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Guide to St John

A nature lover’s paradise

The smallest of the three main US Virgin Islands, St John lies just to the east of St Thomas, and is renowned for its pristine natural beauty, with most of the island protected by the Virgin Islands National Park.

Remote, tranquil and undeveloped compared to its neighbours in the Virgin Islands archipelago, St John offers a slower pace of life and is a popular destination for hikers, snorkelers and nature lovers. For yacht rentals, the entry point for most visitors is Cruz Bay, the island’s main town and commercial hub, located on the west coast. The harbour can accommodate yachts of up to 6om in length, and there are restaurants, bars, shops and supermarkets here where you can stock up on provisions, as well as a white sand beach around the bay.

Quieter stretches of sand can be found within easy reach of Cruz Bay, such as the secluded Hart Bay, on the south coast, which is also a prime snorkelling spot. The rocky outcrop in the middle of the bay provides a habitat for a variety of Caribbean marine species, including parrotfish, bluehead wrasse and angelfish, as well as an array of hard corals. 

On the north coast, the stunning white sandy beach at Trunk Bay has been voted one of the best in the world, and receives more visitors than any other beach on St John. The sign-posted underwater snorkelling trail offshore is ideal for beginners, who can explore the colourful reefs and the tropical fish that live here at depths between 3m and 6m below the surface. 

Further along the north coast, Watermelon Cay is one of St John’s most popular snorkelling destinations, with its clear water providing excellent visibility for exploring the abundant sea life here, which includes turtles, rays, conches and small sharks. 

St John is a great place for scuba diving, too, with several sites worth investigating around the coast. One of the best is around Carval Rock, off the north coast, where experienced divers can explore 24m below the surface.

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Reasons to Visit

Scuba diving

Good For

  • Snorkeling
  • Marine Life
  • Diving
  • Shopping
  • Anchorage
  • Mountains

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