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St. John Off The Beaten Track Paperback – March 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

First published in 1996, when St. John was a still sleepy island, this updated version provides a respite from busy Cruz Bay. The guide offers an insiders view into the quintessential St. John with its hiking trails, scrambles and gut walks. Singer, a long time island resident, provides a framework for reference with lots of fast facts and an easy to read description of places of interest, flora and fauna, amidst a well laid backdrop of St. John s rich history and island legend. --Virgin Voice, December 2006 January 2007

From the Author

"St. John Off the Beaten Track" is, more than anything else, an expression of my love for St. John, its people and its culture. St. John is one of the greatest places on Earth. So come and visit, and let "St. John Off the Beaten Track" provide you with information that will greatly enhance your tropical island experience. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Sombrero Publishing Company; 3rd edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964122073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964122079
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am very pleased with this book's mixture of island history with excellent descriptions of the diverse trails and sights found throughout the National Park (which makes up 2/3 of this island!)
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!
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Used this book extensively during our family trip to St. John in March 2007. Best of the bunch for finding the best places to see. I was particularly pleased with the information on snorkling since the photos in this book are great and the directions on how to get to these places were flawless. I really liked Lameshur Bay and specifically Beehive Cove around the point. Highly recommended for its detail and information. St. John was awesome too! This book was worth every dollar spent.
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Format: Paperback
Although I only went on one hike in St. John - the book described every possible hike in great detail. I wish I had time to do them all. Along with the hikes, Singer describes the beaches, snorkeling, and nature that you will encounter on your visit. The book also incorporated the history of St. John, which not only allowed me to impress my fellow travelers, but made me appreciate St. John's intriguing past. Very well written!
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Format: Paperback
As marine aquariasts and avid snorkelers, this book led us to the greatest snorkeling spots and some beautiful secluded beaches. Our favorite was Yawzi Point and Little Lameshur Bay. We arrived at 10:30 and were among 4 people on the beach. The waters were turquiose and the beach beautfully sandy like Trunk Bay but without the crowd. We enjoyed the right side of Yawzi Point accessible from Little Lameshur as the waters were calmer than the left hand side with similar reef to explore. Leinster Bay/Waterlemon Cay was another great find. The thing the book didn't mention was to hang your bag as Mongooses can unzip and will eat your lunch! The best, most useful book out of the three we bought. The maps are terrific as well.
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This book is full of great information and has been very helpful in planning our second visit to St. John. It does have very detailed descriptions of all of the hikes and beaches, which is quite helpful, and the pictures are beautiful.

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!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You know the typical travel guide - airports, hotels and restaurants.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We used this book every single day during our trip to St. John and carried it with us as we trekked around the island. Although the book goes into detail on the history of the island, we used it mostly to find beaches and hikes and to look up the different fish we saw while snorkeling. I did not find any other book or guide map that went into any comparable amount of detail.

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!
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