It was over twenty years ago we enjoyed our first meal from La Tapa’s owner and executive chef, Alexandra Ewald, when we where fortunate to have her cater our wedding. The food and service was fabulous despite it being her very first attempt at catering. Years later Alex opened La Tapa in down town Cruz Bay, St. John.
La Tapa describes their food as contemporary mediterranean with its own personal interpretation. Over the years we visited La tapa often and always came away extremely satisfied. On our recent trip the menu included a special Ceviche dish that was absolutely fabulous. Others in our group enjoyed additional specials including the lamb chops and wiener schnitzel. The schnitzel was tender and crispy and served with a delightful side of manchego mash potatoes and the chops where done to perfection. If you are looking for a fine dining experience while on St. John, La Tapa is worth a stop.
I decided not to stay on the beach as the sign just outside of Caneel Bay Resort for the Caneel trail was on my mind. My wife had done the trial years ago and said the view was spectacular. So I dropped my son and his friend off at Hawksnest Beach while I ventured the trail for my first time. I did a loop that took me first to the Water Catchment. (A wrong turn took me to Centerline road) but I ventured back and finally made the climb to Margaret Hill – worth the effort. My total time on the trail was just under two hours.
Here is my hike in words, images and video. If you get the chance take the trail.
Caneel Trail Mileage
My Trail Map for hike to the Water Catchment and Margaret Hill Overlook, St. John USVI
I parked at the entrance to the trial on Rte. 20 just across the entrance to Caneel Bay. I had Margaret Hill as a destination, but first stopped at Water Catchment. I realized later that the trail sign at the trail head needs to be combined with the a trail map (see below and combination on the left) as I at first did not understand how I got to the Catchment first, then up to Centerline Road. I went back to an unmarked cutoff where I should have gone right, not left . However, it was all worth it as I eventually made my way to the wonderful view at Margaret Hill.
Caneel Trail National Park Map
Quickly into the hike you encounter an old stone retaining wall.
This beautiful stone wall is encountered quickly on the hike
You then begin your ascent on a well groomed trail.
Begin your ascent
Following the path takes you to the Water Catchment. The catchment is an extensive concrete slab that catches rainwater, leading it into a basin for temporary storage. The water is piped through the force of gravity to the Caneel Bay Resort.
Water Catchment, St. John USVI
There are views from various spots when you get close to the top. I was able to slip between some rocks to experience some great views before a small side trail gives you access to a “Platform Rock” with panoramic views.
View from Margaret Hill
A short Margaret Hill trail video
The Caneel Hill portion of this trail can be accessed from Cruz Bay and is a bit more challenging. The easiest way to get to the Margaret Hill views is to access the trail from Centerline Road. When you exit the gate at Hummingbird Hill Villa, turn left. Then turn left onto Centerline road. The trial entrance will be on your right. Enjoy your stay on St. John, USVI!
The Reef Bay Trail hike is about a 2 hour hike one way. There is great history tied to the trail and of course you get to see the Petroglyphs. I ran a cross a very good description of the hike at Travel Shop Girl’s blog. Hiking the Reef Bay Trail. If you are considering the trail or just want to learn more about the island take the time to read it. There is a ton of information on this trial and here are a few more great sources:
Hummingbird Hill will always be a special place for our family. Over the years Hummingbird Hill has witnessed many special occasions with friends and family. Weddings, anniversaries, birthday celebrations, girls’ weekends and great family vacations are all easy in the paradise called St. John. We have many repeat guests and hope you enjoy your stay and create your own memorable experiences. Link to guest comments
From the moment you arrive at Hummingbird Hill you will enjoy the Panoramic view.
The home is filled with memories and special pieces from our lives and we hope you will enjoy them. From the Hallway painting of Alonzo, who was our Island neighbor and the first to welcome us Hummingbird Hill, to items on and in the walls that carrying special meaning.