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Accommodations FYI: Beware of the Easy Walk to Town

Frank Bay

Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday! Today’s post is a PSA of sorts. 🙂

Today’s tour guests arrived on island last night. I was chatting with them when they told me that they were upset about the location of their condo. They are staying near Frank Bay and were told that it is an easy walk to town.  Those words can be misleading, and it is something you should question when researching places to stay, especially when you are planning to stay around Cruz Bay and walk places.

St. John is an extremely hilly island. When people advertise that their hotel, condo, VRBO or Airbnb is an easy walk to town, it often means that it is a downhill walk to town. That means, of course, that it is all uphill walking home. The roads around Cruz Bay are very steep, so not everyone will find these neighborhoods to be easy at all.

“Maybe it’s an easy walk for someone who is young,” my guest said last night.

If you want to be in Cruz Bay and within walking distance to the shops and restaurants, the places that do not require walking up or down a hill are Grande Bay, Wharfside Hotel, and Cruz Bay Hotel. There is a small hill that leads to Lavender Hill (and then another hill up their driveway) and also to Gallows Point. I don’t think it’s a huge hill, but some people might. There are new Airbnbs next to Dolphin Market, but those, too, include a smaller hill (small to me, but maybe not to others) and then you have to walk up a set of stairs to reach them (no elevators).

The homes that are located in the neighborhood behind Cruz Bay and closer to Frank Bay all have steep or big hills. Some streets in this area include Frangipani Lane, Seagrape Street, and Hill Street.

It’s not always easy to get a taxi to come and pick you up. That’s something else to think about if you plan to stay in one of these neighborhoods and rely on taxis. Click here to view a list of drivers.

I am not saying do not stay in these neighborhoods. There are some really great rentals that are located on hilly streets. I am just saying that you should ask some questions to see whether or not you will feel comfortable with the “easy walk to town.” 🙂


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  1. Elaine Estern

    Good morning to all. Having read Jenn’s email, and living across the street from the photo, I have to say that I agree with Jenn. BUT, one can use taxi’s, which I strongly recommend at night. I make that walk to town daily with my dog, and it never gets easier, but I think that is what is keeping me alive. If you rent a car/jeep, there is always difficulty in parking, especially at the beaches. Close to town is a very desirable place to be for access to everything. ALL of St.John is hilly, just keep that in mind when renting.

  2. David B

    We have 2 weeks at Grande Bay and that walk is a breeze. Also stayed at Gallows and Lavender Hill before we bought into GB. Walk not too bad but that was 20 years ago so probably not as easy now. Especially carrying anything like a box with 6 bottles of booze.

  3. Gina

    We didn’t rent a vehicle on our first trip to St John. LOL, the resort (Westin) isn’t far from town…Yeah, did that walk to town ONCE. Never again. The retailers at Mongoose thought we were crazy. (Took a taxi back.) Yes it is a big hill, but I think the lack of a safe place to walk and the heat got me as much as the hill.

  4. Wanda Sarro

    Yes there are hills and it can be challenging for some but the lack of parking in town is a
    bigger problem and a major headache. We have stayed at Gallow’s, Frank Bay and The Point at Maria Bluff. The house we rented at the Point was beautiful but not worth the parking headache every night. Would much rather walk.

  5. Bonnie

    This is SO helpful! We’ve enjoyed 6 years of staying at Harbor View, up behind Dolphin Market. It’s a bear of a walk the first few times up from town but we were there for 3 weeks this year and it got a bit easier. The view from the terrace was worth it but we are in our 70’s and the building has been sold. It will come back on the rental market after an overhaul and upscaling and will be a very appealing place to stay, just not for us anymore. Unless the new owner takes my suggestion and puts in an escalator!😉

    • Anne Ramsey

      We also stayed at Harbor View-but for over 20 years! Before that, we stayed at Star Villas…
      BJ sold it to Delbert…..and it’s going back on the rental market…not for us, either!
      Thanks for sharing…

  6. Lisa Cummings

    Many will find this very helpful. Thank you for sharing this advice. Many years ago on my first solo trip to STJ (I was meeting family a week later and went early) I severely overpacked. I got off the ferry at 9 PM and hauled all my luggage (now I do this trip with a travel backpack lol) up to the Tamarind. The gas station might have still been there it was so long ago. It doesn’t look like a steep hill but it can be exhausting dragging bags.

  7. Michael Krienik

    Please remember Seaside Vista Cottage, up the small hill just past Gallows, right across the street from the beach with unbelievable direct ocean & sunset views. Free parking as well. Guests love the 15′ x 20′ screened in veranda, where they enjoy the sounds of the surf as well.

  8. Susan Page

    If you go to google earth, put St. John .look around for a way should be able to visualize your spot…not the house just the area

    • Jenn Manes

      I actually pulled up some of the terrain maps today. I was hoping they could shed some light on this. Unfortunately when you zoom into a street, they all look flat. So there really isn’t a way to see the hills on a map.

  9. Ron Hunt

    Jenn- Your advice is very sound. I have always been concerned about the “easy walk to town”. That’s why we have loved being at Grande Bay for the last several years. We also stayed at Gallows Point which was also great.

  10. TulipRanch

    What about St. John Inn? We have stayed there numerous times and find the walk easy. Although it is a bit scary at night.

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