Really, do you think we’d abandon you here? We have now reached another, “it depends” situations. It will depend on what choices you’ve made for your accommodations, another topic that we will get back to. Suffice it to say you will be met at the ferry dock or not depending on what choice you made. Then you will be escorted to your car rental agency (or not) and given the opportunity to sign your rental paper work. There are variations on this sequence of events. Some agencies will pick you up at the ferry dock; some agencies are a short walk from the dock. Here is an idea. If there are several of you, quickly retire to a near by bar/restaurant in the area, hydrate and go to the necessary. Then the assigned drivers can walk to the car agency, complete the paperwork and return to pick up the rest of the party.
We now come to the second of your travel choices. After you chose your airline. You will not choose your cab; it will choose you depending on the decision you will make here. You will need to decide which of two ferries you must take to get you to the island of St. John. The Red Hook or Downtown ferries. Here are the ferry schedules and how your choices stack up:
Downtown Ferry in Charlotte Amalie (A-molly)
As you enter the cabstand be prepared to say one of two things. “Red Hook Ferry” or “Downtown Ferry,” we will explain the differences in the next post. But after you utter those words, you will be in the capable hands of the Virgin Islands Taxi Association, Inc., the cabbie union. Trust that they know what they are doing. Be aware that you may not go directly to your destination. All of the cabs here are 12 person vans and the cab union wants to fill each van up maximizing profits. When sorting out fares at the cabstand the dispatcher will try to consolidate fares but you may share a cab with people who have different destinations than you. This is another of your many future encounters with the Caribbean concept of ISLAND TIME. Relax, you probably should have had a second sample at the tourist bureau booth at the airport. Rates etc. There are other transportation options that you can research for your next trip. Private cabs and car rentals at the airport etc. But for the first time visitor this is the easiest and most dependable solution.
photo courtesy of VI Now.com
St. John is so nice that if it were easy to get to, everyone would be there and then it wouldn’t be so nice. Remember this as you read the following descriptions of traveling to the island. St. John does not have its’ own airport. One of the main reasons for that is there is nowhere to put one. St. John is very hilly or mountainous, depending on where you come from. So here is the drill.
Book a flight to St. Thomas’s Cyril E. King Airport (STT). There are only a few cities that offer direct flights. What cities that do mostly offer them in what is considered the high season, December 15 to April 15. Depending on the service, these dates are approximate, but in general within these dates you can expect prices to be higher and availability less for many of the services you will be using including air travel.
At one time the runway had been shorter but the bay was dredged and the runway extended. This is a good thing.
So this begins the Sunset Ridge Villas blog. Our intent is to introduce the island to new visitors and help them manage their vacations. And in the process of doing that, perhaps we will introduce long time visitors to parts of the island vacation experience that they have yet to discover or maybe rediscover. We are not unique, there are more like us and we will link you to them if we feel they can tell the story better than we can.
Much about vacationing on St. John is DIY. St. John does not have any all-inclusive resorts. While most of the villa rental agencies, including us, will meet you at the ferry dock (more about that later), point you in the right direction and gently get you on your way; for the rest of it, you will be on your own. So as a first time visitor it is best to do a little research on your destination. Some of us adore doing vacation research and embrace it as part of the vacation experience. Others don’t have the time and there are others, the more adventurous among us that just let their vacations happen. If you are of the later, be patient. There may be stuff you might want to hear anyway.