Monday, August 15, 2022

St. John Travel and Stay

 st. john, st. john travel guide, nc blogger, virgin islands

Hey y'all! I hope you're doing well! Now, that the busyness of summer has calmed down for me (hello, summer camp) and my girls are officially back in school, I'm back to blogging! I never mean to take so much time off of this space but it just kind of happens. But, the good news is I'm back with lots of fun content to share! First up is St. John! This will be a three part series where I cover all about traveling to St. John (and on St. John) as well as where we stayed for our trip, all of information you need for eating and drinking plus the beaches, and more!

A few things to note before we get started...

St. John is a gorgeous island and it's super special place, especially because two-thirds of the island is a National Park! The locals are kind and laid back. They definitely operate on island time! Be sure to always greet them with a good morning, good afternoon, or good evening. That kindness is much appreciated... everywhere! Also, when you are packing for a trip to St. John, leave the dressy/fancy clothes at home. You won't need them! We lived in swimsuits at the beach and comfy clothes for everything else. Be sure to wear proper clothing over your swimwear when you are leaving the beach areas. You can literally get fined for not being dressed properly, especially when walking around Cruz Bay which is more a downtown kind of a scene. Also, sunscreen! It's super important that you have the correct kind in order to protect the reefs. You can find more information on what's required here but basically you need a mineral sunscreen that is free of Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, and Octocrylene. I stocked up on this kind of sunscreen for our trip and we loved it. It definitely goes on white and takes a little time to rub in but it did a great job of protecting our skin.

First up today is travel and stay. I started planning our trip a little over four months before we departed and during the planning process the thing that I was the most nervous about was actually getting to St. John. But, it was a pretty seamless process.

Here's what you need to know:

1. There isn't an airport on the island of St. John so you have to fly into St. Thomas. 

2. From St. Thomas, you can take a longer taxi ride to Red Hook to take a ferry to St. John or you can take a shorter taxi ride (less than 10 minutes) to Crown Bay to take a ferry from there as well. After pricing it out, it was going to be less expensive to do the shorter taxi ride over to Crown Bay. The ferry from Crown Bay to St. John was about 30 minutes (but it was also a beautiful boat ride). Also, CASH! You will need cash. For the taxi ride, for tips, etc. The ATMs charge high fees so I would definitely recommend bringing cash for the trip so you don't have to worry about finding a place to get it.

3. I would highly recommend purchasing tickets for the ferry in advance and you can do that online here. I think we got lucky with the timing the day we arrived but to be sure you won't be waiting for a long time, buy your ferry tickets as soon as you're able to do so. You can also go ahead and buy your tickets for your return from St. John back to St. Thomas.

4. The ferry brings you right to Cruz Bay, which is the more populated area of the island and this is also where all of the vehicle rental places are. Renting a vehicle is a must for getting around on the island, particularly a AWD/4WD vehicle and I would personally recommend getting a jeep. You will literally see jeeps everywhere you turn and it's because of the terrain on the island. So many steep hills! You will also certainly drive on some rocky paths to get where you are going as well. We rented from Sunshine's Jeep Rental and had a great experience. They picked us up in our jeep rental right at the ferry dock! Also, as soon as you book your trip, you will need to immediately secure a rental because they get gone super fast.

5. Vehicles travel on the left side of the road in St. John. I personally never drove at all during our trip but Josh said you get the hang of it pretty quickly. He also found that traveling on the left gave more visibility on the mountainy turns.

6. There's animals everywhere so drive cautiously! Around every turn there's a super strong possibility of seeing donkeys, goats, chickens, peacocks, and even miniature horses. This was one of my favorite parts of the island! When we headed out each day, we would make guesses on which kind of animal we would see first that day.

After getting our rental vehicle, we traveled to the other side of the island to meet our Airbnb hosts. We rented an Airbnb in the Coral Bay area of St. John. Like I mentioned above, Cruz Bay is the busier side of the island and Coral Bay is more quiet. But honestly, this is a really chill island so you can't go wrong with any area that you decide to stay in. I had really no idea what to expect as far as our Airbnb went because the pictures just really don't do this island justice. We followed our hosts up the the most steep, rocky and bumpy path that I have ever traveled on in my life. I was for sure a little nervous at this point but the views were incredible when we arrived at our place. 

Paradisea has two rental options. The upstairs (the space we stayed at) has a large kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, and two bedrooms. There's also a one bedroom rental downstairs but no one was there during our visit so we had the whole property to ourselves. There was a great pool that was a big hit with our kids!

One thing to note: this property did not have air conditioning. We found that a lot of rentals didn't have AC so if that's something you need, be sure to note that when booking a place to stay. Sleeping without AC took a couple of nights to get used to but it was honestly not that bad. We slept with the windows open and the fan blowing. In general we kind of just got used to the no AC life because we ate at outdoor/open air places and spent our days outside. I think our bodies just got accustomed to it and the temperature stayed around 80-85 degrees all day and all night long.

Our rental also was well stocked with a cooler, snorkel gear, beach towels, beach chairs, and so much more. It was so nice to not have all of those amenities and not having to worry about rental or purchasing them on the island. We also really loved the outdoor shower and huge outdoor deck spaces. I am really missing these incredible views for my morning coffee! I'll be back tomorrow to share all about food and drink on the island. Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you have any questions!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, the animals comment brought me right back to my time in St. Croix last year. We joked that chickens are the Virgin Islands' squirrels!

    I need to make a trip to St. John next!