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St John Island

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The US Virgin Islands are around 80 kilometres east of Puerto Rico. There are four main islands — St Thomas, St John, St Croix and Water Island, each with its own personality — and many smaller islands.

The islands are known for their white sand beaches and strategic harbours. Most are volcanic in origin and very hilly. They were settled by the Ciboney, Carib and Arawaks and named by Christopher Columbus in 1493 for Saint Ursula and her virgin followers. Over the next 300 years, they were held by Spain, Britain, the Netherlands, France, the Knights of Malta and Denmark. The Danes unsuccessfully attempted to sell the islands to the United States early in the 20th century. The sale did happen in 1917 and the territory was renamed the US Virgin Islands. US citizenship was granted to inhabitants in 1927.

Two thirds of St John is US national park. It is tranquil and unspoiled, has fascinating trails, secluded coves, dazzling beaches, 18th-century ruins and dense forests. St John has just one town — Cruz Bay.

Volunteers staff an information kiosk and will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay. There are tours by safari bus or jeep — keep a lookout for Miss Lucy Smith. Her wagon is adorned with cows' horns entwined with flowers and her tours are very popular!

Trunk Bay is St John's most popular spot and possibly the most famous beach in the Caribbean. It is home of a snorkel trail. Underwater signs identify the coral reef and fish life. The 200-metre trail takes around 30 minutes to explore.

Westin St John Resort and Villas has 282 rooms and suites and 67 villas, most with patios or balconies, all facing Great Cruz Bay. The famous Westin Heavenly Bed is in all rooms — guaranteed to give the best sleep ever. Marble bathrooms, refreshment centres and many other touches ensure a great stay.

The resort has a state-of-the-art spa and fitness centre, complete with sauna, massage therapy and full spa services. Water sports abound — you can sail, snorkel, scuba, go sport fishing, play with water toys and rent a boat for the day. There are six day-and-night tennis courts, a pro shop, lessons and clinics.

Westin Kids' Club, for children between three and 12, is more than just a babysitting service. Children are given gifts at check-in and there are all sorts of amusements. They can be booked into day sessions and there are even night camps.

Location

The US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea.

Cost

Westin Resort and Villas has accommodation starting at around $285 a night twin-share.

Air New Zealand has return flights to Los Angeles, valid for departures until December 9, 2006. Taxes are included and conditions apply. Connections to St John are available.

Fares from;
  • Sydney, $1709
  • Melbourne, $1792
  • Brisbane, $1794
  • Adelaide and Cairns, $2012
  • Perth, $2262

Prices quoted are correct on September 7, 2006.


Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information


United States Virgin Islands
Department of Tourism
PO Box 6400
St. Thomas, VI 00804
Ph: 0011 1 800 372
Website: www.usvitourism.vi

Westin St John Resort and Villas
Great Cruz Bay
St John, US Virgin Islands
Ph: 0011 1 (340) 693-8000
Website: www.westinresortstjohn.com

Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476
Website: www.airnewzealand.com.au

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