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  • Hiking the Reef Bay Trail

    Hiking St. John, Reef Bay Trail, What to do St. John, Where to Stay Virgin Islands, St. John Virgin Islands

    One of the most popular hiking trails on St. John is Reef Bay Trail. Boasting various terrains, archaeological ruins, petroglyphs, a waterfall and a beach, it’s no wonder that visitors and locals alike love this National Park gem.

    The beautiful 3-mile (one way, 6 miles round trip) long trail starts just off Centerline Road and takes you down to the beach through a beautiful tropical forrest with lots of highlights along the way!  Descend into the valley, where you’ll see awe-inspiring ruins and some of the largest trees on St. John, including giant Kapok trees. The trail, which is maintained by the Virgin Islands National Park, features signage at various trees and plants to let you know what you’re looking at.

    About 3/4 of the way down the trail, you’ll see signs for the petroglyphs and the trail has a spur to the right. You don’t want to miss the freshwater pools and petroglyphs – carvings in the rocks that are believed to be over 1000 year old sacred symbols carved by Taino Indians. If you’re here during rainy season, you may get to witness the 40-foot waterfall that spills into the pools here.

    Continue back to the main trail and you’ll soon come across more ruins of a sugar plantation, part of the Reef Bay Estate that was established in the early 18th century. The factory building still includes a lot of original equipment and is one of the best preserved sugar plantation ruins in the Virgin Islands.

    Right near the ruins, you’ll find a short sandy path that continues on to the beach where you might enjoy popping in the water to cool off!

    Make sure to bring water and snacks, and wear running/hiking shoes. The hike back up can be rigorous! If you want to hike the trail but don’t want the more intense hike back up, you can also go on a guided tour with the VI National Park and take a boat, Sadie Sea, from the bottom back to Cruz Bay for $40. You can visit the Friends of the National Park and book this guided tour here. This is a fun option, and allows you to see a portion of the southside of the island from the water.

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  • The Animal Care Center of St. John

    One of the reasons that locals and visitors of St. John love this island so much is for its incredible caring and philanthropic community.  A prime example of this is the St. John Animal Care Center, a non-profit dedicated to the wellbeing and care of homeless, abandoned and abused animals on island. With no official animal control or humane society, the ACC was started with the intention of helping the animals on our little island. You can learn more about the history and evolution of the program here. With the help of a slew of volunteers, donors and much love, the shelter has been able to make great strides, keeping feral animals off the streets and making St. John a better place! The community that makes the ACC possible is to be commended and truly has done so much for the island.

    Through programs such as feeding stations, spaying/neutering and an extremely successful adoption program, the ACC has touched the lives of so many animals (and people) with their dedication and efforts. 

    While many pets find island homes, over half the adoptions go stateside to their forever homes.  Locals and tourists have donated funds and flown with shelter dogs in order to get them to their new stateside homes. You can read about the story of celebrity dog Moose, who after nearly 5 years at the shelter, found a home with a Boston family.

    Right now, the ACC has an online auction that is part of their annual winter gala which is taking place at our lovely Villa Tesori on Saturday, February 4. Villa Tesori, which overlooks Fish, Reef and Monte Bay, is owned by Brian and Lisa Duelfer who do all they can to look out for the well-being of the St. John Animal Care Center. The Duelfers make annual donations to the ACC and donate a percentage of the annual revenue from their villa rentals to the St. John animal shelter and encourage other island vacation homeowners and visitors to join them.

    The ACC also has an incredible “VolunTourism” program, where island visitors have the opportunity to lend a hand and walk dogs and visit the cats. Many a visitor can be seen walking the pups around Cruz Bay or helping with daily shelter activities.

    We hope that if you are an animal lover, you stop into the ACC during your visit to lend a hand, or to simply give some love to the pups and cats.

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  • Visit: Jost Van Dyke

    soggy dollar bar original painkiller hendo's hideout

    With New Year’s Eve parties still in the forefront of our minds, it’s a perfect time for us to tell you about the gem of an island called Jost Van Dyke. Famous for it’s “Old Year’s Night” parties, the legend Foxy himself, Soggy Dollar Bar and a slew of other local celebrities and must-see spots, Jost Van Dyke is the perfect place to day trip from St. John.

    Whether you take a daysail to Jost Van Dyke on boats like Kekoa or Cruz Bay Watersports, rent a boat for the day, and make this an item on your itinerary, or take the ferry, Jost Van Dyke shouldn’t be missed. Jost Van Dyke is four miles by three miles, with a population of around 300 people. The two main attraction spots are Great Harbour and White Bay, though Little Harbour and Foxy’s Taboo/the east end of the island are great spots to visit also. Great Harbor is where the ferry comes in, as well as where you would clear customs on a day trip. This sleep little beach is dotted with bars, the most famous being Foxy’s Bar. Foxy Callwood himself has been singing and playing music at his bar since the 60’s, and has become an iconic part of the island. New Year’s Eve/Old Year’s Night brings thousands of people to the beach to party, filling the harbor and creating quite the party scene.

    Over the hill to the west lies White Bay, an idyllic white sand beach with hammocks, beach chairs and bar after bar. Most famous is The Soggy Dollar Bar, home of the original painkiller and a great spot for drinks and passing the time. Further down the beach are a few other local favorite spots including Jewel’s Snack Shack, Gertrude’s, Seddy’s One Love, Coco Loco and more. To the East of Soggy Dollar is a new spot, Hendo’s Hideout, a beautifully designed bar and restaurant that has great food, island cocktails and a fantastic vibe. A short hike to the far east part of the beach will take you to Ivan’s Stress Free Bar (the name says it all), a quintessential island beach bar that shouldn’t be missed!

    Whether it’s the turquoise waters, painkillers or adventure that entices you, we encourage you to plan for a day trip to Jost while you visit. Our staff can help you determine the best options to ensure a great day for your group! We’re excited to hear about your experience!