Where Am I?

Where Am I? 1

One of the first things most visitors do when arriving on St. John – whether it’s their first trip or their 20th – is to take the iconic North Shore Road and stop for photos at the world-famous Trunk Bay Lookout.  I even know of one particular resident *ehem* who still does the same, every time she opts for the scenic route in lieu of Centerline.

Read moreWhere Am I?

Government House Clarifies Rumors

Government House Clarifies Rumors 2

Rumors have been circulating on social media over the last few days about a governmental closure of restaurants and beaches in our community.  The Government House issued a statement in response, stating that “Neither Governor Albert Byran Jr., Government House nor the administration’s COVID-19 Task Force have made any official announcements concerning beach closures, added restrictions to restaurants’ current operations or further restrictions on gatherings at funerals or other events in the territory.”  The statement also noted that future action may be taken depending upon the outcome of the data compiled over the coming days.

Additional information will be released at the Governor’s press conference on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm.  We will post our summary shortly thereafter, and will keep you posted about any new developments.

Curfew lifted, ports remain closed

Curfew lifted, ports remain closed 3

Good morning!  As of 6:00 am, the roads are clear and the curfew has been lifted.   The ports are closed until further notice; we will let you know when they re-open.  The airports remain open.

According to the Governor, the ocean is not safe for swimming today due to remaining swells, but there are many other enjoyable ways to spend your day!  Help support our local economy with some shopping, go for a hike on one of our many trails, or learn about some of the fascinating and important St. Johnian history at Annaberg Sugar Plantation.

Curfew lifted, ports remain closed 4


Storm-related ferry and port closure this morning

Storm-related ferry and port closure this morning 5

Good morning!  A tropical storm warning is in effect for St. John.  We will bring you the latest update regarding the storm shortly after the Governor’s press conference at 10:00 am.  In the meantime, if you are leaving the island today, the last passenger ferries to Red Hook and Crowne Bay will depart at 11:00 am before the ports shut down entirely for the day.  If anything changes we will let you know!

Keeping our doors open for “safe tourism”

Keeping our doors open for "safe tourism" 6

According to Governor Bryan, the regulations we have put into place regarding our efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 continue to appear to be working, as our active number of cases in the territory has decreased from last week.   There are currently five active cases on St. John at this time, and no new cases this week.

Keeping our doors open for "safe tourism" 7

Keeping our doors open for "safe tourism" 8
Location of positive COVID-19 cases on St. John

The Governor assured our local residents that he is listening to their comments and concerns about tourism, and said that our governmental agencies are working as hard as possible to ensure that we have the resources needed to protect all of our entry points in an effort to keep our residents and guests as safe as possible.  We have requested additional testing supplies – especially for St. John – and recently added four testing machines that produce same-day results in the territory.

Read moreKeeping our doors open for “safe tourism”

USVI Travel Screening Update

USVI Travel Screening Update 9

The US Virgin Islands launched an online travel portal in an effort to increase the safety of residents and visitors, and to clarify the screening process for travelers.  This portal will allow travelers to upload their COVID-19 test results to expedite the screening process at the airport, and to increase the efficiency of the policy.

Effective July 24, 2020:

  • Any traveler aged 15 and older whose home state (state of residence) has a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) positivity rate greater than 10 percent will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test result received within five days prior to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands OR a positive COVID-19 antibody test result received within four months prior to travel to the territory. Currently, residents of Puerto Rico are also subject to this requirement.
  • COVID-19 test results are also required from travelers aged 15 and older who have spent more than seven days in and are traveling from a state with a positivity rate greater than 10 percent.
  • COVID-19 test are recommended, but not required for travelers aged 15 and older whose home states have positivity rates greater than 7.5 percent.  This is to ensure travelers are prepared for possible “spikes” in rates while preparing for travel.
  • COVID-19 test result are not required from travelers transiting impacted states en route to the USVI.

USVI Travel Screening Update 10

Read moreUSVI Travel Screening Update

Underwater photo editing tips

Underwater photo editing tips 11

Now that you’re back at the villa and out of the direct sun, the first thing you will likely want to do is review your photos to find out if you actually captured all of the exciting sea life you saw while underwater.

Step 1:  Editing software

The editing software that comes pre-installed on your computer or camera will allow you to make a majority of the basic corrections.  You can purchase advanced editing software, like Adobe’s Lightroom package, but rather than spending hours in your villa instead of the beach, I suggest taking advantage of the free editing software available to you.  Be sure to save a copy of your original photos while learning the editing software so that you can go back to the original photo and start over if necessary.

Don’t be afraid to be creative.  Photos that might otherwise seem unexciting can become artsy with just a click of a different editing filter.

Underwater photo editing tips 12

Read moreUnderwater photo editing tips

The 6 Best Beach Coolers in 2020

A day at the beach should be relaxing. A cool breeze, waves crashing, sand between your toes. But to fully enjoy your time lounging in the sun on St. John, you’ll need a beach cooler.

Island prices can get expensive and if you plan to stay in the sun all day, having a place to properly store your food and drinks is important. I mean, no one wants a soggy sandwich or a hot drink after being in the heat, right?

Choosing the Right Beach Cooler for You

So how do you know which cooler to choose? We’ve taken a look at the highest rated beach coolers on Amazon with the goal to help you find the best one whatever your needs, budget, and preferences may be.

1. The Best Backpack Cooler: SEEHONOR Insulated Cooler Backpack

Best Backpack Cooler - SeehonorPacked with ultimate comfort and portability. This insulated backpack cooler keeps food and drinks cool for hours, even if you’re hiking one of St. John’s many trails. It has multiple compartments for roomy storage and is made of waterproof, durable material.

Dimensions 13 x 7.9 x 17.7”
Weight 1.74 pounds

Why We Like It

  • Easy to clean
  • Leak resistant
  • Multiple compartments
  • Rip, tear, and scratch proof

2. The Best Heavy Duty Cooler: Coleman Rolling Cooler

Best Heavy Duty Cooler - ColemanThis heavy-duty, wheel rolling cooler will meet all of your beach needs. It can keep ice up to 5 days and holds up to 84 cans. Even better? The lid doubles as a seat so you’ll always have an extra place to sit and relax.

Dimensions 23 x 18 x 18”
Weight 14 pounds

Why We Like It

  • Heavy-duty wheels
  • Built-in cup holders
  • Locking telescoping handles
  • Side handles for easy lifting

3. The Best Collapsible Cooler: CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag

Best Collapsible Beach Cooler - ClevermadeThe multi-purpose cooler. Perfect for the beach, grocery shopping at Starfish, and hanging poolside. Its collapsible feature makes it easy to transport. Can hold up to 50 cans of your favorite beverage all while remaining sleek and compact.

Dimensions 18.25 x 12.25 x 12”
Weight 2 pounds

Why We Like It

  • Leakproof
  • Front zippered pocket
  • Bottle opener on straps
  • Collapsible for easy storage

4. The Best Over the Shoulder Beach Cooler: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Cooler

Best Over the Shoulder Cooler - TitanA cooler that offers high performance and comfort. Adjustable shoulder strap with shoulder pad. Flip open, zipperless lid for easy access. It also comes in 3 other sizes- a 9, 30, and 48 can.

Dimensions 12.2 x 8 x 12.2”
Weight 2.3 pounds

Why We Like It

  • Easy cleaning
  • Insulated front pocket
  • Water and stain resistant
  • Hard liner with shelf inside

5. The Best Beach Bag Cooler: BLUBOON Mesh Beach Tote Bag with Cooler

Best Beach Bag Cooler - BluboonA cooler that’s also a beach bag? You read that right. Apart from its multiple color options, this cooler has a large, lightweight mesh tote. On the bottom is a detachable insulated cooler.

Dimensions 15.5 x 5 x 18.5”
Weight 15.8 ounces

Why We Like It

  • Super lightweight 2 in 1 feature
  • Front pocket for extra storage
  • Mesh bag makes finding items easy

6. The Water Sports “Cooler”: Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag

Best Water Sports Cooler - Earth PakThis waterproof bag isn’t quite a beach cooler. But it’s one of the best ways to keep your food and drinks dry while you do water sports, whether you are paddle boarding at Cinnamon or kayaking with dolphins. Single strap makes it easy to carry. Waterproof phone case. Comes in 5 sizes – 10, 20, 30, 40, and 55 liter.

Dimensions 16.7 x 5.8 x 2.2”
Weight 12 ounces

Why We Like It

  • Fully waterproof
  • Floats when full
  • Quick open/close system
  • Mesh bag makes finding items easy

Criteria We Used to Evaluate Beach Coolers

As you can see, there really is no “best” beach cooler. With so many on the market it comes down to what fits your needs. That being said, this list focused on these main criteria:

  • Quality of materials
  • Durability
  • Size and weight
  • Additional features

Being equipped with a beach cooler can make or break your vacation in St. John’s. If you know what you value most in a cooler, then making the right choice will be a breeze after reading this guide. Happy beaching!

Reef Safe Sunscreen on Amazon: The Ultimate Guide

It certainly can seem like a daunting task to pick a sunscreen that checks all the boxes. Is it waterproof? The right SPF? Reasonably priced?

But if you’re swimming in the islands, there’s one more question you need to consider: is this a reef safe sunscreen?

Why You Need Reef Safe Sunscreen

Your sunscreen may be hard at work protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. But odds are it’s also damaging the environment. A majority of suntan lotions contain harmful ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate. These common UV-blocking chemicals are detrimental to our ecosystem – most specifically, to coral reefs.

Reefs support a vast underwater ecosystem, and they support our life on land. Our reefs are a major defense mechanism against the harmful effects of storms and hurricanes. They protect our coastlines, help prevent erosion, and bring jobs, food, and steady income to local economies.

When we slather sunscreen onto our skin and venture into the ocean, we’re carrying those harmful chemicals with us. These chemicals then wash off into the water. They strip our corals of their nutrients. That damages their DNA and hinders their development, often leading to bleaching and even death.

For all of those important reasons, the USVI legislature unanimously passed, and Gov. Bryan signed, act 8185 in 2019 which banned the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing the “toxic 3 Os” of oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene.

Choosing the Right Reef Safe Sunscreen for You

So how do you know if a sunscreen is both safe for you and the environment? We’ve gone ahead and highlighted the 5 top reef safe, eco friendly suntan lotions on Amazon.

1. Best Overall Reef Safe Sunscreen: Thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+

Best Reef Safe Sunscreen - ThinksportThinksport Sunscreen has it all. Major sun protection abilities. Free of biologically toxic chemicals. Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Absorbed seamlessly by the skin. If that doesn’t convince you, this will: it manages to avoid that overpowering smell that many organic sunscreens have.

Why We Like It

  • Mineral based formula
  • Water resistant
  • Non-oily feel
  • Animal cruelty free

2. Premium Choice Reef Safe Sunscreen: Kokua Sun Care SPF 50/80

Premium Reef Safe Sunscreen - KokuaBoth non-toxic and eco-friendly, this product contains no coral reef toxic ingredients. It also provides impressive UVA and UVB protection. It’s formulated with 23 natural antioxidants that provide a nourishing and moisturizing feel on your skin. All the ingredients are sustainably sourced.

Why We Like It

  • Water resistant
  • Contains 25% non-pano particles of zinc oxide
  • Prevents the action of free radicals
  • Light enough for everyday use

3. Great Value Reef Safe Sunscreen: Badger – SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream

Best Value Reef Safe Sunscreen - BadgerBudget conscious about your sunscreen? You can’t beat Badger. Manufactured in the USA by a family-owned company, this biodegradable suntan lotion doesn’t contain any chemicals shown to harm coral life. It contains only 5 ingredients: clear zinc oxide, organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, sunflower vitamin E, and organic sea buckthorn extract.

Why We Like It

  • Hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic & fragrance free
  • Broad spectrum
  • Contains no dyes, parabens, or other artificial ingredients
  • Suitable for sensitive skin

4. Best Reef Safe Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin: PURITO Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF 50+

Sensitive Skin Reef Safe Sunscreen - CentellaThe perfect match for those with sensitive skin. This lotion contains no essential oils and is fragrance free. It uses SPF50+ PA++++ and photo stable UV filter to provide soft, yet solid protection from UV rays. PURITO also uses recycled paper packaging and donates a part of its profits in order to spread awareness about environmental issues and help fund eco-projects.

Why We Like It

  • Vegan, cruelty and paraben free
  • Safe ingredients for all skin types
  • Skin brightening + anti-wrinkle
  • No white-cast or stickiness

5. Best Reef Safe Sunscreen for Watersports: All Good Sport Mineral Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 30

Watersports Reef Safe Sunscreen - All GoodThis product was formulated with active adults in mind, making it a great choice for watersports. It contains 12% non-nano zinc oxide particles, ensuring it won’t leave white streaks on your skin while offering a broad spectrum SPF 30 UVA and UVB protection.

Why We Like It

  • Vegan, coral-reef friendly, biodegradable, and gluten-free
  • Water resistant up to 80 minutes
  • Non-greasy, lightweight formula
  • Contains organic green tea, rose hips, and buriti oil for repairing damaged skin

Reef Safe Sunscreen Identification Tips

Still feel like you haven’t found your match?

Here’s the good news: the search for a reliable sun care product doesn’t have to be difficult. Just keep these points in mind when you’re evaluating a sunscreen:

  • The only reef safe sunscreens are those containing non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Terms like “reef-safe” or “reef-friendly” are typically used to identify sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two common UV-blocking chemicals. But it never hurts to check the ingredient label just to be sure!
  • Pay attention to packaging. Eco-friendly products usually contain recycled material, material that can be easily recycled, or material gathered from a natural source.
  • Remember: Eco-friendly products don’t just avoid reef damage. They often avoid additional toxic chemicals, too. It’s good for the environment – and good for you.

St. John Tours: See the Island with Me!

St. John Tours: See the Island with Me! 13

Hello everyone and happy Thursday! We just wanted to take a quick moment today to remind you all that we conduct island tours here on St. John.

We started conducting island tours in each 2017, and the reception has been amazing! I absolutely love this island, and I love sharing that love with all of you. Whether this is your first visit to the island or if you are a repeat guest, I guarantee you will see something new. In fact, at least half of my guests are repeat visitors to the island!

During your tour, we will do a little sightseeing – St. John has some of the most beautiful views in the world. We will check out some of the island’s stunning beaches – who doesn’t want to dip their toes in our beautiful Caribbean waters! We can stop at one or more of the island’s sugar plantation ruins, and we can even do some light hiking if you’d like. I can guarantee some sea turtles sightings and we usually stumble on the donkeys too! I will tell you about the history of the island, and I can share with you the current happenings on island. Most importantly, we will have fun!

So you may be wondering what makes my tour different from the other island tours? Well, what makes us different is that we are the only, personalized tour on St. John. I will take guests pretty much anywhere they want to go. The taxi tours are sometimes limited in where they are able to go, but not us. I enjoy taking my guests off the beaten path and to out-of-the-way spots that they would typically never see. Another difference is that I can only take up to four guests and I never combine groups, so it’s a more private and personal tour. When I am out and about with my guests, it’s more like I am out with friends. And I love that.

So what types of tours do we offer? Well here are the details:

  • Half-Day Tours: For those of you who want to see a great deal of the island, but do not want to commit a whole vacation day to a tour, our three-hour, half-day tours are for you! These tours are great for those of you who would like to see the island from the eyes of an insider, but you do not want to commit to an entire day to touring the island. During this tour, we can still do some sightseeing, we can check out the beaches, ruins, and do some super light hiking (like a tenth of a mile walk in the woods to a beautiful site) while learning about the island’s history and current happenings. The only difference with this tour is that the stops are a bit shortened when compared to our full day tours. We offer half-day tours from 9 a.m. to noon or from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The cost for a half-day tour is $300.
  • Full-Day Tours: Our full day tour is five hours long and includes a lunch stop in Coral Bay or over at Lime Out. During these tours, we can see nearly the entire island if you’d like to. We can check out the beaches, ruins, hiking trails and more! If you’d like to spend some time snorkeling with the turtles, we can do that! Want to see the more obscure, out of the way places? We can do that too! Again, all tours are completely customizable, so we will do exactly what you want! Don’t have an itinerary? Well we’ll provide options and you can choose what you would like to do and see! The cost for a full-day tour is $425.
  • Land and Sea Tours: We offer St. John’s only land and sea tour. For this tour, we partner with our friends at Flyaway Charters in Coral Bay. These tours are six hours long. For our land and sea tours, guests spend the first half of the tour exploring on land with me, and then they spend the second half of the day on the water with Flyaway Charters. These tours are really the best of both worlds for someone who wants to see all that St. John has to offer in just one day. You can do some snorkeling at some great offshore spots and even visit Pizza Pi, the Caribbean’s floating pizza boat, or Lime Out, St. John’s floating taco boat! Flyaway Charters can also provide a great deal of history of the island. The cost for a land and sea tour is $600. Fuel for the boat is not included, and costs between $50 and $100 depending on where you choose to travel.

All prices are per tour.

Don’t they all sound great! Who is ready to book??!

If you are staying in the Cruz Bay area, I will happily pick you up right at your villa, condo or hotel. If they are staying outside of the Cruz Bay area, we can arrange a meeting point. We’ll pick you up with a cooler filled with water and ice, and if you’d like, we can bring along a jug of Painkillers for an additional $50 fee. We have beach chairs, noodles and boogie boards for you to use throughout the day. And to make your day even better, we can even take the top off of the Jeep!

You can book directly with me either by emailing me at [email protected], or by messaging me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/newsofstjohn. Please let me know which tour you prefer, as well as your preferred date.

Want to know what other guests have said? Then please check out my reviews on TripAdvisor.

I look forward to meeting you all and showing you just how amazing this little island is! Thanks everyone, and have a great day!

Tag: St. John Tours