Named by the Spanish, Cruz Bay is St. John ’s first and only real town. The heart of Cruz Bay lies within about six square blocks immediately adjacent to the Franklin A. Powell, Sr. Park, which faces the passenger ferry terminal. This is a good place to people-watch.
Cruz Bay’s streets are lined with shops, open-air bars , and restaurants  that cater to visitors. The town is steadily expanding, with the construction of upscale shopping centers , condominiums, and homes around the outskirts of the original village.
For decades, the pace was slow and the attitude was casual in Cruz Bay. While some of this low-key ambience remains, old Cruz Bay is quickly being replaced by another sort of town, one where SUVs rule the road, parking is a nightmare, and people are in a hurry.
For visitors, Cruz Bay is a necessary part of any journey to St. John . This is where the passenger and car ferries arrive and depart and where the greatest number of restaurants and shops are found. It is home to the largest grocery stores and St. John’s most happening nightlife. It is also where you will find the visitors center for the Virgin Islands National Park, the best starting point for any tour of the island. Two excellent beaches are a short hike away from the town center.
Logistically speaking, a car is a liability in central Cruz Bay. Parking is atrocious, and the maze of one-way streets is confusing for a first-time visitor. Walking is the best way to get around, but beware the narrow sidewalks, hills, and hot sun.
Finding your way around can be challenging since there are few road signs in town. Directions are often given in relation to community hubs, like Mongoose Junction , the post office, and the churches. Pick up one of the glossy hand-drawn three-dimensional St. John Guidebook maps, which is the best tool for finding your way around Cruz Bay.