturally pops up on this island where food is notoriously expensive, is it edible?

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Desiring Paradise… a true story of succumbing to the dream

Many people toy with the idea of packing up their lives and moving to a remote island in the tropics. This book relates the hilarious tale of two middle-class New Englanders who succumbed to that dream.

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New Gym in town: Rock Fitness

With the gym at the Westin undergoing major renovation and having moved to one of the meeting rooms we are excited to hear there is a new gym in town, at the Lumberyard complex.

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Read Mingo’s Cave

Mingo’s Cave is about adventure in the Caribbean. In it the reader gets to meet quirky island characters, search for hidden treasure, ride along on dangerous boat excursions, learn about the destruction of an Eco-sensitive camp, and seek revenge for a senseless murder.

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50 Water Adventures To Do Before You Die

From paddle-boarding the Mississippi to big game fishing off Mexico, from floating in the Dead Sea to swimming with jellyfish in Palau, from iceboating in Russia to sailing non-stop round the world, this book promises to inspire dreamers to become doers

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Read “Land of Love and Drowning”

A major debut from an award-winning writer—an epic family saga set against the magic and the rhythms of the Virgin Islands.

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Read “Don’t stop the carnival”

This book is a great holiday read it will make you laugh very hard and give you some insight into “island culture”.

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Back Time on Love City: The Carnival Never Stopped

Torn between the relative safety of doing what was expected, living and working close to home in middle America farmland, or blindly plunging into ‘sharky’ waters (literally), our young hero readily chose the sharks. It was bold choices like this early on that helped to shape his great adventure that wafted him far beyond the cornfields of Illinois and onto an island in the Caribbean – a pirate’s paradise

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Read “USMAIL”

In USMAÍL, Pedro Juan Soto gives us a masterful description of life on the small Puerto Rican Island of Vieques during the 1930s, 40s and 50s as seen through the eyes of the islanders themselves. The story follows the life of a boy born to a poor, black woman from the rural countryside, whose American lover, sent to Vieques to manage a government assistance program, abandons her upon learning that she is expecting his child. But before her death, she bestows upon her newborn son a mysterious name, a name which will prove to haunt him for the rest of this life.

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Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide

Unrivaled in scope for a single-volume reference work, this visual guide to every bird order and family profiles more than 1,400 species, photographed in their native environment by photographers around the globe.

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Fish Identification Field Guide

The most comprehensive field guide available to the tropical fishes of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas, and Bermuda.

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St. John Holiday Read: Thunder Point

When Henry Baker leaves his home on St. John to deep-sea dive in the beautiful waters of the Caribbean, he has no idea that this is not going to be a routine day.

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Read “A trip to the beach”

This is the true story of a trip to the beach that never ends. It’s about a husband and wife who escape civilization to build a small restaurant on an island paradise — and discover that even paradise has its pitfalls.

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Read “Desiring Paradise”

Desiring Paradise is the true story of two New Englanders who followed their dream. Despite obstacles and setbacks at every turn,they moved to St. John in the US Virgin Islands to start a new life.

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Create your own T-Shirt at Sloop Jones

Head to the tranquil East End and visit Sloop Jones, the islands most colorful artist. It’s a studio gallery with great artwork but there are also workshops where you can create your own piece of art. More information is here.

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Read “Caribbean”

In this acclaimed classic novel, James A. Michener sweeps readers off to the Caribbean, bringing to life the eternal allure and tumultuous history of this glittering string of islands.

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Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding with Carolina Coral offers you a great view of the BVIs (yes, the British Virgin Islands without a passport. They have horses for every skill and take you into the hills of St. John. Aside from the horses, they have donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, dogs and cats.

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Meet Ziggy

UPDATE: Ziggy the pig left St. John and is now travelling the world. Follow the adventures of Ziggy the pig.

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Drift Away Day Spa St. John

Drift Away Day Spa invites you to immerse yourself in our serene oasis. A blend of experienced professionals and modern luxury, Drift Away is St. John’s premiere day spa.

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Hike to Salomon Beach

If you’re a free, active spirit , and would rather not use a car to get to the beach, then a hike to Salomon beach might be for you. It’s a beautiful, palm-fringed beach with turquoise water and can be reached from Cruz Bay via a mile-long hike. If you get really lucky, you might even have the beach to yourself.

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Read “Crystal Blue”

Paid trip to the Caribbean sound good? Buck Reilly thinks so–flying rock stars and celebrities to a remote island for a charity concert seems a breeze–until all hell breaks loose when the promoter disappears and one of the A-list stars is kidnapped.

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Get an Amazon Kindle

Seriously, maybe the single most useful item on St. John (well, after suncreen and bug spray). You might have heard about “island time”, so yes waiting will be part of your trip. Like for the ferries, which are never on time (and everywhere else where 5 minutes are, well, 5 island minutes which is something like bubble gum.  It can magically extend. When you have something to read it is half as bad.

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Read “Adrift on St. John”

No one knows better than resort manager Pen Hoffstra that the idea of a tropical paradise is an illusion. So when a young woman named Hannah Sheridan disappears off the island of St. John, she is not surprised that all is not what it seems to be.

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Read “Undocumented Visitors in a Pirate Sea”

A dead Marine washed ashore on a Caribbean island leads investigators to otherworldly perpetrators in historic pirate waters and high level abuses in Washington. An intrepid maritime historian working the case for U.S. Naval Intelligence discovers a 60-year record of extraterrestrial activity in the Caribbean basin. History and national security politics meet science fiction in this mystery based on exhaustive factual research and informed conjecture.

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