Everything St. John



Blessed with an eternal summer, guests can enjoy our island and its enchanting shores year round! St. John is only 9 miles by 4 miles and has just over 5,000 residents. It is rugged and diverse with the VI National Park as its centerpiece.  Our small island is surrounded with beaches from white sandy ones for perfect sunbathing, to coral ones with fantastic snorkeling. We are conveniently located  an easy 3 mile ferry ride away from St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and the same distance from Tortola in the BVI.




 Local Neigborhoods

St. John History

Nearby Islands

Our Arrival Guide is a great resource for your vacation planning. That's only the beginning. The VIVA Villas staff can help you arrange excursions, activities and in-villa services to make your visit even more extraordinary.






St. John History

St. John has a rich and diverse history.


The earliest inhabitants on St. John have been dates as far back as 770BC, but little is known of their life or existence. They were Amerindians, likely from South America . Early Amerindians to later day Tainos – all visited or inhabited the island at some time in its early history but were apparently gone prior to European arrival. Archaeological sites are currently under investigation to learn more about our early history. Visitors can learn more at the VI National Park center in Cruz Bay and visit early petroglyphs on the Reef Bay hike. 

In 1493, after stopping briefly on the island of St. Croix , Columbus sailed past the island, claiming seemingly uninhabited St. John and its neighbours  Las Islas Virgenes (The Virgin Islands).  For the next two hundred years, St. John was sparsely and occasionally inhabited by Amerindians, refugees, and recluses and little history is known.  

In 1718, the Danish took formal possession of St. John and established their first outpost in Coral Bay . Settlement quickly followed. The Slave Revolt of 1733 is infamous, marking the beginning of the end of slavery. That freedom is commemorated by the Emancipation Statue in xx Powell ( Cruz Bay ) Park.  In1917, the finally purchased the Virgin Islands but citizenship was not given to its inhabitants until 1927. 

Since Laurence Rockefeller purchased 2/3rds of St. John's 22 acres in the 1950's and she was proclaimed a National Park, the beautiful white sandy beaches, green mountains and turquoise waters have been known to    travelers as a true paradise.  It was written in a Catalogue of the West  Indies,  published in 1959, that the common cold was non-existent on St. John. Sadly the outside world soon changed that as tourism began in earnest. 

The VI Legislature was created in 1968, allowing the islands to elect their own government and Governor and begin the long process of directing their own future.  As of 2009, a Territorial Constitution for the islands remains non-existent, but has been developed in draft form. 

The VI National Park maintains St. John's natural beauty and peacefulness, providing visitors with a relaxing experience in this U. S. territory. Many travelers who have visited other tropical locations, return again and again to our beautiful and charming island for its pristine and unspoiled ambience.



St John's Local Neigborhoods

Cruz Bay to Chocolate Hole - Cruz Bay is the charming/colorful town where the ferry arrives. It has lots of wonderful restaurants, shops, art galleries, three banks, dive shops, etc. Short 5-minute drives west of Cruz Bay are the well-established neighborhoods of Great Cruz Bay and Chocolate Hole, matching relaxed surroundings with convenient locations. The beaches along this stretch of the south shore range from coral to sand. The closest sandy beach is in Great Cruz Bay, home of the Westin Hotel and Resort.

Rendezvous Bay to Reef Bay - The Rendezvous Bay area begins east of Chocolate Hole and is a 10-minute drive from the Cruz Bay ferry dock. It continues across Fish Bay and beyond, to remote Reef Bay. The VI National Park borders this entire region from the north and the east. Hillside vacation villas dot the landscape, with gorgeous views of quiet bays and manicured gardens. Trails lead to the 'hidden' beaches at Hart Bay, Monte Bay, Klein Bay, Fish Bay, and even specatacular Reef Bay for beachcombing, snorkeling, and exploration.

Gifft Hill and vicinity - Our Gifft Hill area villas offer some of the most breathtaking sunset views on St John. Located on the south-southwest side of the island, properties here are an 8-10 minute drive to Cruz Bay, yet this area is considered to be ‘the countryside’ by many locals. The vicinity includes the area north of Rendezvous Bay/Hart Bay and south of Centerline Road. Nearby are the Catherinberg plantation ruins in the VI National Park, which is a great place for taking photos or having a picnic lunch.

Bordeaux, Ajax, Mamey Peak - This is the mountain region of St. John, which offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the island. Known for its stands of Bay Rum trees and both Reef Bay and Bordeaux mountain trailheads, it's always a few degrees cooler here. VI National Park beaches at Big Maho, Francis and Leinster Bays are close by and quickly accessed from Kings Hill Road. And, it's less than a 20-minute drive to the Cruz Bay ferry dock. Coral Bay is even closer!

North Shore & Surrounding Area - VI National Park land abuts this exclusive North Shore area where unspoiled views can be had from unique villa settings. White sand beaches nearby include Caneel, Hawksnest, Gibney, Jumbie, Trunk, Cinnamon, Maho and Francis Bays. Tour plantation ruins, see demonstrations of cultural activities, and enjoy self-guided hikes. Shopping and nighttime activities are quickly accessbile in Cruz Bay to the west and Coral Bay to the southeast.

Carolina Ridge - A few select villas share the extraordinary panoramic views of Carolina Ridge, on the crest above Coral Bay. Bounded by the VI National Park, the famous North Shore beaches are quickly accessible, as is Annaberg Plantation and snorkeling in the Leinster Bay/Waterlemon Cay areas. Lush surroundings, excellent year-round trade breezes and creature comforts are the norm. There is quick accessibility to Coral Bay, with its growing number of restaurants, shops and seasonal night-life.

Coral Bay and vicinity - Coral Bay is a small, growing community located a 20-25 minute drive from the Cruz Bay ferry dock. Experience St. John "the way it used to be" here, but with everyday conveniences and comforts. Coral Bay has a growing number of restaurants, shops, grocery stores (one ATM located at LOVE CITY MINI MART) and lively in-season entertainment. History unfolds along the Johny Horn Trail and the Carolina Valley itself with historic Fortsberg and the Emmaus Moravian Church. Johnson Bay to Kiddle Bay - The quiet area south of Coral Bay - from Johnson Bay to remote Kiddle Bay - is an excellent choice for both laid-back vacationers and nature enthusiasts. Beautiful Caribbean Sea vistas, constant trade breezes and many varieties of cactus are the norm. Visit VI National Park beaches at Salt Pond and Lameshur Bays. Hike Ram's Head, and Yawzi Point and explore the Petroglyphs and Reef Bay Plantation. Stargazing is an art form in the evenings, yet growing Coral Bay is just minutes away.

Zootenvaal to East End - Encompassing the area east of Coral Bay, this expanse is known for its quiet solitude and unique unspoiled views. Take snapshots of the unbelievable vistas as you travel the winding road leading to the historic East End of St. John. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the Brown Bay Trail, snorkel Haulover and Round Bays, or sun on a sandy beach in Hanson Bay. This is a wonderful area to kayak, and snorkel unique mangrove areas too!



Nearby Islands

St. John is surrounded by islands and cays and some that you'll want to visit. We are conveniently located just 3 miles west of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. When you visit, be sure to bring your passport - the British Virgin Islands are just 3 miles away too, and easily accessed by ferry or excursion boat!  

St. Thomas is our largest urban neighbor and you won't need a passport for a visit, It has lots of shopping for everyone - tourists and locals alike. This is also home to the closest year round large screen cinemas (6 screens!), a bowling alley,  and many larger tourist attractions. Ferries can take you to Red Hook on the east end of the island, or to Charlotte Amalie which is also known as 'downtown'.  

With a valid passport, the British Virgin Islands offers multiple places to visit on a day trip from St. John.  Just to the east of St. John, take an excursion boat and visit Norman Island, the Indians, Peter Island, Salt Island and a host of other neighbors.

 Jost Van Dyke  is north/northwest of the island and has a small population dotted with a few restaurants, bars and beaches. Foxy's, the Soggy Dollar Bar, Ivan's by the beach - all are world known icons.  Tortola is located just to the east, past Green Cay, Little Thatch and Great Thatch. The West End is a sailor's mecca, while. Road Town is its main town. Mountainous like St. John, Tortola boasts a botanical garden and is home to  the Bomba Surfside Shack, famous for its full moon parties. (While you're on St. John, if there's a full moon, be sure to check on our own Full Moon party!)

East of Tortola lies Virgin Gorda, famous for it's rocky Baths area where large boulders create beautiful pools for bathing and formations for exploring. 

Our Guest Services team can recommend a sailboat or powerboat to meet your goals.  So be sure to visit some of our neighboring islands while you are here!



VIVA Villas Inc. PO Box 1747 St John, VI 00831-1747 703-940-4571 rentals@vivacations.com

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