St. John, USVI travel advice

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Travel1013
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St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by Travel1013 » Fri May 09, 2014 6:41 pm

Visiting St John in October for a week with wife. Any tips on car rentals, beaches, restaurants, and activities appreciated. Thanks.

forkhorn
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by forkhorn » Fri May 09, 2014 7:54 pm

Went with the wife 18 months ago. We thought it was great everywhere as long as you realize you're going to a relatively rich and white island (less traditional Caribbean soul and culture there), but where to stay depends on what you like. The snorkeling is fantastic and we spent several hours each day in the water. We thought Maho Bay Camps was fantastic but it's definitely not for everyone. If you are not staying a a resort you will need to rent a car. They are much cheaper to rent on St. Thomas and you can take them across the ferry if you rent from the right place (think we rented from Budget). Don't believe the nonsense about needing a Jeep- you will do fine with a compact car and be less obviously a tourist (and spend less money). If you are like me you will obtain a USVI Lonely Planet and read it to get an idea of what is available and then just do what seems most interesting.

Edit: I forgot that Maho Bay Camps has been sold, so nevermind that suggestion.... Also, our favorites were the kayak snorkeling tour, hiking to Ram's head, watching the yachts in St. Cruz, and drinking the rum drinks.

Erwin007
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by Erwin007 » Fri May 09, 2014 8:16 pm

Agree with the advice above. We stayed on St Thomas and rented a car that we took over on the ferry and used to get around St John. Definitely need to see Trunk Bay. Beautiful beach (from above at the vantage point on the road, and at the beach itself) with pretty good snorkeling. They even have a trail for you to follow.

We also did a hike down to and past an old sugar plantation. Was about the hottest and most humid time in my life that I remember, and we were there in October also. There was thousands of hermit crabs down near the end of the trail by the water--so many in fact that you had to dodge them as you were walking or you would constantly step on them. When we finally got down to the water and were about to get in, we saw two small (4' or so) sharks swimming back and forth in the shallows. Didn't to out to far needless to say. But it was pretty cool and definitely worth doing.

nervousnovice
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by nervousnovice » Fri May 09, 2014 8:55 pm

we were fortunate to go to caneel bay a few years ago (on the company dime) and it was amazing. i highly recommend it, especially if you want something romantic. no phones or tv's in the room, but they do have wifi.

stan1
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by stan1 » Fri May 09, 2014 9:44 pm

We stayed in a waterfront condo at Gallows Point Resort which is within walking distance of the ferry terminal as well as all of the restaurants in Cruz Bay. We rented a car for a few hours on days we wanted to go to the North or East side of the island and did a lot of walking around Cruz Bay on other days. You can also take a jitney to Trunk Bay, but watch out for cruise ship excursions from St. Thomas. In particular we enjoyed snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay and a burger at Skinny Legs.

Iorek
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by Iorek » Fri May 09, 2014 10:34 pm

I sometimes see complaints about mosquitos-- any sense of what they are like? Is deet pretty much always required for outside, or only at dusk, or only after rains?

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Watty
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by Watty » Sat May 10, 2014 12:04 am

It is a short walk in but consider going here if you want to get away from the crowds;

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_R ... lands.html

We were only there for the day from St Thomas and I don't recall bugs being a problem.

chicago_meatball
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by chicago_meatball » Sat May 10, 2014 5:44 am

Going back for our 3rd trip in 2 months. It is our favorite place on Earth.

Regarding the car rental, we used discountcar.vi good prices and they give permission to use car ferries. Not all of them do so check before renting.

With beaches, everything on the northshore is amazong.

Trunk Bay- Amazing snorkling, but i'd recommend going on a day where cruz ships aren't in st thomas. Fewer people the better.
Waterlemo Cay- Our favorite beach, you can't drive all the way to it. You can park about 1/3 mile away and hike a trail right on the ocean to it. Not the greatest sand, but beautiful and, at least for us, has never had more than 20 people at the entire thing. Great trails and hiking right from the ocean too.
Hawksnet- Another beach on the north side of the island, we've had good luck finding sea turtles here.

We really enjoyed renting a boat and going to a few of the BVI's too. When we go back we are taking the ferry instead of a boat rental. Great drivng a boat into Jost Van Dyke and visting the soggy dollay bar.

enjoy!

stan1
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by stan1 » Sat May 10, 2014 6:16 am

Iorek wrote:I sometimes see complaints about mosquitos-- any sense of what they are like? Is deet pretty much always required for outside, or only at dusk, or only after rains?


Seasonal. I've only been in December when there isn't a problem with bugs.

metacritic
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by metacritic » Sat May 10, 2014 6:53 am

I rented a place on Mount Bordeaux and would have been unable to make it to our rental without four wheel drive. If you are in a hotel or at one of the low lying campsites you might not need such a vehicle. Otherwise it is a must. I also prefer the side of the island away from where cruise boats arrive and where most of the hotels are located.

Beaches are great. The waters are beautiful. Have fun.

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Dan-Fl
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by Dan-Fl » Sat May 10, 2014 7:31 am

On my sailboat in the Eastern Caribbean and on STJ about 7 month a year for 5 more years. It is a wonderful island. Where you stay is what you want. Cruz Bay is the west or busy part of the island. Coral Bay and beyond is the East End of the Island and quieter. Water is perfect everywhere and some beaches are wonderful.
Some are crowded. Some on North side can be death traps if North Swell coming in so must be aware. Trips to BVI are great.
It is a rustic island with wonderful opportunities. Don't compare it to anything, and your expectations will be met.
I know of many wonderful places to rent on the East End. It all depends how many dollars per week you wish to spend. If you ramp your expectations down it is perfect. Nights on the East End are like being in the middle of the caribbean sea, because you are!
If you want specifics, ask ahead
It is a wonderful get away
Dan-Fl

rbelous
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by rbelous » Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:49 pm

Dan-Fl wrote:I know of many wonderful places to rent on the East End. It all depends how many dollars per week you wish to spend.


Can you recommend some places at various price points? Looking to go in mid-late December. Thank you!

LifeIsGood
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by LifeIsGood » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:15 am

Iorek wrote:I sometimes see complaints about mosquitos-- any sense of what they are like? Is deet pretty much always required for outside, or only at dusk, or only after rains?

My daughter honeymooned on Virgin Gorda in Oct. and said the mosquitoes were terrible. VG is not far from St. Johns so I'd be prepared.

chicago_meatball
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by chicago_meatball » Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:04 pm

Number 1 on USVI trip advisor for a reason. its a bit out of the way, but no crowds, and some of my favorite snorkling on St John. Have always seen turtles, star fish rays there along with the other snorkling.

You can't drive all the way there, if you look on the map, the road will end and you have to hike the last quarter mile along the beach. My favorite place in the world.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_R ... lands.html

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Padlin
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by Padlin » Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:35 pm

We've rented in Coral Bay several times, always the same villa, http://www.tradewindscottage.com/, no air conditioning or pool. You do get the easterlies blowing right into the villa so the lack of AC has not been an issue.

We rent a 2 door jeep at Discount Car Rental which is close to, but off the airport. We drive to Red hook and grab the ferry, stopping at one of the grocery stores on the way to Red Hook. These are not your local Stop and Shop. It's cheaper on STT then STJ. It's about a half hour ferry, then about 30 minutes from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay. Some mediocre restaurants in Coral Bay, but enough to get by. We cook most of our meals.

Have tried out most of the beaches as well as snorkeling at them. We like pretty much all of them but frequent Salt Pond Bay as well as Little Lameshur, both are just minutes from the villa. The only negative if you want to call it such, is it's 30 minutes to Cruz Bay for better restaurants and over priced groceries.

Never had bugs at the cottage, we did get eaten badly when we stayed at Concordia Eco village. It's on the wrong side of the hill out of the breeze so the mosquitoes are numerous and it was very hot and humid, at least when we were there. We've gone in April.

We took a sail boat tour one year, very nice. Other then that we just chill. Lay on the beach, snorkel, and walk up to the Tourist Trap.
Regards | Bob

rakornacki1
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Re: St. John, USVI travel advice

Post by rakornacki1 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:51 pm

We vacationed there (St. Thomas, St. John) this past September. Rented a compact car from Dollar/Thrifty, so that we could take it on the ferry to St. John. Not all rental car companies will allow this. It is truly worth the rental cost. IMO, and having visited many beaches worldwide, the beaches on St. John are unquestionably the most beautiful in the world. We especially liked Trunk Bay. I would highly recommend packing a picnic for the day. As an added plus, the travel along the North Shore road is complete with outstanding views and full of nature. Enjoy!

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