St. John Cruises
Cruises to St. John call on Cruz Bay, the lively main port. About 20 minutes to the east, over roads traversed by donkeys, goats, and cows, sailboats line the harbor of quiet Coral Bay. Saint Thomas, about four miles west, is home to the closest airport and has regular ferry service to St. John.
As well, most cruise ships stopping in Saint Thomas provide excursions to St. John, and yachts and chartered boats moor in its harbors if you desire private transport.
Things to Do in St. John
Share your budget, interests, and travel style with your Riverdale Travel consultant, and they will create a custom vacation package bursting with opportunities to make the most of your getaway.
Whether you’re there for a day or a week, we’ve got the insider scoop to turn your trip to St. John into one of the most enriching travel experiences you’ve ever had!
Beaches, Snorkeling, and Diving
St. John’s most beautiful beaches stretch out along the North Shore Road. Trunk Bay, the only beach that charges $4 admission, features a 675-foot snorkeling trail with underwater markers.
Cinnamon Bay extends for almost a mile and offers water-sports rentals. A shady fringe of trees and a handful of picnic tables back Hawksnest, while at Maho, turtles graze on sea grass offshore and iguanas and deer forage in the foliage.
Robust swimmers snorkel around Waterlemon Cay, an offshore outcropping in Waterlemon Bay, not far from the well-preserved remains of the Annaberg sugar plantation. Watch for turtles as you approach the rocky cay, where parrotfish and blue tangs dart among coral in the strong current.
For scuba enthusiasts, Low Key Watersports leads shore and boat dives, including the popular wreck of the Rhone, a 310-foot brigantine-rigged schooner that sank in 1867 off Salt Island, east of St. John.
The northern coast is best for beaches but Saint John’s south shore caters to hikers. Follow Salt Pond Bay Trail to the south end of Salt Pond Bay Beach, a broad, sparsely frequented bay. Then continue along Drunk Bay Trail to a rocky, wave-lashed beach strewn with coral sculptures left by previous visitors, or follow Ram Head Trail, ascending 200 feet of cactus-lined track for panoramic views of the sea.
For a more challenging workout, climb the steep 2.2-mile Reef Bay Trail, which winds past the ruins of four sugar estates. Continue down the Petroglyph Trail to see pre-Columbian rock carvings surrounding a freshwater pool.
Shopping and Dining in St. John
From the Cruz Bay ferry terminal, the compact port’s best bars, restaurants, and boutiques are all within a 10-minute walk. Browse Mongoose Junction, an attractive, open-air stone mall, for gifts and souvenirs. At Wharfside Village along the palm-lined waterfront, shop for fine jewelry made from rare old coins or shaped like the island’s iconic petroglyph symbols at Versace.
Order a St. John Brewers’ Tropical Mango Pale Ale and tempura fish tacos to go with the bay views at The Beach Bar, also at Wharfside Village. Head to The Longboard, a Cruz Bay newcomer, on Prince Street for happy hour and a Mexican-inflected menu.
If you’re out and about in a Jeep, Caneel Bay resort general manager Nikolay Hotze recommends a meal at Miss Lucy’s on Friis Bay for authentic Caribbean food: conch fritters, fried fish and plantains, and more.
Italian fare at Zozo’s at The Sugar Mill, housed – you guessed it – in an old Caneel Bay sugar mill, has seafaring flair, with dishes such as lobster tagliatelle and pistachio-crusted mahi mahi.