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Food costs at the general store?

Atlanta, Georgia
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Food costs at the general store?

Maho looks perfect for our honeymoon, but it is on the top end of our budget. If we were to cook once a day with food from the general store (good idea?) and eat at restaurants twice a day, do you think we could eat all week for less than $400?

Any other budget tips for Maho?

25 replies to this topic
CT
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for St. John
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1. Re: Food costs at the general store?

$400 a week works out to $57 a day for a week. I think that you would be hard pressed to work that budget unless you are comfortable eating peanut butter and jelly.

If we eat out for breakfast, we average about $25 for the 2 of us. Lunch is about the same without drinks. Dinner with wine and/or drinks is at least $60 but that is on the VERY low end and just burgers. Entrees will bring that total to about $100 (with drinks)

There are several grocery stores on island that I would think have better prices than the store at Maho, but I can not guarantee that. If you do decide to go to other stores, you will need to get a taxi. Cruz Bay is not walkable from Maho.

Just a few random grocery prices off the top of my head from our trip in May

Bacon $8.50 a pound

English Muffins $4.00

Yogurt $1.00 each (or close to that)

Cereal $6.00

Quart of half and half $3.00

Also, if you are on a limited budget, remember to factor in:

Taxi from airport to ferry

Ferry to STJ

taxi to Maho

Taxis to cruz bay and back or to other beaches (optional if you just limit yourself to Maho and the beaches that you can walk to, but if you want to eat anywhere other than Maho, you will need to go to town)

Taxi back to Cruz Bay

Ferry to St Thomas

Taxi to Airport

Boston
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2. Re: Food costs at the general store?

If Maho is the top end of your budget you may have a hard time on St John as it is very expensive even by island standards. Eating out 2X per day with a $400 food budget does not seem doable to me. Are you considering any other destination that is less expensive?

NC
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3. Re: Food costs at the general store?

Hi there! Its always do-able. When we first begin to go to STJ, our budget was very tight but this is how we managed and had a fantastic time. Some of the items in the market at Maho are not so bad. We actually brought food from home - just staple items & things we just couldn't live without! Breakfast wasn't a big deal for us - we either had a light breakfast there or had something in our place - lunch was usually a sandwich, chips & fruit back in our place - sometimes the little lunch shack there had good deals on hotdogs, etc. We kept munchie food in our place as well. Dinner - sometimes we would split meals at Maho - the portions were rather large or head into town for cheap drinks at Woodys & Joes Bar-B-Q - large portions there as well. Oh & bring one of those soft, easy pack coolers from home....and bug spray!!

You will have a blast - I remember meeting several couples on their honeymoon there and they were having so much fun!! Congrats & well wishes!!

CT
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for St. John
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4. Re: Food costs at the general store?

MUR5RUN- I respectfully disagree that it is doable. $400 for 2 people for a week and 2 meals out a day?

I would love to see how that would work. Really, I would love to.

I travel to STJ on a tight budget each trip, but that is not anything I can imagine being doable.

With Maho being at the top of their budget and the likelyhood that they have not factored in taxi and ferry costs, I just can not see how it would work.

If the OP wants to change their thoughts on eating out, it may be possible, but with their original request, I just can't see it.

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Food costs at the general store?

Thank you all for the advice. 3 out of 4 say no... I'm beginning to get the picture.

We love the idea of hanging out under palm trees and snorkling by day and staying in a secluded bungalow in the trees by night. Does anyone have any recommendations of somewhere else we should be looking? Somewhere like Maho but closer to Florida maybe?

NC
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6. Re: Food costs at the general store?

No debate - we did it! We ate most of our breakfasts' & lunches' in our place - the bulk stuff/snacks we brought from home with dinners out & about.

We've always been super athletic and we walked a whole lot - catching rides into town & to different beaches. We've traveled all over using this similar method of eating - STJ is not different - It was adventurous, a great way to get to meet the generous people of STJ & we sure had a blast! Our first trip was 20 years ago! We are very blessed at this point in life to stay where we choose but while in STJ, we always end our trips at our beloved MAHO for a couple of nights!

So, with an open mind & a little pre-planning you can really enjoy MAHO/STJ on a very tight budget!

Springfield...
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7. Re: Food costs at the general store?

I have to agree with the majority, if Maho is on the top end of your budget, I think that maybe STJ might not be the place for you. It's a wonderful, wonderful place but it is not an inexpensive trip even when done inexpensively by STJ standards.

And it's your honeymoon, personally I would not want to be watching every single penny on my honeymoon. I would want to go somewhere more affordable where I had a little more financial breathing room.

I have been on the STJ trips where we were with family, felt pressured to go because it was for a wedding and had to watch every single penny we spent, it was years ago, we had only a fraction of the income we have now and it was not fun at all. The trips we take now are a night and day difference.

Try St Croix, it seems to be much cheaper or what about the Florida Keys?

I hope you understand we're not trying to be hard on you at all! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and hope you have a wonderful honeymoon, wherever you go.

CT
Destination Expert
for St. John
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8. Re: Food costs at the general store?

Did you do a full week with 2 people with food costs under $400 this year?

If so, I want all the details on how you managed that because I am amazed and would like to know how to do that.

Please be sure to include costs for anything that you brought or shipped down, as well.

I am not trying to argue, I just do not seem that as a possibility and would love to be proven wrong.

NC
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9. Re: Food costs at the general store?

Hi TINKERBERBELLE - I'm not out to be proven wrong,right or to prove anyone else either way - I just know we did it, still do it and have helped so many of our friends do it as well. Without boring everyone to death & taking up so much space/time, I'll try to be short but informativet - yes, full week for 2 - for food. Like I said before, we brought a lot of goodies from home. One bag for clothes & one bag for food - plus we had our back packs full. Most of our breakfasts were cinnamon raisin toast with p'nut butter, honey & banana - sometimes instant oatmeal with nuts. We made our own coffee. Lunches were always sandwiches with fruit & chips - MAHO was nice enough to share their condiments with us. We carried our instant sport drink mixes - to mix with water. MAHO has great healthy dinner specials & we would end up sharing a meal together if we ate there. Sometimes we would hitch a ride to Uncle Joes to share a huge plate of chicken. We relied a lot on our snacks to fill in the gaps. We'd always hit cheap Happy Hours and we kept a bottle of chilled Rum at our tent. We are not huge eaters and we usually eat to perform - we are both long distance trail runners so food is very important to us - but we have realized over the years, we probably eat a lot less than the average joe. Hoped that helped a little.

Massachusetts
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10. Re: Food costs at the general store?

It could be done. It might feel restrictive, but that depends on what you're happy with. Since it's your honeymoon, you might be happy just being together in paradise.

Basic breakfast @ Maho: $8.50 x2= $17

Vegetarian entree @ Maho: $18.00 x2= $36

If you're there during the low season (August thru mid-November), they have even less expensive options.

If you'd both eat breakfast and dinner at Maho every day, it would run you $318. That would leave you each $6 day each to spend on lunch or lunch supplies. The Maho store will be more expensive than the markets in Cruz Bay and there will be a lot fewer selections, but you'll still be able to put together dinner for two for less than $36 and a lunch for what you have to spend. There is a shack at the beach that sells wraps for lunch for a few dollars---nothing memorable, but cheap fuel. We're usually out snorkeling for the day and just pack some sandwiches for lunch. We could even be happy with PB&J for a few days. If you can live on granola, you can skip a few breakfasts. We never take much food to STJ, but you can keep costs down by bringing some items. We might go out for lunch once or twice. Maho usually has some sort of activity or presentation in the pavilion in the evening with no charge. Maho is one place on STJ that you can manage pretty well without a vehicle. There are some wonderful beaches within easy reach and a few more that require a bit more of a hike. There is a shuttle (for a fee) into Cruz Bay that can also drop you at any of the beaches along the north shore. Maho also organizes some excursions (again for a fee). If you've got a bit extra to spend, there are some things you'd enjoy for not too much.

So it is possible to keep food costs pretty low, but it would be tight. If you can enjoy simplicity and it wouldn't feel like penny-pinching, it could be fine. A honeymoon is a special time that will leave you with memories that will be yours forever. I wouldn't want memories of deprivation, but memories of a simple time in a beautiful place would be most precious. I'm always so content in the Caribbean with so much less than I seem to need when I'm here at home. STJ is a lovely place and Maho is a special place that sadly may not exist for much longer. If you feel drawn to stay at Maho (and it really isn't for everybody), I'd certainly encourage you to see if you can manage it.

We stayed at Maho on our very first trip to STJ and we're trying to see if we can get back one last time before they roll up the tents forever. I'd like to spend a little time there to refresh memories and say my thanks.

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