Tag Archives: Caneel Bay

Virgin Islands Ecotours & Caneel Bay – Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park Membership Offer

ADVENTURE HAS ITS REWARDS AT CANEEL BAY, A ROSEWOOD RESORT ON ST. JOHN

Virgin Islands Ecotours

– Guests enjoying off-property Kayak, Hike & Snorkel Adventure inspire donations and receive complimentary one-year membership from local environmental group –

St. John, U.S.V.I. (January 2010) – Give and get back – that’s what Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort is offering guests who embark upon the Kayak, Hike & Snorkel Adventure with Virgin Islands Ecotours , one of the resort’s most popular off-property activities.

Through this new partnership, for each guest who signs-up for a multi-sport adventure with Caneel Bay partner Virgin Islands Ecotours, a donation is made to the local environmental group Friends of Virgin Islands National Park . In turn, guests receive a complimentary one-year membership to Friends – a $30 value with benefits to keep them engaged on continuing efforts to preserve the beauty that the resort calls home.

The value-oriented offer reflects Caneel Bay and Virgin Islands Ecotours common goal of building eco-tourism on St. John. Virgin Islands Ecotours, which offers kayak, hiking and snorkeling tours of Caneel Bay and the Mangrove Lagoon on St. Thomas, is a strong supporter the non-profit Friends of Virgin Islands National Park organization and its dedication to protecting and preserving the natural resources of the park.

Led by expert guides, the Kayak, Hike & Snorkel Adventure available at Caneel Bay explores crystal-blue waters teeming with reef life and sea turtles, beaches shaded by sea grape trees and coconut palms, and picturesque tropical forests.

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St. John Virgin Islands: Overlooks

Yesterday was another spectacularly clear day, even more so than the day before. You could see as far as Vieques and Culebra in the west and St. Croix in the south. The horizon line was distinct, skies blue, hillsides green, clouds white and fluffy like its supposed to be. It was a day for photography. The following photos are images taken from some of the overlooks on the St. John roadways. Enjoy!

St. John Virgin Islands Overlooks

Caneel Bay Overlook
Caneel Bay Overlook

Cruz Bay

Coral Bay
Coral Bay

Maho Bay Overlook
Maho Bay Overlook

Margaret Hill
Margaret Hill

Trunk Bay
Trunk Bay
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St. John Virgin Islands: Entrances

Entrance to the Westin Resort
Entrance to the Caneel Bay Resort
Entrance to the Caneel Bay Resort

Caneel Bay finally has its stone entrance/guard house/gate in place, wide going in, narrow going out.

For many months you could hear the chatter of French Creole and the pounding of sledges against stone, as the Haitian stone workers toiled at the front entrance to Caneel in the construction of this impressive stone guardhouse. During the construction, traffic was diverted to a dirt track around the site.

Now, as before, a guard sits in an open structure in order to control the ingress and egress of visitors, taxis, vendors and guests who arrive to the property by road. Now, as before, entrance to the resort is barely restricted. Visitors can park in the visitor parking lot and go to the beach, shops or restaurants and vendors can head to the employee parking lot where they can enter though a further security check.

Being that nothing much has changed, except the nature of the checkpoint, what was the purpose of this project? Anyone who has had stonework done here locally knows the high cost of such construction? Why lay out this kind of money, when times are tough in hospitality industry? Beats me.

Security? I doubt it. A guard on duty, is a guard on duty. Unless we subscribe to the “Three Little Pigs” syndrome, it won’t make a difference if they sit in a house of straw, a house of sticks or a house of stone.

The only thing I can come up with is an effort to make a statement. The vast majority of Caneel Bay guests arrive by sea and spend their whole stay on the property, so they’ll never even pass through his gate. The statement, therefore, must be meant for locals who now have to face this intimidating structure at the entrance to the resort.

The Westin on the other side of the island seems much more welcoming and just as secure.

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St. John Life: A Beautiful Weekend for Photos on St. John USVI

The weather on St. John and in the Virgin Islands is normally very agreeable. The tropical heat is mitigated by the cooling tradewinds and rainy days are rare. But for those of living here, there are actually nuances of “beautiful” and last weekend was that, exceptionally beautiful with white puffy clouds in a clear blue sky and little to no dust from the desserts of Africa or volcanic ash from the island of Montserrat lying to our east across the Anegada Passage to whiten the horizon and obscure the crispness of the view.

The Caneel Hill Spur Trail
The Caneel Hill Spur Trail
Bench on the Caneel Hill Trail
Bench on the Caneel Hill Trail

It was a good day for photography and I decided to take some photos from a few popular overlooks on the North Shore. The first location I wanted to try was the viewing tower at the summit of Caneel Hill some 900 feet above the blue Caribbean below.

I began my hike on the Caneel Hill Spur Trail at the top of the hill leading out of Cruz Bay, just past the Asolare Restaurant and across the North Shore Road from the National Park housing complex. Heading up and south that trail connects to the Caneel Hill Trail, which leads to the summit of Caneel Hill and onward to Margaret Hill and ending at Caneel Bay. By beginning here instead of at Cruz Bay where the Caneel Hill Trail begins, I saved myself a bit of climbing and gained more time for more photos. As you near the summit there’s a rustic wooden bench from where I took my first photos:

View
view from the bench near the summit of Caneel Hill
View
view from the bench near the summit of Caneel Hill

From the bench, it’s only a short distance more to the summit of Caneel Hill, where volunteers constructed a wonderful viewing tower after the first one was destroyed by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995.

From the tower there’s sweeping views of the north shore with all the islands and cays from St. Thomas to the British Virgin Islands.

On the south you can see into Cruz Bay and get a view of the southern coastline. On a good day, one a bit better than Saturday’s beautiful day, you can see the island of St. Croix in the south some forty miles away.

The following photos were taken from the tower:

view of St. Thomas from the tower atop Caneel Hill
View of St. Thomas from the tower atop Caneel Hill
View from Tower on Caneel Hill
View of Lovango Cay from the tower atop Caneel Hill
View from the tower on the Caneel Hill Trail
View of Jost Van Dyke from the tower atop Caneel Hill
View from the tower on the Caneel Hill Trail
View of Cruz Bay from the tower atop Caneel Hill

Finishing up my photography atop the tower, I headed back down the trail. On the way down I saw a turpentine tree with the sun shining through a piece of its peeling bark. I shot that photo and continued on down the trail.

The next stop was the Caneel Bay Overlook on the North Shore Road and then on to the most popular overlook – the Trunk Bay Overlook

Turpentine Tree on Caneel Hill Trail
Turpentine Tree on Caneel Hill Trail
Caneel Bay Overlook
Caneel Bay Overlook
Trunk Bay Overlook
Trunk Bay Overlook
View of Johnson's Reef From the Trunk Bay Overlook
View of Johnson's Reef From the Trunk Bay Overlook
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St. John Life: The Economic Crises – an Unwelcome Visitor to St. John

Looks like St. John is starting to see some fallout from the much-publicized economic crisis that’s playing havoc with people the world over.

It has just come to our attention that, for the first time in my memory, Caneel Bay will be closing down for the months of September and October as a cost cutting measure. Employees will be earning a little less and management will be seeing less perks. I also heard that there won’t be anymore Sunday Brunch. Even the rich and famous are watching their wallets

Now September and October are the slow months, so it kind of makes sense, and perhaps the hotel can use that time to take care of general maintenance without disturbing guests.

But September and October, the now feared hurricane months weren’t always that slow. Remember that from the 1920s until Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the Virgin Islands hadn’t suffered a major hurricane. Hurricanes weren’t in people’s minds. For example, Foxy’s well attended Wooden Boat Race was held on Labor Day, the height of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Although September and October weren’t great, they weren’t that bad either. Even after Hugo, the season wasn’t effected that much, but after Marilyn in 1995, this changed and Hurricane paranoia made September and October super slow months. Now with the stock market sliding and credit drying up, we can probably expect some super-duper slow summers.

Maybe there’s an upside to this slow down. The red hot real estate market, the building frenzy, and the invasion of the EDC gang really took a toll on the traditional St. John lifestyle. The perception of St. John as a laid back  easy going island was replaced by one of a Beverly Hills of the Caribbean, millionaire island, and not without reason.

So, if we can survive the financial blows, maybe we can slow down a little, get to the beach more often, walk through town slowly for a change, and shoot the breeze a little longer with our friends and neighbors. We’ll see how it all plays out. Hopefully, in the words of the late Bob Marley, “every little t’ing gonna be alright,”

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