Can a slow travel trip start and end with a four and half hour flight at 600 miles per hour? Once we got to St John we took it as slow as possible. Wanting to cut down on weight and worries I left all technology at home and left my phone on airplane mode for the week.
At the last minute I decided to upgrade us from a bare camping site where we would have brought all our gear ($37 a night) to a tent site that camp with all cooking gear, a cooler and food container and beds and linens ($80 a night in January, $93 a night in February). I am so glad I did. Although our tent was not mosquito proof, it was dry and I enjoyed puttering with the gas stove and lantern under the tarp making meals.
We met several couples who had been coming and camping each winter for decades and who had pretty extensive setups at their bare sites. I couldn’t decide which I preferred, a site where all you needed was your toothbrush and a bikini or one where you could stay for a month for only $1200. I guess it depends on your lifestyle and the amount of vacation you have saved up- the folks who were there for a long time were all retired.
St John is 70% National Park and there are a lot of trails on the island that are maintained by the NPS and volunteers. One day I took a hike up a nearby trail and saw ruins in the tropical forest.
Taking my camera and taking my time to frame photos of old rocks and plants was what I did as a teenager. I brought some of my black and white mill prints to my college interview, and I think they helped get me into school. I still love doing this.
I also attended a drumming lesson and a hike and yoga class on Solomon Beach, all free courtesy of the NPS. My only regret is that I didn’t take more photos and we have no pictures of Nick and I together for this year’s family calendar. And that we had to leave. Next year I hope to go for two weeks.
Slow Verdict- pretty damn good, we didn’t drive, we stayed in a tent and we took it very easy. Overall cost per head $450 airfare, $325 lodging, $60 ground transport, $15-$50 per day for food. So approximately $1125 for a week, each. If you brought your tent and cooked for yourself you could easily get by for $850 including airfare.
A very nice cabdriver (they were all very nice) told us that Cinnamon Bay is to be completely renovated this summer so all of this will be completely different. I hope they keep things simple. One thing that would be wonderful to find is more local foods, fruits and vegetables. We did enjoy the St John Brewers, but it turns out they do their brewing in Portland, Maine.