Coral Bay Itinerary

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While Cruz Bay often gets all the glory, we LOVE Coral Bay. We have a few amazing homes in Coral Bay with stunning views, including the delightful Coconut Breeze villa, that has perfect views of the harbor and beyond!

We love the laid back vibe and island atmosphere in Coral Bay. Whether you’re staying at one of our villas at that end of the island, or closer to Cruz Bay, we highly recommend a “Coral Bay Day.” We’ve put together a fun little itinerary for you as a guide to some of the best spots to be sure to visit:

1- Head over to Triple B (standing for Babes, Brunch, Bay) for one of the best breakfasts on island (or anywhere for that matter). These ladies really know how to do brunch, with amazing Benedict, homemade sausage, incredible homemade scones and the best huevos rancheros we’ve ever had. AND they use Josephine’s local organic greens. Sit at a picnic table and enjoy the ocean breeze.

2- Give yourself some time to digest, then from there, drive out to Salt Pond Bay. You’ll park at the top and take a short walk down to the beach. It’s a gorgeous white sand beach, with great snorkeling off the point. 

3- If you’re feeling ambitious, we recommend the Ram’s Head hike (we’ve talked about it before here). It’s not too rigorous, and it boasts beautiful views and some great exercise.

4- When you’re hungry again, head back to Coral Bay and stop at the famous Skinny Leg’s for a burger (their specialty) or Indigo Grill for fish tacos pizza or “Island Zing” jerk seasoned tater tots to name a few. 

5- Enjoy great, eclectic shopping while you’re in Coral Bay, including stopping at the new Mermaid Cove next to Pickles, Sloop Jones and Island Muse across from Skinny Legs. There are a number of shops at the Coccoloba Plaza and next to Shipwreck Landing.

Did you visit Coral Bay and any of these spots on your vacation? Share pictures with us by tagging #DestinationSTJ on Instagram.

Our Market + Scoops

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Fresh tropical fruit and rum drinks are two things that can immediately make you feel like you’re on a Caribbean vacation! There’s no better spot to pop in when you first arrive on St. John than Our Market Smoothies, a super cute stand right in Cruz Bay.

With over 500 5-star reviews and a Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor, you can’t go wrong hitting up this iconic local spot. They have great fresh fruit smoothies, using local ingredients like passion fruit, papaya, mango, soursop, coconut and pineapple. One of our favorite things to order is a fresh local coconut, in the shell, with nothing added but a straw! For an extra dollar, you can add local Cruzan Rum for the full island effect! Owner Thomas is an island icon, with his big smile and warm heart as much a staple as the delicious blended concoctions he makes!

We also like St. John Scoops in Mongoose Junction – while they specialize more in ice creams and sorbets,  also has great smoothies. It’s all locally made, fresh and with delicious island fruits. We love the “adult icecream” options, including the Painkiller ice cream (a signature tropical blend of pineapple, orange and cream of coconut with rum and nutmeg).  Another favorite is their Root Beer Float, made with St. John Brewer’s Root Beer and Scoops homemade ice cream. You can always head over to their Facebook page for special new flavors, or check them out on TripAdvisor, too. 

Stop in to either spot and enjoy an array smoothies, tropical concoctions, fresh coconut, ice cream or other island treats that will cool you down and put a smile on your face. Welcome to island time, welcome to vacation!

Happy Hour: Cruz Bay Beach

the scene: boats anchoring, people watching, ferries arriving and departing, and of course and a front row seat for mother nature’s epic display of colors at sunset. 

A few of the bars at Cruz Bay have expanded their offerings to the beach, and set up chairs in the sand and offer table service. We love going to Joe’s Rum Hut in the afternoons from 4-6pm for their $3 “You Call It” happy hour – all drinks are $3 (even frozen cocktails!). Lime in de Coconut and Bushwackers are our top picks, but you can’t go wrong with a St. John Brewers VI Summer Ale either.  With appetizers like Lobster Quesadilla and Mahi Mahi bits, or great pizzas, it’s a perfect spot to post up and watch the world go by. A bit further down the beach is The Beach Bar, aptly named. Grab a table on the beach, order a drink and enjoy the ocean breeze. And if you’re reading this from home wishing you were here, you can check out their webcam. The Beach Bar often has live music, so check the schedule online. They’re known for their burgers, and we love the Tuna Down Now, a flash-fried sushi roll that is spot on. Don’t forget to order a painkiller and unwind!

A newcomer to the Wharfside shopping area is Island Cork. Though not beach front, it’s a great place to cool down in the AC and enjoy a drink. Check out this wine shop and wine bar where you can pick up a few bottles to bring home, as well as pull up a stool and enjoy whatever fine wines are available by the glass that day. The owner Paul has curated an incredible selection of wines that you won’t find available anywhere else. You can also order gourmet cheese and charcuterie plates, and he puts together an delicious deli sandwich, too! 

Make sure to snap some pictures of the sunset and tag #DestinationSTJ. We’ll share the best shots on our Instagram and Facebook feeds.

Cheers!

Local Animals on St. John

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St. John is home to some incredible wildlife, both on land and in the ocean! On any given day in St. John, you can see bananaquits, donkeys, iguanas, mongoose, pelicans, sea turtles, starfish, octopus, deer and even dolphins (we spotted a pod of 5 in Cruz Bay last week!). A few local animals are described below, with tips on where to spot them on St. John:

Donkeys: Donkeys were brought to St. John in the 16th century to work on the sugar plantations. When slavery ended and the plantations closed, the donkeys were freed and have since become wild inhabitants of the island, roaming around.

Where to spot: Generally, you can always see a donkey on the road from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay. Groups can also be seen at Caneel Bay, along the Lind Point Trail, Honeymoon and often at Cinnamon Bay.

Bananaquits: These cute black and yellow birds live on nectar and fruit, and can often be seen in flowering trees and shrubs. Despite its name, it does not eat bananas! They are also locally referred to as “sugar birds” or “bananakeets.”  It’s also the territory bird of the US Virgin Islands!

Where to spot: Look for flowering plants or bird feeders around the island. Be patient and you’re sure to see one!

Sea Turtles: These majestic ocean inhabitants love the pristine waters of St. John. We have 3 types of turtles on St. John: Leatherback, Green Turtle and Hawksbill. Green and Hawksbill are the most common on St. John, with Green turtles reaching almost 40 inches and the Hawkbill being a bit smaller, with the largest reaching about 25 inches. 

Where to spot: Snorkeling in Maho Bay is sure to result in a sea turtle sighting! The nearby Francis beach is also a great place to see them. Make sure to never touch sea turtles, or chase them around

Mongoose: A mongoose is a light brown, weasel-like animal with short legs and small rounded ears. They are a non-native species, brought to the Virgin Islands in the 1800’s to control rat populations on sugar plantations. They also are known for their ability to kill snakes.

Where to spot: They can be found scurrying in bushes, and often spotted around the beaches like Cinnamon Bay.

Starfish: Seeing a starfish is always exciting! The most common here are the red fusion stars or  West Indian Sea Star.  It has five thick broad arms with a hard surface covered with tiny blunt spiens. They can range in color from red, orange and yellowish brown and are stunning to see. If you find one, you’ll often see a few!

Where to spot: Waterlemon Cay in Leinster Bay is known for it’s starfish bed and sighting them here is fairly common. Starfish also love to be in sea grass, so areas that are grassy are a good place to look (Fish Bay, parts of Maho Bay are also good). When looking for them, you may also spot conch!

What animals did you spot on your vacation? Tag them on social media using #destinationSTJ!