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redliner996
(@redliner996)
Eminent Member

Hi all. I'm planning to visit USVI for the first time in mid May for a total of 7 days. I'm very excited and overwhelmed as well. I have not decided where to stay yet. I would like to stay in St John as I heard it's the better island to relax and avoid the crowds. I would like to stay in a reasonably priced place. I've learned that paying for accommodations where you spend most of your time on the beach is not the best policy. More money for shopping and great food and drinks. ( but please share your thoughts if you believe other wise)
So one of my dilemmas is that I can stay in St Thomas at a friends condo for $80 a night which is a great deal. However I'm not sure if it will make sense to travel back and forth daily for half of the trip to visit St John. Also I will need a car so renting and getting back and forth does not seem practical. What do folks suggest? What do I need to be aware as a first timer? Thank you very much in advance for your time and feedback!!!!

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Posted : March 19, 2012 2:40 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

Take the $80/night deal as you will find NOTHING even close to that on St Thomas, let alone St. John. Wherever you stay you will need a vehicle. There are loads of beautiful beaches on St Thomas to enjoy plus you can take day trips to St John. You will not be deprived by staying on St Thomas. You have no dilemma. Book your flight, accept your friend's offer and pack sunscreen ...

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Posted : March 19, 2012 5:06 pm
Plasticpirogue
(@plasticpirogue)
Eminent Member

STT Resident wrote:
Take the $80/night deal as you will find NOTHING even close to that on St Thomas, let alone St. John. Wherever you stay you will need a vehicle. There are loads of beautiful beaches on St Thomas to enjoy plus you can take day trips to St John. You will not be deprived by staying on St Thomas. You have no dilemma. Book your flight, accept your friend's offer and pack sunscreen ...

Completely agree. $80/day would allow you to rent a econo-box car and still have money in your pocket compared to my VRBO rental that I use right on Sapphire Beach. And although we love St. John as much as anybody, but we usually only spend a couple of days (out of our week long annual trip) on St. John. Trust me, get off the beaten path and discover YOUR own favorite beach. I'm not going to tell you mine, but guess what, it's not Sapphire, nor is it on St. John.

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Posted : March 19, 2012 9:02 pm
houstola
(@houstola)
Estimable Member

i typically stay on st john but recently had to stay on st thomas and traveled to st john daily due to finances. its doable! st john is definitely the place to go and relax. you can walk to salomons and honeymoon beach from the ferry dock on st john. have fun!

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Posted : March 24, 2012 4:37 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

houstola wrote:
i typically stay on st john but recently had to stay on st thomas and traveled to st john daily due to finances. its doable! st john is definitely the place to go and relax. you can walk to salomons and honeymoon beach from the ferry dock on st john. have fun!

If you rent a vehicle on STT from any other agency but Hertz you can take the car barge over and explore ALL the St John beaches to your heart's content!

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Posted : March 24, 2012 5:00 pm
sherri
(@sherri)
Noble Member

STT,
Last I knew, all of Stt was not that crowded! Take the condo and you may even want to spend a whole day here, you may be pleasantly surprised!
Get the car! 😎

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Posted : March 24, 2012 9:40 pm
dano50
(@dano50)
Eminent Member

the beaches on st john are worth the trip! hike to salomon or honeymoon , very few (if any) people. don't miss hawksnest (my fav) or trunk bay & cinnamon. only like $12 ferry which runs almost every hour from redhook. bvi jost has white bay, soggy $ bar & foxy's. virgin gorda "the baths" i missed tortola smugglers & long bay west. stt has magens (often crowded) sapphire (i stayed there) . 2 websites info i got at ferrydock stthomasthisweek.com or stjohnguidebook.com a couple drinks i enjoyed cruzan confusion , B.B.C banana, baileys & cruzan i think. cheers, wish i was there!

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Posted : March 28, 2012 9:34 pm
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Reputable Member

$80 @ night is a screaming deal. However if you plan on spending your time on St John, then you should look at some accomodations on St John. The round trip travel time between the two islands is anywhere between t hour and 3 hours. The total cost for fransport passenger ferry, stj taxi (or rental car on stj) or car ferry (only runs untill 6;30pm) will be about 60 to 130 per day. Personally, I like taking a break during the day back at the room. Staying on STJ will give you more flexibilty. But if $$$ is you main concern take the STT condo and deal with the shclep.

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Posted : March 29, 2012 11:52 am
redliner996
(@redliner996)
Eminent Member

Thank you for all the feedback. I think it's a great deal for the condo in STT and I'm sure I will have a great time. However as blu4u stated the cost of going back and forth on the barge with a car can add up. Will that make the cost of just staying in STJ and not having to go back and forth a better deal? Can't seem to find anything for less than $1200 for a week.

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Posted : March 30, 2012 4:32 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

redliner996 wrote:
Thank you for all the feedback. I think it's a great deal for the condo in STT and I'm sure I will have a great time. However as blu4u stated the cost of going back and forth on the barge with a car can add up. Will that make the cost of just staying in STJ and not having to go back and forth a better deal? Can't seem to find anything for less than $1200 for a week.

The passenger ferry is $6 each way and you can park your vehicle at the ferry terminal parking lot. Taxis are always at the Cruz Bay ferry terminal and a taxi to the beaches won't cost you an arm and a leg (see taxi rates under "St John" top of this page). With only seven days here there is plenty to do and see on St Thomas and some beautiful beaches which will keep you well occupied. Have fun!

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Posted : March 30, 2012 5:00 pm
redliner996
(@redliner996)
Eminent Member

STT Resident wrote:
[quote=redliner996]
Thank you for all the feedback. I think it's a great deal for the condo in STT and I'm sure I will have a great time. However as blu4u stated the cost of going back and forth on the barge with a car can add up. Will that make the cost of just staying in STJ and not having to go back and forth a better deal? Can't seem to find anything for less than $1200 for a week.

The passenger ferry is $6 each way and you can park your vehicle at the ferry terminal parking lot. Taxis are always at the Cruz Bay ferry terminal and a taxi to the beaches won't cost you an arm and a leg (see taxi rates under "St John" top of this page). With only seven days here there is plenty to do and see on St Thomas and some beautiful beaches which will keep you well occupied. Have fun!

Thanks STT Resident. So it looks like if I travel back and forth three days from STT to STJ for day trips I will be looking at $150 in barge fees and whatever for the car rental. So I guess it does not sound bad. (right?)
What other places do you suggest visiting while in STT/STJ? Will one or two day trips to StJ be enough? Should I look into going to BVI or another Island for the other time I'm there? Don't want to spend most of my time traveling either, because that will take away from enjoying the beauty of these islands. Thanks in advance for all the feedback and your time is much appreciated.

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Posted : March 30, 2012 5:18 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

On such a short visit I wouldn't try and pack in too much and don't over-plan, either. The objective is to relax! Beaches to go to on St Thomas are Magens, Sapphire, Coki, Smith Bay Park and Secret Harbour. Sapphire, Coki and Secret Harbour all have excellent snorkeling spots right off the beach and you can rent snorkel gear for the week either from Aqua Action Dive Shop at Secret Harbour or Red Hook Dive Center in Red Hook. I'd highly recommend going out on the water on one of the charter boats and this is usually the highlight of the trip for most visitors. There are several sailing charters which go over to Jost Van Dyke in the BVI on day trips but there are plenty to choose from which offer a variety of itineraries.

As I said, it's good to have an idea of what you want to do but don't go crazy trying to pack in everything and schedule every hour of every day. Once you get here and relax you can take each day as it comes and do what you feel like doing. Nothing is too far away. Cheers!

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Posted : March 30, 2012 8:05 pm
redliner996
(@redliner996)
Eminent Member

STT Resident wrote:
On such a short visit I wouldn't try and pack in too much and don't over-plan, either. The objective is to relax! Beaches to go to on St Thomas are Magens, Sapphire, Coki, Smith Bay Park and Secret Harbour. Sapphire, Coki and Secret Harbour all have excellent snorkeling spots right off the beach and you can rent snorkel gear for the week either from Aqua Action Dive Shop at Secret Harbour or Red Hook Dive Center in Red Hook. I'd highly recommend going out on the water on one of the charter boats and this is usually the highlight of the trip for most visitors. There are several sailing charters which go over to Jost Van Dyke in the BVI on day trips but there are plenty to choose from which offer a variety of itineraries.

As I said, it's good to have an idea of what you want to do but don't go crazy trying to pack in everything and schedule every hour of every day. Once you get here and relax you can take each day as it comes and do what you feel like doing. Nothing is too far away. Cheers!

That makes perfect sense. Thank you again STT Resident. If we wanted to stay in St John for a night, are there any places that rent for a decent nightly rate? Any place that is on the beach maybe. I figure since the car barge leaves early, we may want to stay and enjoy the day and night an dbe up early to enjoy another day before heading back to STT.

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Posted : March 31, 2012 12:27 am
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Reputable Member

Passenger ferry from STT to STJ: 1 hour RT. $12 RT per person. Car parking in redhook $5 (I think) Taxi to "north side" beaches $12 to $26 RT.
Good points=Passenger ferry runs from 6:30am to 11pm. Bad points=you have to shelp your beach stuff. Allot of time wasted waiting for taxis back from the beach. Limited to Cruz Bay and North Side beaches. Can't access Coral bay/Salt pond and other parts of STJ.

Car Barge = 2 to 3 hours RT. $50 to $70 RT.
Good points=you can bring a chair, snorkel stuff, beach bag. cooler, et al. You can access entire island.
Bad points= barge only runs during the day. Last barge at 6:30pm. Wait can be long, hot and tedious. Rushing back to meet crowded 6:30 barge.

Mathematically, STT has more crowds. (residents + hotel/condo guests + cruisers). Most of STT beaches are "developed" (hotels, condos, restaurants, rental shacks). STT has cheaper accommodations. STT has conveniences like Home Depot, Kmart, Costless, Airport, Hospital, University.

STJ is largely undeveloped because of the National Park. Many lovely undeveloped beaches. Many High-end vacation "villas" (think sort supply of land and high demand for premium property). Budget accommodations are hard to find (but NOT impossible).

If Saving money is your prime concern, than opt for the condo and deal with the commute.

Now for what to do. Depends upon how motivated and energetic you are...Personally, I like to "do stuff" on vacation. See stuff I never seen before. I can stay at home, lie in lounge chair and read at home FOR FREE.
If you stay on STT do 1-2 days on STJ. One day on Jost, if you like adventure and can afford the ferry. If you really like adventure (and boat rides) try the baths. Nice beaches on STT are Megans and Lindquist. Aviod coki. Save the snorkeling for STJ. The charter boats are pricey and they are more about the boat than exploring the island .
If you decide to bite the money bullet and stay on STJ you may find pleanty of beaches and exploring to stay busy for one week. A one day trip the BVI is still a good idea, it have any $$ left over.

If you want to snorkel, purchase a "set" at home ($60) and pack it in your carry-on. (hint: the shoe type fins are more comfortable than strap-back fins) Rental gear is pricey and you do not need professional gear for a week long trip.

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Posted : March 31, 2012 12:47 am
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

redliner996 wrote: That makes perfect sense. Thank you again STT Resident. If we wanted to stay in St John for a night, are there any places that rent for a decent nightly rate? Any place that is on the beach maybe. I figure since the car barge leaves early, we may want to stay and enjoy the day and night an dbe up early to enjoy another day before heading back to STT.

I don't know of anywhere on St John which accepts single night reservations and, unlike St Thomas (and because of the restrictions of the National Park regulations) there are very few places on the beach (Caneel and the Westin are pretty much it). Some visitors and many STT locals who want to stay later on STJ to enjoy a relaxing dinner, take the passenger ferry over. The last one back is at 11PM.

Where is the condo in which you'll be staying located?

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Posted : March 31, 2012 9:00 am
exit zero
(@exit-zero)
Prominent Member

You might try St John Boutique Hotel for a one night stay.

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Posted : March 31, 2012 1:55 pm
redliner996
(@redliner996)
Eminent Member

So bad news. The condo is no longer available. I talked to him two weeks ago and told him I would let him know after
I did some research. Called him yesterday and his dad said its booked. Just my luck. So now back to square one.
So any suggestions for reasonable accomodations in stj or I guess stt as well. Sorry to take up more of evryones time

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Posted : March 31, 2012 7:02 pm
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Reputable Member

How many in your party? Do you need a kitchen. would you consider a high end eco camp (concordia)? Check out studio condos in cruz bay (cruz views--i think that's the name. Gallows bay sometimes runs deals on one bedrooms.

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Posted : March 31, 2012 7:21 pm
redliner996
(@redliner996)
Eminent Member

blu4u wrote:
How many in your party? Do you need a kitchen. would you consider a high end eco camp (concordia)? Check out studio condos in cruz bay (cruz views--i think that's the name. Gallows bay sometimes runs deals on one bedrooms.

There are just two of us. So a one bedroom is fine. I wuld like a kitchen as that will allow us to cook and save some money
Vs eating out every day.

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Posted : March 31, 2012 7:27 pm
redliner996
(@redliner996)
Eminent Member

How is point pleasant in stt? And how is tree trops in stj?

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Posted : April 1, 2012 2:07 am
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Reputable Member

You'll have a heck of time trying to match the $80 per night rate your freind offered.

http://www.maho.org/maho.cfm

Delux tent cabins. Can't beat the location. Stunning!!! Overlooking two of the most lovely beaches in the world. Inside the Virgin Isalnds National Park!

http://www.concordiaeco-resort.com/eco-studios/
Or, check concordia $125 per night for a studio. Another fabuluos location.

Cinommon bay rents tents with beds, grills and common bath for about $50 per night. Not as bad as it sounds. I've stayed with my kids several times. Kinda fun actually.

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Posted : April 1, 2012 2:24 am
briz5
(@briz5)
Active Member

One of my friends just returned from a stay at MAHO and in her words...it was disgusting. Roaches everywhere, very dirty, etc. She is not picky at all and loves to camp...so if she said MAHO was that bad, I would never stay there.

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Posted : April 1, 2012 10:21 am
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

Point Pleasant is very nice but there's quite a bit of walking and the beach is very small. If you're looking at PP then take a look on www.vrbo.com for condo rentals at Sapphire. You can get a studio for quite a reasonable price and the beach is gorgeous with excellent snorkeling. The location is perfect, within easy reach of Red Hook and town. Here's a link to the webcam:

http://www.sapphireinthesun.com/

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Posted : April 1, 2012 1:24 pm
dano50
(@dano50)
Eminent Member

never hurts to call them direct and ask them whats the best deal they can give you! sometimes you get lucky.

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Posted : April 1, 2012 5:22 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

dano50 wrote:
never hurts to call them direct and ask them whats the best deal they can give you! sometimes you get lucky.

When dealing with private owners via vrbo, you're dealing directly with the owners and not with a third party or an agency.

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Posted : April 1, 2012 7:25 pm
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