Getting there: American Airlines flies from Los Angeles to San Juan, Puerto Rico, with connecting flights to St. Thomas. Pan Am and Eastern fly to St. Thomas via Miami. Delta flies to San Juan via Atlanta, with connecting flights to St. Thomas. Round-trip fares range from $552 to $902.
Take a taxi for $6 from the St. Thomas airport 45 minutes across the island to the Red Hook Ferry dock. Ferries ($2 for 20-minute crossing) leave for Cruz Bay on St. John at 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., then every hour on the hour from 8 a.m. until midnight. The last ferry back to Red Hook leaves Cruz Bay at 11:15 p.m.
In Cruz Bay, you can take an open-air safari bus to almost any point along North Road (one of the two major roads), getting off and back on anywhere along the route. Fares are reasonable and depend on how far you go. Or you can rent a car or Jeep at any of several car rental agencies. Rates and required deposits vary. We found O'Connor's reasonable: O'Connor's Jeep Rental at the Texaco Station, telephone (809) 776-6343. Others include: St. John Car Rental, Inc., (809) 776-6103, and Varlock Ventures, (809) 776-6412 or 776-6695.
Where to stay: Caneel Bay Resort, $175 to $315 double occupancy (increasing during the high season), modified or full American plan available for about $75 per person per day, (800) 223-7637; Hyatt Regency St. John, $245 to $355 double, (800) 233-1234; Gallows Point Hotel/Condominium Resort, $145-$155 double, (800) 323-7229.
There are also small inns and guest houses in and around Cruz Bay, as well as a number of private homes and cottages for rent. For more information about places to stay, write: The St. John Guide Book, Box 37, Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands 00830.
The two campgrounds on St. John are at Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay. Both are in the national park and right on the beach (and usually fully booked a year in advance). Cinnamon Bay Campground: (800) 223-7637 or (809) 776-6330. Maho Bay Camps Inc.: (800) 392-9004.
Where to eat: Mongoose Junction Cafe and Bar is nice for a lunch of seafood, salads and sandwiches in an outdoor tropical setting. It's about three blocks from the ferry dock. Paradisio, also at Mongoose Junction, is highly recommended for its excellent food. Caneel Bay's Sugar Mill Restaurant is a beautifully restored mill with a spectacular view of Pillsbury Sounds. It's pleasant for lunch or dinner. For reservations (which are necessary), call (809) 775-6111.
For more information: The Natonal Park Service visitors' bureau is about four blocks to the left of the ferry dock. Pick up maps and brochures and view exhibits on the history, flora and fauna of St. John. Or contact the U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Tourism, 3460 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 412, Los Angeles 90010, (213) 739-0138.