I know it’s been a while since we’ve done a St. John Update, so now’s the time!
There is so much information on Social Media these days, it’s kind of hard to know whats really true and whats not; not to mention personal perspectives.
Annaberg SugarMill Ruins
Sunset from Ocean362
It’s been a tough 5 months, but we’re thrilled with every tourist who makes the effort to come visit and of course book a charter with us. And if you are one of those people, thank you!
There are still challenges with cell service and internet, and there is still debris on the island but we have come leaps and bounds from where we were on September 7th. If you remember seeing the photos of the island immediately after, you should see it now! The island is SO green, thanks to all the unwanted rain we had in the months following Irma and Maria, but it has really made a huge difference in the aesthetics and has helped with the overall positive vibe on the island. While there is still debris, it is mostly contained and construction is happening everywhere.
Restaurants are almost all open and are really really encouraged by the tourists spending their money. The beaches are gorgeous; Cinnamon Bay is wider and bigger. While there was damage to the underwater world, snorkeling is still stunning. There is some coral damage but fish are everywhere and there was even a Manta Ray spotted in St. Thomas last week. It’s also Humpback Whale Season and the water is really cold so we’re anticipating an active whale season (cross your fingers for Joe to spot some and look for photos on facebook and instagram for those.)
The airport looks really good. I flew to Puerto Rico last month for a Real Estate Conference and was pleasantly surprised at how good it looks and how clean it feels. Definitely an improvement, I’ve also heard that the bar is back open too! Flights are starting to pop up for more reasonable prices starting in April on Delta and American. Delta and Jetblue are also going to be doing direct flights again from the North East again. More and more Villa rentals open up every day for short term rentals, as we are anticipating a busy summer.
We still face challenges with health care, but our clinic in St. John has been functioning great for our small community and we also have a private clinic that does all appointments for $50 and does not accept health insurance, which most residents don’t have. The public school in St. John was badly damaged and has been a hot topic with residents about the solution, but nothing concrete has been decided just yet.
Everyone has been asking about Wharfside Village, and while parts of it are back open and the beach bar has been doing some concerts on the beach, everyone that isn’t open just yet is renovating and when all is complete, Wharfside is going to be a great destination with a lot more to offer than before. We’ve heard that the Beach Bar is doing a big expansion, and there are big plans for the upstairs as well.
The Westin and Caneel are both still closed. The Westin has been working like crazy and they have published a re-opening date of January 4th, 2019. As for Caneel, we hear that the legislation for extending their lease has been passed and that things should be progressing soon, but nothing official yet.
Overall, things are VERY good and we’ve come really far in just 5 months. Its turned into a little bit of a re-set for St. John with everyone taking this opportunity to improve and rebuild even better than ever. So once again we’ll say it’s a really good year to come visit. The beaches aren’t crowded, you can almost always find parking, and everyone is SO happy to see all the tourists out and about in Cruz Bay. I’ve never seen locals more excited to see luggage coming off the ferry as we have been this year!