9 Day St. John Itinerary: Beach. Snorkel. Lime-N-Da-Coconut. Repeat.

by | Last updated Apr 14, 2024 | Caribbean Itinerary, St. John

With so much parkland, St. John is a nature lover’s paradise! We love being outdoors, so my husband and I sought out the best beaches, snorkeling sites, and hikes during our 9 days in St. John. We are huge foodies, so of course, we also tried out some of the best restaurants and drinks the island has to offer. I hope this St. John itinerary is useful as you plan out your Caribbean getaway to the most beautiful island in the USVI!  

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Villa rental in Coral Bay in St John
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DAY 1: TRAVEL DAY TO ST. JOHN

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It is not super easy to get to St. John. You  fly into St. Thomas first and then take a car or passenger ferry over to St. John. We arrived at the airport in St. Thomas at 2:14 pm.  
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We rented a Jeep from Amalie Car Rental in St. Thomas. They met us curbside at the airport for a seamless handoff. We then drove about 30 minutes over to the car ferry.
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4 pm: Car ferry from Red Hook, St. Thomas to Cruz Bay, St. John.

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4:30 pm: Quick trip to Starfish Market in Cruz Bay to load up on essential groceries. 5:30 pm: Arrival at villa rental.

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Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: Today was a travel day, so breakfast/lunch was eaten at the airport/plane. We ate at the villa for dinner.

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Overnight: Anchorage Aweigh villa rental in Coral Bay

Salt Pond Bay Beach in St. John USVI
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DAY 2: SALT POND BAY

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12:15 pm: After a lazy morning of sleeping in and eating breakfast, we headed to the first snorkeling location of our vacation, Salt Pond Bay. Get there early to get a parking spot! The highlight of snorkeling at Salt Pond Bay was seeing a family of squid! Love snorkeling? Do not miss reading my ultimate St. John snorkeling guide with my personal ratings of each site.
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Breakfast/Dinner: At the villa

3 pm Lunch: Miss Lucys. While enjoying the beautiful waterfront location of this gem of a restaurant, order the grouper reuben and wash it down with a Lime-N-Da-Coconut. This was one of the best meals we had on the island!

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Overnight: Anchorage Aweigh 

Waterlemon Cay in St. John USVI
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DAY 3: WATERLEMON CAY + MAHO BEACH

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9 am: 20-minute easy hike along the coastline to Waterlemon Cay. This was one of our FAVORITE snorkeling locations. Expect beautiful coral, sea fans, squid, and many tropical fish. We even saw 2 nurse sharks! 

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1:30 pm: Next snorkel spot was Maho Bay. It has calm protected waters and seagrass beds, so this is one of the places you can expect to see turtles. There is also a pop-up village across the street offering food, drinks, and water sports rentals.

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Breakfast/Dinner: At the villa.

12:30 pm Lunch: North Shore Deli. This friendly deli has delicious roasted meat sandwiches, fresh salads, and smoothies. We can personally vouch for the Pastrami Tsunami and the Superfood Salad.

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Overnight: Anchorage Aweigh 

Hansen Bay beach
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DAY 4: HAULOVER BAY + HANSEN BAY

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9 am: Haulover North was another one of our favorite snorkeling locations! Access is easy and requires a short 5-minute walk through the woods. We saw gorgeous coral, huge purple sea fans, and many schools of tropical fish.

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11:45 am: Right next door to Haulover North is Hansen Bay Beach. This beautiful white sand beach has calm protected waters. We saw several turtles and tropical fish. There are also chairs, paddleboards, and kayaks to use. 

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Breakfast/Dinner: At the villa.

2 pm Lunch: Skinny Legs. This laid-back restaurant offers some amazing juicy burgers and some of the best cocktails we had on the island. Order the painkiller. You will truly feel you are on holiday.

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Overnight: Anchorage Aweigh 

Trunk Bay Beach in St John USVI
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DAY 5: TRUNK BAY + CINNAMON BAY

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10 am: Trunk Bay is gorgeous! It is one of the most pristine beaches in all of the Caribbean. There are also amenities such as a food shack, beach bar, bathrooms, and showers. See my complete guide on Trunk Bay for more details.
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12:45 pm: The neighboring Cinnamon Bay Beach is like a less-crowded version of Trunk Bay. The snorkeling here is better than Trunk Bay. We saw beautiful tropical fish and even a lemon shark!

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Breakfast/Dinner: At the villa.

2:30 pm Lunch: Shaibu’s Gourmet Grab & Go. This delicious vegetarian restaurant offers some amazing fresh food choices, smoothies, and juices. We had the cold noodle Thai peanut salad and a veggie panini paired with an incredibly tasty Sea Moss Smoothie.

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Overnight: Anchorage Aweigh 

Panoramic views from Ram Head in St. John USVI
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DAY 6: RAM HEAD HIKE + LITTLE LAMESHUR

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9:30 am: Ram Head hike. This 2-mile roundtrip hike takes about 90 minutes and offers some amazing panoramic views! My Ram Head Hike Guide goes over all the details.
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11:30 am: The hike to Ram Head requires you to walk along Blue Cobblestone Beach for a portion of it. As we were making our return, we decided to cool off and snorkel at Blue Cobblestone Beach. Although the water felt great, the snorkeling was subpar.

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1:30 pm: Little Lameshur Bay Beach is yet another gorgeous snorkeling location. Be prepared it is an adventure to access it though, and you will need a 4-wheel drive vehicle. 

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Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: At the villa.

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Overnight: Anchorage Aweigh 

Grootpan Bay Beach in St. John USVI
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DAY 7: GROOTPAN BAY + FRANCIS BAY

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11:15 am: Grootpan Bay is another excellent snorkeling site. Its off-the-beaten-path location will require a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. 

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1:30 pm: Our last snorkeling location was Francis Bay, one of my top 12 things to do in St. John. I was not expecting much, but we saw at least 10+ turtles in addition to many tropical fish and even a lionfish.
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4:15 pm: Happy hour drinks + snack at Oasis, which has a Drive-Thru Brew! We ordered some painkillers and rum punches. Oasis is also known for amazing southern comfort food, so we had to order the mac ‘n cheese which was to die for! * Oasis closed and has been replaced with the highly-rated BBQ place called Johnny Lime.  

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Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: At the villa.

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Overnight: Anchorage Aweigh 

Lime n da coconut drink made with Botany Bay rum in Coral Bay St John USVI
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DAY 8: RELAX POOLSIDE AT THE VILLA

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All day: Our St. John itinerary was pretty jam-packed, so on our last day of vacation we chose to relax and swim in the pool, take in those stunning Coral Bay views, and sip on our own cocktails made with the local rum, Botany Bay.

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Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: At the villa.

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Overnight: Anchorage Aweigh 

American Express Centurion Lounge Speakeasy at JKF Airport
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DAY 9: FLY BACK HOME

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9:30 am: We drove back to the car ferry at Cruz Bay.

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12:00 pm: We took the car ferry from Cruz Bay, St John back to Red Hook, St Thomas. ** This was cutting it a little too close. 

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1 pm: We arrived at the airport. The drive from the ferry in Red Hook to the airport took 30 minutes. Amalie Car Rental met us curbside.

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2:55 pm: Flight back home.

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7 pm: Cocktails at the speakeasy at the American Express Centurion Lounge at JFK Airport. It has 2 premium bars and its own speakeasy! Order the Southside Cocktail with Beefeater gin, lemon juice, & mint.

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Breakfast: At the villa.

Lunch/Dinner: At airport lounges and plane ride.

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WHO WILL LIKE THIS ST. JOHN ITINERARY

  • Beach lovers
  • Snorkeling & hiking enthusiasts
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BEST TIME TO VISIT ST. JOHN

Many consider April and May as the best time to go to St. John due to the ideal temperatures and little rainfall.

I would avoid June – November, which is hurricane season. Those months have a lot of rain, and it’s hot!

December through March is also a nice time to visit but prices will be higher since it is peak season and you may be contending with the “Christmas winds.”

We went in December, and some of the days we snorkeled were really difficult or impossible due to these winds.

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ACCOMODATIONS

  • Anchorage Aweigh (8 nights)
Villa rental in Coral Bay in St John

If you are still trying to figure out where to stay in St. John, don’t miss my curated list of all the best boutique places to stay! 

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AIRLINES & LOUNGES

    Delta Airlines

    • We had a layover in Atlanta before flying into St Thomas and a layover at JFK before flying back home. Total flight times from the east coast + layovers were about 6-7 hours. 

    Amex Centurion Lounge JFK

    • Gorgeous multi-level lounge with a speakeasy! Love this lounge.
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    CAR RENTAL & HOW TO GET AROUND

    St. John is pretty easy to navigate around by car. We used Amalie Car Rental in St. Thomas. I highly recommend them.

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    TOUR OPERATORS

    • None. This is one of the few trips we did without any tours. All of our snorkeling sites were accessed directly from the beach.
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    LUNCH/DINNER RESERVATIONS

    • None. All of the restaurants we chose did not require reservations.
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    WHAT I WOULD HAVE CHANGED

    • I would have checked out more of the local food establishments. We did go to a few local places, but it was mainly for take-out. When we come back, I would love to check out Lime Out (the floating taco bar) and Extra Virgin Bistro (which has great craft cocktails).

     

    • Skip the snorkeling at Blue Cobblestone Beach.

     

    • I wish I had time to have hiked Reef Bay Trail, another well-known hike in St. John.

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    Questions about our St. John itinerary?

    Let me know in the comments below!

    2 Comments
    1. Sue Macbeth

      Fantastic information! We will head back there December 2021 and your information along with pictures and safety advice was priceless. Thank you so much! Sue and Craig

      Reply
      • Nichole

        So glad you found it helpful. St. John is such a beautiful island with so many places to explore. Enjoy your trip!

        Reply

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