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Overview

When Laurence Rockefeller visited St. John in the 1950s, it was a dusty little outpost, with dense tropical forest dominating the island and pristine beaches rimming its shores. Old Laurence fell in love. The millionaire began purchasing large tracts of land and later donated it to the US government. Today, that land endowment has grown into the Virgin Islands National Park. The park covers more than 7,000 acres of land — two-thirds of the island — and almost 6,000 acres of coastal waters. The wild park is truly stunning, with some excellent hiking through old plantations, palm forests and petroglyph rock carvings left by Taíno ...

When Laurence Rockefeller visited St. John in the 1950s, it was a dusty little outpost, with dense tropical forest dominating the island and pristine beaches rimming its shores. Old Laurence fell in love. The millionaire began purchasing large tracts of land and later donated it to the US government. Today, that land endowment has grown into the Virgin Islands National Park. The park covers more than 7,000 acres of land — two-thirds of the island — and almost 6,000 acres of coastal waters. The wild park is truly stunning, with some excellent hiking through old plantations, palm forests and petroglyph rock carvings left by Taíno Indians. More than 30 soft sandy beaches skirt the island, some with facilities for easy snorkeling, kayaking or diving.

In Cruz Bay, the only town, the ambiance is always mellow, friendly and welcoming. There are some incredible resorts — from Rockefeller's first project at Caneel Bay to the villas at Gallows Point, and luxurious Westin — along with friendly little guesthouses and B&Bs. To get to St. John, most visitors fly into St. Thomas and take the short ferry trip to St. John.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Saint John is an island in the Caribbean Sea about 4 miles east of Saint Thomas, and 4 miles south and west of Tortola.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: United States Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Visit between November and April, which is outside the rainy season.