The State of the Island: Cruz Bay

CB Overlook NOv 21 2018

Hello everyone and happy Saturday! Do you all know what today is? Today is the first day of non-hurricane season … yahoo! We’ve got six months of peace before 2019 season starts up, and I am going to enjoy every day of it!

That being said, I think it’s time to write an island update of sorts. We receive a ton of questions about what’s open, what looks like what, and so forth, so we’re going to do our best to fill you in on everything right here. So without further ado…

Ok, let’s start where pretty much all of our start when we’re on St. John … the ferry dock. The people ferries are running hourly between Red Hook and Cruz Bay. The Charlotte Amalie is not running at this time.

cruz bay ferry nov 25 2018

To the right of the ferry is a lot of shopping and restaurants. Freebird, St. John Spice and St. John Beach Bum are all located in the building beside the ferry dock. All are consistently open. Pig & Rooster is pretty much open. I only say “pretty much” because I noticed it was randomly closed the other day.

Continue down Cruz Bay beach and you will see that High Tide is always hopping. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have happy hour daily from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. And here’s an insider tip: If you like wine, High Tide has a VERY generous pour. Cheers!

High Tide Ad

Turquoise Turtle is open beside High Tide, as is Sotheby’s Real Estate and Vibe Collection. Verace has closed permanently.

Wander down the street a bit and you will see that Waterfront Bistro and Joe’s Rum Hut are closed, and there is no visible work happening at either. From what we hear, we will start to see some progress happening over at the Rum Hut soon. Fingers crossed!

Bamboo jewelry is open, and you can see their “elves” making beautiful creations day and night. Island Cork is open, and we will have some exciting news to share about that next week. Cruz Bay Clothing, located down the hall near the Rum Hut, is open too.

Across the street is 420 to Center, who just had a nice remodel, and Slim’s Parking. Both are open. The Catholic Church is located on the corner and does amazing work for our community including many feeding across the island on a daily basis.

Now on to what I know you are all wondering about … The Beach Bar. Well I have good news to share here! Work is well underway and it’s going to reopen soon! How exciting!

beach bar nov 28 2018

Also in that area is St. John Car Rental, Banana Deck, the Terrace, American Paradise Realty, Drink, Low Key Watersports, Grande Bay, Lavender Hill and down the road a bit is Gallows Point and Ocean 362. And all are open!

If you’re in the area, be sure to walk past Gallows and down the hill to Frank Bay so you can check out Elaine Estern’s Coconut Coast Studios. She has beautiful watercolor paintings and a great complimentary sunset happy hour every Wednesday!

Back in the heart of Cruz Bay, The Lime Inn is open and just across the street is D’ Livios and the Cruz Bay Hotel. (We’re going to have some fun news on that soon!). Fred’s is also open on that side of the street, as is the barber shop and several car rental companies. Lucky Chops is too, as is the small convenience store next door!

At the intersection, you will see Connections on your left. Cid and the ladies are open Monday through Saturday. We also have The Longboard, Dog House, Rhumb Lines, Bayside Mini Mart and Cafe Roma open on that street.

Off to the right is another paid parking lot, as well as Woody’s, Quiet Mon, La Tapa and Tap & Still. A bit further up the street is Extra Virgin Bistro, which is simply delicious.

The school is open and modular classrooms have been installed. The school annex across the street remains in shambles unfortunately. There is still a broken power pole at the roundabout which should have been fixed by now.

Take a right and you will see that the fire department is now operating out of a new modular building much like the public school kids in town. Little Olive, the Greek food truck, is open in the motor vehicles parking lot. The tennis courts are in good shape and open to the public, although its fence needs to be repaired still (and that should have happened by now in my opinion).

There is a fun little bar open on the hill across from the tennis courts, Hillside Terrace, and around the corner is Sosa’s which sell delicious local foods. The entrance to the car barge is located at what used to be the exit and sadly, the gravel lot has lots of vehicles that should have been towed by now. Personally I would not park in that lot, especially at night. I would much rather pay for parking in town as the area is dimly lit at night.

If we went straight through the roundabout, rather than to the right near the fire station, you would have seen that the two laundry mats are open, St. John Provisions is too (located in the old Baked in the Sun spot). The Animal Care Center is located off the small driveway to your right, and they are always looking for volunteers to walk the dogs or simply spend time with the cats.

Head down the hill and, sadly, Candie’s BBQ is still closed. Drive a little further and you will see that the Marketplace on your right is super busy as always. Located there is Starfish Market, Shaibu’s Gourmet Grab and Go, the St. John Biz Center, Chelsea Pharmacy, St. John Hardware,Sam & Jack’s and more. All are open.

Beyond the Marketplace are the two gas stations – one on each side of Jacon’s Ladder. The basketballs courts are over there too and are open to the public. We have a couple car repair shops too, but hopefully you won’t need to stop there on your vacation! If you need air for your tire or a vacuum to get the sand out, both are located at E&C gas station, which is located right across from the basketball courts.

Ok, let’s go back to the roundabout. Dolphin Market is open. Just down the road a bit is Ronnie’s Pizza which is open everyday except Sundays. As you know, the Lumberyard has been torn down and there is a project in the works to paint murals on what’s left while the owners decide how to move forward. Nella’s and Hercules Pate are open just down the hill, as is the car rental place.

To your left is Cap’s Place, which is always fun and lively. The Post Office is open as is a small food stand across the street. There are also public restrooms right in that area, as well as a 24/7 clinic which is located near Cruz Bay Landing.

The Customs building has been taken down and is now being operated out of yet another modular building.

In this area, we have Nature’s Nook, Margaita Phil’s and Cool Desires ice cream. Across the street is the National Park Visitor Center, which is open daily. There is a small playground there too, which is about to be remodeled. Yay for the kids! This is also the area where most of the boat trips begin.

Mongoose Junction Nov 20 2018

Ok, now let’s head over to Mongoose Junction. Nearly everything is open over there. Here is a list and I hope I do not forget anything! The open spots here are: Scoops, Just Beach. Friends of the Park store, Sugar Birds, R&I Patton, North Shore Deli, Portico, Caravan Gallery, The Tap Room, St. John Experience Gallery, The Brewtique, Big Planet, Island Fancy, Bamboula. Sun Dog Cafe, Vibe Jewelry, Greengo’s, Arawak and Lulee. Phew, that’s a lot! Parking in this area is for businesses only and there are public restrooms around back.

My goodness, that’s a lot of info for one day! Stay tuned and we will tell you about the rest of the island. Have a great day everyone!!

53 thoughts on “The State of the Island: Cruz Bay”

  1. Good morning! We have been coming to St. John for many years now and unfortunately haven’t been in a couple years but we have new grand babies coming all the time and just can’t bear to leave them! I’m curious about the old Island Blues building- is it gone? We loved island blues! And have missed it over the last few years.

    • You need to have the grandkids come and start experiencing the wonders and beauty of St. John.
      We have been bringing our kids and grandson since they have been 6 months old. (Kids are now 35 and 26, grandson 18 months). Daughter even honeymooned there!

  2. Great update as always. Was really hoping you’d say there’s progress at Joe’s, as it’s our favorite happy hour spot. Oh well. Will watch for updates, and fingers crossed they’ll open again. Beach Bar will be busy! Looking forward to our annual trip in March. Can’t wait! See y’all then!

  3. The following are open: Cruz Bay Landing in the park, Now and Zen in Wharfside Village, Uncle Joe’s BBQ across from Caps Place, Nature’s Nook smoothies and fresh fruit, Morgan’s Mango. Ocean Grill in Mongoose is closed permanently and a new restaurant is going in soon.

  4. Great article; thanks!! We were on SJ in April/May. We were quite impressed with how much progress had been done post hurricane. We had a fabulous time as usual. The article didn’t mention The Pink Papaya, of my favorite shops. It was open when we were there last spring. I hope it’s still open and thriving. Thanks!!

    • We were on island in November and did not know what to expect. We were so surprised how great everything looked. The Pink Papaya is open and well stocked. We are heading back in March and hopefully Beach Bar will finally be opened. They were working on it when we were there but they had a lot of work head of them.

      I was surprised the beaches were not cleared more of the dead trees. The tree debre was off the sand but the dead trees were pushed back on the tree line. Beaches still beautiful. But I would have thought they would have removed more

  5. Hi,
    I wanted to let you know that after being shut down for six months by the destruction caused by Irma, we rebuilt and also reopen back for business last February.
    Happy Holidays!

    Maria Ines and Carlos
    Morgan’s Mango Restaurant

  6. Thanks for all the info..didn’t come last year, but am excited to be coming in Feb. Will be staying at a new place, near Coconut Coast Studios..looking forward to the happy hour! Can’t wait t come down.

  7. Did conrads car rental survive? I know zozo’s is gone. Far and away the best restaurant in the Caribbean!!! Any hope that John will reinvent zozo’s on st john again?????

  8. Is this fuel dock open? We will be there by sailboat starting next Saturday. My understanding is customs is open for private vessels. Is that correct? Yes

    • Not sure about the fuel dock, but I can confirm there is a customs trailer just for private vessels AND apparently there is a new app you can download and use where you won’t need to appear in person at all (assuming you are a US citizen). We didn’t get to try it because we only learned about it while we were IN the customs office (which was totally easy and quick, but hours are a bit limited. They didn’t open in the morning until 9 or 10am). If you’re worried about check in times because you’ve heard about long lines, don’t be. The only place we had trouble was checking in to Road Town on Tortola (if you HAVE to check in on Tortola, we were told afterward to try the West End because it is considerably less crowded). Have fun!

  9. How about Thomas’ Our Market Smoothies across from Uncle Joe’s? Any word about rebuild at Caneel Bay? Coming down in Jan…can’t wait to visit my favorite island. ❤

  10. I know they had extensive damage, but is there any plan to rebuild Asolare? So many good memories, including our rehearsal dinner in 2012.

  11. Thank you for the very much appreciated, informative and detailed updates. My husband and I have been coming for the past 16 years with the exception of 2017. Cannot wait to return in October 2019!!

  12. So excited – I am booked for January to February – excited to be back at the Westin as well!
    Thanks for your updates – can’t wait!!!

  13. We arrived Saturday. The island honestly looks fantastic. We have been coming for years. You all did a great job. We come every year around this time and some times in the spring. We had to cancel last year but made it back and will be back every going forward. Thanks for the hard work. So we can enjoy this great place

  14. Jen
    We love your updates. My parents have been coming to St John for almost 20 years and I for 6 or 7. We didn’t see mention of Pink Papaya or Book and Bean. We’ve enjoyed friendly Linda Dickson and her staff at Pink Papaya for years and my mom’s paintings of St John have been for sale there, also (she is artist Claudia Brookes). It’s a great place to stop before dinner at the Lime Inn. Book and Bean is a book-trade store with a great coffee shop, and is (was?) located in Starfish marketplace.

    • The Estate Zoontevaal rentals were destroyed except for a small cottage on the water. Someone purchased two of the buildings and is currently rebuilding one of them for his private residence and the other will be rebuilt for a rental.

      • Hi, Thanks for the update. Is the Cuz Bay customs and Immigration office open for clearance in from BVI. or does one have to clear in at Red Hook. Is there a regular ferry service from Road Town or West End, Tortola directly to Cuz Bay? If so where can we find the schedule for those routes? Information on this is “spotty”

        • Yes, customs is currently open in Cruz Bay. There is no ferry service yet between here and the BVI. There is ferry service from Red Hook to the BVI. I hope this helps!

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