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Trunk Bay Named Best Beach in the World!

Trunk Bay, April 2024

I’ve been saying this for years, folks. Trunk Bay is simply one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Well the people over at Banana Boat clearly agree with me, because they just named Trunk Bay the best beach in the world!

Banana Boat, a company that offers reef-friendly, but not reef-safe sunscreen, released its annual list of the World’s Best Beaches today, and Trunk Bay topped the list! Trunk Bay beat out stunning locales like Grace Bay (Turks and Caicos) and Seven Mile Beach (Cayman Islands), as well as spots in Seychelles, French Polynesia and Australia among others.

Here’s what they had to say about Trunk Bay:

Trunk Bay is the quintessential Caribbean paradise. Visitors praise the incredibly soft sand and the crystal-clear, pool-like waters, but what truly distinguishes Trunk Bay from other Caribbean destinations is its setting within the stunning Virgin Islands National Park. The protected status of the area ensures the absence of loud commercial activity and large buildings, allowing instead for lush greenery and local wildlife to flourish as a natural backdrop. Additionally, its sheltered location protects it from the Caribbean tradewinds, resulting in calm waters that are perfect for swimming. Named after the Leatherback turtle—locally known as “trunks”—which is native to the area, Trunk Bay also features a vibrant reef that attracts snorkelers eager to swim among schools of colorful fish and experience the unique underwater snorkeling trail.

Trunk Bay is the only beach in St. John that has an entry fee. It costs $5 per person to entry, and they only accept credit cards. Trunk Bay has showers, restrooms, lunch offerings, a full bar with happy hour in the morning, and a rental hut that has chairs, snorkel gear and life belts.

Looking to spend the day at Trunk Bay? Click here to read a recent story I wrote that details all of its offerings. You can also click here to read all about Trunk Bay’s food and beverage offerings.

Click here to see what other beaches made the top 50. 

That’s all I have for today, folks! Stay tuned for information tomorrow on an easier way to visit Lime Out, our floating taco bar!


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

New Cool Lunch Option in Cruz Bay

There’s a cool new place to eat lunch in Cruz Bay! And even better, it’s affordable!

Our friends over at Cafe Roma started serving lunch last week. I stopped by last Friday, and it was delish! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Cafe Roma, it’s an Italian restaurant that’s located in Cruz Bay just one block away from the ferry dock.

Cafe Roma’s lunch is pretty simple – pizza, salad and sandwiches. They serve cheese and pepperoni pizza by the slice, three different salads and several subs. The most expensive item on the menu is only $15. This is a steal for St. John, folks!

We stopped in on Friday and had two slices of pizza, a caesar salad and the roast beef special. It came out quickly, tasted great, and it was only like $30-something dollars! (Sorry I can’t remember the exact price – lol.)

Pizza and a salad
Roast beef special

Cafe Roma has plenty of seating, and it’s even air conditioned. That’s great news for these super hot days we’ve been having lately.

Lots of comfortable seating
Full bar

Cafe Roma is serving lunch Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Happy hour runs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday too. During that time, you can get a slice of pizza and a Bud or Bud Light for only $6! This is available until they run out.

Cafe Roma is open for dinner Sundays through Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Want to see exactly where Cafe Roma is located? Click here to check out Explore STJ’s searchable restaurant map at www.explorestj.com/restaurantmap.

Tag: lunch in Cruz Bay


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

Check Out the Views!

The St. John Spice webcam

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! After several days of some pretty thick Saharan dust, the skies are finally clear again! I thought this would be a great time to remind you about all of the webcams that we have here on St. John.

Want to see who is coming and going from the ferry dock? You can!

Want to see the drinks flowing over at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke? You can!

Want to check out the sunset at the Windmill Bar or the stunning daytime views? You can!

The Windmill Bar webcam

Want to see who’s bellying up to the bar at The Beach Bar? You can!

Want to see what the Sir Francis Channel looks like today or perhaps Coral Bay harbor? You can!

Explore STJ has more than 20 live streaming webcams that are positioned around the island and over in the British Virgin Islands. Waste some time on this Friday, and check them all out! You can see them 24/7 at www.explorestj.com/webcams.

Not sure what Saharan Dust is? Click here to read a previous article I wrote about it. 

Have a great day everyone!

Webcam Link –> www.explorestj.com/webcams


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

City Nature Challenge Happening this Weekend

(Pre-construction pic)

If you love plants and animals as much as me, there is a cool event happening this weekend that you can participate in. The City Nature Challenge is an international event that asks people around the world to find and document wildlife in their own cities. The Virgin Islands National Park is participating in the event, so if you are lucky enough to be on St. John tomorrow through Monday, you can join the fun. Not on St. John? No problem! Numerous cities around the country are participating too!

The City Nature Challenge asks participants to do three things:

  1. Find wildlife. It can be any plant, animal or other evidence of life found in your city.
  2. Take a picture or record a sound. Be sure to note the location of the plant or animal.
  3. Share your observations through the iNaturalist app (or your city’s chosen platform). We are using i-Naturalist down here in the Virgin Islands. Tip: If it’s planted or taken care of by people, it is not wild. Mark those captive or cultivated.

Participants are asked to take pictures from April 26th through April 29th. All images will be identified from April 30th through May 5th. The results will be announced on May 6th.

The City Nature Challenge began in 2016 as a competition between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Here is what they had to say about this year’s event:

“There is nature all around us! Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the ONLY way to do that is by all of us – scientists, land managers, and the community – working together to find and document the nature in our area.

“By participating in the City Nature Challenge, not only do you learn more about your local nature, but you can also make your city a better place – for you and other species!”

Staff from the Virgin Islands National park will be available at Cinnamon Bay from 7 a.m. to noon Friday through Monday to introduce guests to the i-Naturalist app and to provide information about the event. Guided bird walks, plant identification walks, and seashore walks will be offered daily, as well as a moth program on Saturday night. Click here to see that schedule.

Click here to learn more about the City Nature Challenge.

Click here for a full list of participating cities. 


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

 

It’s Wattapama Time!

A wattapama in bloom at Annaberg Tuesday morning.

It’s wattapama time! Many of you are probably wondering, what the heck is a wattapama? Well it’s one of the prettiest trees here on St. John – in my opinion, of course.

I’m sure many of you have driven past these trees without thinking twice. They are thin, wispy trees that look pretty basic most of the year, However, after soaking rains break a drought – something that recently happened here – beautiful little purple flowers emerge from their branches. This typically happens in springtime. It’s a sight to see!

According to the Virgin Islands National Park, the wattapama is native only to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For those of you who truly love plants and flowers, its botanical name is Poitea florida.

So if you are lucky enough to be on St. John now or in the coming weeks, take a moment to enjoy yet another beautiful aspect of the this island. Have a wonderful day everyone!


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

 

Caneel Bay Resort Property to Become National Park

Caneel Bay Resort, located on St. John’s famed North Shore, was once one of the Caribbean’s premier resorts.

It’s taken 2,420 days for me to write something positive about the shuttered Caneel Bay Resort property, and I can finally do it today – on Earth Day of all days. I am happy to share that the 150-acre Caneel Bay property will become part of the Virgin Islands National Park. This decision follows a nearly two-year federal court battle over land ownership rights, and it will hopefully clear the path for rebuilding the shuttered resort.

Judge Cheryl Ann Krause granted the United States of America’s motion for summary judgement last Thursday, stating that the “title to the resort’s land remains with the United States, and title to the improvements thereon shall be conveyed and transferred to the Department of the Interior forthwith.” This document was made available to the public Monday.

A little bit of background for those of you who may be new to this story…

Caneel Bay was a picturesque resort located in St. John between Cruz Bay and Hawksnest Bay. The 150-acre resort opened on the same day that the Virgin Islands National Park opened in 1956. Caneel Bay Resort was opened by Laurance Rockefeller, a man who is also credited with establishing the Virgin Islands National Park thanks to a 5,000-acre land donation. The resort was destroyed, however, in September 2017 when Hurricane Irma barreled through the islands, and has remained shuttered ever since.

The resort and the land it sits on were supposed to convey to the Virgin Islands National Park last fall, but that did not happen due to a federal court case filed by EHI Acquisitions – the company that operated the hotel until Hurricane Irma. The lawsuit, filed in June 2022, claimed the land, buildings and improvements at Caneel Bay should be theirs due to a clause in an Indenture created by Rockefeller himself. The lawsuit hinged on the word “offer,” specifically whether there should be a dollar amount attached to one. EHI believed they should receive $70 million in exchange for the buildings and improvements, hence their “offer,” while the United States disagreed.

The judge determined that the term offer “unambiguously means an offer to convey the improvements free of charge.” And with that, she ruled in favor of the United States of America. This means that the 150-acre property should become part of the Virgin Islands National Park, but it likely will not be that easy.

I reached out to EHI’s attorneys Monday afternoon, and they said they plan to appeal. “EHI is disappointed in the ruling,” attorney Julien Adams told me by phone. This appeal could perhaps tie up the property even longer.

I reached out to the government’s attorneys, as well as the superintendent of the Virgin Islands National Park Monday afternoon, but have yet to hear back. Therefore, I am uncertain how this ruling will affect ZoZo’s, the restaurant that operates at Caneel Bay, or the Caneel Bay Beach Club, which operates at Honeymoon Beach. I am also uncertain whether cleanup will commence soon, or if it will be put on hold pending the appeal.

The National Park Service announced its plans to rebuild the resort last summer, pending the outcome of the federal court case. Its plan is to rebuild the hotel, which would not exceed 166 rooms, the same number it had prior to the storm. It also plans to expand public access, including concessions, watersports rentals, public restrooms and showers, picnic tables, etc. Click here to read more about the National Park’s plan to rebuild Caneel Bay. 

And for those of you who enjoy reading court documents as much as I do, you can click here to read Judge Kraus’s decision in its entirety. 

As always, I will keep you posted on all of this. Happy Earth Day everyone. 🌎


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj