St. John, USVI Basics

St. John, USVI Basics

St. John is the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands (the others are St. Thomas and St. Croix). 2/3 of the island is a National Park, making St. John a desired destination for nature lovers and people wanting to get away from it all (for a few days or permanently). Almost every list of best Caribbean beaches includes at least one St. John entry (usually Trunk Bay).

How to Get To St. John, USVI

St. John can only be reached by the sea. That is part of the charm. Most visitors fly into St. Thomas and take a ferry. You can also take longer ferry rides from the British Virgin Islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, or Jost Van Dyke.

Getting Around St. John

vibrant and colorful bus stop on St John USVI
Jacob’s Ladder – bus stop on St. John, USVI

Renting a car is almost a necessity. The most popular vehicle rental on the island is a jeep. Fun, too. Car rentals can sell out during popular times, as I found out from experience. Lucky for me someone knew someone that rented their own vehicle. Whew. Here is a listing of St. John car rental firms. St. John has plenty of taxis and a reliable bus service (great deal for $1). More info here.

Where to Stay on St. John

There are three large hotel properties on St. John: Caneel BayGallows Point, and Westin.

Many visitors choose to rent a vacation home when visiting St. John. Vacation homes are cost-effective for four or more persons. This prior blog post has some great tips and explanations. I have used Villas Caribe (now Travel Keys) two times and was very happy. First was for my honeymoon and second was for a family vacation. The second rental was down a very bumpy dirt road (see, jeep!), had a private pool and hot tub, four master bedrooms, two kitchens, great views and privacy, and resident iguanas–all for less than a room at Caneel Bay.

Where to Eat on St. John, USVI

Restaurants are a little more expensive on St. John than typical tourist destinations. Plan on spending $100 per meal for 4 persons. Cruz Bay is St. John’s main commercial area and most restaurants are here. One exception is Skinny Legs in Coral Bay, a place for burgers and getting your TV sports fix. You can certainly save money by stocking up with groceries and having some meals at your vacation rental. In fact, many residents and visitors bring coolers on the ferry packed with meats and other goods from St. Thomas or elsewhere. There are also some street vendors, including a BBQ stand in Cruz Bay (good!) and Ms. Vie’s past Coral Bay (great food and a private beach).

Have you been to St. John, USVI or want to go?

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2 thoughts on “St. John, USVI Basics”

  1. I’ve been to St John once, very briefly – ish.

    I was actually on a cruise to St Thomas and went on a boat trip to St John, sailing around some of it’s coast, stopping to swim and snorkel, that sort of thing.

    The little I saw, was truly lovely. I’d love to get back there sometime and be able to visit the island properly. The small taster I got of it definitely made me want more 🙂

    • I know many visitors to St. John come on day trips from St. Thomas cruise stops. The big appeal, to me, of St. John is that it is relatively difficult to get to.

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