St. John USVI is one of my favorite Caribbean islands because you really feel like you are far away on an island with just a beach. Only accessible by boat or ferry, it’s smaller than most of the other Virgin Islands with less hustle and bustle. In fact, you don’t need a car – you can just hitch a ride with a passerby to hop from beach to beach. What sets it apart from the “just another beach” destinations is that it also has absolutely wonderful restaurants. The food is amazing, and you dine in these magnificent settings with just crystal clear aquamarine Caribbean waters as the backdrop. Great food, beautiful views and nice, laid back atmosphere is my kind of heaven.
There are two fabulous hotels on St. John, Caneel Bay and The Westin. You really can’t go wrong with either one. However, I really like The Westin because it’s remote enough to feel like you are on a private resort but close enough to get to town and the restaurants. Caneel Bay is great also, but it’s on the other side of the island making it a bit less accessible. However, the restaurant at Caneel Bay is a must-dine. The Equator is set up at the top of the 18th century sugar mill ruins. You dine overlooking Caneel Bay within the ruins in a circular, 360 degree outdoor structure. The food is fantastic, local Caribbean fair with lots of fresh seafood. Sitting on top of an old sugar mill watching the sun set over St. Thomas in the distance is about as romantic an evening you can hope for on your Caribbean vacation.
There are so many great restaurants on St. John – it’s really a diner’s haven for tasty dishes amidst perfect views of the Caribbean. I could list them all out but, instead, I’ll just highlight my favorite that could be easily missed if you are not in the know. Asolare is hands down the most beautiful restaurant on the island. It’s set up on a cliff overlooking Cruz Bay with only about ten tables on a tiny balcony. Asolare is the spot to really enjoy a Caribbean sunset in style. The views will take your breath away. It’s almost hard to pull yourself away from the table which is ok because you can stay as long as you like. Asolare in Greek means “the leisurely passing of time without purpose”. So order a nice glass of wine and get lost in the views. The menu changes often as the chefs focus on serving the freshest ingredients, all locally sourced, with an Asian Fusion flair. This is a dining experience you won’t forget on several levels – from the views to the ambience to the food.
Besides the beaches and the restaurants, St. John also has great beach bars. Not usually something that I find remarkable, but for a real Caribbean island vacation, you can’t leave without frequenting the tiki huts right on the beach. I don’t know what they put in them to make them so amazing but the fresh peach daiquiris with local Caribbean rum are heavenly. There is nothing like cooling off in the shade with your toes in the sand sipping a frozen peach daiquiri made fresh to order.
With its authentic island appeal, laid back ambience, and delicious food, St. John is a perfect destination to soak up the Caribbean sun.