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Another St. John Review (Westin and Caneel) with some tips

sunny 85 °F

My husband and I were able to get 5 free nights at the Westin this year since we had some problems with our room last year. (We only stayed 4 nights last year so they were very generous). Our plan was to go to the Westin for 5 nights and then head over to Caneel for the final 3 nights. We usually go to St. John around this time to celebrate our anniversary. This was our fourth time on St. John (5th time for the virgin islands).

Day One - Getting There

Up at 3:30am and got ready for our 7:00 am flight to San Juan and then the Cape Air flight to St. Thomas.
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The flights were uneventful and arrived onto HOT St. Thomas by 1pm. We took the taxi over to the Crown Bay Marina to wait for the 3pm Westin Ferry.
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We had about an hour to kill and had a couple cold beers at Tickles. Note: we discovered right next door to Tickles is a nice grocery store. Hear you can grab liquor, cigarettes, beer, etc. (in case you missed the shop at the airport).

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Got to the Westin around 4pm and checked into our Garden View Room #2114.
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This room was very nice and you could actually see the ocean from this room (partially). After a couple of beers on our porch area we got ready for dinner. We decided to take a taxi to the Beach Bar. Had a couple painkillers and we just thought that we would have a bite to eat there instead of going somewhere else. We were pretty exhausted at this point.
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Had a couple of apps and headed back to the Westin. Also note: each way from Cruz Bay to the Westin and vice versa we were charged $12. We then looked at the sign on the taxi and it says $6 per person, two or more $5 per person. We didn’t realize this until our last taxi ride to Caneel.

Day Two - Scubadu (www.sailvi.com)

Up pretty early and headed to Mango Deli at the Westin and had a couple of bagels, coffee, etc. Went over to the National Park Dock where we met up with Captain Joe and Ashley. It was our fourth time sailing with him and it was great to see a familiar face. He took us over to Jost Van Dyke and did the Foxy’s, Soggy Dollar Bar, etc.
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Had an amazing lunch of fresh grilled mahi mahi tacos with mango, cilantro salsa and a side of ginger black beans. Great chef! We then sailed back home. It was a perfect day with great people.

Some pics while at the Soggy Dollar Bar:
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Day Three - Jeep Rental - Hawksnest, Gibney, Maho

We went to the rental place at the Westin and got a jeep wrangler. Had breakfast at JJ’s (long wait but the food was good). We went to the beaches stated above. We finally made it to Gibney and we were the only ones there.
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Being it was in the morning, the tide was high and there really wasn’t much of a beach. After the other stops we headed to Skinny Leg’s for a beer (or three).
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Headed back towards Cruz Bay and back to the Westin. We decided to take a dip in the pool for a little bit. Surprisingly it was quite crowded for this time of year. Finally found a couple of seats together. Afterwards, we got ready for dinner. We actually met up with Captain Joe and Ashley for a great dinner at Rhumblines.
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We never ate there before and were glad we gave it a shot. This place has a great atmosphere. After a great dinner and drinks we saw them off back on the ferry to St. Thomas.

Day Four - Jeep Rental - Cruz Bay, Trunk Bay

We got up and headed over to Mojo Cafe for breakfast.
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This was a nice change up. We have never eaten there before and had a good breakfast. After breakfast we walked around Cruz Bay and rented snorkel equipment in Mongoose Junction, Hurricane Hole. Great rates $6 a day per person. We went to Trunk Bay and enjoyed the snorkeling and taking in the view.
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Around 1pm a cruise ship group was headed in so we got up and left. Note: We had perfect weather all week but it did rain about 3 minutes while we were on Trunk. Headed back to Cruz Bay and had a couple rum punches at Woody’s. Afterwards we walked around Cruz Bay and headed back to the Westin. Had dinner at La Tapa.
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The food here was excellent. I had the escargot appetizer and husband had a mozzarella, roasted red pepper with a balsamic reduction sauce. We shared the paella for dinner. Very good.

Day Five - Jeep Rent - Cinnamon, Hawksnest

We woke up to another beautiful morning at the Westin.
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For breakfast we heard about Deli Grotto in Mongoose Junction. The selection was better then I thought and we had a very good breakfast. Drove up to Cinnamon. Found a great spot on the beach. However, the water was not as calm as I remembered it. After about a half hour we had to leave. The bugs on the beach were horrible. No matter what you used for spray it didn’t work. I don’t know how people camp out there. The bugs must be relentless! We left and went back to Hawksnest. This time I had the snorkel gear so I went right out to snorkel. The reef here is quite impressive for not going out too far. There was a lot of sea fans, coral, etc. Saw some squid which was neat. I went back out to relax for a bit while my husband read. All of a sudden I see this group of twenty somethings (okay I’m 33 and my husband is 38), headed straight towards us with a cooler. I thought to myself, great.- I hope they don’t sit right near us and sure enough they did. Ugh. Plus they had a radio and was blaring the music pretty good - at first they played Jack Johnson so I thought at was okay but then going to other songs such as Crazy B*tch just doesn’t cut it for relaxing on the beaches of St. John. Half of them would be in the water drinking while the other half was on the beach but they insisted on yelling back and forth. I honestly felt like I was back at the Jersey Shore. Shortly after their arrival I couldn’t take it and we left. Went back to Mongoose Junction and had a couple of beers at the Gecko Gazebo at the Sun Dog Cafe at Mongoose Junction.
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Then had a great mango mojito at Joe’s Rum Hut. Love this place! Headed back to the Westin and got ready for dinner. Being it was a Tuesday we went to Morgan’s Mango for Lobster Night. I have always heard about this, but no one has ever mentioned the cost. Our waitress told us about the two dinner specials, one was the stuffed lobster with crabmeat and the other was a surf and turf. The surf and turf was $56 and the stuffed lobster was $53!!! Its not like you even get that much meet on the lobster if its a pound. Its only really the tail meat? I couldn’t believe it. We opted for chicken for dinner. I had the citrus chicken and wasn’t too impressed. I wouldn’t order it again there. Went back for our last night at the Westin.

Day Six - Caneel Bay Arrival

Woke up and had breakfast again at the Mango Deli and checked out of our room. We took a taxi over to Caneel. We were greeted very warmly and were told that our early check-in request was honored and our room was ready (and we got there around 11am)! Perfect! Went over to the lobby and checked in. I couldn’t believe it, we were upgraded to Cottage 7.
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The same very room as last year. I was so happy. We were shuttled over to our room. We immediately went out to the expansive patio/balcony. The view here is breathtaking. I could just sit out there for hours (which we did). After our luggage arrived, we headed down to Scott's Beach.
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After a few hours we headed to the Caneel Beach Bar for a late lunch (we opted for the meal plan). We had a couple of appetizers, walked over to the watersports and picked up our snorkel equipment and went back to our room. Had some drinks on the patio and just took it all in. Got ready for a late dinner at the Turtle Bay Estate House. I had the foie gras for an appetizer and my husband had the onion soup. For dinner I had the rack of lamb and my husband had the surf and turf. The food was very good. My husband’s filet literally cut like butter.

Day Seven - Caneel Bay

Woke up around 9am (we tended to sleep a little bit later hear vs. the Westin). Went to the beach terrace cafe for a great breakfast buffet.
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Headed back to our room and then to Scott’s. Did some snorkeling and saw some turtles, stingrays, etc. I saw less fish though then last year. By 2pm the sun was very strong and we decided to get out of the sun and have a bite to eat. After lunch at the beach bar (Caneel) we walked to the Turtle Bay Point.
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It was beautiful but the bugs started biting so we headed back to our room. Had a nice happy hour on our patio and got ready for dinner.

Tonight was at the Equator Restaurant.
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I had the Anegada Lobster which was very good. My husband opted for the shrimp and pasta special with a pesto cream sauce. Unfortunately our curse for the trip happened again “loud people being sat next to us”. A large group of 6 people sat down and were having a good time and all, but they were SO LOUD and obviously had quite a few before dinner. With some disappointment we left the restaurant after dinner and walked through the ruins. Headed back to our room for our last full day in St. John. Sniff.
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Day Eight - Caneel Bay (last full day)

Pretty much did the same as the day before. This time when we snorkeled we saw a lot more stingrays. For some reason there were a lot more this year.
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They are still neat to see. For our last dinner, we went again to the Turtle Bay Estate House. We had the same dinner as the night before since we enjoyed it so much. Went back to our room and sat out on the patio gazing at the stars for one last time.
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Day Nine - Departure

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We were due out on the 10:30 ferry so we got up by 8am, packed up our things and headed to the lobby for check out. After check out we had breakfast at the buffet. Why is the last day always the perfect weather? Actually our entire trip had perfect weather. Took the ferry to the National Park Dock near Red Hook, then the taxi to the airport. Our flight home to Newark was a little turbulent but made it back to Newark on time (6:30) which is amazing! Got our luggage and the car service. We dropped off at hour house at 8pm and our vacation was over.

Overall Thoughts/Tips:

Unfortunately October is not becoming the “slow season” anymore. We noticed a lot more people then ever before. Who knows maybe its because of the relaxed passport restrictions to the USVIs?

We were very happy with our dinners at La Tapa and Rhumblines.

Day sail on the Scubadu is always our highlight of our vacation.

Besides JJ’s, give Mojo cafe a try for breakfast.

As always rent a jeep to get around on the island.

Be careful of the taxi rates.

Bring LOTS of insect repellant. We brought 2 cans of Avon’s Skin So Soft - it lasted us two maybe three days.
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Don’t overpack, I always do. Bring more casual clothes like shorts, vs. night things like dresses, etc. - you only need a couple.

And relax and have fun. Remember you’re on island time!

Posted by susannj 05:51 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged st_john_usvi_westin_caneel

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