I had struggled when I was a first timer on '05 with the where/what to rent/4WD questions and the various opinions on same. We hadn’t done a beach vacation like this in a long time so I knew we would overpack and thought that wrestling our baggage on and off taxis and ferries to the who knows where car rental agency in Cruz Bay wouldn’t be too much fun so decided to go with Budget at the airport. Have used Budget elsewhere and am signed up in their Fastbreak program.
We reserved a midsized car as I thought that not having the ability to go "off road" wouldn’t be critical first time. After all, how hilly could the main roads be? Besides, as I explain to my brother Raymond, I’m an excellent driver.
Budget didn’t have the car I reserved at check in and I was real lucky to get upgraded to a Wrangler with 3300 miles on it for same price I had the midsize for ($189). Sweet.
It was a bit of a challenge to have to break in driving on the left with that drive from the airport to Red Hook and then to back up onto the ferry – would only be a problem if you are a nervous driver. However, for most of the drive I was laughing and smiling like crazy as my daughter exclaimed “Is that the ocean?!? Is that the color of the water?!?” That’s something you never forget – the first time you see that Caribbean water. Follow the Red Hook signs across STT.
Turns out the main roads on STJ have some switchbacks with pretty acute angles that caused a newbie like me to go “Whoa!” Wound up feeling I was glad I had the 4WD capability as I wouldn’t want to traverse some of those switchbacks in St. John after a light rain when all of the rubber and oil would surface on the pavement (all the long timers can stop laughing now and not bother with the I told you so’s). Good tires are also ESSENTIAL so check them.
It was not hard to negotiate the semi-chaotic ferry scene in Red Hook – just get in the line and watch how everybody does it. Good point about the one way tickets.