We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

Manchester, New...
Level Contributor
3 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

My husband and I are planning a 6 day/5 night trip in the 2nd week of June for our 10th anniversary. It's our first time to an island (We've been to Cancun for 4 days, but that's the only "tropical" vaca we've taken!) We are not really "sportsy" so no golf or tennis or real hiking. We plan on getting a 1BR villa at the Westin. We plan to take the Westin ferry from St. Thomas.

- Any ideas for something special for our anniversary (it is the 2nd day of our trip)?

- What are food prices like? Are drink prices comparable to any other resort area?(we are "umbrella drink" kinda people!)

- Can we walk to places from the Westin or should we budget for cabfare?

- We definately enjoy the "pub like" atmosphere...any suggestions for fun bars to go to?

- I saw a website for scooter rentals, are those a good options or should we just take a day and rent a jeep?

- Any other sugeestions for a couple of newbies would be very much appreciated!!!

daisytown
Level Contributor
685 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

Renting a jeep is a must in my opinion. The Westin is on a manmade beach and the famous north shore beaches are not within walking distance. St John has so much to see get out and explore. You will fall in love with the island trust me. ZoZos would be a great place for a special dinner. Great sunsets. Great food. Hang around on the travel forums you will be an expert before you get there.

Nancy

Hollis, NH
Level Contributor
423 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

You won't want to stay too much at the Westin, there's tons to see on the island. Have you tried looking for a small villa rental? My opinions:

1. Rent a 4 wheel drive, totally agreed. You need to be mobile on this island.

2. Check out this web site for beaches and snorkel spots:

http://www.seestjohn.com/beaches.html

3. Buy your own snorkel gear from a dive shop back home. Don't skimp, get properly fitted....you will thank me later. Bring it to St. John, and snorkel a different site each day. You'll be a pro by the end of the week.

4. Either do a day sail/snorkel out of Cruz Bay with Wayward Sailer (Capt Phil), or do a full day motor boat charter to BVI (Indians, Willie T, Sandy Spit, Foxies, Soggy Dollar). Lots of good charters going out of Cruz (you need a passport for this). You won't regret either option.

4a)....ha....I just remembered, start drinking lots of rum a month before your trip to get warmed up! If you're into rum, go right to the Cruzan Single Barrel stuff,....excellent choice!

5. Lots of good restaurants in Cruz Bay, you can't go wrong. We really like Rhumblines....but many others are good. Lime Inn is classic also.

6. Don't forget to check out the east end. Skinny Legs in Coral Bay is alot of fun. Also, the Jolly Dog has fun stuff there. We actually prefer the east end, its alot quieter.

7. Shop in Cruz Bay and support the local business owners. Gotta see the Spice Shop right near the pier, we always buy a ton of stuff there.

8. Watch the following cams to get psyched up for your trip:

http://www.stjohnspice.com/stjohnspicecam.htm

http://www.serendipity.vi/

http://www.villavacations.net/

http://www.soggydollar.com/ (what happened to the cam?)

9. On your east end trip, drive to the far end and see Sloop Jones.....local artist who produces painted clothing. Cool place, and there are some amazing views of Drakes Channel looking east on your way there.

10. I'm getting wordy here.....so last but not least.....get ready for a huge disappointment.....which will occur the day your have to go back home! :)

have fun!

long island ny
Level Contributor
199 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

I'm a newbie, 1st trip will be next April.

But I highly recommend getting either Feet,Fins, Four wheel Drive Or Off the Beaten Track books, I have both and they are so full of information, everytime I look thru it, find something new. Plus the pics in OTB book are gorgeous.

And check all the forums and ask questions, the people here are wonderful.

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
3,158 posts
40 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

I agree with renting a jeep so you can get around. Only way to go.

For your anniversary, definetly plan a trip out on the water. You'll love it and it will be something you always remember.

Food can be very expensive or reasonable depending on where you eat. As far as drink prices, I didn't really think they were that much more then around here, especially the fruity type drinks. Don't forget Bushwackes or Painkillers. You can also pick up rum pretty cheap to keep in your room.

Do not even think about renting a scooter. Roads are too dangerous even if you are a seasoned rider. Don't take that chance. Just wait to you see the hills and switchbacks, you'll know why.

The only other suggestion I can make is relax, take your time, enjoy yourself because you'll be back!

Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
2,956 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

I think the Westin ferry is a good choice for your first trip. While it isn't that big of a deal to take the public ferry, the Westin service will be more relaxed from the get go.

A rental jeep is the way to go. Cabs, should you want to indulge downtown at the bars, are readily available for the evening (as well as during the day)

Personally, I would not walk from the Westin to town. Too far, too hilly and there aren't sidewalks so you will be sharing the road with commercial and tourist traffic.

If you are interested in a "real" STJ sailing and educational snorkelling experience, a half day sail with Capt Phil is an excellent choice.

Being that you are there for a short(-ish) amount of time, I would recommend skipping a full day trip off the island. There is so much to see on STJ.

The Feet Fins 4WD book is an excellent pre-trip resource. It has very detailed information on the beaches, roads, etc. Easy and fun reading.

I think alcohol is sort of cheap on STJ, at least compared to where I live. Cost of food? that is highly subjective and depends on what you are used to at home.

If you are eat-to-live type of diner, you might find the prices high.

Personally, we are the live-to-eat type of diners and have no problem paying $25 and up per person for the great fresh grilled fish or local lobster at the Lime Inn or $40 and up at Zozo's.

Zozo's is a good fancy choice for a special dinner. The upstairs lounge is nice for the sunset but you can't sit at the bar, it is reserved for eating only. There are seating areas back from the bar for sunset viewing.

Cruz Bay has no shortage of fun bars! One of the many great things about STj is town is so walk-able for bar crawling. Our favorites:

Beach Bar

Morgan's Mango for really great frozen drinks

Woody's is really popular. We like it, sometimes. It can be a little college-bar-ish for us at times.

Manchester, New...
Level Contributor
3 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

Wow! thank you all for such great ideas and suggestions!

The reason we choose the Westin over a rental villa is that my parents are giving us there StarOptions as a gift so the sccomodations will cost us nothing.

I will look into those books and Jeep rentals.

Would we be okay to just rent a jeep for a day or two or should we get it fpr the whole stay? (I'm thinking day 3 we may take a day trip to BVI etc since this is hubby's birthday...yes, we got married the day before his birthday, I figured he wouldn't forget the date that way!!)

We do have 3 kids under the age of 8 who will be staying home so I think that the first day or two may just be lounging around the pool with a drink type days to "decompress"!

Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
2,956 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

If you are looking to veg and maybe do an entire day trip, picking up a jeep for a day or two might be a good choice.

The Westin can arrange that for you.,

Ohio
9 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

Dear 5soxfanz, Our family of 5 just returned ( Oct 17-24 )From the most fabulous vacation we've ever taken. We've traveled to the Bahamas, Cancun, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, and Florida beaches. I can honestly tell you there is no comparison to St John. Our trip was paradise. I researched the island many months and came across The Apito which is a brand new home completed June 2009. We were the fourth couple/family to stay. You can find my full reveiw on Trip Advisor. I've heard that the Westin is a hit or miss with whatever room/villa you end up with. You'll definatley need to rent a 4 wheel drive jeep. We had a positive experience with St John Car Rental, steps away from the Cruz Bay ferry dock. Capt Phil with The Wayward Sailor is a MUST do day or sunet sailing and snorkeling trip. You can google him and get all the details. Apito also has a great home page. When you see the photos you'll know without a doubt you found the perfect place to stay. It's minutes from Coral Bay and 10 minutes from the North Shore Beaches. They will take your breath away. I have the owner of the Apito's email tom.buttermore@gmail.com , you'll want to deal with him personally. Very trustworthy and accomodating man to deal with. Because we brought our three children with us 12,10, and 5 we did pack alot of snacks. The food is very costly. Let me know if you have any other questions. I can't say enough about the Apito, everything you could possibly need is furnished. It's top notch. We loved it so much that we returned on a Sunday and I was checking flights on Monday for a return trip this summer. Need I say more? Steph

Hollis, NH
Level Contributor
423 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

ok 5soxfanz.....I'm also a sox fan in mourning tonight, but this too shall pass! yankees suck, right?

OMG....don't sit around the pool, even if its free (good deal!).....the beaches in STJ are amazing. Like others, we've traveled extensively, but STJ is really special. You can decompress on the flight down. When there, don't waste a minute not on a beach or exploration. Pools are a dime a dozen.

By all means, hit a beach or sail every day. You won't regret it.

Parker, CO
Level Contributor
803 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 1st time ti St.John - Tell me what I need to know!

I have to second this opinion. St. John is wayyyyyy too awesome to spend time "lounging around the pool." You can go to your local Holiday Inn for that. Please use all of your time exploring the island in a jeep (NOT A SCOOTER!) Especially the first two days. Because if you spend your first 2 days lounging around the pool, you will regret having wasted those two days once you start exploring the island.

Once you've been to St. John, you will be ruined for most other locations. Mexico will never again be an option. I spend most of my days saving my money and V time for my next opportunity to return to St. John.

Get answers to your questions about Cruz Bay