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St. John Off The Beaten Track Paperback – March 1, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
We moved to St. John a few months ago and the book is now dog-eared from use while packing it along with us. It is definitely worth carrying along because you will miss so much without it.
My only negative comment is that the author did not show pictures of the different fauna that he describes. Enjoy St. John and please respect the fragile environment!
However I wish the maps were a bit more easy to read. There are many maps, and they are full of all sorts of colored lines in purples, reds, tans, and black lines - some with dashes. However there are no map keys anywhere in the book, so you kind of have to guess at what some of the different lines mean. Also most of the maps are of very small sections of the island, and the one big map has such a small font it is practically unreadable, making it difficult to figure out how everything fits together. I can remedy this by getting additional maps, but for the price it would be nice if this book had it all.
We are bringing our kids with us to St. John this time around, so we are looking for easy snorkel spots to get them started. I wish there was more info on a variety of snorkel sites, whereas this book just has "favorite snorkels" and many are specifically for intermediate or advanced snorkelers. You can find additional info if you read through various beach descriptions, but it would be great if the info on all different levels of snorkeling options were together.
All in all, this really is a great book. Just a couple of suggestions perhaps for the next edition!
This one has everything else you want to know about St John - the missing guide, as it were.
I'm planning a trip and want to know what there is to do, and where.
This one gives me everything I need to know.
Which beaches are sand and which are shingle? This tells you.
Where are the hidden coves and how to you get there (trailheads, etc.)?
Which snorkeling beaches are best for beginners, and which have challenges for free-diving snorkelers?
The book is organized into sections - the national park (hikes and trails), beaches, snorkeling, places of interest. Geology and history too.
If you are looking for accommodations or dining you need one of the other books.
If you are looking for a reason to settle in a particular area (renting a villa, for instance), this is your book. It describes each bay and beach, letting you know whether an area is tropical forest or dry scrubland. It describes the severity of trails and tells you about alternatives. It explains 'guts' and other local features that are ignored by traditional guide books.
If you are going to St John you need this book. 'Nuff said.
Many of the beaches mentioned in this book are not near a road. You need to hike to them in order to get there. Don't let that discourage you! These were our favorite beaches. We did the easy 20-minute hike on the Lind Point Trail to Honeymoon Beach and were the only two people on it. Amazing.
The author also has a section on Best Snorkeling Beaches which is extremely helpful. Using his tips, we hiked to Waterlemon Cay, where we saw stingrays, giant sea turtles, too many fish to name and gorgeous sea coral.
I will say that at first I found the maps in the book very confusing. The best I can tell you is to wait until you get to St. John to try to figure out how to get anywhere. It is a small place, so getting around is easy, but it's easiest to have someone point it out to you once you're there. Google Maps just doesn't work in St. John.
This book does not really cover restaurants or bars, but St. John is so small that you are fine using Trip Advisor and asking the locals and fellow tourists.
St. John is absolutely gorgeous, so if you are planning a vacation I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pictures are great. Information mostly on hiking with some beach information. I got more information from Internet than this book. I rate this book okPublished 2 months ago by s2371urfer
We spent 8 very active days on St. John camping at the Cinnamon Bay Campground and availing ourselves of all this beautiful island has to offer . Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michigan Wildflower
we used this book when we went to St. John/St. Thomas - I had it open a LOT & it was full of information!Published 22 months ago by michelle wersching
This book is a must have for Saint John! Most other VI books include all islands. But if you are going to just Saint John, this book along with Feet, Fins, and 4 Wheel Drive will... Read morePublished on August 3, 2014 by AmazonGal
You see the book in every store and was even in the villas we've stayed at. I still love reading it and looking at the pictures and can say, "I saw that! Read morePublished on February 7, 2014 by SJB
We have Gerald Singer's book on Vieques and St. John. Great information about the history of the island and great pictures. Read morePublished on December 26, 2013 by Megan A Bomer