Located in the Caribbean Sea, St. John is one of the three main islands that make up the United States Virgin Islands. Surrounded by the most beautiful water you’ll ever see, St. John will take your breath away. I have been to St. John a handful of times and always during carnival season. The first thing you should do when you arrive is get your hands on a cocktail called a pain killer. It consists of a mixture of coconut cream, orange and pineapple juices and the star of every good Caribbean drink, RUM, of course. It is traditionally topped off with a light dusting of nutmeg and some fresh fruit. This is my number one favorite drink of all time. It will get you in the spirit to embrace the slow and peaceful pace that native Caribbean people like to call “island time”.
If you are on St. John in the weeks prior to carnival you will get to experience the live music and dancing that is set up each night in the Village. It’s a main area in town where different food and drink stands pop up in a huge square anchored by a large stage and in the middle there is plenty of room to dance, eat and mingle. Every night we indulge in johnnycakes, chicken and pain killers from our favorite food stands. We listen to the live local music and dance. This gets everyone ready for the big party usually held on July 4th to celebrate the emancipation of the slaves. All day an amazing party parades through the streets, there are different groups in lavish costumes preforming dance routines and playing instruments. There are decorated floats playing music and hyping the crowd up. The weather is hot and the drinks are flowing. Carnival is definitely not to be missed, you’ve got to see it to believe it.
Days on the island should be spent laying on the gorgeous beaches and swimming and snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea. We stay at the Westin Hotel and Resort. It has a private beach, plenty of pools, restaurants and bars. They have an over water trampoline among other water toys and activities that will keep you entertained. But if you venture outside of your resort you’ll discover some amazing beaches. Hawksnest, Cinnamon and Maho are my go to spots. If you are feeling ambitious Hawknest has a fun trail over rocks that lead you to a secluded little stretch of sand that can temporarily serve as your own private beach. I also recommend booking a catamaran trip to nearby British Virgin Islands to experience The Baths at Virgin Gorda, White Bay and Soggy Dollar Bar. There are stunning sugar mill ruins spread around St. John to explore. They are stark reminders that although beautiful the Caribbean has a horrific history of slavery and oppression; it is an opportunity to reflect on how cruel mankind can be. Even in the midst of all the splendor such an ugly institution can thrive. But it is also a teaching opportunity to remind us that we must do better, because we know better.
Afternoons in St. John can be spent shopping at Mongoose Junction, eating ice cream, snacking, be lazy, followed by dinner at great restaurants. Some of my favorite restaurants on the island include Zozo’s at Caneel Bay, Skinny Legs, Miss Lucy’s and Ocean 362. Ocean 362 is the best place to enjoy a relaxing sunset with dinner. The incredible part is that the entire back side of the building does not have a wall, each floor is an open terrace which allows you to take full advantage of the view. The bar is on the top floor perched over Gallows Point it overlooks the surrounding islands, the water, and the slow onset of twinkling city lights that turn on as the sun fades. This island is pure magic you must visit for yourself.
Until next time.
Signing Out With Love,