St. John, United States Virgin Islands
Where to Eat and Drink
Casual, in-town joints: In Wharfside Village, where you get the best views, there's Panini Beach Trattoria (great individual pizzas and salads). Other good lunch spots include Chilly Billy's (13 Enighed in the Old Lumberyard), a locals' hangout and a good spot for basic fare. The Lime Inn, behind Pink Papaya in the Lemon Tree Mall, has no sea views but wonderful burgers and fresh fish and is another locals' favorite. On the go? Check out Luscious Licks, across from the post office. Woody's Saloon (across from Chase Manhattan Bank) has an infamous happy hour. Duffy's Love Shack has an outpost in town.
Gourmet Lunching: The closest thing St. John has to a gourmet lunch is the buffet at the tony Caneel Bay Resort's Caneel Beach Terrace, a 1205-minute taxi ride away.
In The Neighborhood: In Coral Bay, Skinny Legs is a famous yachters' hang-out. For a mellower option, head out on Route 107 (toward Salt Pond)--the open-air Shipwreck Landing has terrific Cajun-crusted shrimp and conch fritters. Further on, Lucy's Backyard features Caribbean rotis and an on-the-beachfront patio--patrons are given water guns to squirt away roaming chickens.
What to See and Do
Cruz Bay is full of (mostly) one-of-a-kind, very upscale boutiques. Cruz Bay has two major shopping areas. At the atmospheric, stone-walled Mongoose Junction (to the left of the dock) highlights include MAPes MONDe, for a great selection of books on the Caribbean as well as antique maps, and Bougainvillea Boutique for chic bathing suits, linen fashions, and straw hats. Bamboula, which sells everything from bed linens to keepsakes from all over the world, is St. John's most eclectic shop. The Clothing Studio has hand-painted t-shirts, shorts, tank dresses, and bathing suits. Check out Donald Schnell Pottery for hand-blown glass, kaleidoscopes, and windchimes; and Ocean Leather for belts and accessories made out of fish skin.
Adjacent to Margaritas (across from the dock) is St. John Editions, which has fabulous fashions, including Lilly Pulitzer, Koko, and Flax.
At Wharfside, Dreams and Dragonflies, which features percussion instruments, funky jewelry and hand-painted clothing, has replaced the landmark Isola. Verace is an exquisite jewelry boutique with distinctive, hand-made pieces by artists from around the world.
Out of the way but worth the half-block stroll is Pink Papaya, an arty/craftsy shop (Lemon Tree Mall, behind Chase Manhattan Bank) specializing in boldly colored Caribbean handicrafts.
Go snorkeling (for beginners) or beach-bumming at Trunk Bay (equipment can be rented there), where there is an underwater trail (and on-site snack shop). Admission is $4.
Cinnamon Bay, another National Park Service beach, has a restaurant and on-site shack renting snorkel gear and kayaks.
An island tour (taxis generally charge $12 per person for a two-hour tour) offers gorgeous vistas of the north side (mostly National Park and highly undeveloped), stopping at Annaberg Plantation before returning to Cruz Bay.
On Foot: The tender drops you in the heart of eminently walkable Cruz Bay. Taxis generally are best found at the ferry terminal, where the boats that ply the waters between Charlotte Amalie/Red Hook and St. John tie up; it's about a five-minute walk from the tender dock.
Taxis: Clusters of safari cabs wait at the ferry dock and at the major beaches and hotels.
Renting a Car: There are numerous locally-owned and operated Rental-car agencies, mostly clustered around the car ferry area. Among those within easy walking distance are St. John Car Rental (340-776-6103), O'Connor Car Rental (340-776-6343), Varlack (340-776-6412), Spencer's (888-776-662), Cool Breeze (340-776-620588), and Denzil Clyne (340-776-671205). Advance reservations are highly recommended. Rates start at $2050 per day.
Where You're Docked
You'll be anchored and tendered ashore to the National Park.
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