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Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

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Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

Hey everybody,

My significant other and I will be on St John for 8 days mid May. It's our first time, so we're still a little unsure where to stay.

We've been thinking of staying 3 or 4 nights in Cruz Bay to get familiar with everything and then head over to Coral Bay for another 4 or 5 nights. When in Cruz Bay we thought about staying close to the center so we don't have to rent a car. We hope to go on day trips to other islands or on a sailing trip. When going to Coral Bay we'd obviously rent a car.

Does this make sense? Would it be better to just stay in Coral Bay? We've had trouble finding a good villa in Cruz Bay which is in walkable distance to the center. We're aiming for between $150-$180 per night. Any ideas for the period of 05/17-05/20 or 21?

In Coral Bay we're thinking about Paper Moon, New Moon or the Coconut Hill Villa (with the amazing 60 mile views). Any other ideas there?

Generally we plan to go snorkeling, swimming and hiking on the island, but also want to do day trips.

Hope somebody can give us some recommendations :)


Parker, CO
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1. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

Sounds like a good plan. I would stay at Grande Bay in Cruz Bay. You should be able to find a studio there on VRBO close to your price range.

Personally, I prefer Cruz Bay over Coral Bay and would choose to spend the entire time there. Rent a car 1/2 of the time and you can drive over to Coral Bay when ever you want.

I know others who are "Team Coral Bay" will disagree with me.

Have a great trip!!

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2. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

You might have a little bit of a hard time finding places that will rent for less than one week. Should be less of a problem in Cruz Bay where there are more options like Grande Bay.

Villas within walking distance of Cruz Bay are hard to find. I can't think of any off the top of my head. Keep in mind the topography is very hilly in spots and what might seem walkable based on distance can be deceiving.

Is there something in particular that is pulling you towards Coral Bay? Or is it just the desire to expereince two different areas?

I ask because, for a first trip, I think you can get the feel for the entire island just by exploring during the day.

Once you get out past the main Coral Bay junction, be prepared to spend a lot of time driving back and forth to many of the beaches.

Dallas, TX
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3. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

Geography is relative on an island that is only 8 miles long by 3 miles wide, most of the time you can be anywhere on island in about a half hour...for that reason and based on your budget, I'd place Cruz Bay vs Coral Bay lower on your villa decision hierarchy and place greater import on finding a villa period that fits your price range and also has the views, amenities (pool, A/C, hot tub, etc.) that you'd like. If the perfect villa for you is in Coral Bay, I'd stay there all 9 days.

I'd also rec renting the car the whole time, getting a map and simply driving the island the first morning you're there just to get the lay of the land. It's hard to get lost and fun when you do because it won't be long until you find your way back to a main road. By the end of the first day, I think you'll feel very comfortable and empowered to go where you want when you want...even at night.

This may not represent the majority opinion on this forum, but I rarely find that the location of our villa dictates the activity we choose to undertake whether it be a beach, hike, snorkel trip or restaurant related.

There's no wrong way to St. J...unless you step on the coral, litter, drive on the right side or forget to tell someone good morning.

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4. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

Are you travelling in 2 weeks?

It's not a bad plan to split time on the island, but it could be dicey trying to figure it all out for two weeks from now. Grande Bay would be a great start to your trip, or the boutique hotel, or Lavender Hill or Gallows Point, all pending availability and depending on your budget. You'd have to stick to Soloman and Honeymoon beaches or taxi to N. Shore beaches if you don't have a car for the first leg.

If you're travelling in 2 weeks, you need to get some reservations made! If you give your budget and requirements, people will pitch in with ideas.

Have fun!

Cedar Point, North...
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5. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

I personally would recommend staying near Cruz Bay your first time on the Island. I would not split the trip between 2 places. You would waste most of one day with the packing up and moving.

We have stayed near Coral Bay a couple times, but always miss being within walking distance to all the Restaurants and Bars in Cruz Bay.

For Newbies, I would recommend Gallows Point, Lavender Hills, or Grand Bay. Rent a Jeep and explore the rest of the Island!

Destination Expert
for St. John
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6. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

What Mit43 said!

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7. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

Wow, thanks for the helpful comments!

Yes, we're traveling in two weeks which means we will make a decision either tonight or tomorrow.

Our budget is between $150 and $200 per night. I've found a place for 4 nights in Grande Bay for $200 which looks very good to me. My original motivation to stay in Coral bay was to rent a place somewhat more secluded than e.g. Grande Bay. I fear that if we only stay in Cruz Bay that we miss out on the "living-in-the-wild" experience. But I also agree that it's somewhat of a hassle to move between places in between.

Thanks again!


Hudson, Florida
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8. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

Check out Grande Bay VRBO 288205. Tom is the owner & very pleasant to deal with.

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9. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

Have to agree, !st timers should stay in Cruz Bay, most of the action is there while Coral Bay has allot to offer, I'd vote for Cruz bay.........we had lunch at Skinny Legs today, yes it's raining! But we're on island time! Enjoy.

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10. Re: Cruz Bay or Coral Bay?

It makes sense to me to stay in one rental and to rent a car for the full week. You will probably get a better price and perhaps you could negotiate that 8th night in a villa. (our experience)

I read on TA that people should stay in Cruz Bay for their first trip to St John. That didn't happen for us. We have stayed in Coral Bay for the last 3 years and loved it.

If you love snorkeling, swimming and hiking then you will be fine either place. If you need to be near more restaurants and bars than Coral Bay offers, then Cruz Bay will be the way to go.

Packing up and moving is a drag and a waste of a day when you could be out having fun on the beach.