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Our Beaches Just Ranked Top in the WORLD… Again!

Trunk Bay

Hello everyone, and happy Tuesday! I’m sure this will not come as a surprise for those of you who love St. John like me, but our beaches have just ranked the top in the world… again! And not by just one publication, but two!

The first honor comes from the 2023 Best Beaches in the World list presented by Banana Boat. Trunk Bay came in at number six, following beaches in Australia, Seychelles, the Philippines, and the Cook Islands. Here’s what they had to say:

Often called the most pristine beach in the Caribbean, there is a reason why this fantastic beach received so many votes for our list again this year. Protected in a lush environment in the Virgin Islands National Park, this beach – unlike many in the Caribbean – doesn’t have a backdrop of cement buildings or busy businesses. It feels pure and natural! It is named after the Leatherback turtle which is endemic to this area and locally known as trunks. With clear water, ivory soft sand and plenty of shade this is definitely a place to chill for an entire day while simply enjoying and exploring one of the very best beaches in the world!

U.S. News & World Report also released its list of the 15 Best Beaches in the World this month, and the US Virgin Islands came in as number 15. I, personally, think we should have ranked higher on the list. 🙂 Here is what they had to say:

The U.S. Virgin Islands are “America’s Caribbean Paradise” – the place to see moko jumbies (stilt walkers) dance at a Carnival parade, hear the lilting patois of a Creole dialect or smell the spices in a saltfish pate (all without losing cell phone reception). You can visit either St. Thomas, St. John or St. Croix, or better yet, spend a little time on all three islands. That way you’ll get plenty of pampering, undisturbed nature and colonial history jammed into one vacation.

Each island offers something different. Called “Rock City” for its hilly, craggy horizon, St. Thomas is known for luxury – from the megayachts moored in the harbor to the high-end storefronts along Main Street. Located a short ferry ride east, St. John appeals to honeymooners and nature lovers, with more than 7,000 acres of dedicated parkland, along with pristine beaches. Way down south in the Caribbean Sea, St. Croix allows visitors to explore the islands’ colonial heritage and the history of slavery at several different forts and plantations. Plus, it’s on this island that you’ll find the Cruzan Rum Distillery.

A visit to the islands now may look a little different than it did several years ago. Hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated the islands, leaving homes and hotels either uninhabitable or severely damaged. However, since 2017 the region has taken great strides in restoring itself and is happily welcoming visitors once again. So, if you’re in need of a beachy vacation, don’t hesitate to book your trip.

Want to see Trunk Bay up close? Check out this video I created last fall:

Curious what’s on the menu at Trunk Bay? Click here to read an article I posted that details all of the food and drink options available at Trunk Bay, including lots of pics. 

Want to see some other beaches? Check out


Island Update: A Little of This & A Little of That

Hello everyone, and welcome to the end of the week! Let’s end the week with a little island update, shall we??

I’ll start with the sargassum. It’s mostly gone. Yes, there are spots here and there like in Fish Bay, for example. But I have not seen any piling up on any of the popular beaches in a few weeks. That’s a good thing. If you are curious about sargassum, you can always check out I post updates there regularly.

The Saharan dust has also passed through the territory for the moment. I have seen such bright blue skies this week. It’s been incredible. Check out a few pics:

Hawksnest earlier this week
Trunk Bay earlier this week

The Saharan dust comes and goes through the late spring and summer months. Click this link to read an article we recently posted about this. 

So the sargassum is gone. The dust is gone. Such great news! Now on to the rain…

The island is slowly starting to green up after a long stretch of minimal rain. (I kid you not, it started to downpour as I typed that sentence!) We are been getting good bouts of rain here and there, but it’s not enough to ruin a vacation. It is, however, enough to green up the island. Woohoo!

Dalton grabbed his rain jacket & ran outside to play in the rain this morning!

Speaking of Dalton, he loves going to Scoops to get ice cream in Mongoose Junction. We picked up some after dinner last night, and drove up to the Cruz Bay overlook afterward. We were fortunate enough to catch this sunset:

These colors are 100% real. I never alter pics. 🙂

How gorgeous is that?! And yes, that is Kekoa sailing by!

So all in all, things are good here. The island is still quiet too, so it’s a great time to visit if you are able to. And for those of you who cannot, you can always check out one of our 20+ webcams at

Have a wonderful day everyone! PS: The sun is already out again!

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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.” 🙂


Hiking the Water Catchment Trail

I absolutely love exploring this island. My son Dalton is almost five years old, so he has finally reached an age where he enjoys exploring and hiking with me. I brought him to check out the Water Catchment trail the other day. He thought it was pretty cool, and I think you all will too.

The trailhead for the Water Catchment trail is located on Centerline Road (Route 10) about a mile-and-a-half from the roundabout in Cruz Bay. There is a small pull-off with room for a few cars.

The trailhead for the Water Catchment trail is located right off of Centerline Road.

The trail is only .4 miles from the road to the water catchment area. It’s downhill most of the way, which means it’s uphill most of the way back. The trail is well maintained, although there are a few rocky areas. This is definitely a sneakers or sandals with straps hike. I would not do this in flip flops. It’s getting pretty hot, so it’s always best to bring a bottle of water.

The trail starts off pretty wide. You will walk downhill for a few minutes before you come to a fork. Take a right to go to the Water catchment trail. If you took a left, it would lead you to North Shore Road (Route 20).

The trail starts off nice and wide.
Take a right at the fork. Thanks Dalton!
It’s going to get rocky for a bit.
You will soon come to a cement gut. You are getting close.
And finally, you will see this sign. Take a right and the catchment area is just steps away.

Now you may be wondering what exactly this is. The water catchment area was used for the Caneel Bay Resort when it was open. The actual catchment area consists of a large, fenced-in basin that collects rainwater in a large holding tank. Water from the Caneel Bay desalination plant, which is still in operation, was also pumped up into this tank. The water from the catchment area was filtered and chlorinated before it was brought into the resort. The catchment area is located high above the resort, so when the water flowed down into the property and its buildings, it had all the water pressure it needed to serve the resort adequately.

The water catchment area from afar
The area is quite large.
Beautiful views from here too!

Check out this video to see how large this area is.

Looking for information on other hiking trails? Please visit

Are you looking to learn more about the island? Perhaps you want to check out this spot or another lesser-known island spot? Consider taking an island tour with Learn more at

Seasonal Restaurant Closings: When to Expect Info

Trunk Bay never closes. 🙂

Hello everyone, and happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms and stepmoms reading this!

I have been getting several emails asking about seasonal closings. For those of you who are new to St. John, it is common for our restaurants to close during the slower season, which coincides with peak hurricane season. Some of the restaurants on St. John close for a week or two, while others may close for a month or even several. The closings tend to start sometime in July; however the majority of restaurants that choose to close do so in either August or September typically.

As of today, the majority of restaurants that tend to close have not released that information. And perhaps they haven’t decided yet. That information should come out in about a month, and I will let you know as soon as I do.

So you may be wondering if there will be anywhere to eat if you are visiting in August or September. The answer is absolutely. Not all restaurants close. The fine dining spots tend to, while the most casual places often stay open. Cruz Bay Landing, The Beach Bar, High Tide and The Tap Room, for example, almost always stay open throughout the year. They may opt to close for a day or two or perhaps a week, but that’s about it.

So again, as soon as I have that info, I will absolutely share it with you. If you’d like to check back for this information, you can check out


How to Find Cheap Airfare

Trunk Bay, St. John (February 2023 pic)

I was perusing social media yesterday when I came across a post lamenting about expensive airfare. I am hopeful that airfares are trending down, but in the event that you are unable to find inexpensive airfare, here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful over the years.

Look at One-Way Tickets

You can always save money by purchasing one-way tickets. If you are traveling in the United States, you can often find deals when buying one-way tickets. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to St. Thomas on JetBlue and fly home on Delta, for example. It’s also easier to make changes or cancel a ticket when you purchase a one-way, because you do not have to make changes to your whole trip. The only time that it is cheaper to purchase a roundtrip ticket is when traveling to Europe or overseas.

Set Up Fare Alerts

If you are looking at specific dates or a specific time of year, you can save money by setting up airfare alerts. You can do this on several websites including Google Flights and Skyscanner. On Google Flights, for example, all you have to do is type in your airport information and dates. Then click “Track prices” and you will be asked for an email. If you are already signed into Google, it will already have your email. Then every time the flight that you are tracking drops, you will get an alert. You can even set it up to watch flights for a specific month, as opposed to exact dates. It’s a pretty handy tool for those of us who enjoy saving money.

Set up fare alerts with Google Flights.

Check Flights to Puerto Rico

There are a few airlines that do not fly to St. Thomas, but they fly into Puerto Rico. The San Juan airport (airport code SJU) is just a quick 20-30 minute flight from us depending on the airline. I’ve flown this route numerous times and it’s about 17 minutes on JetBlue and closer to 30 minutes on Cape Air. It’s possible that you can book a one-way ticket on Southwest or Frontier – two airlines that fly into Puerto Rico – and then you can take a quick puddle jumper over to St. Thomas. Cape Air, Silver Airways, and JetBlue all offer numerous daily flights between San Juan and St. Thomas.

The one downside to this is that you really shouldn’t check bags. If you check a bag, you would have to leave security to retrieve it. You would then have to recheck it, which means paying for the bag again. You would also have to go through security again to get back inside of the San Juan airport.

Buying Tickets at Certains Times or Days of the Week

Honestly, I am not a believer in this. I do not think that there is a magic time or day to buy tickets. I think you are much better off signing up for fare alerts than trying to buy a ticket at midnight on a Tuesday, for example.

Perhaps Drive a Bit Further to a Different Airport

JFK is historically one of the cheapest markets when flying to St. Thomas. I’m planning on visiting my family in Connecticut soon, so I have been perusing flights myself. A one-way ticket on Delta into Hartford was $941 one way, which is insane. I can fly into JFK that same day, also on Delta, for just $241. That’s a huge difference and worth the extra hour-and-a-half drive. So for those of you reading who are within a few hours of JFK airport, consider driving there, rather than leaving out of Boston, which is always more expensive. I’m sure this holds true for several other airports around the country.

How to Get Here

For those of you who are new to St. John, you may be curious about how to get here. Click here to read a post that details exactly what you need to do when flying in and out of St. Thomas, which is the island you need to fly into when visiting St. John.

I have mentioned this a few times lately, but it’s worth repeating. The island is very slow right now. It’s a fantastic time to visit. The beaches are not crowded. You don’t have to rush to the beach to get a parking spot. The water is warm. All of the restaurants are open, and open tables are plentiful. And even better, lots of villas are currently discounting their rates. So start shopping for those airfares using the tips above! 🙂

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