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Rara Avis-Relax in your lounge chairs to the sounds of the surf! Romantic!

Bedrooms 4
Half Baths1
Space 2,800 sq. ft.
Property type villa
Minimum Stay 7 nights


About the property

4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Bathroom (Sleeps 8)

Rara Avis is a waterfront villa that is located on an oversized lot in Hart Bay, which is a bay with a small beach on the south coast of St. John. Rara is the last villa on a private drive and it sits in the middle of an oversized lot, so it is blessedly peaceful and quiet without even a whisper of vehicle traffic or other noise. As Rara’s website states, this home is 'located in an unusually quiet and private seaside setting where shimmering moonlight, warm trade winds, mesmerizing views and the background sounds of breaking surf weave a totally relaxing almost magical atmosphere.' Although Rara enjoys an excellent degree of privacy and tranquility, you are less than 3 miles from Cruz Bay. The beautiful 180 degree view takes in the entire south coast of St John, much of which is unspoiled National Park. Rara Avis faces south and the sun hits your decks from early in the morning to late in the afternoon. A short hike down a private path leads to the 83-degree, crystal clear waters of Hart Beach, where on a calm day you’ll enjoy some good snorkeling or swimming.

Rara consists of three distinct buildings – a 2-level stone house, plus two bedroom cabanas on both sides of the great house. Courtyards, gardens and walkways connect the three buildings and the pool. The upper level of the great house contains the great room with the living, dining and kitchen areas, plus a half bath, and a laundry room. A 450 sq/ft tiled sun deck with magnificent views runs along the waterfront side of the great house. The two bedrooms and the deck on the lower level are accessed by two sets of exterior stairs on either side of the great house. In addition to the pool’s sun deck there are four other private sun decks including two off the great house, and one off each bedroom cabana.

The two bedrooms cabanas are spacious (370 sq/ft) with queen beds, excellent privacy, lovely views and an intimate setting. Each cabana includes a tiled bath and a private deck or patio. The two guest bedrooms (twins that convert to a king) are located on the lower level of the great house and also offer romantic ocean views. The lower level guest bedrooms share a bath, and a fourth half bath is located off the kitchen in the great house

The living and dining rooms have been artistically finished to look like the interior of a centuries old Spanish or Italian villa. They are furnished with a combination of antiques and designer furniture that blends comfort with function. From either room screened sliding glass doors open to warm breezes, a spacious deck and sweeping views of the south shore National Park. A cable 32” flat screen TV/DVD, an AM/FM stereo//CD with iPod connection and wireless internet are provided. You can dine inside at the stately mahogany table seating 6 - 8, or outside on the sheltered garden patio.

The complete kitchen includes a 4-burner stove and oven, refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher, microwave, blender, coffee maker, toaster and a fine selection of dinnerware, cookware, and server ware. There is a gas barbeque grill in the courtyard.

More Details

Property Manager
Owner / Property Manager
Member since: 2010
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a day
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
March 16, 2018

About Owner / Property Manager

We are a family from Connecticut and we have had a home on St. John for more than 25 years. We were the first to build on Hart Bay and we had lots of land to choose from, so we bought the finest lot on the water. We built the first Rara Avis, which I call Rara v.1, and Hurricane Marilyn came roaring in and Rara v.1 vanished in the wind. But we love this island and this land too much to walk away, so in 1997 we built Rara v.2, which is a bigger, stronger and much more beautiful version of Rara v.1. We have traveled extensively in Spain and Italy and we love the aged look of European homes, so we imported a skilled artisan to St. John to give the new Rara the aged look of a centuries old villa in Tuscany. It’s an alluring concept – a European style villa on a beautiful waterfront site on St. John – and it certainly works well for Rara. At night, with the great house doors open and the soft glow of the valence lights, you could well imagine yourself on the coast of Italy or Spain. Twenty-five years and four children later, we’re still in love, with our island, our land and with the Tuscan villa we built here,with the memories we’ve shared here, and with each other. If you ask us why, the answer is easy - like the poet laureate of St. John said – “there is magic here” There really is, so spend a week or two at Rara, and you'll agree.

Owner / Property Manager purchased this villa in 1997

Why Owner / Property Manager chose Estate Chocolate Hole and Great Cruz Bay

We bought our land in Hart Bay before the real estate boom so we had plenty of choices for fine properties. This particular location was just more appealing than any other location we looked at. We wanted a waterfront lot where you could walk down to a small beach for beach walks and swimming and snorkeling, and over the years we have seen a lot of rays and colorful fish on snorkel expeditions in Hart Bay. Where else can you snorkel until you’re tired and then walk back to your villa and sit on your deck with a cold drink and look out at the places you were just mingling with the tropical fishes. We also love the way this location constantly invigorates and refreshes you. You are surrounded by and immersed in the elements of nature – the sun, the sights, sounds and smell of the sea, moonlight on the bay, lush vegetation, the constant music of gentle surf and the refreshing trade winds blowing off the water. For a family of New Englanders who spend a lot of time indoors, this is where we come to appreciate the simple, but glorious, wonders of Mother Nature. After enduring a long winter, a week or two in Rara Avis is a totally revitalizing and energizing experience. There’s nothing quite like it.

What makes this villa unique

The uniqueness of Rara all stems from this location on Hart Bay. When you spend time here you can’t fail to be renewed, re-energized and invigorated from the subtle but constant forces of nature that envelop you and massage you. For anyone who spends a lot of time within four walls, this villa, this location on Hart Bay, and this island, will reboot your spirit


Estate Chocolate Hole and Great Cruz Bay Villa Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • villa
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 2800 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM / Check-out: 10:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 8
  • children welcome
Location Type:
  • Ocean View
  • Oceanfront
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Fireplace
  • Garage ...
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Parking
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining Room
  • seating for 8 people
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , shower
    Bathroom 4 - toilet
    Bathroom 3 - toilet , shower
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8
  • Bedroom 3 - 2 twin/ single , Lower left, twin beds convert to a king
    Bedroom 4 - 2 twin/ single , Lower right, twins convert to a king
    Bedroom 1 - 1 queen , Left cabana, private deck
    Bedroom 2 - 1 queen , Right cabana, private patio
  • The two bedrooms cabanas are spacious (370 sq/ft) with queen beds, excellent privacy, lovely views and an intimate setting. Each cabana includes a tiled bath and a private deck or patio. The two guest bedrooms (twins that convert to a king) are located on the lower level of the great house and also offer romantic ocean views. The lower level guest bedrooms share a bath, and a fourth bath is located off the kitchen in the great house
  • Books
  • DVD Player
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • Deck / Patio
  • Outdoor Grill
Pool / Spa:
  • Private Pool
  • churches
  • duty free shops
  • restaurants
  • ruins
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • boating
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • laundromat
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • deepsea fishing
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • parasailing
  • sailing
  • snorkeling
  • snorkeling/diving
  • tennis
The home includes beach towels, beach chairs and a cooler.


Excellent! 4.3/5 -
(7 traveler reviews)

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Rara Avis-Relax in your lounge chairs to the sounds of the surf! Romantic!
average rating of 4.285714 based on 7 reviews
South Berwick

Beautiful view

  • 3 of 5

Our group all agreed there are many positive attributes to the property! The view is breathtaking , we loved the large open living area and having separate bedroom bungalows for privacy was a plus. The property managers were helpful and friendly!! We ran into a maintenance guy who asked us what we thought the property needed to make renters stay more comfortable. Overall Rara Avis is a nice property but in desperate need of updates. We come to St. John 1-2 times a year and would consider staying there again. It would be more enticing if some updates were done such as new sliding screen doors, dyer, bathroom plumbing and furniture.

  • Submitted: Apr 19, 2017
  • Stayed: March 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Rara Avis has a charm that is undeniable. Thank you for sharing your feedback with us as the sliders and dryer are in the process of being replaced. Updates for the furniture and bathrooms will be taking place shortly as well. Again, thank you for sharing as your suggestions have been taken into consideration and already in the works! We hope to see you in the future!
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0 0
A small town in New Hampshire

Excellent location, property showing its lack of maintenance, so add a bit of age to the photos.

  • 3 of 5

The good and then the "needs improvement":


Caribbean Villas as the rental agency -- very responsive, polite, accurate, helpful, friendly. Use these people for your rental.

The property is on a private lot directly above the ocean. No noise other than the surf. And a short drive to Cruz Bay, where one can find everything, but from where one can disappear in 5 minutes back to the solitude of this place.

Beautiful views. Watch the sun come up in the morning.

Great breeze off the bay, flows through the main part of the house.

Nice layout with two lower bedrooms and two separate cabanas.

Nice to have coolers, beach chairs and beach towels in abundance.


Property seems to show a lack of regular owner engagement and maintenance. One sliding door does not lock; we replaced three burned out light bulbs (including two of three fairly obvious deck lights); two of four stove burners did not light without manual intervention, coffee machine broken (but promptly replaced by Caribbean villas because that WAS an emergency); DVD player had no remote, no pause, no fast forward, forcing us to enjoy endless previews before our beloved Pirates of the Caribbean; no opener to puncture a can (for that pineapple juice for pina coladas); a door handle fell off; a shower handle fell off. House furnished with a dozen island music CDs, but the CD player was broken. Get the picture? My bet is that Caribbean Villas would have responded well to much of this, but who wants repair people every day when the next thing happens or is discovered?


There is a beach below the property, accessible by a foot path. It is rocky and we saw no one swimming there -- just a few surfers on a couple of days. So -- nice to look at, but don't think of it as "beach" in the sense of, "Let's go down for a swim."

The small pool is nicely shaded part of the day, but that means that the renter will need to scoop out a lot of leaves on a daily basis. Not a huge chore, but not for everyone.


We had a good time, because we are used to home maintenance, and could shrug off the growing list of minor annoyances -- but that might not be everyone's cup of tea.

We would happily rent this property again, IF the owner decided to reinvest more of the rental income for (a) renewal and (b) upkeep.

  • Submitted: Mar 12, 2017
  • Stayed: March 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for bringing the maintenance issues to our attention, and for sharing your experience at Rara Avis and St John. Your suggestions re the villa were forwarded to the owner and we will addressing these issues immediately. You were a pleasure to work with and we would be honored to have you stay with us again!
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0 0

A Wonderful St. John Gem

  • 5 of 5

Wonderful rental in St.John , perfect for couples traveling together . We visited with two other couples and each of us had our own private spaces. One couple took the downstairs bedrooms in the main house and the other two stayed in the cabanas on each side of the main house. The house has a very beautiful ocean sunrise view with doors that open to both the main deck and courtyard area. Great court yard with tons of space . Kitchen had everything you could imagine for cooking and a gas grill to BBQ. Bedrooms have nice linens and towels and the entire home including cabanas is decorated very tastefully. We loved our stay at the Rara Avis in St. John and would definitely recommend to others.

  • Submitted: Jan 31, 2017
  • Stayed: January 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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0 0

Great House in St John

  • 5 of 5

We were invited by frequent St John visitors to join them for a week in this lovely spot. Really nice place for a family getaway or a few couples. The main living space is open and breezy with great views of the bay. The two separate cottages are each perfect for a couple and more private. Ample space for a rental car (or two!) in a carport. Well lit at night. Comfortable beds and adequate bathrooms in each bedroom. Nice towels and beach towels, lots of beach chairs to take on your snorkeling expeditions. Service was pretty good, given this is the islands - the dishwasher was broken and the appliance repair guy, promised the next AM, never showed. But when a toilet stopped up they were there to fix it fast. Coffee maker died, too, but they do that. All in all, we loved it and would come stay again - still gets our 5 stars.

  • Submitted: Feb 15, 2016
  • Stayed: February 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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0 0

Great Location, Great Open Spaces

  • 4 of 5

Rara Avis was a very interesting property, and we are glad we stayed there. We loved the closeness to Cruz Bay (ferry, shops, restaurants) and the beaches on the North Shore. We had considered a couple of places near Coral Bay -- we ruled them out because we were arriving early evening. With being new to driving on the left, we didn't want to have to drive from the ferry dock in Cruz Bay to Coral Bay in the dark, on the left... Later in our trip we went to Coral Bay, with it being off-season, there wasn't much open over there. We are so glad we chose Rara Avis and Cruz Bay off-season!

Rara Avis has wide open spaces. The front of the home facing Hart Bay has huge sliders, the rear has large folding wooden doors and a large window in the kitchen. When we were "home" we kept these open all the time to let in the sea breeze, and the occasional bird and lizard. It was very warm when we were there, and there is no air flow nor ceiling fans in the bedrooms in the lower level of the main house. There were only 4 of us so we used the Cabanas detached from the main house for our sleeping quarters. The pods had ceiling fans and large doors in the front, windows in the back for air flow. It was still warm at times trying to sleep. No A/C in the main home nor the cabanas...that's OK, we opened everything up and let nature in -- literally! We would snorkel during the day at the many beautiful beaches or hike the park, come back to Rara Avis, take a swim in the pool, get cleaned up and pick a Cruz Bay restaurant for dinner. Then we would come home and sit on the beautiful, spacious deck of the main house with adult beverages and watch the moon rise and stargaze. There are lots of deck options, and patio seating areas to choose from (private or group spaces), lots of hidden nooks. There are two outdoor showers, a nice bar-b-q grill, and a very well appointed kitchen. There were beach chairs and coolers available for our use, a washer and dryer, beach towels...

The pool could use some maintenance, the tile coping was missing in places, and the furniture in the living room could use some updating. It worked fine for our needs, and is a nice place, but elegant and fancy it isn't!

DO NOT Rent Rara because there is a beach and water access, that is not the draw for this property. The beach area wasn't merely rocky, it was piles of coral, not even good for walking much less swimming. We were a little disappointed on that front. We would stay here again.

  • Submitted: Nov 15, 2015
  • Stayed: October 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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5 0
Exeter, NH

Rara Avis is a dream spot.

  • 5 of 5

This was our second time at Rara Avis. In 2013 we brought a good friend who had cancer and it was a trip of a lifetime for him. This time, we brought three other friends and had a wonderful time too. The constant white noise of the waves in Hart Bay are a blessing to my ears and I forgot that I have tinnitus. The privacy of the lovely courtyard makes it a wonderful place to sit and watch the stars. Rara Avis is a comfortable villa with nice beds and amazing sunrise views over Ditliff Point. The two cabanas offer another level of privacy for couples that is wonderful. The pool has gradual steps that make it easy to get in slowly. The kitchen is well stocked with dishes and utensils and the gas grill was a nice bonus. Rara is also an amazingly nice spot to view the many flowering plants and fauna. St. John is a peaceful spot to go for rejuvenation from a stressful job.

  • Submitted: Mar 1, 2015
  • Stayed: February 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Tax Rate 17.5%

THANKSGIVING - Off Season rates apply
12.5% hotel tax/5% service charge
$500 Damage Deposit

50% is due within 7 days of booking, final payment is due 60 days prior to arrival. For Christmas/New Years bookings- final payment is due 120 days prior to arrival.

Manager's Cancellation Policy

  • Canceled bookings will not receive a refund

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