The best way to see St. John quickly, especially if you're on a cruise-ship layover, is to take a 2-hour taxi tour. The cost is $25 per person. Almost any taxi at Cruz Bay will take you on these tours, or you can call the St. John Taxi Association (tel. 340/693-7530).
Many visitors spend time at Cruz Bay, where the ferry docks. This village has interesting bars, restaurants, boutiques, and pastel-painted houses. It's a bit sleepy, but relaxing after the fast pace of St. Thomas.
Much of the island is taken up with the Virgin Islands National Park (tel. 340/776-6201), with the lushest concentration of flora and fauna in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The park totals 12,624 acres, including submerged lands and water adjacent to St. John, and has more than 20 miles of hiking trails to explore. From pelicans to sandpipers, from mahogany to bay trees, the park abounds in beauty, including a burst of tropical flowers such as the tamarind and the flamboyant. The mongoose also calls it home. Park guides lead nature walks through this park that often take you past ruins of former plantations.
Other major sights on the island include Trunk Bay, one of the world's most beautiful beaches, and Fort Berg (also called Fortsberg), at Coral Bay, which served as the base for the soldiers who brutally crushed the 1733 slave revolt. Finally, try to make time for the Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins on Leinster Bay Road, where the Danes maintained a thriving plantation and sugar mill after 1718. It's located off Northshore Road, east of Trunk Bay. Admission is free. On certain days of the week (dates vary), guided walks of the area are given by park rangers.