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Park Country

By Linda Tancs

Chances are, if you’ve visited St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, then you’ve encountered Virgin Islands National Park. That’s because two-thirds of the island is parkland, with key attractions like Annaberg Plantation and Trunk Bay in its borders. With so much area to explore, you needn’t fear going it alone. Ranger-guided tours abound in the park, covering hikes, shore walks, bird walks and even snorkel tours. The Reef Bay Trail is a year round hiking tour, where the island’s oldest and tallest trees are found amidst sugar plantation ruins, stone walls from cattle grazing and ancient rock carvings left behind by the pre-Colombian Taino. The L’Esperance Hike (available November thru April) follows an old Danish road that leads to a scenic transition from shady tropical forest to a desert-like landscape. Along the way you’ll find the island’s only baobab, a sacred tree species that was brought to the Caribbean by enslaved Africans. Both hikes end with a 40-minute boat ride back to the Cruz Bay Visitor Center.

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