St. John: Coves, Beaches and Beauty

Trunk Bay. Photo by Richard Varr

Trunk Bay, St. John. Photo by Richard Varr

St. John seems to be the jewel of the USVI – mountainous and scenic with wonderful coves and white sand beaches. I went there on a day trip from St. Thomas by ferry, with the ferry landing in the small and walkable town of Cruz Bay with its modern shopping villages. More than half of the island is national park land, with the remainder as small towns, homes, store clusters and private lands. I found the island to have more of a resort feel as many living on the island are originally from somewhere else.

Annaberg Plantation Sugar Mill ruins. Photo by Richard Varr

Annaberg Plantation Sugar Mill ruins. Photo by Richard Varr

My tour included visits to the ruins of two former plantations – the Annaberg Sugar Mill, with its old windmill and factory buildings; and the Cinnamon Bay Factory Ruins, with its stone smokestack and the stone shell of its sugar factories. “This is where they boiled the sugar cane, made molasses and stored it before shipping,” says Kenneth, my tour guide and taxi driver.

St. John hiking trail. Photo by Richard Varr

St. John hiking trail. Photo by Richard Varr

From the high roads along the edges of hilly terrain, we could see the north shore’s many fine beaches along Maho Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Trunk Bay and Hawksnest Bay. “Maho Bay is the favorite nesting area for sea turtles.” Kenneth tells me. The highlight of my St. John trip, however, was snorkeling along Trunk Bay’s 225 yard underwater snorkeling trail. The beach at Trunk Bay has snorkel rentals, a snack bar and bath house. Although it can get crowded, it will be a must stop on my next visit.

St. John:  Kenneth Taxi Service, 340-513-2438

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