It’s time to talk about why you should definitely visit St. John this year and when the island is “ready” for you to do so…..

Trunk Bay Oct. 25th, 2017







There is no denying the devastation and destruction that Irma left in her path only to be amplified by Maria visiting us a few weeks later.  All of St. John was without power for 51 days and many parts of the island still are; in addition to many homes and businesses being damaged and many more counted as complete losses.  In the aftermath of all the destruction the community of St. John came together in a way that was unimaginable before this tragedy shook our home (literally.)  The Longboard and Cruz Bay landing and 420 to Center all provided free meals for the community, starting off by doing so out of their own pockets and then finishing it out with Red Cross Contracts which ended around the middle of October.  Everyone has been volunteering in some capacity or other and pretty much everyone has done some sort of brush clearing, chain saw work, or other forms of hard labor in the hot sun and most the time this was done for free.

In the midst of all of this, Joe and I count ourselves to be incredibly lucky and place a lot of that luck on our boat, itself.  CatZilla was on St. John for Irma and in the thick of things in Puerto Rico for Maria, and she came out relatively unscathed.  For that we are forever grateful.  We spent about a week in the boatyard getting scratches and a hole patched up and at the last minute decided to add on the new graphics we’ve been wanting to do for almost a year now.  She’s looking pretty good and has already been out on a few charters, some BVI supply runs, and a few fun days.

So now, comes the question, when can we visit St. John?  This question has gotten a lot of controversy on social media and I’m pretty disappointed at how a lot of islanders have reacted to tourists or state-siders when asking these questions, so if you’ve experienced any of that negativity, I’m very sorry, the vast majority of St. Johnians do not feel this way, we just aren’t taking to social media to air our grievances and opinions.   Some organizations and individuals have taken the stance that no one should visit St. John, but what they are missing is that our islands can’t survive without tourism.  St. John is comprised of mostly small businesses, like ourselves, and not a lot of them have much, if any, backing in their ventures.  This is a risk we all choose to take, but it’s also the backbone of our community and part of what makes St. John what it is.  We don’t have huge conglomerations running everything and if we did, it wouldn’t be the St. John we all love.   This is something that a lot of people who live here and DON’T rely on tourism are forgetting, and mostly because it doesn’t affect them directly.

So, that being said from the perspective of a company that needs (and wants) you here, we think that starting in December, it’s a fine time to visit St. John.  BUT there are a lot of things to take into consideration when coming down, and I’ll get into that in just a minute.  But first I want to say that we and most small businesses will be welcoming you with open arms and intend to help make your vacation the best it’s ever been, even though it won’t be the same.  Because we NEED you, and as some are loath to admit, the territory needs you in helping us to fully recover and foster a future where federal aide is not the only money coming into the territory.

So, for those of you who want to come down, here are the realities of taking a trip to visit St. John this year:

The Positives:

  • The beaches are beautiful as ever and some have officially opened back up
  • The island is getting the green back, and while there aren’t a lot of palm trees, the native foliage is doing a great job making the hillsides beautiful again
  • Cruz Bay has consistent power and our Water and Power Authority along with stateside linemen have been working non-stop and we are all extremely grateful
  • A good amount of restaurants are open and would love some tourists coming in to spend money and enjoy themselves
  • There are small hotels and many villas that currently are or will be open soon and are looking forward to welcoming visitors
  • The grocery stores are stocking regularly and are full of all the necessities with the same crazy prices as before the storm
  • The roads are mostly clear; with the main roads all very clear. Sometimes after a hard rain Centerline will have some landslides, but they have been able to be cleared up relatively quickly
  • We have gas, sometimes the gas trucks don’t make it here and we’re out of gas for a day, but thats the longest we’ve been without gas in the recent months (and this isn’t something to panic about; this is part of life on a small island, and happens occasionally without the impact of a huge storm)
  • Boat charters are open and ready to take you out; but not everything is open in the BVI just yet (more on that in a later post)
  • Some jewelry and other non-grocery stores are open, but most are waiting on all of you to start arriving before they do so
  • Flights are coming in regularly on a smaller scale, but more and more are being added to the schedule

Things to consider:

  • The Westin and Caneel aren’t opening for sometime, so it’s a great time to visit Grande Bay, Gallows Point, Estate Lindholm, and all the small individually owned villas, many of which were un-damaged.  Reach out to them directly or if you have any questions, feel free to email us at and we’ll help as best we can
  • The clinic has relocated and is functioning at about 1/2 the capacity it normally did which, even then, wasn’t great.  So if you have any pre-existing conditions, or regularly take medicine, make sure that your prescriptions are filled at home, and you understand that we don’t have a great health care system in place just yet and any extreme emergencies will need to be airlifted out
  • The whole island still does not have power, some places like the Bordeaux area and hard to reach roads are going to be the last ones getting lit up so make sure your villa is on WAPA power, not just a generator
  • There are still boats on the beach in Cruz Bay and some partially inside your favorite bars and restaurants (these are slowly being taken care of, however)
  • There are many restaurants who will not be opening this year (Look for a blog post with restaurants that ARE opening this year, coming soon)
  • Restaurant supplies aren’t coming in as regularly as they used to, so make sure you are understanding when your servers and bartenders are out of something or just simply can’t make you your favorite drink
  • A lot of people have been out of work for months, so please plan to eat out, tip well, and really enjoy everything St. John has to offer
  • Sometimes supplies don’t get in. So stock up on over the counter medicine, sunscreen, bug spray etc. before you come down
  • The airport is still a mess. They are waiting on federal funding, so just be prepared for seeing the reality of what happened here, literally the minute you touch down
  • Jost Van Dyke and the BVI have suffered greatly as well, so your day trips over there are going to be a whole lot different but they are already happy to have people visiting

Remember: The people of The Virgin Islands have been through a lot, so a little compassion, a whole lot of patience, and maybe a day of volunteering will go a long way if you do choose to visit the BVI and USVI this year and we really hope you do!