You are officially in paradise and on your beach vacation, so take a deep breathe and relax. This page is specifically for our guests, and meant to serve as your guide for all things YaYa and St. John.
We have included some of our favorite restaurants, beaches and a few unique activities to consider as well.
Air Conditioning: Please only use AC when you are in the bedrooms. Remember to turn them off before you leave, as well as lights and ceiling fans. Power is 10 times more expensive here than back home, and our infrastructure is delicate.
The loft AC unit is only to be used when the curtains are closed. It is not capable of cooling the lower part of the house, and freezes up the lines if you try. Open all the doors and windows to cool the main part of the house with the breezes.
Water is our most precious resource on island. It all comes from captured rain that we store in cisterns and then filter before use. Please conserve our water by not taking long showers or running the sink while brushing your teeth or washing dishes. The water is great for showering and brushing your teeth, but we recommend you use bottled water for drinking or making coffee. Please refrain from flushing toilets, showering or using the sinks during any power outage as it will result in a loss of water pressure and require an on-site visit to prime the pump.
The great equalizer in St. John. No matter how big your St. John villa rental is or how much you're worth, everyone hauls their own trash to the local dumpster. Whenever you get a full bag, tie it off and take it with you the next time you head out.
Do not leave trash outside in the evening as it encourages exploration from the local wildlife (and will make a big mess for you to clean up).
Sound carries easily on the hillside, and everyone here is looking to enjoy nature and some peace. So please refrain from playing loud music at any time, and avoid using outdoor speakers after 9:00.
Please, no glass on the pool deck. No running as the tiles can get slippery when wet. No diving, the pool is only 5-feet deep. And put all pool floats etc. in pool box when not in use to avoid having them blow over the edge of the pool deck.
You are in a tropical paradise now. Which also means more humidity and bugs than you may be used to. We recommend putting as much as you can in the fridge (bread, bagels, citrus etc.). The rest can go in cabinets or the pantry. Leaving food, dirty dishes or crumbs on the counter (or in the sink) can lead to sugar ants invading your space.
The most famous of St. John beaches. Parking can fill up, and they do charge a small entry fee to support the Park Services. There are food and drink options on site, as well as bathrooms and showers. There is an underwater snorkel trail that starts to the left of the cay and snorkeling is pretty good here. Pro Tip: All the way down on the right side of the beach is perfect - great views, more private, calm water and some shade. But need to be there by 9:00 or earlier to get this spot.
A stunningly beautiful beach that is both long and deep. And truly turquoise waters. Some of the softest white sand in the world. A short walk down the hill from the parking spot. As of June 2022, there is now a food truck that parks on site for lunch and the restaurant is serving breakfast and dinner. Bathrooms are open again as well. Don't miss this beach, it is truly stunning.
If you want to swim with turtles, this is the spot! Best to go early as this area does get crowded now that Maho Crossroads is offering food, drinks, SUP and clear kayak rentals. We like to come around 8:30, swim with the turtles and then head out as the crowds start to fill in around 10:00. For turtles, just swim out about 25 to 30 yards and look down to sea floor grass. Remember to keep 5 feet away and DO NOT touch them. It's not a perfect beach vacation without a swim with turtles.
This is a hidden gem and something everyone should experience once. Most visitors to St. John have no idea this beach exists. This beach is between Hawksnest and Trunk, along North Shore Road. Travelling from Cruz Bay and headed east (towards Coral Bay) you will go past Hawksnext and about 1/2 mile up you will see a white picket fence on your left. You are close. Look for a small pull-off on your left in front of a metal gate that says Oppenheimer. There is space for 3 vehicles here, but you have to park on the left of the gate, you cannot block the gate entrance (park service). You must arrive early (before 8:30 am) to get a spot most days. If it's full, you can drive past about 1/4 mile and there is a small parking lot on the left on top of Peace Hill. Park and walk back down. What makes this beach so special are the incredible views/sand/water and so very few people. Not uncommon to have it all to yourself for large parts of the day. Incredible snorkeling out to the right from the beach. No services. Pro Tip - Order pickup lunches from North Shore Deli in Cruz Bay, and pick it up in town before you head to the beach.
Plenty of parking, short walk to the beach. A few picnic tables, and even charcoal grills are available as well as some bathroom facilities. No food or drink options. Not much for snorkeling. If running short on time, this is one you can skip. But still a nice beach.
Usually a quieter beach with more locals. Limited parking helps encourage smaller crowds. Great snorkeling out to the left from the beach. You can swim around the point to Little Maho (pocket beach). No services here.
Beautiful beaches that can be reached via a short hike on the Lindholm trail or a shuttle ride down from Caneel Bay. HIKING: Park in front of the National Park Visitor Center and get a parking pass by going inside and requesting it (free). Then take the lower Lindholm trail and hike about 15 minutes or so to Salomon Bay, or continue on another 5 minutes to Honeymoon. SHUTTLE: Pull into Caneel Bay and park in designated area, then wait for the shuttle (island taxi). $12 roundtrip and about a 5 minute ride down.
A small beach that you need to make a short hike down to. There is limited parking, which helps keep crowds away. No services here, and water can get a little rougher depending on currents and wind.
You should not attempt unless you have an SUV (Jeep etc.) or truck. The last mile or so is rocky, rough and at times has standing water you need to drive through. With that said, it is 100% worth it. Quiet beach with amazing snorkeling, especially along the left hand side of the beach. Hiking nearby takes you to the Old Bay Rum distillery ruins (pictured). A couple of picnic tables and a new bathroom, but no other services here. Super quiet and remote. A great beach any day, but absolutely brilliant when the island is crowded (because it won't be) or there are larger swells on the north side.
Another little gem with potential to see a turtle or two, but has been climbing in popularity. Not a true sandy beach, more a mixture of small pebbles and sand. Requires a 5 to 10 minute hike down and back up from the parking lot. No facilities (though I think they are building a bathroom as of December 2020).
A locals beach, and a really fun atmosphere (expect to see dogs as this is one of the only dog friendly beaches on island). Calm waters, nice sand and decent snorkeling. Lots of parking, though you will be asked to make a donation (not required, but encouraged). Have some water sport rentals (kayaks, Hobie Cat, SUP). No food or drink, but porta potty.
This is not really a beach, but it is a GREAT snorkel spot. Requires a good 15 to 20 minute hike from the parking lot, but it's level and along the water. Offers spectacular snorkeling - we have seen starfish, nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays, octopus, lobster and cuttlefish. Currents can be strong on the back side of the island, so be prepared to turn around and come back if too strong. The shoreline is not sandy, but is rocky. Water shoes recommended, but not required. Don't leave any food in bags on shore, there are some sneaky mongooses that love to rummage and steal while you snorkel. Best time is in the morning before the wind picks up.
Great Caribbean/Asian fusion spot for dinner, reservations needed. Nice cocktails as well.
5 minutes from the house. Must text to request reservation. Nice outdoor dining space, complete with friendly, wandering cats.
Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Text Only: 340-344-7717
3 minutes from the house! Great atmosphere, always a lot of fun and good BBQ and sides (rice and beans and mac n cheese are on point).
No reservations taken.
Open 3 to 9 pm, also open for lunch on Mondays.
Closed on Thursdays.
Awesome casual spot for lunch or dinner, no reservations but can be crowded.
Great burgers and blackened mahi sandwich.
Best Painkiller on the island! This is an absolute must for lunch or dinner. Great gift shop attached as well for souvenir shopping.
5 minutes from the house.
Closed on Mondays.
Great lunch spot right on the water. Chicken roti is fantastic here, as are the chicken tenders and the grouper Rueben. Kids swear by the chicken fingers. Wandering chicks and baby ducks add to the ambiance here. 10 minutes from the house.
Open mic night on Thursdays. No reservations.
Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Best pizza on the island. NY-style pizza for dine-in or carryout. Less than 10 minutes from the house. Stopped taking orders via phone, must stop in
(but they still do take out)
Closed Saturdays and Sundays.
Not really in Coral Bay, but about mid-island (15 minute drive). Great cocktails - try the Kingston Koolaid or the Coco-Nutty for something unique. Great bar food (try the pulled pork!) and super friendly staff. This is a newer spot, but a great addition to the dining scene on St. John.
No reservations needed.
Our go to dinner spot, always amazing Caribbean-style steak and seafood. Lobster nights on Tuesday and Saturday. Outstanding food and extensive cocktail list.
Great traditional steakhouse in paradise, fresh seafood and seasonal ingredients as well.
Closed on Wednesdays.
Italian restaurant serving fresh local seafood along with meat and pasta dishes featuring their home grown herbs and greens.
Closed on Mondays.
Great happy hour spot with tasty cocktails and appetizers. Lots of sharable small plates and a cool beach vibe. Fresh sushi, poke bowls, ceviche, tacos and salads, all with outstanding
people-watching. Opens at 3:00.
No reservations taken.
Casual spot on the water with good cocktails and food menu that has all the bar staples at lunch/happy hour, and then elevates a bit for dinner with some unexpected dishes. One of the few spots doing breakfast these days.
No reservations taken.
One of the most iconic bars ever, with a great staff serving strong cocktails and great bar food for lunch and dinner. Sitting with your toes in the sand and watching the boats bob while you suck down a painkiller. Hard not to be happy here.
No reservations taken.
Dolphin Market and Love City Market are both less than 5 minutes from the house in Coral Bay and have most everything you will need. For those harder to find items, Starfish Market in Cruz Bay will be your best bet. We usually recommend hitting Dolphin Market first, then stopping into StarFish next time you are coming back from the Northshore to pick up any remaining items.
We also highly recommend stopping in at Calabash Market for fresh cut steaks and seafood - by far the best quality on the island and only 10 minutes from the house. Josephine's Greens in Coral Bay is a local farm producing a range of fresh greens and herbs for the perfect side salad for your ribeye or tuna steak.
Make sure you hit Windmill Bar (Centerline road across from Shambles) for a happy hour cocktail and to take in the sunset. Arguably the best view on the entire island, it will take your breathe away. Try the Cruzan Confusion for a refreshing change of pace. We would suggest skipping the food here, but Shambles is just down the hill and across Centerline Road if you're hungry.
Lime Out (pictured above) is a floating taco bar moored in Coral Bay, and it is everything you would hope a floating taco bar would be. Insanely fresh and delicious tacos, ice cold beer and unique cocktail creations all served to your floating table or on your submerged barstool. (Will have to charter transportation out, but can be combined with a 1/2 or full day charter).
There are many, and we hear good things about almost all of them. Depends on what you are after - a relaxing sail, a day of snorkeling and exploring, chasing big fish at the drop or a highspeed boat that can help you explore multiple BVIs in a day.
If you are looking for a specific recommendation, many of our guests have spent the day with Captain Ryan at On The Sea Charters and had wonderful things to say. They have two comfortable power catamarans that you can reserve as half-day or full-day charters. You can reach them at 850-339-8113 or visit their website at https://www.ontheseacharters.com/
Check out time is 10:00 a.m., and our cleaning crew is typically onsite by 9:45 a.m. as they are eager to get started to ensure the house is ready for our next guest.
Here is a quick list of what we ask of you for check out:
Trash – Please make sure you have emptied all trash bins and take the trash with you when you leave so you can deposit it at the dumpster on your way through Coral Bay. Please throw out leftovers from the refrigerator, but you may leave other items behind.
Dishes – Please load all dirty dishes into the dishwasher and start it before you leave. Hand wash, dry and put away any pots, pans etc.
Laundry – Please gather all towels (bath and beach) and start them in the washer before you leave.
Please make sure you have turned off all AC, lights and fans in the house. Please lock the patio doors and then leave the keys and the gate remote behind, locking the front door on your way out.
The final, and perhaps most important step is to look at your calendar and book your triumphant return to Casa YaYa!