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Thread: St John?

  1. #1

    St John?

    I know that I've posted on the subject before, but we're looking to start finalizing plans for a summer island trip. We are debating between our 4th consecutive visit (April '13, Nov '13, Feb '14) to "our" island or branching out a bit to change things up. Does anyone have any experiences with St. John or have any other ideas?

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    St John is a beautiful island and I've been there several times, but I prefer Virgin Gorda in the BVI simply because the opportunity to get on the water while enjoying the Sir Francis Drake Channel is so special and I think the areaís best islands to scoot around and see are in the BVI. Tough to deal with the customs office if you try to see a lot of that area with St John as your home base. I've stayed at Caneel and at the villa of friends on St John, but simply love the chance to spend time wandering by boat around Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, and lots of fund spots around Virgin Gorda.
    Itís all completely different than St Barth, a spot that to me is so special, but if you enjoy time on the water, the BVI is awesome.
    If you're not interested in getting on the water in the Virgin Islands, you likely won't find getting outside of your specifc resort by land particulary appealing, especially if you've spent any time on St Barth.
    Vic

  3. #3
    JoshA is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2005 Annapolis Posts: 4,106
    I love St. John although I agree that if sailing is your thing, go to the BVI. Here's a report on my last trip there:
    https://www.sbhonline.com/forums/sho...me-so-I-follow

  4. #4
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 597
    I've been to St John three times and the BVI at least half a dozen. Totally different than SBH. St John is good for a quiet get away if you want to spend time on the beach and snorkeling/diving. Dining options are ok, but SBH is much better. I love Caneel, but at some point I did feel a little trapped on the resort grounds. Much prefer the BVI for sailing. As others have pointed out, much better access in the BVI. But we have not been back to the virgins in many years now. There's a vibe and comfort we get on SBH that's just not comparable to any other place we have been to. Thinking about going to Martinique or Guadeloupe next to see how those places contrast.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the info so far guys!

    We're looking just to go somewhere where we can have a car, drive wherever we want, explore, hike, and have fun.

    Of course SBH offers all that and more, but we're torn between switching it up and the fear of playing the comparison game all week.

  6. #6
    DaveM is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2007 Posts: 229
    Quote Originally Posted by SailAway View Post
    I know that I've posted on the subject before, but we're looking to start finalizing plans for a summer island trip. We are debating between our 4th consecutive visit (April '13, Nov '13, Feb '14) to "our" island or branching out a bit to change things up. Does anyone have any experiences with St. John or have any other ideas?

    Cheers!
    Does your trip have to be Carribbean? If you're looking to "branch out and change things up", there is lots more variety in the Med.

    St John is peaceful and pretty, but quiet, even in the winter; so not sure what the summer would bring.

  7. #7
    Dennis is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,395
    We spent a week in St John over this past NYE and chose it over St Barts just to "try something different".

    We Loved it. Stayed at Gallows Point which makes the small "town" very walkable.

    The snorkeling was great. We also did a day on a small boat with one other couple and went to Norman, some other place and Jost (Soggy Dollar bar). Great way to spend the day.

    The food was across the spectrum. From not worth it (Skinny Legs) to excellent (Caneel Bay, Waterfront Bistro, The Terrace).

    The island is, for obvious reasons, very Americanized.

    I will say that just about service person we met was unbelievable friendly. From taxi drivers to resto owners.

    The beaches are truly beautiful but during the week we went pretty crowded. We found a few that were less crowded by hiking to them.

    We didn't spend one minute wishing we were in St Barts. St Barts isn't going anywhere...so we'll see it again.

    St John is on our do-over list for sure!

  8. #8
    Peter NJ is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Highlands NJ Posts: 6,822
    Dennis I was hoping you would have posted a trip report.. Glad that you loved the island
    The last of the famous international playboys

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Does your trip have to be Carribbean? If you're looking to "branch out and change things up", there is lots more variety in the Med.

    St John is peaceful and pretty, but quiet, even in the winter; so not sure what the summer would bring.
    We're good to go anywhere, the Med. could be interesting...any particular recommendations?

  10. #10
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 7,950
    We love Caneel but there are not the choice of restaurants, shopping, nightlife etc on St. Johns. Even though St. Johns is pretty quiet, nothing tops the safety and serene ambiance of SBH. We have been to most of the Caribbean and SBH for us is the only place to go!
    Now if you really want to branch out, go to Mallorca.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by stbartshopper View Post
    We love Caneel but there are not the choice of restaurants, shopping, nightlife etc on St. Johns. Even though St. Johns is pretty quiet, nothing tops the safety and serene ambiance of SBH. We have been to most of the Caribbean and SBH for us is the only place to go!
    Now if you really want to branch out, go to Mallorca.
    I think we may just do that!

    Starting the research now...do you have any particular recommendations?

    Anything like Ptit Morne there?

  12. #12
    DaveM is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2007 Posts: 229
    Quote Originally Posted by SailAway View Post
    We're good to go anywhere, the Med. could be interesting...any particular recommendations?
    Well, not knowing your criteria, I'll just suggest a few places we have liked.

    Mallorca is beautiful along the northwest coast and you can stay reasonably at the Costa D'Or near Deia, which is a popular and picturesque village. You can day trip to other villages, or use the nearby beach, then return for dinners from simple to superluxe in Deia. Just realize Mallorca is much bigger than St Barths. And the beaches are more gravelly. It does pride itself on being peaceful along the northwest. Old city Palma is also cool to explore, since this is where you fly to anyway.

    Capri is also stunning, smaller, and you don't need a car. Plus you'll likely tour the Amalfi Coast en route. Capri will be busy. Dining is full spectrum, under the lemon trees, often. We enjoyed a private boat tour around the island very much.

    Keffalonia is unspoiled Greece in the Ionian region, and also a very popular sail charter holiday region. We stayed at inexpensive Dafnoudi Inn just near Fiskardo, which is a charming fishing harbour turned pretty village. Don't miss Myrtos beach.

    Maybe that's a start.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Well, not knowing your criteria, I'll just suggest a few places we have liked.

    Mallorca is beautiful along the northwest coast and you can stay reasonably at the Costa D'Or near Deia, which is a popular and picturesque village. You can day trip to other villages, or use the nearby beach, then return for dinners from simple to superluxe in Deia. Just realize Mallorca is much bigger than St Barths. And the beaches are more gravelly. It does pride itself on being peaceful along the northwest. Old city Palma is also cool to explore, since this is where you fly to anyway.

    Capri is also stunning, smaller, and you don't need a car. Plus you'll likely tour the Amalfi Coast en route. Capri will be busy. Dining is full spectrum, under the lemon trees, often. We enjoyed a private boat tour around the island very much.

    Keffalonia is unspoiled Greece in the Ionian region, and also a very popular sail charter holiday region. We stayed at inexpensive Dafnoudi Inn just near Fiskardo, which is a charming fishing harbour turned pretty village. Don't miss Myrtos beach.

    Maybe that's a start.
    Thank you so much!

    We are already researching...do you have a particular month that you would recommend?

  14. #14
    DaveM is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2007 Posts: 229
    Sail

    Your original post mentioned "summer" -- August is the busiest and most expensive time to be on island holiday in the Med. So June, first part of July, or September would be less crowded, more hotel availability, variably less costly, and (no guarantees) in our experience, still plenty warm and summery weather.

    Also, I now note your mention of car, explore, hiking, and just have fun. This fits Mallorca with hiking amongst the pines along the coast then finding rocks and coves for picnics, or going up to crests for views. Just want to re mention that Mallorca is big, so you'll be touring mostly in the area of your lodging, but for bigger highlights, like Formentera point, it's a 75 minute drive. I still highly suggest this destination, but also realize that Ibiza might fit the "car, explore" size more practically. Everything is within a half hour or so, often less. It's less mountainous, more bohemian, and lends itself to a greater range of experiences from busy "sceney" beach like Nikki beach, all the way to remote, no clothes, smoke what you like type of hike in beaches. We stayed at an agrotourismo -- Ca n'Arabi, www.canarabi.com, which was central and very nice. It's on the lower end pricewise of the agrotourismos, but they are overall and upper middle category. So, more than petite morne, relatively for the island. There are many more economical options as well, but frankly too many, so I gave up and booked for a bit more money a choice I knew would be plenty nice enough and also not disappoint.

    Glad you're interested, since I enjoy reviewing the memories!

  15. #15
    You should avoid Mallorca (the city) in the Summer, is full of tourists, specially avoid Magaluf (young brits) and Arenal (young germans), better to stick to smaller places and marinas like Andratx, Port Portals and Port Adriano (near Mallorca city), Alcudia (north island), Soller (west), Porto Cristo(east), Sa Rapita (also south). You should also look into the mooring, very busy season the summer. I would also suggest a trip to Formentera and Cabrera. If you looking for a more quiet place Menorca is much better the Mallorca in my opinion. But nothing compares to St. Barth

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Sail

    Your original post mentioned "summer" -- August is the busiest and most expensive time to be on island holiday in the Med. So June, first part of July, or September would be less crowded, more hotel availability, variably less costly, and (no guarantees) in our experience, still plenty warm and summery weather.

    Also, I now note your mention of car, explore, hiking, and just have fun. This fits Mallorca with hiking amongst the pines along the coast then finding rocks and coves for picnics, or going up to crests for views. Just want to re mention that Mallorca is big, so you'll be touring mostly in the area of your lodging, but for bigger highlights, like Formentera point, it's a 75 minute drive. I still highly suggest this destination, but also realize that Ibiza might fit the "car, explore" size more practically. Everything is within a half hour or so, often less. It's less mountainous, more bohemian, and lends itself to a greater range of experiences from busy "sceney" beach like Nikki beach, all the way to remote, no clothes, smoke what you like type of hike in beaches. We stayed at an agrotourismo -- Ca n'Arabi, www.canarabi.com, which was central and very nice. It's on the lower end pricewise of the agrotourismos, but they are overall and upper middle category. So, more than petite morne, relatively for the island. There are many more economical options as well, but frankly too many, so I gave up and booked for a bit more money a choice I knew would be plenty nice enough and also not disappoint.

    Glad you're interested, since I enjoy reviewing the memories!
    Thank you Dave!

    Waiting for word on my gf's schedule before we book anything so all of this information is extremely helpful in the meantime!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Park Avenue View Post
    You should avoid Mallorca (the city) in the Summer, is full of tourists, specially avoid Magaluf (young brits) and Arenal (young germans), better to stick to smaller places and marinas like Andratx, Port Portals and Port Adriano (near Mallorca city), Alcudia (north island), Soller (west), Porto Cristo(east), Sa Rapita (also south). You should also look into the mooring, very busy season the summer. I would also suggest a trip to Formentera and Cabrera. If you looking for a more quiet place Menorca is much better the Mallorca in my opinion. But nothing compares to St. Barth
    Thank you for this Park.

    That's the problem with "switching it up", we're both always nervous that nothing will quite be like SBH.

  18. #18
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Albany, NY Posts: 2,792
    Sail.....there is nothing quite like St Barths....but there is also nothing like exploring to find out. We have been to the BVI, which I would go back to, some private islands, including Peter Island and Petit St Vincent....and Mustque, one that I would definately return to.......then of course there's the Med as Dave has suggested. Capri is pretty awesome , especially if you go off season, such as September ....when the waters are still warm and the tourists disappear in the evenings.
    And of course, for me, there's Portugal , and the Algarve coast.....nothing quite like it there IMHO. Second place besides St Barths , in my heart.
    Good luck.....the fun is in the planning and dreaming.
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by SailAway View Post
    Thank you for this Park.

    That's the problem with "switching it up", we're both always nervous that nothing will quite be like SBH.
    :) Summer in the med is also nice, you can visit a few countries by boat without any problem.

  20. #20
    Peter NJ is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Highlands NJ Posts: 6,822
    Just a pet peeve...St Johns is in Antigua




    Quote Originally Posted by stbartshopper View Post
    We love Caneel but there are not the choice of restaurants, shopping, nightlife etc on St. Johns. Even though St. Johns is pretty quiet, nothing tops the safety and serene ambiance of SBH. We have been to most of the Caribbean and SBH for us is the only place to go!
    Now if you really want to branch out, go to Mallorca.
    The last of the famous international playboys

  21. #21
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,549
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter NJ View Post
    Just a pet peeve...St Johns is in Antigua

    And St John's is in Newfoundland, while the other St John is in New Brunswick.

    Peter, some day you'll have to try some Newfie Screech. (Not a great rum)

  22. #22
    Peter NJ is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2002 Highlands NJ Posts: 6,822
    Kevin I'm always up for trying not so great Rum!
    The last of the famous international playboys

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