Iconic Virgin Islands Jewelry

The Caribbean hook bracelet is an iconic piece of jewelry that is an amazing way to commemorate your vacation and time on St. John. Lots of locals wear the bracelets, and visitors love taking back a wearable and meaningful piece of St. John with them.

Both men and women wear these signature island bracelets and they come in a range of materials including gold and silver variations and even titanium. When worn with the hook facing in, the wearer is in a relationship, when worn with the hook facing out, the wearer is single. (They’re a great way to tell if someone is taken or not!).

There have been numerous times when we’ve traveled (ranging from New England to even Greece!) when a stranger has come up and commented on our hook bracelets and exclaimed, “Have you been to St. John?” because they recognized the bracelet and were donning one of their own. Such a fun way to always be tied back to the magical island of St. John.

There are a few versions of the hook bracelet, including the St. John “J” Hook, which is available at Caravan Gallery in Mongoose Junction. One of the most well-known hook bracelets comes from Freebird Creations located right next to the ferry dock (your first and last stop on St. John). Right down the road from the ferry dock in Wharfside Village is Bamboo Studio, another local jewelry company whose studio and workspace are right across from the shop, so you can even see the pieces being made! Lots of locations to find a Caribbean hook bracelet that fits your style and budget!

Do you have a hook bracelet or a story about your bracelet? Share your photos with us by tagging #destinationSTJ on Instagram.

Cool Down with Irie Pops

Summer is for beach days and vacation. It’s for living outside at your Destination St. John villa and soaking up sunshine at the beach or at your St. John villa pool. It’s also hot, and popsicles and fun summer drinks are always a great way to cool down. Enter: Irie Pops. This fun popsicle company recently “popped” up in St. John and it’s the perfect way to unwind, cool down and feel the Irie summer island vibes.

The passion project of Laura + William, these once-tourists now-residents have created a fun island business selling fresh, homemade pops to tourists and locals alike. You can find their mobile cooler cart and colorful umbrella most often in the park across from the ferry dock in Cruz Bay, but they also like to make their way to beaches and other spots around the island.

Now to the popsicles – these gourmet treats feature fun tropical flavors like Cucumber/Coconut/Lime and Basil/Berry, Mango Creamsicle and Papaya Punch.  For adults, Irie Pops also has vacation-approved “boozy pops” like Rum Punch and of course, The Painkiller.

Other island treats that we love include TripAdvisor favorites Columbo and St. John Scoops or a Bushwhacker at Joe’s Rum Hut

What cool concoctions and treats did you enjoy on your trip? Post them and tag #DestinationSTJ and we’ll share them too!

Itinerary for an Idyllic Day in St. John

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We’re sharing with you our third installment of an itinerary for a day in St. John. Our guests always ask us how they should spend their days and for our recommendations for a perfect day. 

1 – Wake up and enjoy the view at whatever fabulous Destination St. John villa you are staying at! Pack a bag with sunscreen, towels, water and whatever you need for the day.

2 – Head to Cruz Bay for breakfast at Northshore Deli.  We love their iced coffees and they make an amazing breakfast sandwich! Sit outside and enjoy the beautiful architecture and planting in Mongoose Junction, or enjoy the cold A/C inside.

3 – Load up in your jeep and head out to Cinnamon Bay. This is one of our favorite beaches – it’s got beautiful vistas, good snorkeling, watersports rentals and even a little food truck where you can grab snacks and St. John Brewer’s local beer on tap. Kayak around the little island, lounge in the super soft Caribbean white sand, and splash in the crystal clear water. 

4 – Cruise back into town and hit up Little Olive Food Truck for some Greek eats. We love the Sriracha fiery fries and Street Beet Salad, and be sure to grab a Turmeric Iced Tea. Get it to go and head back to your villa for a little shade and nourishment.

5 – Once you’ve dipped in your Destination St. John villa’s pool, read your book or maybe napped (this is vacation, isn’t it??), make your way back to Cruz Bay to enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese and charcuterie plate at Island Cork in Wharfside Village. The owner, Paul, will enthusiastically guide you through the best wines and make sure that you are taken care of. Wander the shops and buy locally made, hand-crafted jewelry at Bamboo Studio or great t-shirts and souvenirs at Pig + Rooster. 

6 – Enjoy an amazing, chef-driven meal at La Tapa, one of St. John’s best restaurants that has been around for years. Locally-caught fresh tuna or mahi is nearly always on the menu and a must, and we love the paella for two and the three housemade sauces with fresh french bread.. Chef and owner Alex is usually there, making the rounds and stopping into chat with tables when she’s not cooking up a storm in the kitchen! (PS – this recent NY Times article agrees that La Tapa and Little Olive are must-visits, along with a few of our other favorites like The Longboard and Angel’s Rest).

We hope you enjoy some of our favorite spots on island! Let us know if you visited them, and share any posts on social media by tagging #DestinationSTJ

It’s Carnival Time!

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St. John Carnival is currently in full swing and we’re enjoying every moment! A bit different from your usually Fourth of July celebration, carnival time is a once-a-year festival that celebrates the music and culture of the Virgin Islands and Caribbean. St. John’s carnival happens to coincide with America’s birthday, making it an even more exciting time!

Carnival village gets built in a parking area in Cruz Bay – booths serving food and drink surround a big stage for musicians from the Virgin Islands, Haiti, Santo Domingo, Trinidad and more. All this week, we’ve been enjoying local foods like conch and beef patй, chicken roti, johnny cakes, fresh ginger beer and other local specialties from the various vendors at the village. Music and dancing are the highlight, though, with favorite Caribbean performers like Destra, St. Thomas’ R. City and more.

Tomorrow, the excitement continues with J’ouvert and the Fourth of July parade. J’ouvert is a celebration that starts at 4am and includes dancing behind flatbed trucks with bands playing – until the sun rises!! The parade starts mid-day and features more music, dancing, moko jumbies and elaborate costumes. 

Carnival time is a celebration and an incredible time to visit St. John, when the island is alive with culture and happiness. Sound exciting? Book your villa for carnival next year!