It has been a difficult time for St. John, being hit by 2 Category 5 Hurricanes, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria with windspeeds of over 200mp/h in September 2017 but the island has recovered nicely. All the roads have been cleared, the last boats in Cruz Bay have been lifted and the nature has made an amazing comeback everything is green and blooming.
Here is what Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Commissioner of Tourism of the United States Virgin Islands recently said.
“With power now almost fully restored to the beautiful island of St. John, many businesses and attractions have reopened. In Cruz Bay, which is just a 20-minute ferry ride from Red Hook in St. Thomas, nearly all restaurants and shops are open, including those at Mongoose Junction, a popular spot in the downtown area. Accommodations that have reopened in and near Cruz Bay include Gallows Point Resort, Hotel Cruz Bay (Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel), Estate Lindholm and Sea Shore Allure. There are also private villas throughout the island available for vacation rental. All beaches and trails in the Virgin Islands National Park are now open.”
And we fully agree with her. If you can live with little inconveniences like no cable tv and a few missing street signs, you will truly enjoy your stay. The airlines have recently added a few more flights so getting here has become much easier. Especially repeat visitors will enjoy re-discovering their island. Yes, some places (like Chateaux Bordeaux) are gone but in return there are new places to discover like new beaches that have been created due to trees and shrubs that are gone and sand deposits in pockets have created new spots. Unless you are a fan of the high season crowds you will enjoy how peaceful, quiet and relaxed everything is. No need to go the beach early to secure a parking space and you might even be the only person at Francis or Trunk, how awesome is that?
Almost all houses have power now, AT&T voice and data service is pretty good on the Cruz Bay side of island (that means fast enough to post your Instagram or Facebook holiday photos).
Different from WAPA (Water and Power Authority) which had the help of hundreds of hard-working linemen from the mainland, Viya (local cable tv and DSL provider) has to rebuild their network with local resources and it is slow, very slow. If you need a fast connection to work remotely (beyond checking emails) you have to look for a villa with Satellite internet. Or just send your boss a text: “sorry we have no internet”
All grocery stores are open and there is plenty of food and fresh produce, meat and fish available. Quite a few restaurants were destroyed but there are still enough bars and restaurants to have a fun night out. Open among others are Cruz Bay Landing, Dog House Pub, The Longboard, Quiet Mon Pub. Beach Bar and Woody’s are still closed and Barefoot Cowboy and Umami Sushi Bar seem to be gone for good 🙁
The beaches are missing some palm trees but some are actually nicer and wider than before. The water quality is good and snorkeling is great! Lots of the shyer water creatures can now be spotted much closer to the shore supposedly due to less crowds.
Westin and Caneel Bay Resort remain closed until 2019, Cinnamon Campground closed too but there are many villas and apartments for rent. Lavender Hill guest suites, Garden by the Sea B&B, Grande Bay Resort. For local villa rentals check out www.StJohn-VillaRentals.com
As for watersports and excursions, yes, many boats were destroyed but there are still enough open to serve the limited amount of visitors. Open among others are St. John Charters, Rockhoppin’ Charters, Low Key, Sadie Sea, Viecotours and SUP-Stjohn. The snorkel gear rental shop at Mongoose Junction is open as well. For day trips to the BVIs, our neighbours on Jost van Dyke, Norman Island, Virgin Gorda and Anegada were hit hard too, much each island has enough bars and restaurants open for a great day out and Pizza Pi the Pizza boat is open as well.
Everybody on island is happy and grateful for any visitor coming back, you will have a great time!