Whether you are a first time visitor or a returning guest, there will most certainly be questions relating to your vacation on St. John. These FAQs are a summary of the more frequently asked questions about coming to and staying on our beautiful island. If you have any other questions concerning your visit that are not addressed here, please call our guest services team at (340) 473-6320 or email us.
Q: How do I get to St. John?
A: All major airlines fly to the Virgin Islands. For travel to St. John you should book your flight into St. Thomas – airport code STT – as there is no airport on St. John. From the airport you have a variety of options to achieve the goal of getting to St. John, including taxis on both land and water, ferries, car barge, and even helicopter. For more detailed information on how to get from St. Thomas to St. John, visit the Arrival Process and Ferry Information sections of this website.
Q: Do U.S. citizens need a passport to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands?
A: U.S. Citizens are NOT required to have passports or proof of citizenship when entering the U.S. Virgin Islands (unless entering from a foreign airport). All persons (whether U.S. citizens or not) DEPARTING the U.S. Virgin Islands must pass through Customs at the airport and show proof of citizenship. Accepted documents for proof of U.S. Citizenship include any of the following: 1) U.S. passport; 2) a government issued photo ID (i.e., driver’s license); or 3) certified copy of birth certificate (applies to children who may not have a government issued photo ID).
NOTE: If you plan a boat excursion to the nearby British Virgin Islands (BVI) during your stay a passport will be required.
Q: What are the taxi and ferry rates and schedules (Prices are subject to change)?
A: Taxis, ferries, and barges are cash only and it is suggested that you prepare to have about $30 to $60 cash per person for transportation to St. John, not including optional tips. The taxi rates are posted at the airport and are approximately $15 each way to Red Hook ($11 each for 2 or more passengers), plus $4 for each piece of luggage. Contact us if you would like to make arrangements for a private taxi to accommodate just the members of your party.
The rates for the Red Hook ferry are $8.15 each one-way to St. John, plus $4 for each piece of luggage. Contact us if you would like to make arrangements for a private water taxi to St. John (rates begin at $125 one-way with no luggage charge). Rates for the car ferry (barge) between St. Thomas and St. John start at $35 one-way (we do not recommend round trip tickets because tickets are not interchangeable between the car barge companies).
For a full list of passenger ferry and car barge times between St. Thomas and St. John visit the Ferry Information section on this site.
Q: Should I rent a car and what about driving on the left?
A: It is strongly recommended that you rent a vehicle and that it be a 4WD vehicle. There are very few vacation homes for rent on St. John within walking distance to towns and attractions. Taxi fares will add up quickly, limit your freedom to explore the island, and there are some villas where taxis will not go. If you are considering not renting a vehicle but aren’t sure, please consult with our team so they can let you know how this may impact your stay. We do drive on the left in the U.S. Virgin Islands but driving on St. John is a breeze. All of the roads on the island are either one way or two lanes (no major highways here) and the speed limit island wide is 20 mph (10 mph in town), so you are never making a fast, complicated decision. In fact, there really isn’t much else you will need to think about other than buckle up, do not use no cell phones while driving and stay LEFT!
Q: Do I need to book my vehicle and island activities before arriving in the islands?
A: There are a limited number of vehicles for rent in the islands (especially on St. John) so it is strongly recommended that you book your vehicle in advance at the same time that you book your property or villa. Contact our team for assistance reserving a rental vehicle or call us at (340) 473-6320.
There are also limited parking spots available at many island attractions including the beaches, so best to go early for your daily excursions. Check out the St. John Activities section on our website for detailed information. Again, contact our team for assistance in scheduling your island activities prior to your arrival or during your stay.
Q: Should I rent my vehicle on St. Thomas or St. John?
A: Renting your vehicle in St. Thomas may make the process of getting to St. John appear a bit easier, however you will need to pay close attention to the car barge departure schedules both from St. Thomas and St. John. St. Thomas is a bigger and busier island than St. John and transit times from and to the car barge dock to the airport can take up to 1 hour or more. If you are apprehensive about driving on St. Thomas and navigating to the car barge then we suggest renting your vehicle on St. John. Additionally, if you have car trouble on St. John, you will have to go to St. Thomas and this could hinder your vacation experience.
Q: What is the currency and are credit cards accepted?
A: The currency is the U.S. dollar and most places accept major credit cards (Visa/MasterCard) with the exception of taxis, ferries, roadside vendors, small shops, etc. The U.S. dollar and major credit cards are also accepted in the BVI.
Q: Will my cell phone or tablet work on St. John?
A: AT&T is the predominant cellular provider in the Virgin Islands and is generally available throughout St. John. Sprint is also an available provider, however, this service will generally only be available in the Cruz Bay area on St. John. Some other cellular services work in the Virgin Islands, however roaming charges are likely. Check with your provider before coming to the islands for details on your plan. Be cautious when using any cellular service when in proximity to the BVI (i.e., the North shore beaches on St. John) or when a BVI signal is appearing on your phone. Unless you have an international calling plan, most stateside cellular providers do not have reciprocity agreements with the BVI and as such, you may incur international roaming charges for calls originated or received by a BVI cell system.
Q: What should I bring?
A: Casual, light weight clothing and beachwear will do. The dress code at restaurants is casual. For finer dining, lightweight shirts and slacks are recommended for gentlemen and sundresses or casual shorts/slack outfits for women. Bring plenty of sunscreen and hats for protection from the hot Caribbean sun and comfortable walking shoes. Bug spray (aka ‘St. John perfume’) is recommended and less expensive if you bring your own. Bed/bath linens, beach towels, beach coolers, and blow dryers are provided at all villas. A washer/dryer is available for your use at most villas. Paper goods, laundry and dish soaps, starter supply of bath soap, and basic cleaning supplies are stocked at all of our villas. Snorkel gear and other beach supplies can be reserved prior to your stay.
Q: Is there a post office and can I ship packages?
A: A U.S. Post Office is located in downtown Cruz Bay. Postal rates are the same as the U.S. mainland. Federal Express and UPS also serve St. John, but the rates are international rates and can be very expensive. If you would like to ship packages prior to your arrival, Contact us for the mailing address and pickup/delivery charges. Packages sent by USPS must be sent by Priority or Express Mail (keep the tracking #).Packages sent by regular mail may take up to 2 months to arrive.
Q: What is the standard for tipping?
A: 15%-20% for quality service at restaurants, bars, tours and activities. (Some restaurants automatically add a service charge for parties over 6 people at restaurants so be sure to check your bill.) If you feel you receive excellent service from your Virgin Island Property greeter and housekeeper, tipping is greatly appreciated, but is not required.
Q: Is St. John safe?
A: St. John is very safe. There are no dangerous areas to avoid or pickpocket issues like in many other vacation destinations. Like anywhere else, be cautious when carrying a lot of money, passports, multiple credit cards or expensive jewelry. Use common sense and make use of the safes provided at most properties or villas for the storage of your valuables.
Q: Are electrical outlets standard American outlets?
A: Electric outlets in the Virgin Islands provide standard North American current, with a 120 volt / 60 cycle.
Q: What time zone is St. John in?
A: St. John is located in the Atlantic Time Zone and we do not practice ‘Daylight Saving Time’. When the mainland is observing Daylight Savings, St. John is the same as Eastern Standard Time. The rest of the year, we are one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Q: Is it OK to drink the water?
A: There is no ground water on St. John so all of our water is rain water collected from roof catchment areas or delivered by water trucks from desalination plants into cisterns at the properties. All of our managed properties have some type of filtration on the water system and some will have UV filtration systems and reverse osmosis drinking water systems. The cistern water at all properties is fully potable and is fine for drinking, cooking and bathing. Guests who prefer bottled water for drinking will find drinking water available at all markets, mini-markets, bars and restaurants.
Q: What is the legal drinking age on St. John?
A: The legal drinking age is 18 years old. Note, while an 18 year old can buy, order, drink alcohol they can not transport bottles of alcohol back to the US mainland with them (their alcohol will be confiscated at the customs check at the airport).
Q: When are sunrise and sunset on St. John?
A: During the summer months the sun rises around 5:44am and sets around 6:57pm. During the winter months the sun rises around 6:46am and sets around 5:49pm.
Q: What are the people that live in the Virgin Islands called?
A: Virgin Islanders for all those from the USVI. For each island the following names are used: St. Thomas – St. Thomians. St. John – St. Johnians. St. Croix – Crucians. Water Island – Water Islanders.
Q: Any particular taboos I should be aware of when visiting the Virgin Islands?
A: Virgin Islanders are quite conservative, so it is seen as an insult when visitors walk around in swimwear (for ladies) or without shirts (for the gents) if not on the beach or poolside. This situation can be seen in the main ‘tourist shopping areas’, particularly in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas as it is a popular cruise ship port of call. Visitors clad in only a bikini top and shorts or bareback with shorts are likely to receive a surly response from customer service in stores. Be respectful and wear shirts and beach cover ups when everywhere else besides the beach and pool.
A long standing tradition in the Virgin Islands is greeting someone before any transaction of any kind starts. So it is strongly recommended to say Good Morning or Good Afternoon before asking ‘how much is this’ or ‘how do I get to such and such place’. And Good Morning is the suggestion… not Hello or Hi – they don’t have the same effect. Saying ‘Excuse Me, how much is this’ rather then ‘Good Morning, waiting for a response and then asking the question’ will sometimes be ignored. Adding a ‘How are you today?’ is a nice addition as well.