Overrated St. John

An interesting message showed up on the St. John forum at TripAdvisor.com.  Jeff M asked, "What activity, restaurant, hike, location … underwhelmed you…?"

Among the 50+ responses, a few usually very popular attractions got several thumbs down from readers.

  • BostotoSTT: "Asolare. For $50 my entree should have a better side than jasmine rice."
  • Cleobeach1: "Skinny Legs.  It isn't any better or worse, in my opinion, than most places on the island … but … most have a better view and bathrooms that aren't vile."
  • Snack65: "We thought Jost was overrated … shouldn't have wasted a day away from St. John's beaches."
  • Dreamshark: "Salt Pond Bay. Lots of white sand … (but) the trail down (and back up) to the beach is a death march. Steep, airless and blazingly hot."
  • Mountain2Sea: "Vie's Snack Shack.  The food is bad, the chicken extremely greasy … the conch fritters are all fritter, no conch."

Now, you may or may not agree with some of these complaints.  Neither did 54b, and he/she contributed some perspective.

  • "What I think is interesting is that the very same places – Skinny's, Salt Pond, Jost, Vie's, etc. are also most often mentioned on the Must Do lists as well."

So, what do you think?  Overrated? Underrated? Offer your gripe or your suggestion here, and see what others have contributed by clicking here.

20 thoughts on “Overrated St. John”

  1. Not happy with a side of jasmine rice – order something else, the diner is responsible for reading a menu and ordering what they like.
    I do agree with Skinny legs bathroom, its pretty bad, the cleanest bathroom has to be at Miss Lucy’s close by.
    Jost beaches are by far some of the best in the BVI, these people have no clue what a beach is about, maybe they should stick to Magens Bay.
    Salt pond bay is a nice clean beach, last time i checked, hiking involves sweating and walking, stay on the cruise ship if you dont like physical activity.
    Thats my gripe..

  2. I think it all comes down to individual perspective and depends on the traveler’s expectations, where he/she has traveled before, one’s priorities, etc. Trip Advisor can be an enormous help — if you know how to use the site. For example, some of the best — most luxurious — places get bad reviews while 2 and 3-star places get rave reviews. You have to consider the writer/poster. Where has he/she been, stayed, etc. A person who has hopped around the Caribbean can make comparisons; someone who has only been to a couple of islands is more limited. If you’re looking to shop and bar hop, you may not be happy on a laid-back, nature-oriented island. Gotta do the research. Different strokes for different folks as they say. I love St. John, but it’s definitely not for everyone.

  3. I would never point someone in the direction of Morgan’s Mango. As a local I have given it more than a couple of chances and have always been disappointed. The service is lousy, the food not good and never hot and the prices are high.
    I like to help out visitors who ask where to eat and there are plenty of good places. Morgan’s Mango is not one of them!!!

  4. All the comments about these mediocre attractions are true. Just because somebody once had a good time at Skinnys and Salt pond, and wrote about it on tripadvisor is no reason that all our visitors should schlepp out there (and I live in Coral Bay!)

  5. I had to chuckle at all of the negative comments about St. John. Maybe those people should try the Ritz Carlton or a cruise ship. I think they are missing the point of what is so appealing about St. John.
    We will soon be making our 13th trip to St. John and personally, I wouldn’t miss Vie’s chicken.

  6. We have been visiting St John for 12 years.
    Never been to Asolare or Morgans Mango. After doing some research those places did not offer the island experience we look for. We have been to Salt Pond even though all we read about pointed out the trek envolved.
    Some of our best snorkels have been at Salt Pond.
    We did visit Skinnys this past October. It has lost some of the allure for us, but it was a fun experience for my daughter and her family (1 st time on island).
    We had a fine lunch at Vi’s along with lively conversation with several locals and other travelers.
    Jasmine was cooking that day and was the perfect hostess.
    Aqua Bistro remains our go to place every time we are on island. Keep up the good work. It is so nice to see this Coral Bay establishment continuing to shine!
    Bottom line..do your research and you should be able to experience St. John based on your needs. Accept the fact that some people are only happy when they can
    bi_ _h about something.

  7. couldn’t agree more with the skinny legs comment: disgusting bathrooms and no french fries. I live here and tell everyone not to go there – that chateau bordeaux has a far better burger (with fries or sweet potato fries!) plus an incredible view. not to mention the bathroom experience is much more pleasant.
    haven’t had the same experience with vie’s, always been very happy
    i think asolare has great food but is probably a little too expensive. i’ll always choose zozo’s over asolare for the money (both are about the same price) but can’t complain too loudly about them in general.

  8. Had to laugh. There is probably some truth in all these complaints. Yes the restaurants are overrated, yes the snorkeling is probably better in the Maldives, yes Salt Pond Bay is hot as hell and yes the toilets at skinnys are pretty bad. But…. rent a house in Coral Bay up high and enjoy the view, hike out to Rams Head early in the morning, swim at Francis Bay and go to Trunk late in the afternoon. Have cocktails at 5pm with the locals at Aqua Bistro bar and sit outside at Sweet Plaintans in the moonlight with a soft breeze blowing.

  9. I say, let them bitch. It just means less people will visit…we have been going to St John since we were married on Trunk in 2003 and will be back for our fifth trip in June…it will always be a special place for our family…if you don’t like St John, don’t come back…pretty simple.

  10. I agree there is some truth in all of those comments, except for complaining about the 10 minute walk, that’s half the fun. I never understood the fascination with Skinny Legs – no view, really mediocre food, tons of flies and vile bathrooms. I would not say ST John is overrated, but, as a 12 year annual visitor, much of it now seems overpriced. Asolare – great view, but if you want to spend that much $$$, get a much better culinary experience at Zozo’s. When people ask me where to go, I tell them to head to Joe’s BBQ.

  11. While sad, it seems to me that the restaurants have gone downhill dramatically in the past 2 years. Over priced meals that are not worth the cost. It almost seems that the restaurants are tired. Cheese platter at La Tapa – you could almost see through the slices of cheese they were so thin… Woody’s tilapia (are you kidding?) … Morgan’s was a favorite until this past visit where the steaks were tough and the service lacking…Pizza on St John is a sin with sweet dough…Even our beloved Caneel Bay restaurants were NOT worth the price of the food.

  12. Totally Agree with you Debbie. I’ve been going to St. John since I was a child, got married there in June, and the appeal of St. John is not the luxurious, amazing restaurants & bathrooms. It’s the laid back environment and the natural, untouched beauty of the Island. The good food, drinks and company are just a benefit. But let them complain maybe they won’t come back and we keep St. John the way it is without turning it into a Circus show for tourists like so many other beautiful places in this world have done.

  13. The only food I’ve been disappointed in on St. John was at Zozo’s. I’m not a foodie, so we usually eat at smaller more casual places, and make snacks at the house. We went with a local couple and you can imagine the bill for 4 people and a bottle of wine + cocktails! The sticker shock of Zozo’s was a bit much for me. To food was “soso”.
    Vie’s snack shack is delicious!! Also, Reggie’s Caribbean BBQ has some great food too! (Next door to Cases by the Sea, across the street from Island Blues). Smoothies at the Pink Corner and breakfasts at the Donkey Diner.
    But on a whole, is STJ overrated? HECK NO!!! I LOVE IT!!! But I’m also okay with some people not liking it, we can’t all fit on that tiny island, 😀

  14. How does she make that Sweet Tea at Miss Vie’s?
    No mention of the Lizard Tree Restaurant at Cinnamon? After my 3 year old snorkeled for the first time, we had some great food there and he ended up in the kitchen with the ladies there! That’s service!
    My only complaint on St. John has been that there are few places to grab dinner after a night dive.

  15. Common Sense – You don’t have to come back. STJ is not for everyone & that just makes us all the happier! We’ve been coming every year for the past 20+ years and God willing, we’ll keep on coming!

  16. I have been going to STJ for over 20 years. It has changed substantially in that time. Many of the things that attracted me to the island are disappearing. As the island’s popularity continues, development brings good and bad things. My most favorite restaurants were all on STJ at one time. Many have gone by the wayside. Joe’s BBQ and Zozo have remained consistantly good thru the years for me. I mourn the loss of Chateau Bordeaux, and Skinnys is just not the same for me since Doug died.
    I will always love the hike to Rams head -but you must do it early before the heat of the day gets too intense. There is a changing element in STJ. It is my opinion that too many stateside people have moved there and want the “comforts of home”. They have changed it into exactly what they went to the island to escape from. You may still find a smattering of solitude if you ride out to the East End. I love STJ -but just like my hometown, it will never be the same as it once was.

  17. Thumbs up for Sam and Jack’s at the Marketplace! Excellent food and while the price seems little steep the quality and portion size make up for it. And everything there is delicious. Tiramisu. Yum. Dislikes are Zero Sushi, Woody’s, Deli Grotto, Asolare. Loves – Zozo’s, Shipwreck, Skinny’s (it is what it is), Lime Inn, Morgan’s Mango, RhumbLines.

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