When to go
The very best time of yr to go to VINP is from March by June, with much less rainfall and barely cooler temperatures (with highs within the mid 80s as a substitute of the 90s) and fewer guests. The island’s moist season from July to October comes with excessive humidity and the specter of hurricanes, however barring excessive occasions, every day rains move shortly. Excessive season covers November by February, with bigger crowds and fewer availability for lodging and transport.
Getting there and upon arrival
Most guests to the USVI fly into St. Thomas, a few two-and-a-half-hour flight southeast from Miami. U.S. residents don’t want a passport for entry, only a driver’s license or different authorities ID, however having one may also help with the entry course of. To get from St. Thomas to St. John, take a 20-minute ferry trip from Crimson Hook Harbor, on the island’s japanese edge, to Cruz Bay on St. John’s western facet. Each passenger and automobile ferries depart regularly.
If you arrive on St. John, search for the harborside VINP Customer Middle at Cruz Bay. You’ll be able to seize free maps or buy guidebooks there, take a look at historical past and nature shows, and get recommendation from the data officer. On the trailhead behind the middle, you possibly can start exploring the park with a hike to stunning Honeymoon Seaside simply over a mile away on an typically sizzling however pretty straightforward path.
Jeep rental is one of the best ways to get round St. John in case you’re staying for a number of days, because the native taxis might be sluggish to reply for trip requests and are costly. They cost a flat payment, often $10-$14 per individual, so a household of 4 will pay $80 or extra (plus bag charges or different surcharges) for a brief spherical journey, and the driving force could cease for different passengers. Be sure you get a value quote earlier than getting into any taxi. Jeeps are helpful for navigating St. John’s steep winding roads (and residential driveways), however parking is at a premium, so arrive early at seashores, trailheads, historic websites and on the town for dinner. And at all times bear in mind, site visitors drives on the left facet of the highway within the USVI. When you go for a day journey, think about touring the park and isle with an organization comparable to STJ Excursions. You’ll maximize your time, as you’ll get a personalised overview of the island, study some historical past and never need to hassle with the driving.
What to pack
Take alongside loads of sunscreen, and remember to use it whereas crusing or beachside, the place cooling offshore breezes can idiot you into pondering the solar isn’t that sturdy — however it’s. The USVI formally has a ban on nonreef-safe sunscreens, so convey a model that’s zinc oxide-based (often with a “reef protected” label on it). You’ll want bug repellent, too. The infamous native no-see-ums will depart unprotected flesh with itchy bites. Additionally, put on light-weight lengthy pants and shirts in early morning and night when bugs are most energetic.
Notice that common U.S. cellphone service works nicely on the island, with out added surcharges. The one quirk: On St. John’s japanese edge, near the British Virgin Islands, telephones could hook up with a European provider, presumably incurring added fees.
The place to remain and eat
There’s no lodging on official Nationwide Park lands besides the Cinnamon Bay campgrounds — just lately reopened after renovations with 4 new shared bathhouses, 31 tent websites (with wooden tent platforms and picnic benches), 50 “eco-tents” (pre-fab canvas cabins with beds and electrical energy) that accommodate from two to 4 individuals, and 40 cottage models in seven buildings. The Rain Tree Café serves breakfast and dinner, and a meals truck by the seashore brings in lunches. Purchase fundamental grocery gadgets and to-go meals on the camp retailer.
Past the campgrounds, the park’s 1956 formation left many “in-holdings” of personal property remaining inside park boundaries. Many now perform as trip leases — some beachside or mountaintop luxurious houses with swimming pools, others extra modest retreats. Much more rental choices sit simply outdoors park boundaries, so scan Airbnb, VRBO and native websites to discover a location and pricing that’s best for you.
Typical lodges and resort choices are restricted, the primary one being the Westin St. John, a sprawling 252-room time-share property close to Cruz Bay that’s obtainable for nightly leases. After settling into studios or villas with as much as three bedrooms, visitors take pleasure in myriad resort facilities, together with a pool and small seashore with tools leases, together with a beachside grill and a deli.
The city of Cruz Bay is St. John’s most important hub, with just a few sq. blocks of eating places, bars and outlets. For a relaxed, family-friendly eating spot, begin your day at Cruz Bay Touchdown, sinking your enamel into its wonderful Crab Cake Bennie — crispy native crab topped with a poached egg slathered with savory hollandaise sauce. Come dinnertime, it pairs stay music with a menu starring Caribbean lobster. Throughout the island in quiet Coral Bay, rub elbows with visiting yachters and native seashore bums at Skinny Legs, a legendary bar and grill the place you possibly can seize fish and chips and commerce pirate tales whereas watching sports activities on TV.