Lionfish Threat – You Can Help!

St John Lionfish

Zebra Mussels in the Great Lakes and invasive Snakehead fish showing up in greater and greater locations in the US South East. There’s no shortage of news stories concerning invasive species in the US and its territories. And sadly, St John is not immune to this type of threat.

CORE Lionfish sightings informationEnter the Indo-Pacific Lionfish
Originally from the Indo-Pacific Ocean and Red Sea; the Lionfish is believed to have been released by aquarists in the mid to late 80’s. Sightings along the South Florida Coast have become increasingly common. And the threat is spreading at an ever alarming rate! The Lionfish has no known predators and is able to produce 30,000 eggs in a single spawning! The result has been an explosion of the population and threatened territories.

Yes they are beautiful
The Lionfish is a dramatic fish with long striped spines and striped membranes like a bristle of flags. But as beautiful as the fish may be it does incredible damage to marine ecosystems by eating juvenile reef fish which form the foundation of every healthy reef. In fact, in some parts of the Bahamas the only fish reported on some reefs are Lionfish!

So what can you do?
CORE Foundation has been educating the public about the Caribbean Lionfish threat and organizing volunteers, teaming with local dive operations and collection dives to protect St John’s coral reefs.

SPOT ONE – REPORT IT. For more information about CORE or to report a lionfish sighting, call (340) 514-4625 or email

St John’s Best Beaches

St John beaches

St John may be the smallest of the US Virgin Islands but it’s world-famous beaches are a huge attraction. Whether you want to enjoy the North Shore’s Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Maho Beach and Caneel Bay beaches or favor the solitude of a beach that’s off the beaten path – like Vie’s beach, Lameshur, Haulover Bay and Salt Pond Bay – there’s a St John beach to match your mood.

Cinnamon Bay beach on St John

North Shore Beaches

St John’s top beaches are along the north shore and within the boundaries of the VI National Park. While each beach has it’s own character – they all share some common traits of soft white sand, incredible aqua blue water, palm rimmed shorelines and amazing views. Ranking them would be difficult but certainly Trunk Bay beach is at the top of the list for most beautiful beaches on St John.

Trunk Bay – is St John’s most popular and most photographed beach. It’s likely that your first image of a beach on St John was a picture of Trunk. But Trunk Bay isn’t just beautiful – it is a great beach for swimming, snorkeling and watersports. With a long white sand beach and the only underwater snorkeling trail on the island – you’ll have lots to do and see. More information about Trunk Bay .

Cinnamon Bay – is popular for its camping area and facilities. And what a great way to experience St John – under the stars! But Cinnamon Bay beach rivals Trunk for its beauty and fantastic soak-up-the-sun location and great swimming! Also a very popular beach – I recommend an early ( 9:30am >10:30am) or late arrival ( 3:00pm > 4:30pm); and you’ll usually find the beach is less crowded at the western end (left as you face the water). Facilities include a camping, snack bar/grill, souvenir shop, showers, restrooms, public telephones, and lifeguards. Cinnamon Bay Beach information .

Waterlemon Cay – while not a beach for sunbathing – Waterlemon Cay offers the best snorkeling on St John. For information and direction for Waterlemon Cay

East End Beaches

St John rental JeepThe remote East End of St John holds several wonderful beaches – each with unique charms. Visiting the East End will require a bit of a drive and some beaches require a hike – but the destination is definitely worth a spot on the itinerary!

Hansen Bay / Vie’s Beach – is the most popular and IMO the finest of the East End beaches. With a beautiful crescent shaped beach, fantastic swimming and some of the island’s best snorkeling you’ll find everything the heart desires. And when you get hungry, Miss Vie’s Snack Shack offers up some yummy Caribbean foods like conch fritters and her famous garlic chicken. More information on Hansen Bay / Vie’s Beach

Brown Bay – requires a moderately strenuous hike ( approx. 30 min each way). Take the Brown Bay Trail just of East End Road outside of Coral Bay. The location is secluded. The windswept beach has plenty of natural shade, sandy beach, shallow water and plantations ruins to explore. More information on Brown Bay, St John

The Tourist Trap – What’s in a name …

The Tourist Trap Restaurant on St John


Owner Larry Grenier has struck a chord with visitors by combining yummy food and island drinks in a funky atmosphere located, well, in the middle of nowhere! But don’t let the name or the location keep you from making this your next stop on St John. Your stomach will thank you!

“…brilliantly anomalous” – NY TIMES

Once a well kept secret – The Tourist Trap restaurant on St John has established itself as one of the top spots to enjoy drinks and eats! Ranked the #2 St John restaurant on Tripadvisor and over 1,300 “Likes” on their Facebook page – means they’re no longer a secret.

“What’s an exotic holiday without a stop at a tourist trap?” – Chicago Tribune Travel

Nothing highbrow here!
The menu is a mix of fun and casual options from nachos to sandwiches, tacos and hot dogs each with the chef’s signature panaché. My favorites are the Caribbean Lobster Roll, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and the “Trap Dog”. Wash any of these down with an ice cold beer or island drink and feel St John’s arms lovingly wrap around you!

Drink Right - Keep Left signLocated at the crest of the hill just before Concordia with plenty of outdoor seating. The Trap is closed Sundays and Mondays. Open Tues – Sat from 11am to 6pm.

Larry’s Drink Right, Keep Left Drink Recipe:

  • A short pour of each – Cruzan raspberry, mango, pineapple, banana, coconut and vanilla rums – 1.5 oz total
  • 2 oz. of mango juice, lime juice, strawberry puree and cream of coconut
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Pour ingredients into a blender and serve with a slice of fruit. Makes 1 BIG drink ; )

Finding the cheapest airfare to St John

How to shop for the cheapest airfare to St John, USVI.

First, St John is the smallest of the US Virgin Islands and doesn’t have an airport. Visitors to St John must fly into St Thomas and come over to St John via an inter-island ferry system leaving from Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook to Cruz Bay, St John. For St Thomas to St John Ferry Schedule and information

St John On-Island Times wondered, as we all do, where to find the cheapest airfare to St Thomas. To find the answer we turned to the web’s top airfare comparison sites AND direct booking with the airlines. Here’s what we found:

Travelocity: $464.66 JetBlue        |       $473.40 American
Priceline:     $476.40 American     |       $526.40 JetBlue
Hotwire:     $446.40 American      |       $463.90 JetBlue
Expedia:     $453.40 American      |       $470.90 JetBlue
CheapOair:         $482 JetBlue      |      $502.00 American
Direct booking with JetBlue                 $415.00

All prices were for (1) traveler, RT travel between Dec 13, 2103 and Dec 20, 2013 from Boston, MA [BOS] to St Thomas, USVI [STT] as advertised on 05/17/13. Prices reflect non-stop and 1 stop flights. Prices incl taxes and fees. Prices listed are for comparison purposes only and may not reflect ticket prices or availability from your destination.

The Results
As you can see – booking directly with the carrier was by far the least expensive option! In this case, making your reservations and ticket purchase directly from JetBlue saves between $30 and $87 per person. That’s enough money to have a drink and a bite at one of St John’s top bars or restaurants!

Airfare Tips from Industry Professionals

Everybody wants to save money, right? And nobody wants to pay more than they have to for an airline ticket. So how do you get the best prices? We asked airline and travel specialists …and here’s what they recommend:

Those airfare Alerts
Yup, turns out that one of the best ways to grab a cheap flight is by being flexible and grabbing a deal.

Compare, Compare, Compare
With so many options for price comparison you’d be crazy not to use every tool available. And don’t forget, check pricing directly with the carriers. They often have lower prices than quoted by the big comparison sites.

Reserve Early
We’ve been trained to think that the best airfare deals are closest to the departure date. Not so, and waiting can cost you BIG MONEY! If possible, book 3 to 6 months in advance. Especially true if fuel prices drop and/or your airline has a price protection clause.

Be Flexible
If you are flexible on your travel dates and plans you may be able to take advantage of some great last minute deals. You’ll need to watch for them via sign-up travel alerts.

Check the Fine Print
Be sure to compare prices based on final cost of ticket(s) plus taxes and baggage fees.

One Last Tip: When searching look for a single [RT] ticket because you often get a better price quote. Breaking up the transaction can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars!

The Artistry of Sloop Jones

Sloop Jones painted apparel

Arguably St John’s most famous artist, Sloop Jones aka Terry McKoy, is as colorful as the clothing and signs he creates in his East End, St John studio.

Painted dresses by Sloop Jones on St JohnOriginally from the Point Breeze section of Pittsburg, Sloop Jones traveled and work in Central and South America before “discovering” St John. Along with his wife Barbara Alperen, Sloop moved from Massachusetts to St John’s undeveloped East End over 20 years ago. In the open-air studio below his home he began creating his signature painted tee shirts and sun dresses. The rest as they say is history. Over the years Sloop’s creations have gained a sizable following. And while you’ll find plenty of crude imitations, there really is nothing like a hand-painted work by the hand of the master himself!

Drawing inspiration from the island, Sloop mixes energetic splashes of deep indigo, vibrant aquas, shocking reds, yellows and golds. His painted apparel line now includes tees, sundresses, skirts, dresses and hats as well as hand-painted signs with wonderful and often humorous messages.

Visiting Sloop Jones Studio
The Studio is located off East End Road – about 15 minutes past Coral Bay. The shop is open all year round – but Sloop asks that you call for directions and hours. His number is 340-779-4001 or email at

Sloop Jones Paint-your-own-shirt Workshop
Join in a morning of fun and creativity under the expert instruction of Sloop Jones himself! The workshops are run from April to July with open enrollment on Tuesdays and Fridays reserved for parties of 4 or more. Price at the time of this article is $100/per person. Call to check availability and to make reservations – 340-779-4001

Snorkeling – Salt Pond Bay

Snorkeling at Salt Pond on St John , USVI

Salt Pond Bay beach and snorkeling mapAlthough not the easiest to get to, Salt Pond is one of the more popular beaches and snorkeling destinations on St John. Requiring a drive and a short hike you should plan to spend the morning, afternoon or day at this beach.

Salt Pond Bay Beach
This south-facing beach enjoys plenty of sun and wonderful soft white sand. Unlike most of the north shore beaches – Salt Pond doesn’t have much shade. Shallow water entry with sandy bottom turning to sea grass beds and patch reefs along the east and west shorelines are great spots to snorkel. While the sandy bottom and usually calm waters make it a top choice for swimming and enjoying the water.

Snorkeling Salt Pond
Salt Pond is best know for its snorkeling. And some of the best snorkeling is along the eastern shoreline out towards the point and at a “hump” in the center of the bay’s “mouth”. Lots of human traffic has impacted the easiest to reach spots, but there are still plenty of corals and marine life to see and enjoy. Keep an eye out for rays, turtles and Giant Hermit Crabs ( usually seen in a large Queen conch shell) that thrive in the sea grass.Snorkeling 101 mask and fins

Getting There
Located on St John’s south-eastern shore, just off VI107. You’ll take Centerline (Rte 10) or North Shore Road (Rte 20) into Coral Bay. Take a left at the “T” intersection at the bottom of the hill. Salt Pond is about 4 mi, just past The Tourist Trap and Concordia. Parking is just off and along the roadside. Then you’ll hike down to the beach about .5 mi.

Drunk Bay and Ram’s Head Trail
Salt Pond has some hidden treasures and chief among them is the salt pond behind Salt pond, the dramatic shoreline of Drunk Bay and an amazing hike and scenic overlook at the top of Ram’s Head. The trail starts on the eastern end of the beach. Follow the narrow path along the shore of the salt pond. The trail will split – left takes you to Drunk Bay and its collection of cairn (stacked stones) and rock and coral “sculptures”. Stay on the trail and it winds its way up to the ridge of Ram’s Head. Don’t forget to bring a camera and enjoy the dramatic beauty of St John’s southern coast.

 St John beaches: An interactive and mobile-friendly Google Map

View St John Beaches & snorkeling info in a larger map

Spotlight on – Honeymoon & Salomon Beaches, St John

Honeymoon Beach on St John, USVI

Honeymoon Bay Beach, St John mapHoneymoon/Salomon Beaches  are located within the boundaries of the Virgin Islands National Park. They are two of St John’s famous North Shore beaches; and are part of the seven beaches that make up the Caneel Bay Resort.

Hike from Cruz Bay along the Lind Point Trail to Honeymoon

Honeymoon Beach has powdery white sand and shallow water access. Great for swimming and snorkeling. For many years it was a best-kept-secret among residents. Now it can be one of the more popular beaches on the island – attracting day visitors from the St Thomas cruise ships as well as people staying on St John. That said, it really is a wonderful place to spend a day or afternoon.

St John Honeymoon Beack All Day Pass Promo Code SAVE50 OFF



Honeymoon Water Sports Rentals

The watersports operation that was running out of Caneel Bay Resort has been moved to Honeymoon. They refurbished a small watersports/rental “shack” where you can rent chairs, snorkel gear, stand up paddle boards / SUP rental, lockers and kayaks as well as snacks and refreshments. To find out more about VI Eco Tours or to reserve an All Day Pass at Honeymoon Beach click here.Honeymoon Bay Beach on St John , USVI

Snorkeling at Honeymoon Beach is best along the western shoreline that connects Honeymoon with Salomon Bay beach. Most of the patch reef is in fairly shallow water making it easy to see a wide variety of marine life including hard and soft corals and sea fans, schools of french grunts, snapper, wrasses and Tangs. You might also encounter sea turtles and rays. NOTE: the area gets a fair amount of boat traffic – so stay within the swim markers and be aware of boats.

Getting to Honeymoon Bay Beach

Hiking from Cruz Bay: you pick up the Lind Point Trail which starts at the Virgin Islands National Park Visitor Center on the east side of Cruz Bay. The approx. 1 mi. hike is not particularly challenging – but plan on 20 to 30 minutes each way. Along the way you’ll have several scenic overlooks to stop and take a break and just enjoy the view.

Drive and hike: The second way to get to Honeymoon Bay beach is by taking a taxi to the Caneel Bay Resort and making the short hike along the western shoreline of Caneel Bay. You must check in at the gatehouse and pay a fee ( refunded with a $20 purchase at the Resort). Then you can either hike back along the Lind Point Trail to Cruz Bay – or call for a taxi from Caneel.

 St John beaches: An interactive and mobile-friendly Google Map

Please note: Access is limited to Caneel Bay beach, Honeymoon and Salomon beaches and does not include use of beach chairs, towels or amenities. Resort guests do have access to all of the beaches and facilities.

Spotlight on – Rental Scams

St John Villa Rentals Guide

When selecting a vacation rental – ONLY work with established private owners or property management companies on St John. Here’s why …

Craigslist scam, St John villa rentalsMay 2013 – Craigslist USVI – posted under apts/housing for rent is Posting ID: 3792287094. The description and pictures are too good to be true. Constructed of island stone and mahogany – this 720 sq’, 2BR/2BA, has a heated pool and views of Reef Bay and Rams Head. At just $1300 it would be an absolute steal …literally!

The problem is that the property is actually a 2800 sq’ luxury villa listed for sale by Seaglass Properties for $2,250,000. A call to Seaglass confirmed our suspicions – they don’t know anything about the posting on Craigslist! No doubt the staff at Seaglass will follow up to ask that the listing be pulled.

We were curious to see who might be behind the scam. Turns out it is someone calling themselves Soba C. Victor the same person attempting a similar scam in Panama under the name Victor C. Soba! He requests personal information and a $500 deposit before he sends a set of keys to your new place!

Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader that alerted us to the scam posting, this would-be “teef” probably won’t get anybody’s money. But let it be a lesson to anyone planning to vacation on St John – “too good to be true is probably just that …”

So who can I trust?
If you’re looking for a rental villa on St John we DO NOT suggest searching VRBO, FlipKey or HomeAway. They offer lots of listings – BUT, you’ll pay a 4% – 15% “guest service fee” and have to weed out listings that aren’t on St John ( because they’re featured listings from St Thomas!). We strongly suggest you contact one of St John’s respected property management companies to assist in your search. They’ll likely have just what you’re looking for – or can offer up a suggestion or two.

On-island villa rental and property management sites:

On St John: Wedding, Honeymoon or Anniversary?

Weddings on St John

Top Caribbean Wedding and Honeymoon locationsEverybody wants their wedding, honeymoon and anniversary to be special. No matter what stage of your relationship you wish to celebrate, St John is a top pick for couples to tie the knot, de-stress after the wedding or mark a milestone in your relationship.

Special days deserve special places, right! St John’s world-class beaches and luxury rental villas make it The Top Destination in the Caribbean.

So what makes St John such a great place to get married? Start with our staggering list of accolades and travel rankings. St John is a perennial list-topper on travel and tourism sites like TripAdvisor, Fodors and Frommer’s as well as international publications like Condé Nast Traveler and National Geographic. In fact St John is the 2013 Traveler’s Choice Winner for Top Caribbean Destination as well as earning the #2 Island on the planet ranking, Frommer’s Favorities Top 10 for 2012 and National Geographic’s 2013 Tours of a Lifetime!

Need more reasons? How about the fact that 2 of St John’s chefs made it into the book Best Chefs America. La Plancha’s chef Anderson Allen and La Tapa’s chef Alex Ewald were both nominated by their peers for inclusion! Nothing is more romantic than sharing a night out over a great meal, right?

How about Trunk Bay’s ranking as a TOP 10 Beach on the Planet by Condé Nast Traveler!

From celebrities to top-rated TV shows, the spotlight is on St John. And you can share some of that spotlight and create lasting memories by sharing your special times with us on the beautiful island of St john.

For more information on St John’s award-winning wedding planners, concierge services, luxury villa rentals, charters and more – check out our Weddings and Special Events pages!

Blue Chair Bay Premium Rum

Kenny Chesney Blue CHair Bay Rum

Blue Chair Bay Rum awardWith 14 gold and platinum albums and 105 million fans world wide – Kenny Chesney has certainly established himself as a top country talent. But, what many fans may not know is that Kenny Chesney “discovered” St John over 15 years ago – and has been a regular visitor and homeowner ever since. Hell, his latest album “Life on a Rock” was inspired by St John and a portion of the profit from sales will go to the Virgin Islands National Park.

“Anyone who knows me knows I’ve drunk a lot of rum in a lot of places,” Chesney muses. “And the more you drink, the more you know what you wish you could have. I finally decided there was no reason not to…”

Also no secret is Chesney’s love for great rum. He sings about it and talks about it and now he’s created his own rum under the label “Blue Chair Bay Rum”. Blue Chair won’t be available until May – but rest assured after I’ve had a chance to sit down with a bottle – I’ll post my review. Until then, you’ll have to be satisfied with the rum’s lineage – a product of Chesney and master blender Mike Booth out of Barbados. The premium white rum has already received an impressive score of 90 points from The Ultimate Spirits Challenge!

Blue Chair Rum LocatorCT, FL, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NY, RI, SC, TN, TX & WI
Visit for more information

Or to read the Story of Blue Chair Bay Rum from the man himself

Chesney’s Blue Chair Bay Rum is available in 3 rum styles – Premium White Rum, Coconut Rum and a Coconut Spiced Rum. But let the man tell you for himself …

St John Island

Getting to know St John island is half the fun. Discover the best St John resorts, top St John snorkeling beaches, beach bars and restaurants and more!. Our pages are the #1 Virgin Islands resource for visitors - providing maps, guides, bar and restaurant reviews, St John villa rentals and news announcements.


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