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Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

Boston...
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Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

My boyfriend and I are going to St. John in early March and would love some advice. We are currently staying for 10 days (at the Westin on points) - is this too long? We've debated whether to go to Tortola or Virgin Gorda for a couple of days, but thinking it might be nice to have a home base in St. John and just do day trips. Any thoughts?

Also for how many days should we rent a car? Any beaches/day trips that are absolute musts? My boyfriend loves to fish - any recommendations?

We are 30 yrs old, no kids, mostly going to relax and will happily sit by the pool for a couple of days. But are also both pretty athletic people who want to get the most out of the trip and don't want to get antsy being in one place for too long.

Thanks in advance for any input!

Halifax
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231 posts
13 reviews
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1. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

Hi KTG

We're doing the same deal as you in two weeks (at the Westin on points for ten days etc.) although we are a little older our priorities are also similar to yours. It's our first time to SJ too, here's our plan:

- renting a Jeep for first half of the trip to see as much of SJ as possible and will help get us to starting points for hiking/snorkelling/fishing. Having the Jeep will also be helpful in picking up groceries to have in the room (for breakfast and snacks)and go out for dinner as I have read that the Westin food is good (not great)and quite expensive.

- on the fifth day we are doing a snorkelling day trip with New Horizons II which will take us by speedboat to Virgin Gorda (the Baths), Jost Van Dyke and a couple of other stops in the BVI's. The tour costs $120 per person and includes some food and drinks. The tour will also help identify any spots we may want to do another day trip to or an overnight trip away from the Westin (if we can find a vacancy!)

- there is also a car ferry that we may use to take the Jeep over to St. Thomas so we can tour that island as well

- I have found some very useful information on gotosaintjohn.com which gives good overviews of a variety of SJ related information.

Hope this helps and I plan to post a review on my return on both the islands and the Westin.

Cheers

Boston...
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2. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

Thanks, Mr. Bermuda! How nice to hear from someone who is planning such a similar trip, and very lucky for us that we'll get to hear your report in a few weeks.

How did you decide on which rental car company to go with? I've been in touch with the concierge at the Westin and was going to try to book through them, but wondering why you did it separately - I'm assuming cost savings and/or availability?

Thanks!

Logan, Ohio
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139 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

I would suggest you rent the Jeep for your entire stay. Coral Bay and East End are fantastic and they are about a half hour drive from the Westin. 10 days will fly by!! We have been there 5 times (and planning our 6th trip)and we have yet to see and do everything, so each trip we see and learn more about our favorite island. We have taken day trips to BVI with www.waywardsailor.net and with www.palmtreecharters.com

For great info visit www.seestjohn.com and for a great daily blog I never miss www.on-stjohn.com !!

Enjoy your first visit and prepare to be addicted!

Hamilton, New Jersey
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427 posts
21 reviews
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4. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

Mr Bermuda, You mentioned that you will take the car ferry over to St Thomas. Just an fYI, unless you rent your vehicle on St Thomas I do not believe any car rental agencies on St John will allow you to take their vehicles to st Thomas.

KTG22, 10 days is never to long. This will be our seventh trip and it will be for 10 days again. We always have new things to add to our trip plus old favorites. This year we are going to spend the day on Jost van Dyke and rent a dingy another day for snorkling at Waterlemon. We always reserve one day to go to Charlotte Amalie for the day.

I would really suggest that if you can afford to do so, do rent the vehicle for the entire time or aleast for a week. Between the beaches, hiking, touring, and restaurants/bars/shopping you will not want to miss them. enjoy your trip.

Halifax
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231 posts
13 reviews
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5. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

Hi KTG

I found the rental place through gotosaintjohn.com and called the agency directly. I was a bit at the mercy of availability which is why we only have a rental for the first five days. Courtesy Jeep rentals, who we are using, have been very good and have assured me that if a vehicle comes open for the entire ten days we will have first option. Based on reviews on various sites, Courtesy is well regarded while others have mentioned L and L as being difficult to deal with. When it comes to price there does not appear to be a big difference between agencies for a Jeep rental based on the calls I made.

Thanks to the other poster on making me aware that we probably cannot take the Jeep to St. Thomas.

Cheers

ruidoso new mexico
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6. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

St. Johns is my favorite place in the world. I have stayed at the Westin, but much prefer the Maho Eco Resort, check Maho.org for info. You are on a beautiful beach and a trail away from the most beautiful beach ever. We go for 2 weeks, totally disconnect, no phone, no tv, snorkel all day, float in the ocean, the days fly by. Go to Coral Bay at night, great laid back places on the water, great reggae music (live) great food, Love that place. Best snorkeling at Watermelon Cay and Big Maho beach, lots of turtles and everything else, calm quiet beautiful warm water. The beach at the Westin is manmade and not very nice.

Chicago, Illinois
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252 posts
72 reviews
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7. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

The simple answer is NO! Ten days is NOT too long! You may, in fact, find that it's too short. We were there for a week and that was definitely too short.

Have a great trip!

Iowa
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839 posts
43 reviews
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8. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

We went for 7 days and I was afraid that it was too long. We have teenage sons and I didn't think there was enough adventure. I should not have worried!! We loved St. John and it was our best vacation ever. We stay at a villa near the Westin and I think you are in the best location. It is very easy to get to the North Shore or to take Centerline to do some hiking and finding great beaches.

You will have a great time and you are so lucky to get to stay so long!!

I do think you should get a couple of guidebooks. If you don't have any and want suggestions I am happy to tell you my favorites. Our villa had some that I liked and I also brought 3 (yes, 3).

I would have a car for the whole time but that is just me. . . I like the freedom.

As mentioned above I think everyone should take a trip to the BVI's to see the Baths and snorkel at the Indians and the Caves. I am sure there are other great places but these are the ones we got to see.

Make sure to come back and tell us what you did.

Gina

Strongsville
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90 posts
48 reviews
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9. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

You will love St John's, and will find out 10 days is not enough!! We were there for 3 weeks and could of stayed longer. A good book to get is called Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Drive. It is written by a local and tells you some interesting info you otherwise would not know about. It tells you about the beaches, and gives you a driving tour and points out interesting things. We kept this book in our jeep and always used it. And it is true about taking your rental car to St. Thomas, we tried it and were told you could not. Enjoy and you can count on wanting to come back.

10. Re: Need advice - first time visitors to St. John!

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