What to Expect
Low season on St John is typical of many tourist destinations. The summer heat and humidity move in and things slow down. The roads see fewer rental Jeeps. Villas have higher vacancies. A fair percentage of shops, bars and restaurants will close for a week or 2 or even for the month of September/October.
In general the pace slows to that hot tropical crawl that is the signature of island livin’.
So, is low season a good time to visit St John? The answer depends on your travel goals. For those wishing to avoid the crowds and the relative expense of the high season on St John – low season might be right for you! But before you head off to book your tickets – here are a few things to expect.
St John Low Season Travel: Beaches like Trunk, Maho, Cinnamon, Salt Pond and Hawksnest, that get the lion’s share of the visitors during high season, will be mostly uncrowded during low season. Some of the off the beaten path beaches like Denis, Little Cinnamon and Little Hawksnest will probably be deserted! Beaches like Little Lameshur, that require AWD and take some local knowledge will likely be visited only by St John residents. As an example: we have been to Hansen Bay/ Vie’s several times this month and each time we were the only souls on the beach the entire day! Gibney …just one other couple on 2 occasions! Lameshur … 1 other couple. Denis … 1 other couple! Even Trunk Bay Beach has had days when you felt like the entire beach was yours and yours alone!
Since it’s low season you’ll have your pick of villas …many at their lowest prices of the season! These villas are a great value – but you might also consider upgrading to some of the features that are more expensive during high season travel. Check out villas with expansive water views and pools – they may be well within your budget! Popular villas that are book for high season years in advance may be available! Some villas which are winter retreats for their owners are available during these summer months.
Restaurants, Bars and Activities: Low season typically sees reduced hours, reduced menu options or businesses will close for 1, 2, 3 weeks …or even the entire month. St John Spice has the most complete list of restaurants and bars with their summer schedules. Many charters take a few weeks off – but call and inquire. You may just find that they are willing to take you out for the day! Many of the busiest spots in Cruz Bay stay open – so you won’t starve and you won’t go thirsty, promise!
Low Season Weather: here’s where you will have to be a gambler! September has the highest number of hurricanes and tropical storms on St John. Even if you don’t get the big-blow you might get 3 days of rain for your 7 day vacation. September weather is hot and humid. The tradewinds that usually cool the island will be reduced to an intermittent light breeze. Humidity increases and nights take on an island tropical feel. And consider travel insurance – that way you’ll be covered if the weather does conspire to wreck your vacation!
So, should you visit St John during low season? It’s not for everybody and probably not recommended for the first time St John visitor. But for those of you that have experienced St John before and are looking for a travel bargain and the slower pace of the summer season – then low season might be the perfect time to plan a visit to St John.