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Rileybri
05-22-2008, 11:03
I don't see much on hear about St.John, why is that? My wife and I spent a week on St.John last January and Loved it. We stayed at Maho bay Camps, an Eco-resort on the north side of the Island. It is quite simply awesome . They have everything you need right there on sight from a provisions store to a restaurant and bar (one of the best sunset views on the island). In addition, they have a dive shop on there beach and can arrange charters for you right from the resort. I tell you there is not much better than a beach chair and a bucket of Carona's and El Presidentie's on the beach after a long day of snorkeling and diving.
In addition to the camps, which tend to be a bit on the primitive side, they also have the Concordia Estates on the south side of the island. It is a big step up on amenities as you get your own bungalow with soler showers and run from solar panels. There is even a pool for those days when you don't want to go anywhere. They have a restaurant, bar and store on sight as well. If you are inclined it is just a short drive in to Coral bay for a Jazz Brunch.
We stayed three days at Maho and three at Concordia both had there own charm and conveniences and we would defiantly recommend either to anyone looking for a low key budget oriented vacation to the USVI.

I am in no way affiliated with Maho or Concordian, just looking to pass on information to anyone interested.

cheers,

Brian D.

maggs_the
05-22-2008, 20:41
me & my sweetie have been looking at trips to the Virgin Islands and there isnt much buzz out there... i just kinda thought it was due to the expense of getting there? but they are on our list of Someday Dives... nice to read your take on it.

Rileybri
05-22-2008, 21:46
me & my sweetie have been looking at trips to the Virgin Islands and there isnt much buzz out there... i just kinda thought it was due to the expense of getting there? but they are on our list of Someday Dives... nice to read your take on it.

Don't let the cost hold you back. In Jan of last year when we went you could fly into St.Thomas for about $375 RT from Boston. From there is a short or scenic ferry (there are two you got to choose which you do) to St.John. St.Thomas is the cruse ship mega port. The want there customers to get to the boat cheep. We St.Johner's benefit from it!

We spent time on ST.Croix and in the BVI's as well so if you have any spisific questions feel free to ask or PM me.


BTD

longtailbda
05-23-2008, 21:12
St John can be a little steep for someone on a budget. We have been there in the past and will go again. For moderate prices we generally go to St. Croix for our October trips. For a great place to stay, beach front ect., we stay at sugar beach condos :smiley20: It is a very nice place for the non-diver as well shallow sloping beach close to everything.

DollFin
05-23-2008, 23:41
I wish I could have spent more time on St. John's, but since my friends live on St. Thomas, that's where I end up staying. We did a day trip over there one day the first time I was there and it was so beautiful. My friends got married at Hawksnest Beach on St. John.

(and of course I can't post about the USVI without plugging my friends' dive op Admiralty Dive Center (http://admiraltydive.com) These guys have done so much for me over the years and are two of the best friends I've ever had, so I plug them every chance I get. If you are looking into diving around there, call them, ask for Laura and tell her DollFin sent you her way - she'll give you tons of great info on their dive op as well as the islands in general.

Rileybri
05-24-2008, 10:30
St.Croix is a cool place but a vastly different place as well. 85% of St. John is State Park or marine conservation land. Staying at a resort or villa on the island is generally going to run you $350-$2000 p/n. Maho Bay camps (in peak season) was $125 p/n. Concordia (as nice if not nicer than our resort room on St.Croix) was $175. Both places provide all the cooking implement you will need to eat in, and both places have "general stores" to get "necessities". Granted prices can be a bit high in them. We went into town twice to go to the "real"grocery store or the like. In addition because they contract there own charters prices for a trip out to say The Baths of Virgin Gorda and snorkeling is 2/3 what you would pay in town. So ya I still contend that if you do it right it can be a great way to have a "budget" vacation.

As for St.Croix We stayed at the Palms at Hibiscus Bay or was it the Hibiscus at Palm Bay? I forget now but they are basically two resorts combined into one. It was nice to "live it up" for a day or two at the end of our trip. If you happen to be on St.Croix here is a must do side trips is this. Head up into the rain forest to Mont Pielier Hut. Do not go late in the day or at night it is not open past dark. Why go, you may be asking your self. Well there are two very good reasons. 1) Mamajuana, a home distilled spiced rum/mead. The basically take Cruzian dark rum add a tun of honey and spices let it go for a wile. What you get is pure heaven nectar and only available there. You can get them to bottle it for you with a sealed cap to bring home with you. I promise you wont regret it! The side show there are the three 1,000lb. beer drinking pigs!! The are just AMAZING to see! Any cabbie will know where to take you.....

thats all for now,

Brian D.

Monkeylemon
06-11-2008, 15:41
If you're willing to rough it a little, Cinnamon Bay Campground is a great place to stay on St. John. You can either camp on baresites (some right on the beach), stay in platform tents (w/ cots and a grill) or in a "cottage," a cement-and-screen structure, again with beds, linens, a grill, etc. We were there last month in a cottage and we spent $70/per night. Not bad! Of course, there are only public outhouses (running water and flush toilets) and cold showers, but we were up for it--we would just put on our swimsuits and stroll out to an amazing, gorgeous, perfect beach. Their website is Cinnamon Bay Campground, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands (http://www.cinnamonbay.com/) .

scubastud
09-02-2008, 06:40
We spent honeymoon St. Johns and it was wonderful. I couldn't get wife out of water.
Trunk Bay is listed as one of the top ten beaches in the world.. visit there and you will know why!

nannerz
09-25-2008, 13:26
I agree with the Maho suggestion. I lived at Maho for a while in the mid 90's. I love it there and the watersports staff has been there for a long time! For those who aren't into the treehouses, there are a couple of options. My last trip to the USVI, I actually opted to stay at The Wyndham Sugar Bay on STT. They are one of the only hotels in the caribbean that offer an All Inclusive Option. It was wonderful not having to worry about food costs and the first time on the island I actually had airconditioning. The resorts on STJ can be pricey, especially adding in food costs. Anyhow, it's a nice resort and only 5 minutes away from the Red Hook Ferry. Best of both worlds, convenience of a nice hotel, plus easy access to St John. We rented a jeep and left it on STJ as we weren't too interested in exploring more than the hotel on STT.
We got certified with Coki Beach Dive Shop STT, which was also 5 minutes from the hotel. The certification was nice as they had a shore entry and 2 reefs within a short swims distance.
Highly recommend the BVI's too. Which make for a good day trip from both STT/STJ. We are going for a week in December and staying at the Wyndham again.

scubastud
10-04-2008, 07:32
I read somewhere that Maho is having financial trouble.

Rileybri
10-04-2008, 10:11
I read somewhere that Maho is having financial trouble.

Well unfortunately the lease the Maho Bay property is on is up in another two years and the land owners want to sell the land for development. The lot is going for a rumored 30 million dollars and the Maho Foundation that runs the resort does not have that kind of money so it does not look good for Maho.
That said they have been developing their Concordia Estates property and to be honest the wife and I liked it better. Its further out of town requiring a rental car, and the salt pond beach is a whole five minutes further waya from the "resort". That said Concordia has a fresh water pool, charter services a restaurant and store (same as Maho) but the accommodations are a huge step up from Maho Bay. You have your won Solar Shower/bathroom a full kitchenette with refrigerator, a porch with a vew in every cabin overlooking Rams Head point Nanny, Drunk and Salt Pond Bay's as well as the BVI's. A short Drive away are a few restaurants one with a great Jazz brunch on the weekends.
So where Maho may go the way of the upper crust McMansions the Maho ideal and feel is still alive and well.
http://forum.scubatoys.com/gallery/files/4/8/8/0/concordia_and_salt_pond.jpg
Eco-villas with Salt pond Bay/Beach and Rams Head Point
http://photos-d.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v295/58/120/1064514978/n1064514978_112867_9564.jpg
Eco-villa with the BVI's in the background and the tip of Nanny Point!

nannerz
10-27-2008, 14:31
Maho's lease is up in 2012, so the future of Maho is uncertain. Here's more information. I just hope it doesnt loose it's roots and history by becoming another Peter Bay.

Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands Newspaper, A Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper, Virgin Islands Guide, Virgin Islands Info (http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/article_home?id=17621493)

Rileybri
10-27-2008, 15:25
Maho's lease is up in 2012, so the future of Maho is uncertain. Here's more information. I just hope it doesnt loose it's roots and history by becoming another Peter Bay.

Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands Newspaper, A Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper, Virgin Islands Guide, Virgin Islands Info (http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/article_home?id=17621493)

Ya its a bummer and they may hand over the land for development early in a land deal to keep there Concordia operation going and growing. IMHO I like the Concordia side better any how. Its still sad to see such an amazing place ruined by greed. maybe this current financial crisis will halt the speculation development that is inevitable on the north side of the island. Any way you slice it STJ is an amazing place!

Monkeylemon
12-15-2008, 17:55
I've watched the development on St. John over the last ten or twelve years...it's very disappointing to see these hideous structures springing up and diminishing the beauty of the island. :(

scubastud
12-15-2008, 19:09
Agreed... You don't hear about St. John as much as the other "Saints" ..
Lets keep it that way.. shhhhh

Rileybri
12-15-2008, 20:16
Agreed... You don't hear about St. John as much as the other "Saints" ..
Lets keep it that way.. shhhhh


Just booked five nights on you know where!!!! STJ Inn this time around......STOKED :smiley20:

reservecops
12-17-2008, 13:04
Got married on STJ (Reef Bay) in '02. Last trip was 7/07, including some diving with Down Under Watersports (Bill & Cindy were great). We prefer to rent a villa ourselves. We love St. John! :)

reeldive
01-03-2009, 22:47
Havn't been thee since 1967. Not to sure I'd like the changes. Can you still camp in the National Park? we stayed in a platform tent right on the beach.

Rileybri
01-03-2009, 22:50
Havn't been thee since 1967. Not to sure I'd like the changes. Can you still camp in the National Park? we stayed in a platform tent right on the beach.


Yes you can still camp at Cinnamon Bay or in my experience just sleep on the beach! The South side of the Islands is more mpre undeveloped than the north.

Monkeylemon
01-07-2009, 10:41
Cinnamon Bay isn't as well-maintained as it used to be, but it's still a fantastic location. They have bare-site camping and platform tents, as well as furnished "cottages" made of cement and screened windows.

LRDWILDER
02-10-2009, 06:18
I have a friend in St. John who is an Instructor. I'll shoot him an email and let you know

robjoubert
02-11-2009, 16:34
Agreed... You don't hear about St. John as much as the other "Saints" ..
Lets keep it that way.. shhhhh


Just booked five nights on you know where!!!! STJ Inn this time around......STOKED :smiley20:


Can you please tell me how you did the bookings?:smiley16:

spethmd
02-26-2009, 23:35
We have been going to Cinnamon Bay On St John since 1975 (originally my parents, my wife and I, then additionally our children, now also our grandchildren). We have always stayed in the furthest out, highest, tent (it used to be tent 46, it is now tent 62), where we can see out over the Caribbean, with beautiful sunsets, seen directly from our bunks. We are all avid snorklers with the exception of our son who also scuba dives.
The setup at Maho Bay did not exist yet in the 1970's.
In the mid and late 1970's, one could go down to the beach, put on the snorkels, walk into the water toward the right, and there, immediately adjacent to the beach and extending all the way along the shore to Maho Bay was the most beautiful, vivid, live, vital coral reef right below the surface with glass clear water rich in every type of coral (including huge brain and antler corals), sea fans, sponges, anenomes, worms, you name it, and teaming with every type of Caribbean tropical fish, eels, squid, turtles, and on and on. A similar live reef was over at Little Cinnamon Bay and a rich teaming reef surrounded the island to which one could easily swim across from the Cinnamon Bay beach.
But they are all gone now --- dead and gone. What a tragedy!!?? Our grandchildren will never see that paradise. I am told that there are absolutely no living reefs around the shores of St John anymore for snorklers.
Similarly, in the 1970's Stewart and his wife would attach their 46 foot sailboat out on a buoy in Cinnamon Bay and take families, like ours, out for day trips to little islands with beautiful reefs. We even floated over two large leopard Rays on one of those trips. I am told those reefs are also dead for snorklers!!
We still go there because it is a beautiful place. But how sad that the reefs are gone for snorklers!!!

mitsuguy
07-07-2009, 02:02
We have been going to Cinnamon Bay On St John since 1975 (originally my parents, my wife and I, then additionally our children, now also our grandchildren). We have always stayed in the furthest out, highest, tent (it used to be tent 46, it is now tent 62), where we can see out over the Caribbean, with beautiful sunsets, seen directly from our bunks. We are all avid snorklers with the exception of our son who also scuba dives.
The setup at Maho Bay did not exist yet in the 1970's.
In the mid and late 1970's, one could go down to the beach, put on the snorkels, walk into the water toward the right, and there, immediately adjacent to the beach and extending all the way along the shore to Maho Bay was the most beautiful, vivid, live, vital coral reef right below the surface with glass clear water rich in every type of coral (including huge brain and antler corals), sea fans, sponges, anenomes, worms, you name it, and teaming with every type of Caribbean tropical fish, eels, squid, turtles, and on and on. A similar live reef was over at Little Cinnamon Bay and a rich teaming reef surrounded the island to which one could easily swim across from the Cinnamon Bay beach.
But they are all gone now --- dead and gone. What a tragedy!!?? Our grandchildren will never see that paradise. I am told that there are absolutely no living reefs around the shores of St John anymore for snorklers.
Similarly, in the 1970's Stewart and his wife would attach their 46 foot sailboat out on a buoy in Cinnamon Bay and take families, like ours, out for day trips to little islands with beautiful reefs. We even floated over two large leopard Rays on one of those trips. I am told those reefs are also dead for snorklers!!
We still go there because it is a beautiful place. But how sad that the reefs are gone for snorklers!!!

In St. Croix, the underwater preserve around Buck Island is the same way - all the coral is dead... However, in Cane Bay, where we dive, there is plenty of healthy coral in as little as 6 feet of water, and it's quite nice all the way out to the wall which is in about 35 feet of water...

jet126
07-07-2009, 05:19
We were there over Christmas 2008. Ditto what everyone has said about the reefs. Dead. So sad. Even Waterlemon Cay was a shadow of its former glory - and that was one you could always count on. I did one two-tank dive. Christmas Cove was as bad as the reefs, Little St. James Ledge was in good shape - not surprising since that's a private island.

The hiking is still phenomenal. The national park is doing a great job maintaining the trails and they were not at all crowded.

I'd go back to St. John for the hiking.