Where You Will Lay Your Head Part 1: Accommodation Choices & Roughing It In the Tropics

We have sequenced our posts to follow the sequence of events as they happen on your first trip. This is, of course, not your preferred timeline for making reservations. Your first or second reservation choice will be your accommodation. This is a massive topic and we won’t be able to handle it in one post. We will make each category of our accommodation posts separate. In general your choices range from:

1. Camping
2. Eco-Resort
3. Condo, Guest House
4. Time Share
5. Resort
6. Villa Rental

Photo courtesy of Trip Adviser

These are basic categories. Each of them might have several subcategories but it is a good list for us to start from. Now it is here that our knowledge of traveling to St. John might not be as acute in some categories as others. Since we are timeshare people or fraction/interval owner people, our experience in finding other accommodations is not as broad. Hopefully we can point you in the right direction. In many cases while we may not be your cup of tea, our property managers Cimmaron St. John may have the answers you are seeking. You will find them amiable and competent and they will be sure to make your first visit to St. John a memorable one. And we mean that in a very good way.

Here is some basic information about staying on St. John. The beaches of St. John are open to everyone. Land access may be blocked, but the beaches are open to all, which makes finding an accommodation right on a beach rare. And if we all remember our basic economics, if it is rare it is expensive. To my knowledge, there is only one villa directly on a pristine sand beach, all the rest require a bit of a stroll or the beach is coral rubble or rocky or all of the above. Caneel Bay resort does have beach front rooms that start at $449 a night in low season. For the most part, people who vacation on St. John expect to drive to their favorite beach. There are one or two exceptions but you will have to be financially prepared for them. This may sound unfortunate because we all dream of waking up to sounds of waves lapping at our front door. But in the case of St. John, there are so many great beaches, why restrict yourself to just one?

Two Thirds of St. John is National Park. Many National Parks have campgrounds. The National Park campground on St. John is called Cinnamon Bay. We could yammer on about it but it might be best if you just follow the link. We can add that there are campsites at Cinnamon Bay within twelve or fourteen steps to the largest sand beach on St. John. They also have cabins and all at reasonable rates. Here is a link to Trip Adviser’s review page for Cinnamon Bay so you can get a good idea about what you can expect.

Vies Snack Bar

There may be another option for camping. We say “may” because we are not sure that the campground we are about to mention is still in operation. But if it is it “may” be another chance to find St. John accommodations directly on a beach. It is on private property on the far eastern end of the island and operated by a charming West Indian woman called Vie. She runs a snack bar that serves delicious fried chicken and charges a small entrance fee for access to her beach. We furnish you with her phone number if you are interested. She does not have a website.

Vie’s Beach Camping 340-693-5033

Here is a You Tube video of the campsite posted in 2012.


2 thoughts on “Where You Will Lay Your Head Part 1: Accommodation Choices & Roughing It In the Tropics

    • No they don’t. Most on island rentals are four-wheel drive and the majority of those are Jeep Wranglers both 2 and 4 door. Roads on St. John tend to be hilly, steep and narrow with many switchbacks. Which are fine in dry weather but on wet roads driving an RV would be a harrowing experience and dangerous for all concerned. Interesting fact; one of the main roads on St. John, the Centerline Road, was constructed by our very own Pizzagalli Construction in the ’70s. It connected the west end of the island to the east end. You had to take a boat before it was constructed.


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