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First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

Portland, ME
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83 posts
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First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

My husband and I are planning a trip to St John for one week in November, and we have a few questions. We are trying to stay on a reasonable budget. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Are there grocery stores on the island? We are renting a villa, and would like to make breakfast and pack a lunch.

Should we rent a car? If so any recommendations as to where?

How is the parking on the island?

Any reasonably priced restaurants that have good food?

How do you get from the airport in St. Thomas to the ferry to get to St. John?

Has anyone stayed at star villas? We are thinking of booking star view. How is this location?

Any other additional info would be great! Thanks

nowhere
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1. Re: First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

If you rent avilla you almost have to rent a car. I like Penns car Rentals as they have a good parking location. St John and Conners are also very good. I'd avoid Hertz as its in a difficult spot. Cruz Bay parking is at a premium, so try for one of the rental companies right near the ferry dock so you can park and walk around. Plenty of parking at the beaches, though a few, like Gibney, have edge of road parking only. Easy parking in the little town of Cruz bay.

Starfish Market is small and fairly complete, but if your have a taste for a special food, tea or coffee, bring it. Remember you're on an island and things are expensive. Oddly, soda was cheap. Meat and fish are high. Water is all from cisterns and some places it doesn't taste all that good while in others it's fine. I buy bottled for drinking and tea.

Villas almost always have coolers and beach chairs. I've always seen largish hard coolers, so I bring a small soft cooler for beach use. Easier to haul from car to beach unless you have a big group to feed and water.

Food is a little high even in the more modest places. The Bar-b-q near the post office - Joe's or uncle Joe's maybe it's official name, but I just call it the BBQ place. very good chicken and ribs with two sides and CHEAP!!! For a good meal at a fair price try Lime Tree in town. Locals consider this the best place for lobster. Also, ShipWreck Landing. There are sevarl deli's and Starfish also has preped meals and hot food noontime.

It takes about an 1-1.5 hours to get from the hotel to St John, depending on the taxis and ferries. From Charlotte you have a 10 minute cab and 45 minutes ferry. For Red Hook a 40 minute taxi and 15 minute ferry, but you will wait for either one unless you hit it just right. After 5:30, only the Red Hook ferry runs.

Can't tell you about star villas. Looks like the one you picked is in Cruz bay, making it easy to walk to town and car rental possibly optional. It is the busiest part of the island, such as it is. Ask the rental agent. Starfish market is still a walk, up and down hills.

Enjoy your trip and the great St John beaches

nowhere
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2. Re: First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

oops! make that easy parking in Coral Bay, opposit end of St John. Cruz Bay can be tough to find a space.

Hampton Roads, VA
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3. Re: First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

Actually, your best bet is to rent the car at Budget in St. Thomas airport. You will save lots of time and carrying the car across the ferry is about $25-35 round trip (cheaper than the taxi fare you will pay to get there and back from the airport). I know that Budget will allow you to cross on the ferry, some others won't.

We usually pack frozen meat in a cooler and check it in as luggage. Meat is very expensive on the island and if you pack it right, it will stay frozen for days. Wrap it in a freezer bag covered with paper and pack it tightly into a cooler. We have never had a problem and have been doing it for years.

I agree, Starfish Market is where to go for groceries once you get there. There are many great restaurants as the previous posting mentioned. It is not THAT primitive, you will find everything you need.

Madison, Wisconsin
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4. Re: First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

You will have a great time on St. John. I have been four times and can't wait to go back. My husband and I always go with a budget in mind and usually eat breakfast in, pack a lunch and hit the beach for snorkeling. We typically head out each night for dinner. Starfish Market is one choice, but we usually shop at Dolphin Market which is across from the Texaco Station in Cruz Bay. It is smaller and probably has less of a choice, but we like it better. We sometimes bring along peanut butter and coffee and other snacks from home - but we buy everything else on island.

We have always stayed near Cruz Bay and although many things are within walking distance, we prefer to rent a car so we can tour the island and hit many beaches during our week. We have used O'Connor Car Rental - which is at the Texaco station and Conrad Sutton. We prefer Conrad Sutton because while in town we can park in his lot. This is a great benefit with the parking situation pretty tight in Cruz Bay. I think you'll find prices pretty similar at most of the car rental places on the island. We paid $380 for a week in February.

There are many restaurants on the island that are reasonable. We like Uncle Joe's BBQ - across from Cap's Place. We also like Shipwreck Landing, Island Blues, Skinny Legs and Miss Lucy's on the Coral Bay side of the island. Miss Lucy's is especially good for Sunday Brunch. The Lime Inn and the FishTrap are good in Cruz Bay and for bar type food you can hit the Beach Bar or Woody's Seafood Saloon.

Taking the Ferry to St. John is fun in our opinion - you come out of the airport and will find many taxis waiting. Just tell the driver you need to catch the next ferry to St. John and they will either take you to Charlotte Amalie (short taxi, longer ferry) or Red Hook (longer taxi, short ferry) depending on the time and the next ferry. It is quite easy to do.

As I said before, you will have a wonderful time! The beaches are beautiful and the people are very nice. Enjoy!

Tracy

Portland, ME
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5. Re: First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

thanks for all the great ingo, I feel more relaxed!

Portland, ME
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6. Re: First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

make that INFO

Chicago
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7. Re: First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

If you do rent a car on St. Thomas, be aware that they usually won't come over to St. John to fix it should you have a breakdown. I'd advise renting on St. John. We like Courtesy Car Rental in Cruz Bay near Woody's.

USA
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8. Re: First timers visiting St John-have a few questions??

Relax and have a great time. To add a proverbial "two cents" to the other very helpful answers --

Starfish Market expanded to a new location a couple of years ago and, although a little pricey (it's an island and everything has to be imported) you can easily find anything you would want or need. I wouldn't personally go to the extreme effort of trying to lug food with you. There is also a grocery store right across the street from the Red Hook ferry dock, which is cheaper than the Starfish Market on STJ, and we ususally will get the first shop done there and bring it over on the ferry with us.

Very easy, as one respondent said, to take a jitney taxi from the STT airport to either ferry. One thing to try to do is to make sure that the taxi driver is taking everyone to the same ferry destination, as if you are lumped in with others going to STT hotels (other than those right near the Red Hook ferry), you will spend forever trotting around STT while they drop those people off at their hotels. Leave an hour to get from STT airport to Red Hook to be on the safe side. With respect to which ferry to take over, Red Hook or Charlotte Amalie, another thing to consider is that the ferry from CA to Cruz Bay is over more open water and the ride tends to be rougher; also, those ferries from CA to CB do not have open roof seating, just seating inside, so if you are at all vulnerable to seasickness, the Red Hook ferry is by far the better option with calmer water, open air seating, and a 20 min ride.

I wouldn't rent a car on STT -- too much hassle. You don't need a car on STJ unless you want to visit the Coral Bay or other areas; easy enough to jump on a jitney for a ride to the beach from Cruz Bay. From any of the Star Villas, you are just minutes walking distance to Cruz Bay, and you've got a great hill for exercise in the morning as well. If you do rent a jeep, agree that Conrad Sutton is the place to do it. Parking in Cruz Bay is just about non existent these days with all the construction and busy traffic that has popped up in recent years. One more hassle you don't need.

Restaurants -- absolutely. Best mahimahi burgers et al at the Fishtrap -- best quality for value on the island. A number of pricey restaurants have emerged catering to cruise ship people on STT who come over to STJ for the day. Beach Bar has great burgers and sandwiches too; another is Woody's.

Enjoy!