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St. John, US Virgin Islands

Updated on January 2, 2015

Clear Aqua Water--Ahh, the Caribbean

With white sandy beaches, crystal clear aqua blue water and a low-key pace, the US Virgin Islands (USVI) are a great place to visit if you want to wind down, rejuvenate And have a classic beach vacation. With US citizenship, travel to the islands is easy (no passport required) and if you are on the East Coast, it's a quick trip down.

Getting There Via Puerto Rico

The airport on St. Thomas, USVI is the entry point by air for the US Virgin Islands. From there you can explore St. Thomas or take a ferry directly to St. John (and St. Croix or Water Island, both part of the USVI).

Most likely, you will need to fly through San Juan, Puerto Rico to get there and I recommend a stay of a few days in Puerto Rico before flying over to St. Thomas. San Juan, Puerto Rico is colorful, friendly and full of historically significant architecture. And, you would have a layover of some length anyway. You may as well stop and enjoy Puerto Rico. No Passport needed here either, though it's a good idea to take one with you if you can. It will make your travel connections easier and will allow you to also visit the nearby British Virgin Islands.

Streets of Old San Juan - Lots of Shopping!

Old San Juan Architecture

Where to Stay if You Stop on Puerto Rico

Here are two excellent options for you to consider. One is in the midst of the action in Old San Juan and one is on the beach.

View at Caribe Hilton, Puerto RIco - Where "Rum Runners" with Johnny Depp was filmed

On to St. John: Getting Around in the USVI

The airport on St. Thomas is your entry point and is located just outside of the town of Charlotte Amalie at the western end of the island.

FERRIES: If you are going to stay on the island of St. John, you will need to take a ferry from St. Thomas out of Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook. In either case, you will need to take a taxi to the ferry first.

If you are booked at the Westin St. John resort or Caneel Bay, they have their own private ferry services which you will want to book ahead of your trip. Head over to the far side of the terminal where you will find the Westin and Caneel Bay waiting and check-in areas.

There are 2 ferries on St. Thomas: one at Red Hook and another at Charlotte Amalie. They will take you back and forth between St. Thomas and St. John. Red Hook is closer to Cruz Bay, the main docking area on St John, so the ride is a bit shorter.

CAR RENTAL: While you are visiting the USVI, you may want to rent a car. Though there is plenty of transportation available by way of taxi, shuttle and bus, for as many times as you may want to go exploring, those charges can add up, especially on St. Thomas because of its size. On the smaller island of St. John there are fewer roads, but they are very narrow and winding.

TAXIS: You may not want to bother with driving yourself around as driving is done on the left side of the road and the roads can be winding and confusing, so it's a trade-off. If you do get dropped off by taxi somewhere, you can pre-pay and arrange to have them return to pick you up at a certain time. The taxis are regulated, very reliable, honest and prompt.

Night Ferry - Heading From St. John to St. Thomas

A Great Travel Guidebook for the Islands

Top 10 US & UK Virgin Islands (EYEWITNESS TOP 10 TRAVEL GUIDE)
Top 10 US & UK Virgin Islands (EYEWITNESS TOP 10 TRAVEL GUIDE)

We used an earlier version of this book for our first trip to the islands and found it to be a great resource and extremely useful. I highly recommend it and there is a Kindle version, as well, if you prefer.

 

USVI Informational Websites

For your convenience, here are direct links to some good online resources on the US Virgin Islands.

View From the Back of a Taxi on St John

Where to Stay on St. John

We prefer the more relaxed atmosphere and abundance of nature on St John. Here are some suggestions on where to stay.

Time Share Deals on St. John - Time Shares on St. John

The smallest of the Westin villas--the studios--usually rent from the Westin for between $300 and $600 a night, depending on the season and any special promotions. These are rented by the week. Use this to help you spot a good deal on an owner's rental price at the Westin.

Scott Beach - Inside Caneel Bay Resort

Asolare Restaurant - ... just outside Cruz Bay

This restaurant has the most wonderful food and stunning location on all of St. John, in my opinion. Arrive early to be seated in the best location: right on the railing overlooking the ocean. Simply an experience you won't forget.

Walkway to Asolare - Our Favorite Restaurant on St. John

VIew From Asolare

Fabulous Guide Books for St. John

Here are 2 guidebooks for St. John that are written by locals. They are just excellent resources.

Written by a Local

St. John Off The Beaten Track
St. John Off The Beaten Track

Use this guide to find places you might not otherwise hear about.

 

How to Get Around & What You'll Find

St. John  Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Drive
St. John Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Drive

Another local writer in the know gives you detailed, nitty gritty info on St. John.

 

Exploring Under the Water - Snorkeling!

This is my favorite thing to do at the islands. I love to float around in the beautiful aqua blue water and watch the fish and other animals. Its so easy, relaxing, exciting and ever-changing. On a recent trip, among many other sights, I saw a giant spotted ray, a huge sea turtle and a family of 4 medium-sized squid.

Take your own equipment. It will be much more pleasant. And, wear a t-shirt or a special cover, called a "rash guard" so your back doesn't burn. No matter how much water-proof sunscreen you put on, you will burn so easily floating there in the water.

Following are several selections to help you with snorkeling in the US Virgin Islands.

Turtle Bay Beach

Learn More About Snorkeling & What You Will See

Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas
Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas

Reviewed very highly, this book is an awesome guide for snorkelers.

 

Sailing Out

Guided Water Tours - Take a Boat Tour

There are many options for boating. Here are a few. Tip: Be sure to make plans to include the BVI (British Virgin Islands) in your excursions. They are even more secluded and laid back. We love Jost Van Dyke. You WILL need to have a passport to go to the BVI.

On a Sailing Trip

Go Ahead. Treat Yourself!

Treat yourself to a relaxing, exotic vacation in the US Virgin Islands. You won't regret it. Soaking up all that sunlight, warm ocean water and laid back life-style in the middle of winter, or anytime, is a great boost for your mood.

Here is the view tableside at the Asolore restaurant on St. John.

Please share with all of us your Virgin Island suggestions, or just make a comment on this lens right here.

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image

      kittitianhill 5 years ago

      I just wanted to comment your blog and say that I really enjoyed reading your blog post here. It was very informative. Keep it up and Iâll be back to read more soon.

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    • profile image

      creativezazz 6 years ago

      Going to St John is Feb. Good tips. Thanks.

    • profile image

      GHouse 8 years ago

      Hi!! Just come to see your nice lens. I did my travel lens too. It's about my hotel in hua hin Thailand. Hua Hin is a charming town of clean white sandy beach. If you come to Thailand, please visit us.

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 9 years ago

      Nice work done for this lens! Join the brand new group for the World's Best Islands

      Keep on good job! 5*

    • TopStyleTravel profile image

      TopStyleTravel 9 years ago

      I love St. John and the Virgin Islands. I never get tired of it. Wonderful lens.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 9 years ago from New York

      I love the Virgin Islands! Can hardly wait to go back. 5* for a well done lens. I lensrolled you to my Hawaii lens and added you to my Faves.

      Big Island of Hawaii

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      This very grateful lens here, I like white sandy beaches and it is fantastic place, I want to visit US Virgin Island.

      Thanks for sharing such a great information.

      Check out my lens that focuses on swimming pool services.

    • profile image

      elyfrank 9 years ago

      Hi, guys

      I agree, US Virgin Island is a great destination. I will be traveling to Anguilla and Saint Maarten this summer.

    • profile image

      AEAdviser 9 years ago

      I agree, the US Virgin Islands are a great place to vacation. Great lens, 5*'s, thanks for the information.

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 9 years ago from Detroit

      Featured on the Wanderers Travel Group page!

    • cathyb5701 profile image

      cathyb5701 10 years ago

      Very informative lens! 5*'s! Please visit my site on Anguilla Anguilla