It’s Time to Come Back – According to Our Readers Too!

Francis and Maho bays - Feb. 19, 2018
Francis and Maho bays – Feb. 19, 2018

Hello everyone and happy Wednesday! So for those of you who read News of St. John, you know that I think the island is definitely ready to have visitors back and I’ve thought this for the past few months. Well over the past week, I received several emails from readers on the topic and thought I would share a few of them with you today. I can tell you all day long that the island is ready for tourists, but I also think you should hear it from the actual tourists themselves.

This first email was sent by Andrew D., who lives in the Chicago area. He and his wife just spent two nights at the Cruz Bay Hotel followed by a seven-night stay at Grande Bay where they own a fractional ownership. Here is what Andrew wrote:

My wife and I spent 10 awesome days in St. John, having returned home last night. The hard work of everyone has truly paid off. We’ve been coming annually since 2002, and I can’t recall a better trip.

The beaches look great, the Lind Point and Rams Head trails are gorgeous as always, and the snorkelling remains top-notch. Any concerns about damage to the coral reef was allayed. We snorkeled on 10 different beaches, and the sealife remains awe-inspiring.

To those of you who are on the fence about visiting St. John this winter or spring, please allow me to provide the necessary reassurance. The cool-vibe of Cruz Bay remains intact, there are a number of high-end and affordable restaurant options, and the owners and staff provide incredible post-Irma stories to share.

Thanks Jenn for getting the word out. Your comments about St. John being ready for tourists was spot on.

The second email I’d like to share is from Pat and Jane S. of Shawnee, Kansas. They are annual visitors who stay in Coral Bay. Here is what they wrote:

We have come to StJ every February for several years – just got back yesterday. As frequent visitors – wanted to pass on our impressions. First – almost everyone we met – from a young lady we met on the ferry, to shop owners, restaurant owners – everyone said ‘thank you for being here’ – we were kind of humbled by it – but it was consistent everywhere we went & we were really impressed. Second – we stay in Coral Bay & try to make it a point to visit with business owners, home owners, etc. We were amazed at the resilient, positive attitudes we heard. It was so consistent – ‘we were devastated at first but we are recovering, rebuilding & getting things back to (almost) normal. It was absolutely awesome. As visitors, we couldn’t do much to help, so we just shopped & ate out a lot.

…Heard story after story about the recovery mentality – utility workers efforts & long hours, Red Cross food & water, neighbors helping each other dig out & clean up. Just amazing. On the way to the airport, visited with a young lady that lives in Tortolla – she said they were getting very little assistance, most are still without power. Makes me very proud of our country.

And it’s just not the repeat visitors who think the island is ready. I have taken out numerous first timers on island tours lately, and all became immediately hooked. Here is a quick note I received from Brian B. of New Hampshire. Brian and his wife Diane visited St. John for the first time earlier this month. I took them out on a tour the first full day to their trip to get them acclimated with the island.

We want to thank you again for a great  tour. Diane and I have fallen in love with St John for sure.  While some businesses remain closed we are very impressed with the resiliency of St Johnians to bring things back.  We met so many great people there, including you of course.

Back in the office to today and in a word…………yuck.  Same old computer, mouse, desk and phone.  We will be checking News of St John however to keep up with happenings there and our virtual escape of New England weather.

So for those of you who remain on the fence about visiting us this season, all I can say is that we’re ready. Our beaches are open and look beautiful. Sure some are changed and some still need additional time to heal, but they remain beautiful. Our hiking trails have been cleared and are open. Our sugar mill ruins are in tact and are awe-inspiring. Our restaurants are open. Our shops are open. Our charter boats are ready to take you around the USVI and BVI. I’m ready to take you all out on island tours. The island is ready. The people are ready. And we cannot wait to greet you all with open arms.

33 thoughts on “It’s Time to Come Back – According to Our Readers Too!”

  1. I completely agree. We are nearing the end of our two weeks in Coral Bay, and It’s been a wonderful experience. It’s hard to describe how great the karma is here, while people are still working on the recovery. I guess we learned that the recovery and the good times are not mutually exclusive.

  2. I have been coming to STJ for the last 12 years and nothing will ever keep me away. I just referred a first timer for his first visit and he is arriving with his wife tomorrow. We were there in July before storms and will be back in June this year. So excited to return to the most magical place in the WORLD. I hope one day to make it permanent.

  3. We will be there Saturday afternoon. Our original cottage was very badly damaged but the villa owners offered (and we accepted) the main house on their property. We are ready to experience change from previous trips, snorkel, hike, and work down our backlog of reading.

  4. My husband and I have been coming down for 18 years and continue to love this island. We were there last week for 7 days. Lots of beaches have been clear and are as beautiful as ever. Some now have less shade, but less crowds for sure. Plenty of places to eat and drink so no worries. Enjoy St John, we do and always will. Wouldn’t miss going there for the world.

  5. Ok if you insist! Actually, we are arriving two weeks from today, for 12 days, and for what will be our 18th visit since 2000. Our children have grown up coming to STJ every year, and we would not miss the trip for anything.

    • The majority of the places Cruz Bay accept credit cards. Coral Bay is primarily cash only at this point. Charter boats mainly accept cash, I believe.

      • Just got back from a wonderful 10 days in STT and STJ, everything mentioned here pretty much echoed our experience. Can’t wait to come back in October! Additionally, my wife and I spent a perfect day in the BVIs on CatZilla out of Cruz Bay and they were happy to take our credit card. Everyone in Coral Bay other than Jolly Dog was cash, at least as of last week. Great article!

  6. We came yearly for last 7 years after getting married on the Ferry Dock in Red Hook. We had an opportunity to buy a timeshare for a really cheap price in Cancun so unfortunately we won’t be back on St. John for several years. Hopefully by then the major resorts will be functional again.

  7. We were there with 6 people 2 weeks ago. It has been our 8th time in St John.
    Wonderful villa, car rental perfect. enjoyed the bars and restaurants and the beaches are perfect. In fact at Trunk with only 10 other people like our own private beach. 15 sea turtles at Maho
    People came up to the group all the time thanking us for coming and spending money. You will have a wonderful time!!

  8. We had to cancel our trip because our favorite villa couldn’t fix their roof in time. The rain came in like a siv and just water damaged everything.

  9. We’re in St John now in the middle of our stay. We’ve been coming for 20 years and it’s exceeding our expectations! Since some of our usual spots are closed, we’ve been trying other restaurants, and they’ve been great. We keep saying “I can’t believe we never tried this before!” More than anyplace in the world we’ve traveled, other vacationers and locals feel a common bond, and friends are made so easily. Hiked to Honeymoon Bay and found they have concessions, rentals, beverages, sandwiches, running water, restrooms, and a nice big canopy to duck into for the occasional passing shower!

  10. My family and I love St. John and would like to go back next winter.

    From the recent photos on this site, I can see that the island is no longer brown from the storm. Here is my other question, though: To what extent have the beaches lost their shade areas? We are people who need to avoid the sun.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Hawksnest has some shady spots. Maho has almost no shade as do the other beaches. Little Lameshur has about the same shade as always. I’ve seen lots of new beach umbrellas and shade tents.

  11. TY for all the updates. We were hesitant to return so soon post-hurricanes for our annual March trip to STJ, but after reading recent visitors positive posts, we are returning in 2 weeks to our most favorite place in the world….St. John!! We are happy to contribute to the local economy to help things get back on track for local businesses.
    We realize some of our favorite places are still in recovery aned rebuilding phases.
    However, just the tropical climate, sunshine, most beautiful beaches, and warmest kind islanders are more than enough for me this year coming from the Northeast.
    See you soon!

  12. My family and I will be there in June. Had this trip booked since before the hurricanes and never thought about canceling. Can’t wait. We come to St John at least every other year and nothing, not even two category five hurricanes can keep us away. We will eat out, buy provisions, take tours, shop, go to happy hours all so we can help the store owners who have worked so hard to re-open. We know it hasn’t been easy and we will do what we can. See you in June!

  13. We will be back Monday about 2 PM can’t wait, we are mostly packed and ready to go. W are going to say thanks to the Jumbies for keeping Easter Rock and the beach safe. We also are looking to volunteer with the NPS for a day maybe for trail maintenance, I do some on the CCNS in Wellfleet near our house .

    • Michael – we did the Wendesday VINP 8-2 volunteer program. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, but the young VINP employees (most of which are living in tents at Cinnamon) REALLY appreciated the lunch we purchased for them at Sun Dog – a double whammy that supports local business as well.

      • Had not heard that the eco tents at Cinnamon were being used for volunteers,which is great news.At least that wonderful property is being put yo some use

  14. We be there the first week of June. 20+ years going there –usually in April or May but we had to delay due to issues with the villa that are being dealt with now. ST JOHN IS OUR SECOND HOME!
    Support the local economy, Go out to eat, Buy stuff Drink the cheap rum. We love you St John. Gave bucks to Kenny. St John will be strong again!!!!!

  15. Just got back for a 12 day stay in St. John and STILL did not get enough of it and the people. Suggestions to any that want more shade on the beach: get one of the parachute material blankets and bring string to anchor it as you deem appropriate.

  16. We are long time part time St. John residents and have been here now for over a month. We felt more than a little trepidation coming back about what we’d find but are so relieved and happy to report that the island looks gorgeous! Lush and green. Even in a month everything has gotten even more beautiful. There are now at last count 2 shady spots again at Maho and Francis and the vines and sea grapes are growing fast to make more soon (although umbrellas are still a good idea now). And the snorkeling can be still magical. The large turtles are back at Maho and yesterday I saw the largest eagle ray ever in 35 years (surrounded by 7 remoras and a parade of trunk fish) in Francis. The recovery has been remarkable.

  17. My wife and I just got back yesterday after spending almost two weeks on St. John. I began to think of it not as the island it used to be, but the island it is now — definitely different, but still great. In some spots you would hardly know there had been a storm: Little Lameshur looks about the same and still has plenty of picnic tables; looking out from Cruz Bay Landing in the morning things look pretty normal (until you notice the sawed-off tops of all the trees). Others are very different, like Salomon beach.Our first drive to Coral Bay was a bit jarring because of the damage you see along the way, the still mostly bare mangroves, and the huge piles of debris in the fields there; but then you also notice restaurants and shops open, the brand new utility poles and the pile of more ready to go up, the BBC trucks STILL going all over the island doing great work, and basically, life going on. We also did a day trip to Jost and it was almost shocking how far along they’ve come (our favorite place to eat, One Love, wasn’t quite ready yet, but they were working on it). The people we talked to were expecting an uptick in visitors in March. I was also pleased to see that the animals if anything were thriving; plenty of iguanas and other lizards, donkeys, chickens, goats, turtles at Maho, more butterflies than ever, etc. Credit cards are working everywhere most of the time; we only had a couple instances where we had to resort to cash.

  18. We’ll be there next week for 10 days. We’ve been visiting for 30 years. We love St. John. It is our home away from home. Can’t wait to be one with sand, water and fish.

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