The best place to start your walking tour of Cruz Bay’s world class shopping is from the passenger ferry terminal. If you are on the dock, facing to land, Wharfside Village stretches out to your right, followed by Grande Bay, and up the hill to Gallows Point. To your left, along the waterfront, is the National Park Dock and Mongoose Junction. Up past the roundabout, heading towards the Westin Resort, you will find The Marketplace.
As you stroll from shop to charming shop you can’t help but notice the international flavor of St. John. This stems from our history of colonization and our current status as a top destination for world travelers. The wonderful arts and crafts of the Caribbean can be found interspersed with flavors from the Italian countryside, Asian market wares, and All-American goods.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and it will change when something new catches our eye. Have a favorite we’ve missed? Add it to the comments below. Our people-powered guides are powered by you!
Wharfside Shopping Area
This shopping center runs along the beachfront of Cruz Bay. Along the water are multiple open air restaurants and bars to sate the appetites of hungry shoppers.
Hot sauces, teas, coffee, spices, local honey, cookbooks and more. As you climb the stairs to this aromatic shop on the second level at Wharfside, you are enveloped in the smell of spices! Ever popular, this store offers all of the classic handmade gifts from the islands along with sarongs, beach bags, t-shirts and postcards. St. John Spice is your first stop on the way in, and your last stop on the way out.
You can’t miss Freebird! Look to your right, this is the first store (along with Pig and Rooster) that you will see as you step off the peoples’ ferry. This wonderful shop has been in business for over 28 years. Unique jewelry, watches and curios, many belonging to signature lines of the store, are offered with exemplary service.
Jewelry from the Vibe collection is outstanding in beauty, craftsmanship and distinctly Vibe. You can’t mistake these works of wearable art with any other jeweler’s designs. Every piece is handmade by skilled silversmiths and features the V.I.be trademark and beautiful stones such as the Caribbean Larimar, Topaz and Quartz.
This store is a tranquil oasis filled with hand selected items from Southeast Asia, Nepal and India. Owners Lolita and Rick travel East annually to buy for Now and Zen. They search high and low for arts, crafts and clothing that are unusual and imbibed with the mystery and sanctity of Asia. Now and Zen has a second location in Coral Bay at Shipwreck Landing.
The Hook Bracelet is the quintessential keepsake of St. John. The hook symbolizes a tie to the islands – if you wear one, you will always return. Traditionally, the hook was a simple “U” shape. Now, these bracelets come in a range of designs, including the anti-hurricane, the petroglyph, the heart and many more. At Bamboo, watch as the artisans handcraft your one-of-a-kind hook bracelet or select a distinctive piece from their many other signature lines.
Discover a panoply of fine wines and gourmet delights at Island Cork. Owner Paul Tsakeres lovingly hand selects wines, liquors, cigars and charcuterie to suit all tastes and budgets. Enjoy a relaxed browse among the bottles, consult the staff for expert help, or pull up a bar stool and sample Paul’s picks among new island friends.
Grande Bay Resort Shops and Up The Hill to Gallows Point
36 years in operation, and 31 years as the premier dive shop on St. John, Low Key Watersports is an island institution. Whether you are a professional diver or have never ventured below the waves, the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Low Key will create the perfect ocean adventure for you. Beyond diving, Low Key offers activity booking, rentals, and a unique array of retail items from dive gear to high fashion bikinis.
From Grande Bay, just a very worthwhile two-minute walk up the hill, you will find Gifts and Gourmet. Here you can order artful flower arrangements or splendid gift baskets, for example, Barefoot on the Beach – fresh fruit, Brie cheese, Carr’s crackers, guava bite cookies and Seaside Surf trail mix, paired with a bottle of Anterra Pinot Grigio wine! In addition, Gifts and Gourmet carries a wide assortment of signature gifts from JavaMon Coffee, ROX Jewels, and many more.
Elaine Estern leads a life that many of us only dream about. You’ll find her above her Frank Bay gallery painting scenic vistas from her front porch. Inside her studio home you will find her original watercolors, giclees, prints, framed tile murals, magnets, notecards, gifts, souvenirs and more. Artists gather every Wednesday evening for a cocktail party at the studio. It’s a great place to meet fellow art appreciators and a fabulous assortment of local artists!
Mongoose Junction Shopping Center
Follow the road to your left from the passenger ferry terminal and trace the waterfront past the National Park Visitor’s Center to Mongoose Junction, situated at the head of the North Shore Road (route 20), which leads to the spectacular beaches of St. John such as Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay. Enjoy the shaded rambling paths, courtyards and gardens of Mongoose, an enchanting multilevel shopping center designed to echo the grey stones of the famous plantation ruins surrounding the area.
As you follow the waterfront to the left towards North Shore Road, hang a Louie at the National Park Dock, just before Mongoose Junction, to meet the friendly rangers at the Visitor Center. Here you will find maps, exhibits, books on natural and cultural history, activity schedules and park related gifts. At the information desk, you can plan your park visit, including hikes, historical tours, snorkeling, or book the famous Reef Bay Tour with beach pickup by the SV Sadie Sea.
If the Visitors Center isn’t enough (we love our park!) stop in at the Friends of the Park Store in Mongoose Junction. Here you will find more unique gifts that will both inspire and educate. Buy distinctive locally made crafts and stock up on supplies that show your respect for the islands like reef-safe sun protection.
Owners of Caravan Gallery, Radha and her husband Glen Speer, are figures of art and style on St. John. Glen Speer designed and built Mongoose Junction in 1978, then ten years later, Mongoose II. Since 1991 Radha has collected unique jewelry, art and sacred objects from across the globe to offer out of her shop on the second floor of her husband’s architectural gem. Let Radha and her dedicated staff guide you to your perfect treasure from the Caribbean, Tibet, Indonesia, Africa and beyond.
Impeccable taste is reflected in every aspect of this fantasy of a store. Discover unique ethnic collections of art, music, home decorative items, clothing and accessories showcased within a space where you will want to spend hours. Hand selected Haitian art, down-island and African instruments, distinctive clothing, island made jewelry, rich wood platters and goblets are just a few of the fine crafted wonders available.
Bajo El Sol is recognized as one of the premier art galleries on St. John. The gallery was established in 1993 by St. John artists who sought to share their vision of the Virgin Islands’ beauty through painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry and other objects of art. Recently, Bajo has been passed to the capable hands of Priscilla Hintz Rivera de Knight, art advocate and curator; and David Knight Jr., journalist, photographer, and curator. These mavens of art have taken this gallery space and the St. John art scene to the next level with pop-up exhibitions, lectures and films, and art outreach.
Did the airline lose your luggage? Forgot to pack some flip-flops? Don’t worry, be happy, Big Planet has you covered! For over 20 years, St. John’s version of a superstore has supplied high-quality casual fashions, sunglasses, swimwear, hiking gear, back packs and the best selection of t-shirts on the island to visitors and locals alike. Find great prices on top brands such as Quiksilver, Volcom, Billabong, Patagoni and more.
Jump in your rental car and cruise up to The Marketplace. Although it is a doable 15 minute walk from the ferry, we know you will want to stock up at Starfish Market, St. John’s largest supermarket; Starfish Gourmet; and at the Chelsea Drug Store. Beyond provisioning, the Marketplace is home to book stores, salons, restaurants and shops.
Kindle be damned, there is nothing like browsing through an old fashion bookstore. Here, you will find floor to ceiling shelves of quality used fiction, new releases, works by local authors, and a wealth of nonfiction on a variety of fascinating subjects. While you select the perfect tome for your beach or villa read, sip on one of the Papaya Cafe’s famous Vietnamese coffees, or a spiced chai, matcha smoothie or other sweet and caffeinated delicacies.
Papaya Cafe has a sister store, The Pink Papaya, in the Lemon Tree Mall. Pink Papaya is filled with brightly colored whimsical gifts crafted by Caribbean artists, including the owner. Ask for directions at the bookstore.
Kimberly’s gallery showcases her own evocative seascapes and figurative paintings and fine art by Gail Van de Bogurt, Casey Giakas, Helen Dunkerley, John Van de Water and David Moser; fine jewelry by Kimberly Noguiera; lightecture by George Hollander; and photography by William Stelzer. Within, you will find the works of St. John’s master artists; for collectors of art, a visit to this gallery is a must.
Kimberly hosts a monthly gathering at the gallery that is very popular among locals. These openings normally include dance performances and raffles. Check our events calendar for dates.
Chelsea Drug Store
All roads lead to the Marketplace. This is where, on St. John, you care for your basic needs. Chelsea Drugs offers a full-service pharmacy and an extensive selection of cosmetics and personal care items. Need a toothbrush, hairdryer, batteries, or any of those pesky little items we always forget to pack? Chelsea Drug delivers with a smile and a friendly, “good morning,” or, “good afternoon.”
Before you settle into your villa or Airbnb, you will want to stock up on snacks and meals. Starfish Market and Gourmet is the largest grocer on the island. Here you will find an extensive deli and prepared foods counter, hundreds of square feet of produce, a butcher and seafood counter, bakery, and everything else you might find in a fine stateside supermarket. In the separate gourmet section, select from imported cheeses, fine wines and spirits, cured meats, olives, chocolates and more.