St. John: Feet, Fins and 4-Wheel Drive
by Pam Gaffin
Pam Gaffin lives on St. John and has in fact just about covered every inch of the island on foot and in her 4×4 jeep. And she probably has snorkeled every bay on the island to boot. She’s a great writer and her book is fun to read. Read Excerpt
Price $12.95 Usually ships next business day
Recommended by Caribbean Travel and Life and by many St.
Johnians – since locals are NOT on vacation and can’t
always take time off from work to be a tour guide for their guests.
A complete, easy-to-use, fun, travel guide to exploring St. John,
Virgin Islands. It tells you exactly where to go, how to get there,
and what to do and see when you arrive.
It has everything you need to know about St. John’s
thirty-nine beaches: swimming beaches, snorkeling beaches, nude beaches,
sunbathing beaches, lovely deserted beaches, rough and windswept beaches.
It has in-depth, step-by-step information on dozens of local
hiking trails – from ten minute shady downhill strolls to rugged,
sun-drenched, up and down mountain trails to isolated beaches.
Do you want to get the most out of your vacation while walking,
hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and touring St. John? Then this is the book
144 pages. 12 maps. Indexed. ISBN 0-9631060-9-0
Excerpts from St. John – Feet Fins and 4-Wheel Drive
WELCOME TO ST. JOHN
You’ve made it to the island – your long awaited vacation
in the American Paradise is about to begin. You’re standing on the ferry
dock or sitting on your balcony admiring the view. Now what?
St. John is not large, not very developed, not very populous, and not
very sophisticated. If your idea of a dream vacation features glitzy nightlife,
tons of shopping, noisy casinos and lots of people – you are on the wrong
However, if you have arrived on St. John in search of natural beauty,
friendly people, a vibrant community, and a pristine environment – then
you are in exactly the right place.
Why? Because St. John is unique. It has a distinctly different history
than St. Thomas, St. Croix or Tortola. There are subtle reasons for this
– cultural, tribal, geographic, and agricultural reasons. St. Johnians
have always taken pride in their well-deserved reputation for being fiercely
independent, self-sufficient, and community-minded. What other tiny tropic island would refer to its only town as ‘Love City?’
Another reason St. John is so unique is because of the National Park.
Over half the island falls within its protective boundaries. No other
island in the Caribbean has expended so much money, time, talent, careful
thought, and hard labor to ward off the corrosive influence of modern
You say you want beaches? There are 39 of them – big ones, little ones,
crowded ones, and lonely ones. There are beaches for sunbathing, beaches
for beachcombing, and beaches for snorkeling. We’ve got sandy bays, rocky
bays, mangrove bays and even salt ponds. There are beaches which are only
two steps from your car, and beaches that you can only get to by hiking
a long way. A few of our beaches have shops, snack bars and facilities
– but most are splendidly undeveloped and natural.
No matter how idealized your expectations of the ‘perfect tropical beach’
may be – we’ve got a beach which will meet or exceed them. Guaranteed.
Hiking? St. John has ten minute and all day trails, easy trails and rather
hard trails – and trails to historic ruins, isolated beaches, and salt
ponds teeming with birds. There are over 20 miles of trails just in the
As for historic sites, there are ruins of five windmills on the island,
old sugar cane factories, plantation Great Houses, mysterious petroglyphs,
and even the landmarks of one of the most important slave insurrections
in the world.
St. John roads snake alongside some of the most spectacular beaches in
the world, and regularly offer breathtaking views of both the Caribbean
Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Taxis are available to take you to some of the more popular beaches, but
the best way to fully explore St. John is by rental jeep.
There are many curve-by-curve ‘jeep tours’ within this book, and one of
them is just right for you, whether you’re able to spend an active day
or a leisurely month exploring the island.
We do, of course, have night life and shopping – and we certainly know
how to party. Cruz Bay has a wide variety of shops, restaurants and bars
but you don’t need a guide book for that – just wander around town and
Wednesdays and Fridays are the biggest nights for live bands, but
there’s usually music somewhere on other nights. Special events, like
a fish fry or benefit dance or baseball game or kite flying contest or
historical lecture are advertised by posters all over town.
OK, now where are the beaches, the ruins, the protected forests and the
trails? What should you do if you’ve only got one day? How can you get
around the island?
That’s what this book is for – to tell you what’s out there, how to get to it, how to find it and how to enjoy it.
Welcome to St. John. Have fun exploring.
SALT POND AND LAMESHUR ROAD BEACHES
Salt Pond Road is on the “other side” of St. John and has some beautiful white sandy beaches, just like the North Shore Road, but also offers some other styles of beach design. The beaches reached by this road, in order from Coral Bay are: Johnson Bay, Friis Bay, Drunk Bay, Salt Pond Beach, Ram Head Trail Beach, Great Lameshur, Little Lameshur, Europa Bay and Reef Bay.
Since these beaches are on the east and south shores, they are protected
from the Northern Swells (St. John’s version of a blizzard). So if you
can’t snorkel the North Shore because of northern swells, it will be calm
at Salt Pond and Lameshur.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Taxis do not normally go to Coral Bay or Salt Pond. They never go on the
Lameshur Road. Check with your hotel or campground’s activities desk to
see if there is a Salt Pond Trip. Otherwise, you are going to need a rental
jeep to go to any of these beaches.
The road to Lameshur Bay (seriously!) requires four-wheel drive and many rental companies prefer that you don’t take their cars to Lameshur. It is possible to walk the last part of the road to the beach (about 1 mile over a hot, steep hill).
It takes about 1 hour to get from Cruz Bay to Salt Pond, so it’s possible
to do this trip in a half day. However, there is so much to do at Salt
Pond and Lameshur that it’s better to make a full day of it, maybe even
stopping for dinner at one of the restaurants in Coral Bay on the way
MOST FACILITIES: Little Lameshur, Salt Pond Bay
SHORT HIKE REQUIRED FROM ROAD: Salt Pond Bay
LONG HIKE REQUIRED FROM ROAD: Drunk Bay, Ram Head Trail Beach, Europa
Bay, Reef Bay
WIDE, LONG SANDY BEACHES: Salt Pond Bay, Little Lameshur, Reef Bay
ROCKY BEACHES: Johnson Bay, Drunk Bay, Ram Head Trail Beach, Great Lameshur,
DIFFICULT SWIMMING, GREAT BEACHCOMBING: Drunk Bay
LOTS OF PEOPLE: none, (Little Lameshur and Salt Pond Bay will have the
most people, maybe 30 on a really busy day).
REEFS TO SNORKEL: all except Drunk Bay
BEST SNORKELING: Salt Pond Bay
DIFFICULT ROAD TO REACH: Great Lameshur, Little Lameshur, Europa, Reef Bay.
Copyright by Pam Gaffin. All rights reserved. reserved.