Overlook of Trunk Bay St. John, USVI. This is one of the most popular beaches on St. John Island with is crystal clear water and large white sand beach.
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Travel Basics about St. John USVI

Our Family’s Journey Back to Paradise

We recently had the privilege of returning to the captivating Island of St. John, USVI, for a well-deserved family vacation. It had been a few years since our last visit due to the damaging effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, followed by the pandemic that thwarted our 2020 plans. But finally, in 2022, we could return to this remarkable island paradise.

Have you ever witnessed remarkable progress in the face of adversity? That’s exactly what we experienced during our recent trip to St. John. It was an emotional journey for us as we saw firsthand the recovery efforts from the catastrophes of the past few years.

However, returning to the Island gave us a renewed appreciation for the resilient spirit of the people and the natural beauty that makes St. John such a beloved destination. It’s truly inspiring to see a community come together and overcome challenges, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to witness it firsthand.

If you’re considering a trip to St. John, USVI, we highly recommend it. From gorgeous beaches and stunning national parks to unique local cuisine and friendly hospitality, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on this enchanting Island. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in paradise.

Travel Basics to St. John USVI

Are you planning a trip to St. John, USVI? You’re in for a treat! This stunning Island boasts many breathtaking trails and beaches, making it a nature lover’s dream come true.

Did you know over 60% of St. John is part of the National Park Service? From fine-dining restaurants to laid-back beach bars, there’s something for everyone on this charming Island.

So, when packing your bags, leave those heels at home, and don’t forget to bring your favorite hiking shoes and snorkel gear. It’s time to embrace Island living at its finest!

On St. John U.S.V.I. you will see wild donkeys.  They are a fixture of the island. When driving on the Island beware of the donkeys hanging out on the side of the road.

How to Get to St. John, USVI

To travel to St. John, you will first fly into St. Thomas (STT airport code) from the mainland US. Then, you will take a ferry from St. Thomas to St. John.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an airport on St. John Island. However, several ferries run from St. Thomas to St. John daily, including a car ferry if you choose to rent your car on St. Thomas.

We took the ferry from Red Hook, St. Thomas, to Cruz Bay, St. John, because it offered the times we wanted to travel. It was easy to buy tickets in person or online. http//www.stjohnticketing.com

There are ferries from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, to Cruz Bay, St. John, if that location on St. Thomas is more convenient for your travels.

When returning from Cruz Bay, St. John, the Crown Bay, St. Thomas ferry is only 5 minutes from the St. Thomas airport. The ferry runs fewer times, but if it works with your schedule, this is the fastest way to get to and from the airport.

St. John USVI Car Rental

Jeeps are the most popular car rentals on St John USVI since many roads require 4-wheel drive. We had six people on this trip, and it did not allow us to rent a Jeep.

Instead, we rented a Dodge Durango from O’Conner Car Rental. The Durango served our purposes well.

O’Conner Car Rental was an easy pick-up and drop-off as they have facilities at our hotel, St John USVI Westin Villas.

Major car rental companies service St. John from STT Airport (St. Thomas USVI): Budget, Dollar, Economy, and Thrifty. Several independent companies exist, such as Virgin Island Auto Rental, 2C Car Rental, Owens Jeep Rental, Best Car Rental, St. John Car Rental, Slim Man’s Courtesy, and Rosevelt.

Driving on St. John USVI

Please note that rental cars on either St. John or St. Thomas will be American cars, but in the Virgin Islands, they drive on the left-hand side of the road. There are many winding curves with blind spots on the Island; drivers should be confident driving on the left-hand side of the road.

Where We stayed on St. John, USVI.

We enjoyed our vacation at the Westin Resort Villas in Cruz Bay. Our villa was a cozy two-bedroom, three-bath loft villa that accommodated up to 8 guests comfortably.

One of our favorite things about this location was exploring the various Cruz Bay restaurants, not to mention the easy accessibility to the North Shore beaches. And if you’re looking to venture out, plenty of taxis are readily available to transport you.

Fun fact: Did you know that the Westin St. John Villas are the largest resort on St. John? That’s right!

After enduring hurricanes Maria and Irma, the resort recently underwent 18 months of renovations. It’s back to its original splendor, boasting breathtakingly beautiful grounds.

Interested in booking a stay at the St. John Westin yourself? Check out Booking.com to learn more!

Other St. John USVI Hotels

Regarding lodging options on St. John Island, many choices exist. Grand Bay Resort and Gallows Point are both viable options, as are a handful of small inns and cozy bed and breakfasts.

If you’re looking for a rental home or villa, you’ll be happy to know hundreds of options are available, which can be found on VRBO.

Interestingly, there are no all-inclusive resorts on the Island, which gives St. John a unique edge. Additionally, if camping is your thing, Cinnamon Bay Resort and Campground offers a lovely opportunity to experience the great outdoors.

For even more hotel options on St. John and nearby St. Thomas, we recommend checking out Booking.com to find the perfect fit for your Island stay.

Getting around St. John, USVI

Once on the Island, there are taxis that are easy to use to get into the downtown area of Cruz Bay and will also take you to various places. However, we wanted flexibility and rented a car to explore during the day.

In the evening, we use taxis for dining in Cruz Bay since parking is limited downtown. Taxis from the Westin St. John to downtown Cruz Bay would cost $5/person for two or more people each way.

Taxi stands are located near the Cruz Bay Ferry Station, Westin St. John Villas, Trunk Bay, and Cinnamon Bay for those who prefer using taxis versus driving.

Passport requirements and visiting the BVI

Passports are not required for US citizens to visit the US Virgin Islands. However, you would miss out on a wonderful experience exploring the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The islands of Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, and Virgin Gorda are an easy day trip from St. John.

US citizens will need to have a valid passport to enjoy the BVI. There is an Inter-Island Boat Service from St. Thomas/to St. John to Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke.

Boat charters are also available for mixed groups or private charters to specific destinations. For boat charters, I recommend two companies: Stormy Pirates Boat Charters or Cruz Bay Watersports

Some facts to know about the Island

St. John Virgin Island is located at 18º20′ N 64°44’W. You will see these coordinates used throughout the Island along with the Petroglyphs symbol.

Don’t be surprised to see donkeys or goats on the roads. Many animals free-roam the Island. Please watch for them on the roads and do not feed them.

There is also an abundance of iguanas and chickens. Over 60% of the Island is National Park, providing many trails to explore.

Remember to leave only footprints when visiting the National Park and beaches.

So many Iguanas on St. John, USVI

St. John USVI weather

The best time to visit is December through June is the best time to visit St. John USVI. The weather is mild with less rain.

The average temperature in St. John is 85°F. Although Hurricane season is from July until October, the highest risk for a hurricane is in August and September.

If traveling within these months, be advised that many local restaurants and activities close. In addition, it is historically a time when the local staff will go on vacation themselves—plan for dining and activities in advance.

Our Trusted Resources

Booking.com: for booking accommodations

Fare Drop: for finding the best airfare deals.

Viator or Get Your Guide: for all my activities

Discover Cars: for car rentals

Airalo: for eSIM card

Trainline: for booking train tickets

Karen Kane & prAna: great sources for travel clothes

Coumbia: great clothes and accessories for outdoor adventures.

International Drivers Permit: for getting your IDP

Travelex: for Travel Insurance

Final Thoughts on Travel Basics of St. John, USVI

So, there you have it – the travel basics about St. John, USVI! Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned veteran, remembering the essentials is always helpful.

St. John has something for everyone, from the stunning beaches to the vibrant culture. Pack plenty of sunscreen, grab a map, and explore this Caribbean paradise. Bon voyage!

Check out my post about the Beaches & Snorkeling Guide of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Top 15 Bucket List activities on St. John USVI.

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  1. I’ve never heard about St John before reading this article! Lovely reading about your tips for first-time visitors for this spot. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have not heard about St John usvi, but thanks for pointing to this lovely island. It is great to hear that the island has recuperated from the destruction during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The beaches and parks make it an attraction for tourists. Thanks for information about how to get around and whether visas are required. 🙂

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