What To Do
Hike the reef bay. This five-and-a-half-hour, naturalist-guided downhill hike through the island’s lush interior includes stops at ancient petroglyphs and a beautiful beach. Wear light hiking boots; bring a sack lunch and a bathing suit. Return by boat to Cruz Bay ($15 per person). For reservations, stop by the VINP Visitor’s Center in Cruz Bay, or call 340.776.6201.
Take a kayak ecotour. A fascinating, educational two-and-a-half-hour kayak and snorkel tour takes you through the Mangrove Lagoon Marine Sanctuary, minutes from St. Thomas’ Red Hook dock (a 17-minute ferry ride from St. John). Watch for languid upside-down jellyfish and spotted eagle rays. Virgin Islands Ecotours, St. Thomas; www.viecotours.com; 340.779.2155.
Snorkel at Trunk Bay. Deservedly christened one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, this popular spot on St. John island features a self-guided underwater snorkel trail.
Where To Stay
Maho Bay Camps, Inc., St. John
A spectrum of comfortable, charming, and ecofriendly lodgings. Bring a flashlight (walkways are dark at night). For the most basic and affordable accommodations, try Maho Bay’s tent-cottages. Sure, the showers are cool—but in the tropics, who needs hot?www.maho.org; 800.392.9004.
Where To Eat
The Fish Trap, Cruz Bay, St. John Casual, outdoor terrace serving fantastic fresh-fish specials. Try conch fritters with the house drink: local coconut rum blended with frozen lemonade. www.thefishtrap.com; 340.693.9994.
Lime Inn, Cruz Bay, St. John. Tropical, intimate setting. Don’t miss the sensational clam chowder; locals have been trying to get the secret recipe for years. 340.776.6425.