Saint John US Virgin Islands Trip after Hurricanes January 2018


We’re on our way back from St. John, USVI. Here is a little write up about our trip. 

Upon the arrival to St. Thomas, it was the standard walk-in from the airplane to the terminal. We still saw some hurricane damages on the infrastructure, but the airport functioning were seemless. 

The ferry ride from Redhook to St. John was the same, this time around, we noticed a lot of school children are coming back home from st. Thomas to St. John suggesting the school in St. John couldn’t accommodate all the children or weren’t up to par?

Our host picked us up from the ferry, the big hassle was no cellphone signal from Verizon. We were on “extended” network the whole time. I’m scared to see what’s Mr. W cellphone bill will come out to be. 

Our host, Bob, offered to take us to the market, but we thought we would do the same thing as last year, eating out every meal. But come to find out, our two favorite restaurants (Unami and Fish Trap) were closed. On the internet, it was still showing their business hours as if it was fully functional. So after a mediocre meal of pizza, we walked to the supermarket, Dolphin’s to shop. 

Our schedule daily was 

7:00 wake up time

7:30 breakfast

8:00 morning walk (hike), freshen up

10:00 walk to the taxi station to go to a beach 

3:30pm back at the supermarket to pick up some food

4:00pm cooking and eating dinner

5:00pm hiking on Solomon or caneel trail

7:00pm bedtime

There was very limited internet connection, the only spot in basement apt that has 2 bars of the free internet was in the bathroom. There wasn’t any TV, so we slept 12 hours a day. Hihi

Review of St. John, USVI popular beaches after the hurricane

Day 1: Waterlemon Cay

Taxi fare: $20/person (including tips). Our taxi driver told us, there isn’t anymore taxi that go to this beach, so we had to schedule a time for him to pick us up.

The trail to waterlemon Cay has changed drastically, the hurricane completely wiped out all the maho trees along the way. Basically, we walk 30 mins on the sandy trail/beach or rock. We saw so many corals that got washed up to shore. And it showed, there weren’t much coral reef left at Waterlemon Cay beach. The fish are still there, but no reef no fish. 

Day 2: Salt Pond Beach

Taxi fare: $65 for 2. There isn’t a taxi route that normally go here. We could get the island public bus, but I’ve heard they aren’t as reliable anymore, so to cut down the drama, we arranged for a drop off/pickup. 

This beach also got beat up pretty badly. We saw so many corals that got washed up. The fish here were big. You know why they were big “no reef, no hiding spot, big fish eat small fish, the only thing left were big fish”. This was sad. We swam way out there to find out there weren’t much coral reef to see. 

Day 3: Maho Beach and Cinamon Beach

Taxi $28 both ways for 2

Maho Bay

I’ve heard the turtles left after the hurricane, but when we come, they were there. Super relieved.:)

The turtles were super big. There were so many to count. The reefs here were also wiped from big Maho to little Maho there weren’t much left, but we saw some angel fish, barracuda, eels, and other reef fish here too. 

Cinnamon Bay

This Beach used to be so vibrant. There used to be a big camp, so there were facilities and food. It’s the longest Beach in St. John. Known for its white sandy Beach. But when we came it was pretty much deserted, it got hit pretty hard by the hurricane. No more coral left. We swam all the way to the Cay but not much left but a few. 

Day 4: Trunk Bay and Hawk Nest Bay

Taxi $24

Trunk Bay is known for its underwater trail. The national park service used to charged $5/person for entrance. But it was free when we came. And we now know why: the under water trail is completely wiped away. There were some coral left, still better than Waterlemon Cay, and Salt Pond Bay.

Hawk’s Nest Bay

This Bay was largely unaffected much by the hurricane. Mainly there were so much to see to begin with. And the way the reef was lining up, it was setup to protecting itself. The beautiful cathedral elk coral, brain Corel’s were still there. 

Hawknest by far was the best reef to visit if you snorkel and like to see coral reef 

Day 5: break day, we only hike to the top of margaritt’s hill

Day 6: back to Maho

Day 7: Back to Hawk’s Nest

Day 8: travel day

Cost of the trip:

Airfare: free (credit card travel hack)

Lodging: airbnb $1700 with $600 refund from credit card travel hack

Food: $480

Eating out at airport restaurants:

$28 home airport

$28 Atlanta 

$54 first night at Italian restaurant 

$20 st. Thomas airport

Groceries: $50/day $350
we cook everyday except for the first day, we got premium fish Mahi Mahi, Wild fresh catch Tuna, Lamb Chop, Fillet Mignon for dinner. 

Breakfast is egg – boil, scrambled, or omelette with toasted bread or rice soup

Desert was fresh made custard (flan) with fresh strawberries, blueberry, apple

Side dish – salad, pan seared zucchini, bell pepper, onion, sweet potatoes fries

Total for 2 people for 8 days trip $1580. It’s the most economical trip off the US mainland that we’ve taken so far. 

Despite the grave review on the coral reefs, however ALL he beaches still had clear blue water that you can still see the bottom from 30 feet above. There were still more coral on any of the beaches here in St John than in Cozumel anytime any day. 

Tourism hasn’t come back, the islands are still recovering. I’ve took a look at the real estate market here, it’s still at the top as NOONE is selling. Nothing is selling at a buyable range $100k-$250k. A piece of buidlable lot on a slanted hillside in the inner mountain is going for $150k. A beat up hurricane damaged “he’ll hold shack” is going for $1.5M. An apt 1-2 bed, 1 bath is $550k and it’d go quick. Taxi drivers are millionaires as they live in their multimillion dollar house, driving taxi for a living. Hihi

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