Caneel Bay in St. John, US Virgin Islands: A True Hidden Eco-Gem

Caneel Bay

It’s tempting to conceal how incredible of an experience my boyfriend Bryan and I had in St. John this past February. Those who’ve visited the island share one thing in common: a deep-seated fear the masses will flock to their hidden gem.

It was my maiden voyage and our first official vacation together. It’s a magical, ecologically rich place that promotes happiness and love.

In a Caribbean increasingly defined by overdevelopment, St. John remains an exception. It’s the smallest, least developed and the most stunning of the three major United States Virgin Islands. Approximately nine miles long and five miles wide, St. John is home to breath-taking white-sand beaches, framed by the forests of Virgin Islands National Park, which covers 60 percent of the island.

Caneel Bay Resort was a highlight of our trip. Set on a 170-acre peninsula amid the Virgin Islands National Park, it’s an ideal eco-destination for those who prefer a mix of nature and luxury. Bryan and I enjoyed relaxing on the beach (they have seven!) and the most delicious organic lunch at Caneel Beach Bar and Grill. Go for the locally caught lobster tacos.


Although we didn’t stay at the resort, the accommodations sound lovely. All of the 166 accommodations are free of modern day distractions like telephones and televisions so you can connect to your beautiful surroundings. Just keep your iPhone handy; you’ll want to add Caneel Bay to your photo map on Instagram.

Sunset at Caneel Bay Resort in St. John.

Sunset at Caneel Bay Resort in St. John.

The Resort is as rich in history as it is in nature. Discovered by Laurance Rockefeller who was a steadfast environmentalist and preservationist, Rockefeller purchased the land to create a unique vacation destination that would preserve and protect its natural environment by developing very little and preserving a great deal. Caneel Bay is one of only a few marine environments within the U.S. National Park System and is home to abundant wildlife as well as colorful coral reefs that teem with underwater life.

As summer winds down you’ll inevitably begin to daydream about your next warm-weather escape. And, I’ve let the cat out of the bag…