St. John On Foot And By Car is an informative and entertaining guidebook featuring 4 self-guided walking and motor tours of the history, culture and natural beauty of St. John, US Virgin Islands. There is information on hiking trails and popular swimming and snorkeling beaches. Handy field guides help visitors learn firsthand about the exotic fauna and flora of this tropical paradise. Included are guides to local plants and trees as well as to the exciting array of tropical fish and other marine inhabitants of the crystal-clear waters surrounding St. John.
The guidebook is designed to make St. John sightseeing a learning experience that is both adventuresome and fun. The authors, Randall and Rebecca Koladis, are frequent visitors and former residents of St. John. Collectively they have spent many years researching and compiling the information in this extremely attractive and easy-to-read book. Their self-guided tours provide a virtual road map of this unspoiled paradise, where nearly three-fifths of the island has been thoughtfully preserved as the Virgin Islands National Park. St. John On Foot And By Car is divided into several parts. It begins with an overview of this tiny Caribbean jewel, which measures only 21 square miles! There are only about 3,000 permanent residents, but each year the island attracts many hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world. There are no shopping malls, no high-rise resorts, no casinos and no traffic lights. But the scenery is breathtaking, the people are friendly and there are plenty of activities and attractions for everyone. The beaches are some of the most spectacular in the world! It is a picture-postcard island on which to escape and relax, and St. John On Foot And By Car is your own personal tour guide to a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Following the book's introduction, the authors include a brief history of the island beginning with the discovery of St. John by Columbus in 1493. Taino Indians, we learn, were in residence at the time of the Admiral's arrival. Tainos were a nation of peaceful Indians who supported themselves by fishing, gathering food from the land, and growing produce.
The book is structured around the 4 self-guided tours, which are arranged and briefly described as follows:
1) WALKING TOUR OF THE CRUZ BAY VILLAGE (2.5 Hours). This tour begins with a visit to the National Park Visitor Center followed by a brief hike out to Lind Battery, where visitors can enjoy the panoramic view of Cruz Bay Village below. Other highlights of the tour include visits to the Administration Building (a former 18-century fortress) and the Ivan Jadan Museum, which houses over 5,000 letters, documents, artifacts and photos related to the life and singing career of Ivan Jadan, a former Soviet dissident and one of the great Russian tenors of the 20th-century, who made St. John his adopted home.
2) NORTH SIDE TOUR (4.5 Hours). Takes visitors to some of the most stunning beaches on St. John. The tour begins at the historic Caneel Bay Plantation Resort, which played a key role in St. John's slave revolt of 1733. Also included are visits to the restored ruins of the Annaberg sugar factory and Cinnamon Bay, where artifacts of Pre-Colombian Indians have been recently unearthed.
3) CENTERLINE ROAD (4.5 Hours). Includes visits to the ruins of the Cathrineburg sugar plantation and Coral Bay Village, the site of St. John's original Danish settlement. Visitors are also guided to the isolated East End community, whose self-reliant residents are known for their skills as stone masons, boat builders and basket makers. Includes stops at popular Salt Pond and Lameshur Bay beaches.
4) REEF BAY HIKE (5 Hours). A full-day hike into St. John's fascinating world of fauna and flora. Hikers visit ancient Indian rock carvings and the abandoned ruins of one of the last operating sugar factories on St. John. This 126-page guidebook is fully illustrated with a lot of color photography. Makes a wonderful gift idea for anyone who has ever been or who might be contemplating a trip to the US Virgin Islands. A must for first-time and repeat visitors alike!