Take a taxi to Red Hook. If you are staying at Westin or Caneel use their ferry. The taxi drives will give you as little tour as they go to Red Hook. I always rent on STJ. Where are you staying?
As you step out of the airport terminal, you'll see a lot of vans. These are the taxis. They're group taxis. Let the dispatcher know where you're going and he'll direct you to one that's loading. I always like to ask the driver what it's going to cost (fare, luggage, whatever) before I get in the taxi. This avoids any surprised when you reach your destination.
We've always rented vehicles on STJ for a number of reasons. Some folks prefer to rent on STT. Either way works out. Each has some advantages.
We usually take the ferry from Red Hook, but if the dispatcher is steering us to CA for one reason or another, we're happy to go with the flow. Some folks seem very particular about taking one ferry or the other, but it's not a big deal for us. Either one gets you to STJ. We've always enjoyed the ride across STT and have met some great people along the way.
Bellman is correct about asking price. They try to get a full van before leaving.
The taxi prices are posted on a sign by the door at the airport. To Red Hook I believe it's $15 per person plus $2 per bag that won't fit on your lap.
Ask yourself, do you want to start off your vacation by hopping off the plane, negotiating the rental car acquisition, driving on the "wrong" side of the road to an unfamiliar location, possibly stopping for cheaper groceries if you can find your way to Plaza Extra, negotiating your way onto a car ferry, and driving on the "wrong" side of the road to yet another unfamiliar location 25 minutes later?
Or would you rather be driven to the ferry dock, enjoy the boat ride to St. John, and pay an extra $50-$100 for a rental car on island, then drive the "wrong" side of the road to wherever you are staying, and pay a little more for groceries while on STJ?
That's how you make the decision. Obviously, the more people in your party, the higher the costs for taxi services, etc.
Taxi rates are regulated and are per person. Here's a link to the rates:
We are renting a villa on St John and we are getting a private taxi from the airport to Red Hook to take the ferry and the direction of our villa rental company. There is going to be 6 of us and its $75 for 4 plus $15 a person after that so we figured it up to cost about $3-$5 more per person to take a private taxi and not have to stop along the way ya know??
Definately rent a car on STJ. Besides the cost of the ferry for the car over to STJ, I have read if you have car problems on STJ and it's rented from STT, you will have problems getting help. For us, most importantly, if you rent on STJ, the car companies we have rented from will allow you to park in their lots if you want to visit Cruz Bay. Parking is difficult and scarce and the rental lot may be your best option. We've always rushed to Red Hook to get the ferry over when we've gone to STJ the last three times we visited STJ assuming we were saving 30 or so minutes of ferry time but what I realized is that the time saved from Red Hook was about the travel time from the airport to Red Hook. The ferry from CA is a beautiful ride and a little longer, but it really allows you to get into island time by the time you get to STJ.... Last year the rental agency on STJ was willing to stay late so we could pick up our car if we missed our ferry - fortunately we didn't and we didn't have to take advantage of their generous offer - but we did use their parking when we were in Cruz, which was much appreciated.Have a great adventure. It's an amazing island and we can't wait to return, again.....
We used a private taxi in July to take us from the airport to Red Hook. Our driver was ready to leave as soon as we had collected our luggage. She was able to get us from the airport to Red Hook in an hour on a Saturday. It's a bit more expensive, but well worth it in my opinion.
We did the same on our return and that worked out even better. She hooked us up with a porter who got our boarding passes and took us to the front of the customs line. If your budget's not too tight, go for it. PM me if you'd like her name and number.
If this is your first trip, I recommend renting your vehicle on STJ. Have fun!
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