For many years, a collection of tented bungalows called Maho Bay, on the quiet island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was the world’s best-kept budget secret. Sensitive, intelligent Americans flocked to stay in these primitive digs, and thus enjoyed the cheapest tropical vacation on earth. It was a fabulous place.
But Maho Bay’s lease ran out, it was forced to close, and its owners are still struggling to attract the same crowd of unpretentious tourists to a much smaller number of tents far down the coast of St. John.
However: On a mile-long, white sand beach elsewhere in St. John, in a U.S. national park, new management has taken over the tents called Cinnamon Bay. And a near equivalent of the much-lamented Maho Bay is beginning to emerge.
To repeat a vital point: Cinnamon Bay is an officially designated campground in a U.S. national park. It has just acquired a new private management, and the new bunch have announced the construction of no fewer than 55 “eco-tents” on broad wooden platforms large enough to enclose two twin beds or one large bed, as well as storage facilities, all adjoining a balcony-like appendage holding a table and chairs. Each eco-tent (most being beachfront) will rent for $104 to $149 a night (that’s for two guests, remember), depending on season.
For two persons traveling together to enjoy such fine accommodations on a spectacular, mile-long Caribbean beach, for so little money, is surely remarkable.
And the 55 new eco-tents are in addition to an already existing 40 nearby tented cottages housing as many as four vacationers apiece (each also has a cook stove for preparing meals) and 30 or so other campsites for persons who bring their own tents or use tents provided by the campground management. Platform and bare tent sites cost as little as $39 a night.
The entire area is serviced by a low-cost restaurant preparing three meals a day and by various grocery outlets for persons preparing their own meals. Both the eco-tents and the already existing campsites have easy access to various bath facilities.
So all you former fans of Maho Bay Camps on the exquisite island of St. John can stop your mourning. Maho Bay has been replaced by near-equivalent facilities called Cinnamon Bay Resort & Campground. For further details, go to CinnamonBayResort.com.
Travel virtue has been rewarded!
Pictured above: St. John's Trunk Bay in Virgin Islands National Park