Discover The Natural Richness Of The Virgin Islands National Park
Nestled in the crystal clear, turquoise Caribbean Sea, Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham - St. Thomas is a tropical dream come true, flanked by swaying palm trees and rolling hills that seem to float on the water. Grabbing a beach chair and your favorite book should be your main concern here, but if you’re staying more than a couple of days, how about hopping next door to the island of St. John?
Just a short ferry ride away (20-40 minutes depending where you board it), St. John offers stunning white-sand beaches, historic plantations, and ancient Taino Indians archeological sites. The Virgin Islands National Park encompasses almost two-thirds of the island, making it an untouched and pristine natural destination. Need ideas on how to spend your time here? We have them.
Explore Prehistoric & Historic Sites
Important prehistoric archeological sites are present on almost every beach on St. John. They date from as early as 840 BC to the arrival of Columbus in 1493. These sites, which include burial and ceremonial sites, gives us greater understanding of the region’s prehistory as well as information about the Taino people’s social and religious customs. The Tainos were the island’s inhabitants when Columbus arrived.
The Reef Bay valley, located at the base of one of the island’s tallest waterfalls, is home to a collection of ancient carvings — some of them faces — etched into the blue basalt rock. A spring-fed pool beneath reflects a 20-foot-wide gallery of carvings, with many other petroglyphs ready to be admired nearby.
Go Take A Hike — Literally
St. John's Virgin Islands National Park offers more than 20 hiking trails to choose from for all skill levels. You can walk on boardwalks that meander through historic ruins and take you to a bird viewing deck, or take the Reef Bay Trail down to the petroglyphs and then continue to the old Sugar Mill. Make sure you pack plenty of water and snacks, as the area is not fully developed.
Another travel tip: Check out plants to avoid before you head out. The island is home to prickly plants as well as some toxic species you should avoid contact with so the fun isn’t ruined. If you have questions, stop by the Visitor Center where you’ll find knowledgeable park experts. While you’re at it, pick up a hiker's guide with detailed information on all the trails..
Snorkel Your Way Through Watermelon Cay
Watermelon Cay has earned the designation by many visitors as one of the best snorkeling destinations on St. John. Start at the Annaberg Plantation and hike on flat terrain for almost 1 mile along Leinster Bay to reach Watermelon Cay. The entry is rocky and you should watch out for the urchins guarding the area.
Once in the water, you won’t believe your eyes: beautiful soft and hard corals in all colors, a rainbow of tropical fish big and small, yellow and orange starfish, and much more await. Head counterclockwise to use the current to round the cay. Be mindful of the strength of the current and always snorkel with friends or family. Besides, the adventure is more fun when you share it with someone!