Driving in St. John
We strongly recommend that you rent a Jeep. Jeeps are the most common rental vehicles here on St. John. While Sunset Serenade is within walking distance to town (for the fit and adventurous), and our Chocolate Hole units are walking distance to the Westin Resort for a taxi, we strongly recommend renting a Jeep as our roads are very narrow and steep, and they do not have sidewalks. Renting a Jeep will also allow you to explore our beautiful island, which is more than two-thirds National Park.
We drive on the left side of the road on St. John. The speed limit around the island does not go above 20mph. Sometimes vehicles will slow down and stop to chat with a pedestrian. We encourage drivers to take it slow and remember to look both ways. You may encounter goats, sheep, cows, pigs or donkeys while driving. Be careful and drive slow.
The Down Yonder Villa, Garden Suite at Chocolate Hole, Honeymoon Suite and Penthouse at Sunset Serenade have their own private washers and dryers. We provide detergent for these units.
Parking in Cruz Bay can be a challenge during high season months. We almost always park in the Gravel Lot adjacent to the car ferry and tennis courts. Check out this link for more information on Cruz Bay parking options: http://newsofstjohn.com/2016/01/03/where-to-park-in-cruz-bay/.
Each unit comes with a Keurig coffee maker and a regular coffee maker. We provide a regular coffee k-cup per adult for each morning. We also provide a tea and decaf k-cup for each night you have booked the unit. If you will need more coffee or tea, it is sold at the local markets or you can bring your own.
No. Bug repellent and sunscreen is provided in all our units.
Yes, each unit comes with an iron and ironing board.
Of course not! Island Abodes provides all guests with toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent (for Down Yonder Villa, Garden Suite, Honeymoon and Penthouse only), dishwasher soap (Down Yonder Villa and Penthouse only). Each unit also comes with shampoo, bath gel and the Chocolate Hole rentals and Papaya Suite comes with hair conditioner.
No way! Island Abodes provides all guest linens including high quality sheets, pillowcases, bath towels, washcloths, and beach towels.
Yes! We provide beach chairs, beach towels and a beach cooler to all guests.
St. John Questions
St. John is great for people who love the outdoors. Being two-thirds National Park, we have a ton of outdoor activities. There are over 10 world class beaches where you can relax, swim or snorkel. Numerous hiking trails crisscross the island, ranging in difficulty, from easy to challenging. Boat trips to the neighboring British Virgin Islands are also a popular activity. You will, however, need a passport for those trips. If you have any questions about activities here on St. John, please ask us, we are happy to help.
We have a great blog post to answer this very question. Check it out here: http://www.islandabodes.com/how-far-away-is-the-beach/
Yes, we have bugs here in the Caribbean. The two main bugs are mosquitos and no-see-ums. Both are most active just before sunset. All you need is some bug spray – which we provide to all guests – and you shouldn’t have an issue. Each of our units is also equipped with an electronic mosquito zapper (looks like a tennis racquet) in case one of the wily critters follows you inside.
We have two main towns on St. John – Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. Cruz Bay is our main town. It is also where you will arrive via ferry. Cruz Bay has an abundance of shops, restaurants and bars. It is also a great place to watch the sunset.
Coral Bay is roughly eight miles from Cruz Bay or a 20-30-minute car ride. Coral Bay is a much sleepier place with a handful of shops and restaurants. Coral Bay is a great spot to watch the sunrise.
St. John Tidbits To Remember While Visiting
- Greetings: It is customary to greet everyone with good morning, good afternoon, good day or good night.
- Driving: We drive on the left, have no stop lights, and maximum speed limit is 20mph.
- Currency: Our currency is the US dollar.
- Language: We are an English-speaking island, but with a Caribbean lilt. You may also hear Patois, a mix of English, French and Spanish.
- Virgin Islands National Park: Two-thirds of St. John is National Park. Much of it was donated by Laurence Rockefeller in the 1950s.
- Beaches: St. John’s North Shore has the best beaches…some of the best in the world! Salomon is the closest National Park beach to Island Abodes…it’s a 10-minute hike from the National Park Visitor’s Center. Hawksnest Beach, which has parking, is roughly 10 minutes by car (traveling at the 20mph speed limit). Trunk Bay, which is consistently ranked one of the top beaches in the world, is roughly 15 minutes (20 mph) from all our properties.
- Hiking Trails: We have more than two dozen hiking trails throughout the island.
- Restaurants: We have numerous restaurants ranging from casual to very upscale.
- Gas Stations: St. John has only two gas stations and both are within a quarter mile of each other in Cruz Bay.
- Grocery Stores: We have three main grocery stores in Cruz Bay. Starfish Market at the Marketplace has the largest selection. Dolphin Market at the roundabout and St. John Market across the street from the Westin are also good choices.
- Water: There is no fresh water source on St. John, so water is very precious here. Most the island homes catch water from the sky. Here in the land of sun and fun, we never flush for number one. We also don’t let the water run while showering, brushing teeth or washing hands.
- Power: Electric power is generated on St. Thomas and brought to St. John by underwater cables. It’s around 5 times more expensive than power on the mainland! Please help us conserve by turning off lights and never letting the AC run when you’re not home.
- Modesty: It is considered rude to be in public (other than on a beach) in a swimsuit. Men must wear shirts at all times unless on a beach. If women are in swimsuits, they should have a cover-up on when in public.
- BVIs: Day trips to the British Virgin Islands are very fun island/bar hopping days. Guests will need a passport for these trips. A passport is not necessary to visit St. John and St. Thomas.
- Animals: It is common to see cats, chickens, iguana, goats, donkeys, cows, deer and the occasional pig roaming our island. The island treats its animals very well. All cats are spayed/neutered, and we have feeding stations for them throughout the island. Stray dogs are not a problem on St. John. If a dog is found roaming, it is immediately brought to our animal shelter, the ACC.
- Pet Adoption: If you’re thinking of getting a new dog or cat, why not adopt one while on vacation? The ACC will help with the travel arrangements, and you’ll have the best souvenir from your St. John vacation!
- No Open Container Law: There’s no open container law on St. John. So, much like in Key West or New Orleans, you can walk around with an adult beverage in hand.
Telephone & Cell Service
AT&T and Sprint cell service work best on St. John. Talk, text and data are all free. Verizon cell service is spotty at best. Text and data are free; however, you will get little to no service on island. Verizon calls cost approximately $1.99 a minute. Your smart phone or iPad will work on the Wi-Fi provided in each unit.
Some parts of the island do not have cell service at all. Other areas connect to British Virgin Island cell towers, which can be quite costly. It is a good idea to switch on airplane mode while exploring the North Shore and Coral Bay.
Check with your service provider to confirm that they provide service in the Virgin Islands and that you will not incur any roaming charges before traveling.
Traveling To St. John
St. John is a very casual island. When packing, keep comfort in mind. It’s hot here in the tropics, so cotton is your friend. We typically advise women to leave their heels and wedges at home. A few bathing suits and cover-ups are plenty. For men, a t-shirt and shorts are just fine. You do not need to dress up for dinner at most restaurants. Flip flops can be worn pretty much anywhere. Here’s a humorous blog post on what not to pack when planning a trip to the Caribbean:
From what we’ve heard, yes, it is. It is up to you whether you want to risk it or not. Here is a link to AA’s website regarding St. Thomas check in times: https://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/destinationInformation/stt-airport.jsp
St. John does not have an airport; therefore, you will need to fly into St. Thomas (airport code: STT). After you land in St. Thomas, you will need to take a taxi to Red Hook, which is where you will get on the ferry to Cruz Bay, St. John. Finding a taxi at the airport is simple; all you have to do is exit the airport and there will be several taxis waiting for you. The cost for the taxi to the ferry in Red Hook is $15 per person for a shared taxi. There is an added charge of $3 per large bag. Purses, backpacks and laptop bags are free of charge. The taxi ride is approximately 30-60 minutes. Times vary based on the number of stops made prior to arriving at Red Hook, as well as traffic. Private taxis are also available at a cost of $90, all inclusive. Ferries depart Red Hook every hour on the hour. The cost of the ferry is $8.15 one way. There is an added charge of $4 per large bag. Purses, backpacks and laptop bags are free of charge. The ferry ride takes approximately 15 minutes.
Like most tropical destinations, St. John’s weather is variable. It will be raining on one side of the island and the other side will be dry and sunny. Historically, the rainiest months are September, October and November. Most rain showers are very short and happen intermittently. It is highly unlikely that it will rain throughout your entire visit.