Escape to Honeymoon and Salomon Beaches

Escape to Honeymoon and Salomon Beaches

The beaches on St. John are special. The sand is soft and powdery and the water is just the right temperature. The water is also crystal clear and calm.  The color of the water is varied, ranging from turquoise, to green and dark blue.

 

In this video we take a look at two beaches that you can walk to from St. John Escape at Grande Bay – Honeymoon Beach and Salomon Beach.  To get to both of these beaches you take the Lind Point Trail, which begins at the National Park Visitors Center to Cruz Bay.  It is a little less than one mile to Salomon and about another 1/4 mile to reach Honeymoon.  Walking along the forest path of the Lind Point trail gives you the chance to experience the beauty and tranquility of the unspoiled interior of St. John.

The views are spectacular.  From most beaches you’ll see a variety of islands, cays, rocks and small bays.  Another bonus of the beaches on St. John are that most are protected by the Virgin Islands National Park and remain natural and undeveloped.There is some decent snorkeling to be found in the area fringing the reef that lies on the point separating Salomon and Honeymoon.  Most of the reef lies in calm, shallow water.  This snorkel is one of the most easily accessible near-shore snorkels on St. John.

 


Honeymoon Beach St. John

Images of St. John 2018

Images of St. John 2018

As the year comes to an end we wanted to share some of the beautiful scenery we had the pleasure of seeing during our visits to St. John in 2018.  In this video you will see scenes from both all the North Shore beaches, as well as the terrific views from the terrace of St. John Escape.  We have an upcoming visit to St. John in a couple of weeks.  Be on the lookout for our updates as to what is happening on the island as 2019 begins.

What It’s Like to Visit St. John Now

What It’s Like to Visit St. John Now

Here’s a video of our just completed visit to St. John.  Tag along as we visit Salomon, Honeymoon, Hawksnest, Maho, Francis, Gibney, Peace Hill and Haulover.  There’s also a little detour to Jost for Sunday fun day.  It was a 10 day visit and gives you an idea of the many sights you can see.  Our next visit soon will cover different parts of the island.  St. John continues its amazing recovery and is waiting for your visit!!

 

Escape to Ram Head and Salt Pond

Escape to Ram Head and Salt Pond

Ever wonder what you would see if you hiked the Ram Head trail?  Well tag along as we take  you on a photo and video journey to the summit of Ram Head, starting out at Salt Pond.  We start off hiking along Salt Pond Bay and then head inland, walking across Blue Cobblestone beach, past amazing cactus fields, before reaching the summit of Ram Head.  The reward for getting to the top is the amazing panoramic view.  On the way back we will pass the actual Salt Pond that the beach is named after, before we get to Drunk Bay and see the rock statues.  This is an amazing hike and one of our favorites.  Enjoy the views!!

 

 

Day 7 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

Day 7 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

End your vacation with a finale so amazing it will bring you back to St. John—over and over again.   Make sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection because the southeast end of St. John is hot!

Salt Pond St. John

Drive nearly four miles south of Coral Bay to Salt Pond, or you can even take the public bus which runs on a fairly reliable schedule between the Cruz Bay ferry dock and the parking lot of Salt Pond for only $1 per person each way.  From the parking lot you walk on a wide, rocky trail through arid, scrub land to Salt Pond beach where there is excellent snorkeling and another great chance to swim with sea turtles.

Ram Head St. John

 

Neighboring Ram Head point can be reached by a mile long trail beginning at the southern end of of the Salt Pond beach.  The red rock strewn path, a favorite for full moon hikes, leads to a blue cobblestone beach before switch-backing up to the the 360 degree viewpoint.

Ram Head St. John

As you stand 200 feet above the Caribbean Sea, with views of the sparkling waters below and the endless ocean stretching as far as the eye can see, you will be left humbled and awestruck–no matter how many times you take in the amazing sight.

Another quarter-mile trail from Saltpond beach leads to the pond where sea salt accumulates during the summer, hence the beach’s name.  The trail continues past the salt pond to Drunk Bay where visitors often arrange the stones of the beach to create a reminder of their adventures on St. John.

 

 

 

A Little Bit Of History on St. John – Annaberg Plantation

A Little Bit Of History on St. John – Annaberg Plantation

For an afternoon spent exploring one of the best preserved plantation ruins on the island, find your way to Annaberg Sugar Plantation.  Named after Salomon Zeeger’s wife Anna, Annaberg Plantation was a leading producer of sugar, molasses, and rum back in the 1800’s.  Today, Annaberg Sugar Plantation is protected by the Virgin Islands National Park.

The Windmill at Annaberg is the main focal point at the ruins and the largest windmill in the Virgin Islands. Built between 1810 and 1830, the windmill could produce between 300 and 500 gallons of juice within an hour.  Slaves were used at the plantation to pass the sugarcane through rollers which then made the juice that was caught below and stored until ready for processing.  When there was no wind, a horse mill was used to continue making the sugar.  These remains can still be seen at the plantation today.  There were 16 slave cabins found which have since deteriorated.  Today there are informative plaques describing their location.

When you visit Annaberg Plantation, go and see the ruins but stay for the views. The views are nothing short of breathtaking at the Plantation.  Looking out from Annaberg, you can see Leinster Bay, the Sir Frances Drake Channel and a few of the British Virgin Islands.  The plantation is also within walking distance of Waterlemon Cay which is a perfect spot for snorkeling.

Annaberg Plantation St. John

 Annaberg Ruins St. John

Annaberg Ruins St. John

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

Day 4 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

You could spend the entire fourth day of your week exploring just the north shore .  The north shore provides access to numerous white sand beaches that have calm waters perfect for swimming in the sea and relaxing in the sand.

Hawksnest Beach

The first beach accessible by road will be Hawksnest, which is perfect for a long swim and a great snorkel among the elk horn coral right from the beach.  Right past Hawksnest you can stop at Gibney/Oppenheimer beach which was formerly home to the famous tire swing.  The beach area is still beautiful, but the palm trees here have taken a hit from Hurricane Irma.  There are still some palms left and I have seen new ones sprouting up from the fallen coconuts.

View from Peace Hill

If you want a short hike to a great view point, stop at Peace Hill and you will get a terrific panoramic view of the area.  Continuing on North Shore Road, you will get to the small parking lot at Jumbie Bay, an intimate beach on the west end of Trunk Bay with views of the British Virgin Islands and the north shore cays.  There is a reef that extends out from each end of the beach at Jumbie and is close enough to shore to make novice snorkelers feel more at ease, but it also opens to the more challenging deep-water reefs between Jumbie and Trunk Bay for the more adventuresome.

Jumbie Bay

Now you could revisit Trunk and Cinnamon Bays or keep going until you reach Maho, a favorite of both locals and visitors.  Maho is a great place to snorkel with turtles in the seagrass beds about 50 yards off shore.  The landscape around Maho has seen considerable change since Hurricane Irma and will take some time to get back to what previous visitors might remember.  By following the road a couple of miles past Maho you will end your day at the sweeping beach of beautiful Francis Bay.

Francis Bay

Honeymoon Beach Update

Honeymoon Beach Update

Like most every beach on St. John, most people are struck with just how much Honeymoon captures the whole “paradise on earth” theme.   There is no doubt that this perception of Honeymoon will not change for people who visit after Irma.  This beach is still gorgeous, and is in fact, wider than before the storm.  Honeymoon contains the magnificent qualities common to all of St. John’s north shore beaches, sugar white sand and clear, turquoise water.

Currently,  there are only two ways to get to Honeymoon.  You can go by boat or dinghy, but nowadays since Caneel is closed, almost everyone arrives by Lind Point trail.  We’ll cover this trail in another update, but walking along this forest path trail gives you the chance to really enjoy the peace and beauty of the unspoiled interior of St. John.

We prefer walking to Honeymoon on the Lind Point trail, right from St. John Escape.    It is a little over a mile from Cruz Bay to  Honeymoon.  The trail starts at the steps just beyond the National Park visitor center.  Since the option of parking at Caneel and then walking over is not possible at the moment, you can actually catch a dinghy ride offered by Virgin Islands Ecotours roundtrip to  Honeymoon right from the beach in front of Grande Bay.

Here’s a short video clip to give you a sense of how Honeymoon is #stillbeautiful.  If this doesn’t make you want to visit, I don’t know what will 🙂

 

Day 2 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

Day 2 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

If you’re the active type, why not start the day by working up a sweat on the Cinnamon Bay trail, followed by cooling off and relaxing at Cinnamon Bay beach.  Head a few minutes past Trunk Bay down the North Shore road until you reach Cinnamon Bay, either in your own jeep or take one of St. John’s open air taxis.

Cinnamon beach is the National Park’s longest beach.  It’s almost a mile long and is perfect for walking, snorkeling, water sports, and of course, lounging.  Right now Cinnamon is still recovering from Hurricane Irma, so the water sports concession is closed as is the campground.  The beach however, is open and still beautiful.

Ah, now for the working up a sweat part.  Before you head to the beach you can take an uphill hike that begins right after the Cinnamon Bay Campground entrance off of the North Shore Road.  The moderately strenuous trail follows an old Danish plantation road and provides breathtaking views down onto Cinnamon Bay and the British Virgins Islands in the distance.  Those that make it to the top will see the ruins of an old plantation that happens to be one of my favorite photo ops.

The Perfect Week on St. John

The Perfect Week on St. John

As your plane begins to land and you look out the window, your reasons for visiting St. John–no matter how many times or for however long –become as clear as the turquoise Caribbean waters surrounding the island.  As we prepare to visit the island this week, we are just as excited as we were when we visited 16 years ago.

great view of-coral-bay-st-john

With about two thirds of the island preserved as a national park, lush green vegetation covers the mountainous terrain ( even after the hurricanes) and colorful reefs surround the beautiful beaches.

St. John is the smallest and least developed of the three US Virgin Islands, but what it lacks in size it easily makes up for with its natural beauty.  The abundant beaches on St. John are as diverse and beautiful as the marine life under the water.  The island is home to many hiking trails that please all skill levels of hikers.  The only problem in this paradise for you, is the limited amount of time you have to spend here.

As owners of a second home on St. John, our guests frequently ask us what they should see and do during a typical one week stay.   Our blog posts for the next two weeks will be devoted to what we believe is the best one week itinerary to follow.  During our upcoming stay on island, we will get a first hand view as to how far St. John has recovered from Hurricane Irma and we will share our impressions with you upon our return.