The U.S. Virgin Islands
The three major islands in the U.S.V.I. are St. John, St. Croix, and St. Thomas.
St. John is the smallest of the islands at 9 miles long by 5
miles wide. It is by far the nicest and certainly our favorite. Much of the
island is part of the National Park System and is densely wooded. There are
hiking trails, areas to explore, beautiful beaches (some private) and a few "ok" snorkeling spots.
Trunk Bay, with its marked snorkeling trail, is excellent for those not real
comfortable with their skills and/or the water (speaking from experience).
Cruz Bay is the main harbor and with lots of "classy" shops as well as several souvenir shops. There are several restaurants to choose from but the Texas Cafe was of course our first choice. Another favorite was Mongoose Junction. The anchorage in Cruz Bay is quite crowded and very bouncy. Unfortunately, when doing laundry, groceries, etc., it's necessary to anchor there - at least for the day. Otherwise, the cost of transportation on St. John will ruin a cruiser's budget. There are no "deals" on auto rentals and the jitneys can get pretty expensive. Although they are not ideal for everyday transportation, It's definitely worth the cost of a jitney for at least one tour. The scenes from the mountain drive are breathtaking.
We moored in Francis Bay most of the time there. This is a beautiful anchorage and the calmest, most protected one we've seen. The mooring were free at that time so we were lucky enough to take full advantage of them. From the anchorage, you can dinghy ashore to Maho Bay Campground, walk up about 160 steps, use the pay phone, catch a jitney back to Cruz Bay, or use the campground internet for a reasonable fee.
Of course, we had to make it to the back of St. John to anchor in Coral Bay. Wow, what a difference. There were many cruiser type boats in the anchorage but most of them were real eyesores. After a trip ashore for great hamburgers at Skinny Legs, there was nothing else worth staying for. We gladly left the next morning for St. Croix.
St. Thomas is the best known of these islands because the airport and cruise ship docks are located there. There is a lifetime of touristy shopping in St. Thomas, as well as lots of things to do & see. This is the island to meet your visitors, if you remember, that is. Read Sylisha's story below to see how even the best of us could make that mistake.
St Croix is really out of the way and it's not on the way to anything. It was well worth the trip though.
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