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Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

Orlando, Florida
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Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

Hi, I've read a lot about Safari buses, but the answers are old. In 2011 how much do they cost Charlotte Amalie to Red Hook,( so I won't look like a tourist and have to ask!) I want to take the ferry to St. John's

Also since the bus only goes one way to get around island how long does it take from CS to Red Hook? People have advised against it if time (like 5 hours) is limited.

And is it hard to get a Safari bus back to CA from Red Hook when ferrying back from St. Johns.

People may say take the ferry from CA but it's a lot more money, and more time on the water. What are people's choices between which ferry they prefer?

Thanks, AliaJ.

Riviera Maya, Mexico
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1. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

I would take the Red Hook ferry too, the roundtrip taxi fare is $26 or $20pp for 2 or more people. Taxi rates are regulated so any driver you talk to will quote the same price.

I can't remember the time it takes to drive to Red Hook, but you should be fine if you have the normal 8 - 10 hrs in port. The ferry leaves every hour hr ($12 roundtrip) and there are taxis parked at the terminal, no problem finding a ride back. Whatever ferry is running is the one you want.

There are some good shops in Cruz Bay where the ferry docks, and the Beach Bar on the right is a nice spot to relax.

If you have extra time when you return there are a couple of fun bars literally just steps from the ferry terminal called Big Bambooz, and across the street is Duffy's Love Shack.

Orlando, Florida
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2. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

Thanks, I think will do just that, take the bus, see some of St. Thomas beyond Charlotte Amalia, and then in Cruz Bay visit the shops. Seems like they're the most unique I've come across in the islands. Also we'll get a taxi to take us to Annaberg Plantation. It looks like a lovely place to get a feel for island history amide gorgeous views. AliaJ.

St. Thomas
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3. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

The safari bus that locals use is $2 from town to Red Hook and the same on return. It may take 45 min. or so each way.

Edited: 05 November 2011, 04:15
Orlando, Florida
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4. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

Thanks for the bus fare tip and the approximte time it takes. We'll allow for it in our day. We plan on relaxing and enjoying being "locals"! Thanks AliaJ.

St Thomas
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5. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

Do bear in mind that we don't recommend that visitors rely on safari buses for transportation and I would particularly caution against it when you have the time constraints imposed by a ship's schedule. First, the safaris aren't allowed on either of the cruise ship dock properties. You will have to make your way to the first main road on which they pass. From Havensight that's about a 10-15 minute walk and from Crown Bay around the same. They do not run on any sort of a regular schedule. There are no bus stops for safaris, you stand on the side of the road and hail them. There is nothing to distinguish most of the safaris from other similar regular taxis which look the same so you need to determine when the van stops whether it's a "tour taxi" which charges regular rates or a local safari.

Many visitors, particularly those who have visited the area before, make their own way off a cruise ship to take a day trip to St John (no "s") but just about all of them take a regular taxi to and from the cruise ship dock while a very few rent a car for the day. Even doing that, one has to remember that if for any reason at all you're held up en route come departure time, the ship won't wait for you UNLESS you're part of a ship tour.

I don't mean to put a dampener on your proposed adventure to St John but just want to ensure you understand that "relaxing and enjoying being locals" might not be quite the order of the day if using safari buses to get around is part of the scene! Have a great time whatever you decide to do!

St Thomas, VI
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6. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

According to VI law, the safaris are only supposed to stop at designated VITRAN bus stops. They are not supposed to stop when people flag them down on the side of the road (though many do!), because it ties up the already congested, slow traffic.

One of the problems with the safari is the potential for drama. There was something in the paper the other day about the safari driver getting aggressive (I can't remember exactly what she did to the passenger), because the passenger purportedly gave her a torn $10 bill. There have been times when the safari driver stopped the vehicle to chase after someone who jumped off without paying. Sometimes they'll stop so the driver can eat/drink/use the restroom.

You avoid the potential for drama if you take a taxi.

Riviera Maya, Mexico
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7. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

Thse are extreme examples that don't give new visitors much comfort. The drivers transporting tourists are busy when the ships are in, of course, and we've witnessed very rude cruisers trying to take advantage of that by wasting the drivers time by negotiating when they arrive. The torn bill is another form of rudeness initiated by a tourist. The driver may have overreacted but I mysely would not pay a driver with a torn bill even at home. I drove taxi for years when going to school and that is unacceptable. Use it at a store rather than take advantage of someone that you know time is money for.

I would just find a taxi at the dock that is looking for passengers to the Red Hook ferry, you will be fine, just confirm the price then and have some respect for the people who are taking care of you.

It is really not difficult to hsve a great day, just keep track of the time and give yourself a buffer and enjoy your day on the islands!

Edited: 06 November 2011, 14:47
St Thomas, VI
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8. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

The $1/$2 safaris don't generally transport tourists, and there's a question as to whether the bill was torn when it was presented to the driver. The "taxis," which often look just like the $1/$2 safaris, are the ones that transport most of the tourists. Yes, it's confusing, but so are many issues when it comes to living in the VI.

I'm in agreement with STTResident - it's hard for us who live here to feel comfortable giving a wholehearted recommendation for the $1/$2 safaris. Taxi safaris, yes, but not the $1/$2 safaris that cater to locals.

St Thomas
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9. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

There is no question that some visitors are rude as happens everywhere. We're all used to that! However, one point to be added is that the "dollar" safari buses do not fall under the jurisdiction or the laws proscribed by the VI Taxicab Commission which all regular safari tour buses and taxis must adhere to. Get into a flap with a regular taxi driver and you have the right to take your complaint to the Commission which will address the issue and take whatever steps are necessary to resolve the problem - not an option you have with a dollar safari bus operator.

Like many others, I stand by my advice to visitors to stick to other methods of transportation other than the dollar buses while visiting our islands. They're primarily used by locals without transportation to supplement the government-run VITRAN buses and all the major tourism sites make exactly this cautionary point. We ain't in Kansas here! Cheers!

Riviera Maya, Mexico
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10. Re: Safari buses from CA to Red Hook 2011 help needed!

I agree any cruise ship tourist shound use the regulated taxis that are present at the pier (open-air ir not doesn't matter). We saw people waiting at the entrance to Sapphire everyday for the $2 bus, it is cheap but not reliable enough.

I'm sure the bus is fine if you have the time. But everyone is trying to save $$$ and in this case it's probably not a good choice as time is limited. For those staying on the island no biggie.

Edited: 06 November 2011, 22:18