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Must Haves!!

Florida City...
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298 posts
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Must Haves!!

I just returned from 7 days on St John. Here is just a few suggestions for first timers...

Bring- bug spray. the bites were worse than the sunburns

water shoes-several beaches, like leinster, you WILL want them.

snorkel gear-seriously, having your own with you all the time is the best. walmart has some.

toiletries-my friend had to buy shampoo-it was 8.69 a BOTTLE!!!

Water at restauraunts is bottled-expect to pay 2-3.00 each.

Cash-lots of it! Only found one gas station who took credit cards. Only once in 7 days did I find a working atm machine. Also, the power shuts down on the island randomly. You will need cash in all the stores when the credit card machines don't have power.

water cameras-12 to 16.00 each there. bring several with you.

Oh... most important thing I learned, ALWAYS greet the locals with a " Hello. How are you today?" before asking anything! Trust me, we learned the hard way.

Tucson, Arizona
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155 posts
4 reviews
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1. Re: Must Haves!!

paulantx, thanks for these suggestions. I have a couple questions - if you stayed in a villa did you have to have bottled water to drink there?

Did you go with St. John Car Rental? If so, how were they? Any comments or suggestions with them? Again thanks for the tips. We leave Friday.

AzRich (almost neighbors!)

Parker, Colorado
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for St. John
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2. Re: Must Haves!!

AZRich- Hi. Just thought I'd share what I know about water. ALL of the villas, as far as I know, have cisterns. So, the water that comes out of the tap is actually filtered rain water. It is generally considered safe to drink, and I feel quite comfortable cooking with it, but don't drink it straight from the tap if I can help it. I've drunk it from the tap and had no problems, but I do remember a discussion on this forum about a year ago where someone suspected they had gotten an intestinal "bug" from their villa's water....(Although, especially when travelling, intestinal problems can come from just about anywhere...)

We usually buy distilled water at the grocery by the gallon. It's relatively inexpensive, and eliminates any worry about cistern water.

Sewell, NJ
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3. Re: Must Haves!!

When you say "bring bug spray" are we talking mosquitos? I leave in less than 2 weeks. Thanks.

Florida City...
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298 posts
7 reviews
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4. Re: Must Haves!!

I stayed in a villa in Coral Bay called The Crows Nest. It is run by Windspree and is across the road from Skinny Legs. I thought the location was perfect! I forgot to mention the water. We went to the market and bought lots of bottled water. Cisterns are the norm and you'll know the difference right away. For example, places recommend you not flush unless going number 2, to save water. The sign is at Island Blues, no kidding. The villas ask you to turn water off when brushing teeth and also while taking a shower. You wet, turn it off, soap up, rinse, turn it off...you get the point. There was no water pressure to speak off. THAT took some getting used to. You really begin to appreciate little things like that. We also had to take out our own trash daily and drive until you find a dumpster. Not a big deal, just different.

I did like St John car rental. You have to initial that you will pay a 70 fee for a dirty vehicle return, like sand in it. I actually went and had them inspect it before I turned it in to make sure I had it clean enough. There is a vacuum at the texaco in cruz bay if you do get it too dirty.

I only got bites from flies and those darn sand fleas. They were crazy. There is alot of hiking to do, so you will want the spray.

MA
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2 reviews
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5. Re: Must Haves!!

Thanks for the advice!!! We leave in two weeks so i'm sure i'll have some questions for you!

Michigan
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175 posts
12 reviews
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6. Re: Must Haves!!

I got back 2 weeks ago and our villa had a separate faucet (w/filter )for drinking at each of the sinks, so it was never an issue. We didn't have a problem with bugs, but we were leaving just as the drought ended, so that probably has changed. My sister used the ATM at Mongoose Junction (I think) and it was $1.50 for the transaction fee. I used a credit card everywhere except for gas and never had any problems, but the there were never any outages while we were there. The water pressure at our villa was excellent so that must be a - depends on where you're staying kind of thing.

St. John
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7. Re: Must Haves!!

A lot of the homes here have "low flow" kind of faucets and pumps for the cistern that don't pack a lot of punch. It is a way for us to conserve water. We are all worried during drought because a truck load of water starts at about $300. There was one place I was living last year that we had to buy water EVERY WEEK! We split the bill with others, but it was still a major expense. Conserving water is just a good idea anywhere you live, but here we do it out of necessity. I would ask the rental agent about drinking the water in your specific home. The houses vary in age and cistern condition as well as if they have had to have water delivered (which is usually desalinated water that is not very good tasting or looking). Some places it is fine to drink the water once it has been filtered, others, it is not. For instance, my last apartment had a flat roof that the feral cats liked to play on... cats are a carrier for giardia (that stomach bug) and our water was collected from their "playground", so I didn't drink the water there, even if it was filtered. The water in my place now is great! I filter it for drinking, but that is it. Almost any restaurant that you go to will have water from the "tap" that is filtered several times before it gets to you. I've never had trouble drinking tap water from any of the restaurants. So you can save a few bucks there.

Caledonia, Canada
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8. Re: Must Haves!!

Paulantx, did you ever work out the etiquette as far as tipping the villa rental agent? We're renting for the first time in July and want to make sure we keep everyone onside. :-)

Thanks.

Florida City...
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298 posts
7 reviews
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9. Re: Must Haves!!

You know Big, I didn't. I turned around and she was gone. The agency was on the floor below my villa and she had mentioned she had to get back to Cruz Bay for the next people. Although very nice, I didn't feel like she was too helpful. I almost felt like I was asking too much of her when asking about the grocery store and the car rental place. As soon as I got to Coral Bay, I was on my own. I got in my vehicle and headed to Cruz Bay to pick up my friend who came in on a later flight. It was easy and I never got lost.

St. John
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10. Re: Must Haves!!

When I worked for a villa company it was not the norm for me to get a tip when I did pickups. Some people are especially helpful and if you feel like rewarding them for it, by all means, do so! I think I only got one tip in all the pickups I did. Most of the villa companies pay their employees a flat fee for every pickup they do.

You may want to start a new topic about this and see what everyone has to say about it.

See you in July!