4 Reasons to Get a Vacation Rental in St. John

If you’re planning a trip to the islands of the Caribbean, you’ve already made the first step toward an amazing vacation experience. St. John and the U.S. Virgin Islands are filled with fun attractions, delicious food, and beautiful beaches. To get the most out of Carribean vacation, you need to steer clear of the hotels and tourist traps. Here are four reasons why you should get a vacation rental from Island Abodes when you plan a trip to St. John.

Affordable Pricing

It may seem counterintuitive, but renting a home can be more affordable than staying at a hotel in St. John. When the cost of the vacation villa is split between party members, a vacation rental from Island Abodes is less expensive than staying at a hotel, especially for all of the amenities, the beachside view, and the private space you get from an Island Abodes vacation rental. We even have a Best Price Guarantee, so you know you’re getting a good deal. You will never find a lower rate on any of our villas somewhere else.

All the Comforts of Home

Staying in a hotel is one of the more frustrating parts of traveling because it’s so different from everyday life. You go from living in a private residence to sharing accommodations with hundreds of guests. You have a smaller bathroom and little access to a kitchen if any at all. Rentals from Island Abode give you all the comforts of home. You get large bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchens (some that are fully equipped), and more. All of our rentals except the Papaya Suite, even have private washers and dryers.

Enjoy a More Authentic Experience

When you stay in a vacation villa from Island Abodes, you get to enjoy a more authentic Caribbean vacation experience. Hotels and the areas around them become tourist traps. Since people know that tourists with money are in the area, merchants can raise prices or sell goods that are lower quality than what locals would accept. Since we live here, we know the restaurants, island activities, tour operators, and the beaches. We’ll make sure you always know the best places to go to fulfill your vacation dreams.

Takes the Middleman Out of Travel Plans

With Island Abodes, renting a vacation villa is fast and easy. You don’t have to go through a travel agent or a booking service. Not only do you get a fantastic place to stay, but you also save money on booking fees. You also don’t have to worry about any surprise issues that may arise once you reach your destination. We own and operate each villa on our website, so we can accurately answer any questions you have about the villa and its features. Plus, we are on the island if you need anything at all. Our personal approach ensures you have a great visit when you stay in one of our vacation villas.

Next time you plan a trip to the Caribbean, you should consider staying at an Island Abodes vacation rental. You will save money and have a better experience overall. It’s a win-win scenario. If you have any questions about renting a vacation rental, send us a message online.

How to Travel Without Luggage

Although we normally think of traveling with luggage and we have gotten used to traveling with luggage, traveling without luggage can be done. It may not be the most convenient thing but it definitely can be done and can make traveling a lighter load. This also prevents you from having to worry about the dimensions of your luggage, the things inside of your luggage, and paying extra baggage fees while traveling by plane because you will not have any luggage. It can make traveling a lot easier. Follow these tips in order to begin traveling without luggage.

The Basics

If you are a woman, you will want to carry a large purse. If you are a man, you can use a duffle bag or a backpack. This can be packed full of your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, change of underwear, pajamas, and makeup if you wear it. These basic items will hold you over and get you through needing the basic things if there is an emergency while traveling and you get delayed.

Shipping Packages

The best thing to do when traveling without luggage is to have your packages shipped to your vacation villa seven to ten days ahead of time. Island Abodes provides this service at no extra charge. We will just keep your packages and keep them safe and have them in your rental at check in.  Be sure that your packages do not have much value in case they are lost in the shipping process. You want to ensure that you address your packages correctly. Please let us know you are mailing a package and mail it to the following address:

Island Abodes

Your Name

Rental Name & Check in date

5000 Estate Enighed PMB 567

ST John, USVI 00830

Small Purchases

All Island Abodes rentals come equipped with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, sunscreen, bug spray etc.  so no need to purchase. Things like shaving cream, razor or specialty items can be purchased at any St John market or Chelsea Drug Store.

Only Take What You Need

The best way to avoid traveling with much luggage or any luggage at all is to only take what you need, swimsuit, few clothing items and flats. Most people overpack and don’t wear or use have of what they bring on vacation. If you are staying with us, we basically provide everything you need, you may get by with just bringing a couple of outfits and a swimsuit. Be sure to think about what you will do on your vacation and only take what you need. It will be nice to have less to keep track up while on vacation.

8 Tuff Miles

The last Saturday in February might be the busiest time on St John! Why? Because every year, more than 1,000 runners come to the island to participate in 8 Tuff Miles. They race from the Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center in Cruz Bay to the Coral Bay ballpark. The Island Abodes team has run (well really walked) this race several times and it is always a blast! Organizations have water stations throughout the 8 miles. Volunteers dress up, play fun music, and some water stations have shots and beer for you to enjoy!

The challenge in this race is the hilly terrain. The event begins with an uphill climb from Cruz Bay, there are flat portions and hills in the middle, followed by a long, downhill finish to Coral Bay. The heat is also a factor that makes the eight miles along St. John’s Centerline Road so tough.

Participants have three hours to complete the course, and the time passes quickly, even for the slowest walkers.

History of the race from the 8 Tuff Website:

Upon returning to St. John in September 1996, I was trying to quit smoking, and I decided to punish myself by running and hopefully then realize that my body and lungs were beaten up because of all the chemicals in the cigarettes. On a December Sunday morning close to the end of the year, I woke up, put on my running shoes and started running towards Coral Bay from the downtown Cruz Bay area. Carrying a single bottle of water, and not at all sure how much time this would take, I now knew I’d be quitting smoking in the very near future. I reached the corner in Coral Bay known as the T intersection in about 1:20:00 and was both surprised and pleased.

Soon after that, I attended a meeting of the St. John Action Committee. They were looking for ways to entice St. Thomas folks to come over and spend the day on St. John on the last Saturday of each month with fairs and music and other ideas. My suggestion was to have a footrace, and the course would be from one end of the island to the other. Most of the people at the meeting seriously thought I was crazy to suggest the idea, but there were people there that saw the idea had potential. With a handful of new friends, the date for the first race would be the last Saturday of February. The last Saturday of January was coming up too quickly, and that is why we waited, planned accordingly and had the first race on the last Saturday of February, “February 22, 1997.”

The Future Business Leaders of America from Sprauve School volunteered to staff the 12 water stations along the way. Timing would be done by a couple of friends who were on the island that winter. We had 25 t-shirts printed, and 21 entries signed up that morning. Quite a few from St. Thomas, I might add. The plan was working! There was a Virgin Islands Policemen on a motorcycle leading the first place runner. Most of the entries ran, and there were some walkers. First place was 1:01:10. It was Charles Morton from St. Thomas, and now, the chase was on for future races. Brenda and Mark Wallace were smart enough to film the early morning gathering, the start, some of the middle and a good portion of the finish line. It’s always fun to go back and watch this piece of film with three people standing on the ball field in Coral Bay cheering on the runners as they finish what would soon become the largest attended road race in all of the Virgin Islands.

Book your place to stay now for the 2020 race! www.islandabodes.com

St. John Carnival

Have you ever experienced St John Carnival? It is a must for anyone who loves the island and the Caribbean! Modern Carnival celebrations in the Caribbean, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, are the result of centuries of cultural interactions and exchanges. For several hundred years, various festival traditions were introduced, interpreted, and reinvented by the people of the Caribbean. On the island of St. John, the celebration is called the St. John Festival.

The Carnival celebrations on St. John have three times the merriment of other carnival parties. The St. John Festival shares the holiday with Emancipation Day, which commemorates the abolition of slavery. The festival also coincides with the 4th of July/Independence Day, which marks the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In 1960, the 4th of July celebrations on St. John evolved into Carnival, and the festival lasted more than a week. Today, the event last several weeks and culminates on the 4th of July. It is called the St. John Festival.

What happens during St John Festival?

Carnival Village – opens June 28

The heart of Carnival is the Village. Carnival Village, which is called ‘the Village’ by locals, is made up of colorful booths that sell local foods and drinks. The booths represent local communities and include foods from Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Tortola, and Barbados. The booths are open all evening long into the wee hours of the morning. Also part of the Village is a bandstand where local bands perform on a nightly basis during Carnival festivities. A children’s village is located nearby, with cotton candy and other sweets. The children’s village also has games similar to the ones you see on Coney Island. Kids can earn prizes by playing games such as darts, knocking down milk bottles, shooting basketballs, and more.

The grand opening of Carnival Village is filled with anticipation and ceremony as the honoree, the governor of the Virgin Islands and the Carnival Queen, cuts the ribbon.

Food Fair- June 23

Food Fair is the event for those who love to eat, drink and be merry. Thousands of people gather for this event in Cruz Bay, St. John. The Carnival Food Fair is sure to have fried fish, lobster, jonnycakes, shrimp, beef and salt fish pates, kallaloo, tamarind stew, mango and pineapple tarts, maubi, passion fruit juice and a whole assortment of other Caribbean delicacies.

Food Fair is an exciting mix of local foods and colorful displays of arts and crafts. The food and art fair is made up of many small booths and tables. You can walk through the booths and tables and purchase locally made crafts, arts, and paintings as well as try local food, and drinks. Booths are set up by individuals and local restauranteurs for profit, and others are fundraisers for local churches. Local crafts presented at the fair include Caribbean dolls, iguana dolls, handmade coconut birdfeeders, coconut monkeys, paintings and more.

Food and crafts are not the only forms of entertainment at Carnival Food Fairs. There is always music, dancing, and appearances from Carnival royalty and political figures. Local bands usually perform steel pan music throughout the event, and cultural dance groups frequently perform during the fair’s opening ceremony.

Food Fair is undoubtedly an event worth attending. Walk through the booths to savor the taste of Caribbean delicacies and to enjoy the locally made arts and crafts.

Parade – July 4, 2019

The big finale of our Carnival celebration is a parade! St. John has one parade which includes hundreds of people dancing, marching, jumping up and just having a great time, all in planned entries. Group entries are called troupes, and if a float is included, then it is called a “floupe.”

Costumes involve a whole lot of creativity, and there is no shortage of all things bright, colorful, glittery, shiny, and beaded. There are usually feathers too! Headpieces and ornamentation on the wrists, arms, knees, and neck are typical staples of the costumes, which sometimes include body paint. Masqueraders might hold decorated sticks or other items that complement their outfits.

Whether the costume is large or small, the troupe has a cultural theme or underwater theme, whether it’s children or adults — the Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands dazzle parade watchers. Months of preparation go into each troupes’ parade entry, and the result is an impressive display of beauty, creativity, and energy!

Everyone should experience St John Carnival at least once. Search our suites now and book your stay with us! www.islandabodes.com. 

For more information visit the official information page here.

Why do we ask for your flight information?

Ever wonder why we ask for your flight information? Well, we do it to help us help you get the maximum enjoyment from your stay with us. If you have an early flight arrival, we schedule your suite to be cleaned first. Our housekeeping team works with other companies, but the sooner we know your arrival information, we can plan ahead and schedule housekeeping accordingly. We try to make sure you can check in as soon as you arrive on the island. Sometimes, it’s not possible to check in before 4 pm. However, giving us your arrival time allows us to plan for you and get you in sooner.

Why do we want your departure flight information? Many of our guests have missed their flight, which could sound like a fun problem to have, however with limited flights from the airlines flying to and from STT, you are not guaranteed a trip later in the day, or even one the next day, and will have to find a place to stay on St Thomas which is not always easy last minute. By telling us your departure time, we give you advice on which ferry to take to ensure you arrive at the airport in time for your flight home. There are often many factors that can cause you to be late, such as the number of cruise ships in port, whether or not the computers working at the airport, if TSA and customs are backed up, what phase the airport construction work is in, and more. We keep track of these issues and factor it all in when we tell you what ferry we think you should take. Without giving us your flight info, we are unable to help you in this way. Also, it helps us schedule the housekeeper accordingly. Most of the time, if you have a later flight, we can give you a later check out time.

For these reasons, please help us help you by emailing us your arrival and departure flight times.