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The quiet side of the Island is the hidden Gem- I will probably get a beating just for letting you... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Jac C
Favorite side of Island

Returning back, thanks to all the wonderful people that worked hard. I Love this side of the... read more

Reviewed 27 August 2018
floridalin
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St. Petersburg, Florida
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Reviewed 19 July 2017

We have traveled to the island of St. John many times over the years. You must go to understand the beauty. Coral Bay is one of those quaint Caribbean towns that elicits thoughts or running away from the craziness and just hang out there forever.

Date of experience: August 2016
2  Thank Chipper56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2017

Highly recommend any part of St. John, but Coral Bay is one of my favorites. Taking a boat from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay is a great way to see the island and avoid the winding roads. Get a snack from Skinny Legs.

Date of experience: August 2016
Thank atmontgo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2017

This was our second trip to St John. First was 10 years ago. Names of restaurants and shops change, but, thankfully, little else.

ARRIVING
Instead of going right to the island, we spent one night in St Thomas (Charlotte Amalie). We'd recommend that so that your start in St John is more relaxed. We didn't care much for St Thomas ... too hectic and noisy and too much hustling by shopkeepers anxious to attract cruiseship mates and other tourists. But we'd do it again. Interesting to check out. Stayed at the Green Iguana Inn. Very friendly, very helpful with arranging pick-up at airport, and nice room with great hilltop view of town. Ask breakfast at the same place our first morning and two weeks later on our way to the airport ... Jen's Cafe and Deli. Nothing fancy but good, relaxing, breakfast and good sandwiches to take on your travels. We're sure that there are great restaurants but we didn't find any for our two meals. Greenhouse was mediocre. Cuzzins had good food but atmosphere just OK.

Took the people ferry in the morning to St John. Rented jeep from Sunshine Jeep. Steep walk to the office but they were great, the jeep was great, and we could park there on nights in Cruz Bay (once you experience the scant parking there, you'd know how valuable a parking space in town can be.

We reserved two private "villas", one for each week. It turned out to be a great idea.

THE VILLAS
Our first was not a typical ST John villa. It was called the Teahouse Treehouse overlooking Coral Bay. High on a hill up a torturous road that you must have 4 week drive for. One large room for sleeping. Outside was the kitchen. Yes, I said outside. Downsteps and under the bedroom was a large bathroom with a great shower. There also was a hottub with terrific views at night. The whole home was nicely designed and detailed. Very Japanese. No nails used in construction. The views from the bedroom and balcony were indescribably beautiful ... making the long drive over rocks up the hill worth every bump. Views of the British Virgin Islands, storms drifted over the distant islands, boats in the bay. At night you are literally surrounded by jungle and the tree frog chorus can be exhilarating unless you are a light sleeper. There had been recent big rains so mosquitos waited for us when we cooked. But bug spray took care of that and it was no problem. Bathroom trips at night are not scary but this is a place for the more adventurous. Just a bit up the road is a property owned by the same company called Mooncottage. It is bigger and a more typical villa with a pool. Obviously, you can't walk to the beach, But everything you need and more is a short drive away.

The second villa was a typical one (though no pool) by Francis Bay (still close to Coral Bay). We stayed right next to this villa last visit. There were just two of us and there were 4 or 5 bedrooms. But very comfortable. Different but nice views. We stayed here because you can walk to Francis Bay beach ... a very beautiful and uncrowded beach that is loaded with sea turtles and rays. This is a great area because, unlike other parts of St John, it is a small enclave of less than 8 homes surrounded by National Park. Always quiet, nice jungle-type drives to get there, ruins and birdwatching nearby, and Waterlemon key snorkeling a short drive away.

FOOD
We ate out most nights. But preferred buying groceries at Starfish Market in Cruz Bay (more choices) but there are three markets and a couple small places for sandwiches or seafood/meat to cook in Coral Bay for what you might need. We didn't try all restaurants on St John but our favorites were Shipwreck Landing. Indigo Grill, Miss Lucy's, Caribbean Oasis (extra causal) and Cafe Concordia (especially when they have open mic night) in Coral Bay and Banana Deck and Rhumblines in Cruz Bay. Aqua Bistro, Lime Inn, and Extra Virgin (least causal) were just ok. Everyone goes to Skinneylegs in Coral Bay and you should too, though it was too touristy for us now.

FUN
Swimming and Snorkeling on every beach. We did so at 11 bays plus two cays. All different. At some we thought the coral was in less good shape and had deteriorated since our last visit. Our favorites for snorkeling was Haulover North (need calm seas but like an aquarium), Waterlemon Cay (if you're up to a long swim, set up at the small beach halfway to the point and swim to the cay - no beach at the point), and Maho Bay (on the far left facing the sea and snorkeling around the point to Cinnamon Bay- Cinnamon bay beach itself is too crowded but after snorkeling it's work walking to the small museum on the beach). Other beaches we liked were Lameshur, Little Lameshur, Salt Pond, and Haulover South. For a small fee, Hansen Bay offers parking, beach chairs, a nice beach, and some decent snorkeling for turtles. Brown Bay is private but a long (but pretty) hike. We took one sailboat charter that stopped at (I think) Flanagan Island. Snorkeling was like an aquarium. The charter was Virgin Magic (boat Mahiya) out of Coral Bay (most charters out of Cruz Bay are more like crowded party boats). Highly recommended. We took one guided kayak tour of Princess Bay. The kayak company was Reef2Peak and our guide was Bob. Princess Bay mangrove snorkeling and Bob/Reef2Peak) are highly recommended.

There are a couple of resorts on St John, but it's not a destination where you should expect to be pampered. You're not roughing it though, by any means ... just just getting to experience the natural beauty of the Caribbean. And Coral Bay is the place on St John to explore that beauty from.

Date of experience: May 2017
2  Thank robert k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2017

Coral Bay is only 5 miles from St. Cruz Bay but will take you about 40 minutes to get to. It has a lot of winding roads but nothing too difficult on the way. You will pass many goats, cows, chickens and donkeys during your trip. This side of the island is quieter and very beautiful like all of St. John. It puts you close to some beautiful beaches if you're looking for quieter beaches away from the North Shore. We would definitely stay here again.

Date of experience: June 2017
1  Thank Sherri P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2017

After staying in Cruz Bay on our previous trip to St. John, we decided to try the other end of the island and stay at Coral Bay. We were delighted we did so.
The whole vibe at Coral Bay is so much more laid back and non-touristy. The local charm makes it a very relaxing and, with the donkeys, goats, and chickens sharing the road with the Jeeps, it is frequently quite amusing!
There are many enjoyable water sports available, a good variety of dining options, markets where the essentials can be found, and lots of friendly people.
One word of advise if you plan to spend time in Coral Bay - RENT A JEEP WRANGLER! Many of the roads and drives are rough, and frequently steep. And when parking requires a little imagination, a Wrangler can slip in where a sedan can't!

Date of experience: June 2017
Thank Caribbeanjunkies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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