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Cruz Bay is the main port on the beautiful island of St John, the smallest of the main US Virgin Islands. Much of the island became designated national parkland in the 1950s, and with such a modest population in its urban centres the entire island is much more tropical paradise than bustling tourist destination.
Since the majority of St John is a dedicated national park, and with Cruz Bay being a relatively small settlement, you won't find towering monuments and complexes during your time on the island. What you will find, though, are exhilarating diving opportunities, colourful wildlife in untouched forests, and pristine white beaches to wander and enjoy in peace.
Virgin Islands National Park
Step ashore in Cruz Bay and you can't afford to miss a tour of the remarkable national parkland. Guided tours often involve a safari trip on an open-air bus, where you'll be able to find out all about the island's flora and fauna – as well as its past as the site of several sugar plantations. Several picturesque bays offer magnificent views of the island and out across the turquoise sea – as well as the British Virgin Islands in the distance.
Alernatively, get on your walking shoes for a wander around the island's finest locations on foot. Here you'll be able to drop in to the visitor centre to find out all about the island's natural and cultural history; then set out with your guide for a walk through the rich green forest, where you'll find yourself surrounded by tropical birds and bright flowers. After taking in the views from some of the island's high ground, you'll descend the path towards the botanical gardens and Honeymoon Beach, where you'll be able to relax in the shade or cool off with a swim in the vivid turquoise waters.
The protected ocean around St John teems with tropical sea life, and what better way to enjoy it than up close with a snorkelling dive? Unencumbered by scuba equipment, you may have the chance to dive in from the deck of a catamaran or head to the shallow waters and outstanding vistas of Trunk Bay – renowned as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Tourist-friendly Cruz Bay offers a great choice of galleries and boutiques to browse during your time on the island. You'll find handmade arts and crafts like wind chimes and jewellery; eco-friendly souvenirs made with the nearby parkland in mind; and even clothes, rugs and handicrafts brought in from all over the world.
Some of the restaurants in and around Cruz Bay specialise in North American eating in hearty portions, but there are also many places where you can take a seat and enjoy a bistro-style meal featuring the best of the local catch. Wherever you dine, be sure to get a seat overlooking the beach, especially at sunset, for a fine dining experience to truly remember.
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