St. John General Information-St. John Villas
St. John At A Glance:
Stunning white sand beaches and turquoise sea…Very relaxed and laid back…US Virgin Islands National Park…The quaint shops of Cruz Bay…Sailing, water sports and hiking. Eco-tourism.
Villas Caribe offers only the finest private St. John villas available on St. John. St. John villa rentals are ideally set on the hillsides near the pristine US Virgin Islands National Park. Villas in St. John generally do not include full staffs but daily maid and cook/chef services may be arranged for additional charges.
St. John villas fulfill many people's vision of an ideal tropical destination. Visitors to the island arrive by ferry in the town of Cruz Bay. The town of Cruz Bay is charming and offers a decidedly slow and relaxed pace. Visitors enjoy wandering the streets of Cruz Bay and discovering dozens of boutiques, artisan shops, bars and restaurants.
Two thirds of the island consists of the United States Virgin Islands National Park. Large areas of the island are free of development which makes exploring all the more rewarding. The Cruz Bay Visitors Center is just a short walk from the ferry docks and is well worth a visit for first timers. The center offers maps, video, exhibits, books and Park Rangers to assist you in planning your exploration of the park. Hiking, historical tours, snorkeling and cultural craft demonstrations may all be enjoyed.
The beaches of St. John are amongst the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Hawksnest Bay, Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay are each stunningly white sand beaches edging turquoise waters.
Water sports are easily arranged and most companies have an office in Cruz Bay.
Visitors will discover historic sugar mill ruins; the sleepy village of Coral Bay, more gorgeous beaches than expected and everywhere the glorious views of offshore islands.
Come to St. John to commune with nature and enjoy a small island community without pretension. Come to St. John for a completely relaxing vacation amid spectacular natural beauty and stunning white sand beaches.
Arrival on island is accomplished via ferries that depart from nearby St. Thomas (there is no airport on St. John). As a Villas Caribe, Inc. client we will arrange for you to be met on a complementary basis on the dock, assisted with securing a rental vehicle and escorted on a complementary basis to the villa.
Activities/St. John Villas:
Swimming, sailing, kayaking, tennis, horseback riding (NO GOLF).
Area Code: 340
Arrival On Island:
Visitors will fly to St. Thomas and then take a cab to either the St. John Ferry from downtown Charlotte Amalie or from the Red Hook dock on the East End. We recommend the ferry from Red Hook because it is a calmer passage and the ferries run more frequently. Please refer to section under “Ferry” for specifics/times etc.
**Please be sure to phone your St. John villa contact person BEFORE taking the ferry from St. Thomas and let them know EXACTLY which ferry you’ll be arriving on so that they are on the dock when you disembark on St. John.
Our local representative will meet you on the ferry dock and they’ll take you to your rental car company and then escort you to the villa on a complementary basis.
The island offers around 50 ATMs at bank branches, transportation centers, shopping centers and other convenient spots throughout the island.
Cribs, high chairs, cots etc. are all available for rental for additional fees which generally run approximately US $4.00-$6.00 per item/depending upon the items selected. More specifically, cribs are $6/per day or $40 for the week, highchairs are $5/day or $30 for the week, airbeds are $6 per day and $40 for the week. All of the items are subject to a $45 delivery fee and the government tax.
Banks on St. John are open from 9 AM –3 PM Mon.-Thursday and from 9 AM-5 PM on Fridays.
Bank of Nova Scotia
Chase Manhattan Bank
St. John Villas Beach Access:
St. John is known for its spectacular beaches. Many of these beaches are located on the north shore within the National Park and so are maintained and protected indefinitely. It is important to note that most St. John villa rentals and St. John villa are located on the islands beautiful hillside.
North Coast Beaches:
International recognized as one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean, it boasts several of its own terrific beaches that are available to the public. Do be sure to check that you’re not trespassing and that you have the resort’s permission to traverse their property prior to reaching the public beach. A lovely seaside bar that provides the perfect setting for sunset watching!
Camping, water sports, endless white sand, concessions and a small general store compliment one of the nicest beaches on the island. Rental equipment (snorkel gear, kayaks, windsurfing with lessons, sailing) available.
A personal favorite, this beach offers seclusion and good snorkeling on its two coral banks that are just several feet from the shore.
Best access is from the Caneel Bay Resort-make sure you have their permission to park your car on their lot.
No maintained beaches, but Watermelon Cay is a tiny island/spit with great snorkeling around 200 yards off St. John. Go to the end of Leinster Beach to make the swim to Watermelon Cay.
Secluded and quiet with a restaurant and ecologically conscious grounds and accommodations.
St. John’s most renowned beach it is, also, one of the most photographed beaches in the Caribbean. A combination of the underwater snorkeling trail, water sports kiosk, concession stand changing and restroom facilities and lifeguards on duty make this a beach not to be missed. Small entrance fee.
All of the beaches on the island are open to the public. St. John has no nude beaches and nudism is actually illegal.
The waters around the U.S. Virgin Islands are so crystal clear that many visitors elect to explore the islands islets and cays by boat. The island offers many vessels to choose from and countless coves and bays invite a variety of vessels from day and evening sails to charter yacht rentals.
Budgeting/Costs To Rent A Villa on St. John:
In addition to the weekly rental rate for a St. John villa, the additional costs involved include but are not limited to the following:
Groceries & beverages:
Tip for the maid if included
Cancellations For St. John Villa Rentals:
Cancellation penalties are incurred and will vary depending upon the specific villa chosen. Upon confirmation with our company, a written cancellation policy will be issued along with the written invoice for the booking.
Generally, cancellations incur a minimum of a 20% penalty on the gross weekly rental rate of the St. John villa if cancelled up until a certain time prior to arrival.
Group 1-St. John Villas:
20% penalty on the gross weekly rental rate of the villa and $100 administrative fee if cancelled up until 45 days prior to arrival at the villa. No refunds for cancellations made within 45 days of arrival at the villa.
Group 2-St. John Villas:
No deposits or final payments will be refunded unless a replacement rental is obtained.
Should the client be forced to cancel for ANY reason more than 90 days prior to arrival and a replacement rental is obtained, there will be a 10% penalty on the gross weekly rental rate of the villa and $100 administrative fee.
Cancellations made within 90 days of arrival, if a replacement rental is obtained, are subject to a 20% penalty on the gross weekly rental rate of the villa and $100 administrative fee.
Group 3-St. John Villas:
Cancellations made 60+ days prior to arrival are subject to a 15% penalty on the gross weekly rental rate of the villa.
Cancellations made within 60 days of arrival, if a replacement rental is obtained, then subject to 15% penalty on gross weekly rental rate of villa.
Cancellations made within 60 days of arrival, if no replacement rental is obtained, no refunds.
**Cancellation insurance is strongly advised to cover the cost of cancellation due to any unforeseen circumstances
St. John Car Rentals:
We highly recommend that clients rent a vehicle for their stay on St. John.
Clients will find a variety of agencies on the island to include some of the following:
Avis: 800.331.1084 or 340.776.6374
Hertz: 800.654.3131 or 340.693.7580
Connor Jeep Rental: 340.776.6343
Varlack Car Rental: 340.776.6695
Capital: Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas
Check-in time is generally after 3:00 PM and check-out time is 10:00 AM. Plan at least one-hour traveling time from Cruz Bay to the airport on St. Thomas.
We have several excellent chefs who are available to our clients for just one special dinner or for all of their meal preparations during their villa stay. Sample menus are available and we generally will put the chef directly in touch with our clients so that they can discuss their dates, times, menus, dietary restrictions and grocery shopping with him or her. Each chef requires an advance deposit for both the grocery shopping and their cooking services. A chef’s pricing is based on the number of guests, type of meals requested etc. Please keep in mind that the U.S. Virgin Islands is a U.S. Territory, so the usual U.S. minimum wage applies and chefs will likely cost more than on most other West Indian Islands. Once you’ve arranged your chef, please let Villas Caribe know so we can be sure to provide them with access to your villa prior to your arrival so that they can pre-stock groceries etc.
Ms. Julie Van Pelt
Phone: 340.776.1485 or 340.513.2299
Phone: 340.774.8116 or 340.513.4167
Phone & Fax: 340.777-6129
Karrl is, also, available as a personal trainer or yoga instructor to our villa guests.
Katilady Villa Services:
Ms. Kati Steinborn
Fax: 340.776.6556 or
Offers both chef and provisioning services.
Passion Fruit Chefs:
Phone: 340.777.1234 or 340.643.2854 or 340.643.2534
Mathayom Private Chefs
Mathayom "Mat" Vacharat
**Once you’ve arranged your chef, you are required to notify our company so we can be sure to give him or her access to your villa before your arrival so that the villa may be pre-stocked and/or the chef may begin preparation of your meal for you.
Warm & sunny temperatures between 75 F and 90 F year round. During the winter, the nights are slightly cooler and so it might be a good idea to bring a cotton sweater.
The St. John villas all are equipped with telephones and guests will be advised of the particular phone number of the property prior to departure. Visitors will enjoy the ease with which they can communicate with home by direct dialing (please note that overseas phone bills will be deducted from the security deposit held for the villa).
The U.S. Dollar is used throughout the territory as well as the neighboring British Virgin Islands. Major credit cards and traveler’s checks are widely accepted as well.
Customs & Duty-Free Allowances:
U.S. Citizens duty-free allowances:
Departing citizens whose stay is in excess of 48 hours may on their return take back, free of duty, articles totaling up to US $1,200 (based on the retail value of the items in the country of purchase). A family of four, then, would be able to bring home $4,800 in duty-free items. Additionally, you may bring home up to 4 liters of liquor per adult or 5 liters if the 5th bottle is either Cruzan Rum, Chococo or Southern Comfort, all of which are made in the U.S.V.I. and are duty-free.
Loose precious gems (diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires) are completely duty-free no matter what the cost (as long as the stone is loose and not in a setting). Additionally, there is a duty-free allowance of 5 cartons of cigarettes and 100 cigars.
Do be sure to take advantage of the island’s proximity to many diversified islands. By ferry, seaplane or airplane such islands as St. Thomas, the British Virgin Islands, St. Croix and Puerto Rico are feasible day trips. Please note that you will need a passport to enter any non-US Islands or other proof of citizenship.
St. John is in close proximity to neighboring St. Thomas (a $3.00 & 20 minute ferry ride).
Additionally, there are numerous day sails and boat charters available for island hopping.
Vast arrays of big game fish live in the oceans surrounding the U.S. Virgin Islands. Indeed, fishing from the U.S. Virgin Islands is synonymous with blue marlin angling-especially from June through October. Four 1,000 pound blue marlins, including three world records have been caught on the famous North Drop, which is located approximately 20 miles north of St. Thomas.
Several different companies on the island offer guided St. John fishing excursions with a focus on the big game fish like marlin, sailfish, dolphinfish/mahimahi and wahoo. Both half day and full day excursions are available.
Departure Tax: None
A 25%-50% deposit is required to confirm a reservation. Reservations made within 60 days prior to arrival during the winter season and 45 days prior to arrival during the summer/low season must be paid in full.
Documents for arrival onto St. John:
Every person entering St. John/the US Virgin Islands should be in possession of a valid passport or a certified birth certificate and photo ID and a valid return ticket.
St. John is exceptionally informal when it comes to dress code standards with shorts and shirts the standard daytime attire. Both the custom and the law state that bathing suits are not to be worn anywhere but on the beach. Casual clothes/casual elegance are suitable for evenings although jackets for men are required at Caneel Bay. A jacket of sweater might be appropriate for cooler winter evenings.
Driving is on the left, British style. A valid foreign or U.S. driver’s license is valid for 90 days.
110 volts/50 cycles-same as in the U.S.
No adapters necessary for visitors from North America but European visitors will require one.
Estates & Plantations:
On the northern coast, visitors will find the ruins of Annaberg Plantation a 1700 estate. Visitors may tour the factory buildings and windmill of this 1733 estate and enjoy sensational views of the Caribbean. Local residents conduct period craft demonstrations, such as basket weaving. The National Park Service offers guided tours on Mondays from 9:30 to 11:00 AM and Fridays from 1 to 2:30 PM.
St. John Ferry Service:
Red Hook Ferry:
30-50 minute taxi ride from the ST. Thomas Airport to the ferry dock and then around a 20-minute ferry ride to St. John. The ferry departs from the Red Hook Ferry Dock every hour on the hour from 6:00 AM to midnight and the fare is $3 per person. Tickets purchased at the ticket booth at the ferry dock.
10-minute taxi ride from the St. Thomas Airport and then around a 45-minute ferry ride (can be a poor choice for those who tend to get sea sick-especially if the sea looks choppy).
**Please be sure to phone your St. John contact person BEFORE taking the ferry from St. Thomas and let them know EXACTLY which ferry you’ll be arriving on so that they are on the dock when you disembark on St. John.
Our local representative will meet you on the ferry dock and they’ll take you to your rental car company and then escort you to the villa on a complementary basis.
General Information-Government & Standard Of Living:
St. John (and all of the U.S. Virgin Islands) was purchased from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million and remains an unincorporated territory of the United States. Although Virgin Islanders do not have a vote in the U.S. national elections, they vote for their own governor, lieutenant governor and the members of the legislature. Additionally, they elect their representatives in Washington who lobby on their behalf.
No golf course on the island. The closest golf would be on nearby St. Thomas at the Mahogany Run Golf Course.
Visitors will find the supermarkets in St. John are well stocked and offering a staggering array of exotic and distinguished specialty foods for the good life. The island boasts four stateside style mini-markets that provide a more than adequate supply of fresh and frozen meats, staples and an array of basic frozen and canned goods. The island, also, has a gourmet/health food store, a produce store, an excellent bakery and a great deli. We do not think the small saving in cost is worth the aggravation and loss of vacation time that a trip to a St. Thomas supermarket entails.
A variety of hiking opportunities exist on St. John. Be sure to stop in Cruz Bay at the Virgin Islands National Park Headquarters (phone 340.776.6201) which is open daily from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM for a pamphlet describing the 22 trails that meander to and through plantation ruins, open valleys, semi-rainforests and seaside beaches. The park offers 22 trails in all which encompass some 20 miles. The trails range from easy to very difficult and from fifteen minutes to over two hours. Do be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring a hat and sunscreen.
The Reef Bay Trail is one of the island’s most popular and it is here that you may see the pre-Columbian petroglyphs.
The history of the Virgin Islands started with Christopher Columbus’ second voyage in 1493. He sighted St. Croix first which he named Santa Cruz and claimed it for Spain. He then proceeded to sail further North where he found the other islands and christened them “Las Islas Virgenes” or the Virgin Islands.
Sir Francis Drake, an English navigator and infamous plunderer of Spanish galleons, sailed through the sea passageway separating the British and American Virgin Islands and which is today known as the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
In the 1660’s, various European powers (Holland, France, England, Spain, Denmark & the Knights of Malta) all wanted to possess the Virgin Islands but in 1671 it was Denmark that clearly ruled St. Thomas. Denmark established the first permanent settlement there and by 1718 they expanded to St. John. A fort was constructed in Coral Bay on St. John, one of the safest harbors in the Caribbean. In 1733, Denmark purchased St. Croix from France and united the three Virgin Islands of today.
The United States bought the islands in 1917, as part of a military defense strategy for $25 million but it was not until 1927 that the residents were granted U.S. citizenship.
Laurence Rockefeller purchased the island of St. John in 1956 and deeded large portions of the island to the National Park Service. Currently, over half of the island’s 21 square miles lies under its protective care.
Available at Bordeaux Mountain.
If you’re bringing your laptop and want to get connected locally, please go to www.viaccess.net and see their home page. Click on the personal link and sign up with your credit card number and tell them the phone number of your villa (we will provide). The rate is $19.96 per month for unlimited access with a one-month minimum.
Cyber Celtic Café/Quiet Mon Pub: Cruz Bay.
The official language is English spoken although islands residents often speak it with a Creole or West Indian lilt.
Only a select few villas on the island provide guest access to the villa’s washer and dryer for personal use. Professional laundry service, however, is available in town.
Black Sea Urchins
St. John is located approximately 1,500 southeast of New York City.
Marriage & Weddings:
Getting married on St. John is relatively easy.
Couples should apply for applications through the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, Box 70, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., 00804 or call 340.774.6680. There is an eight-day waiting period required upon receipt of the notarized application in the islands. The waiting period, however, may be waived at the discretion of the judge if the couple’s documents are in order.
We are, also, happy to provide our clients with the names and phone numbers of personal wedding consultants and planners.
Your cellular phone in the U.S. must have a contractual agreement with Sprint or Cingular Wireless or must be a Sprint or Cingular Wireless Carrier. Check with your U.S. or Canadian cell phone company before you depart. If your cellular company is associated with Sprint or Cingular, then there will probably be roaming charges applicable in the U.S. Virgin Islands that you ill have to pay if you use your cell phone on St. Thomas, St. John or ST. Croix.
If your cellular company does not have an agreement with Cingular, then your cell phone will probably not work on the island. If your cellular company is associated with Cingular, then there may be roaming charges applicable in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which you will have to pay if you use your cell phone on St. Thomas, St. John or on St. Croix.
On St. John, call GENESIS at 340-775-5906. Their office is located in The Marketplace, St. John, and is open 9-5:30 pm Mondays -Thursdays, 9-5 Fridays, and closed weekends. Deliveries and pickups on St. John may also be arranged with Genesis for a nominal fee.
Nightlife is somewhat limited on St. John and consists of dancing and occasional live bands. For the most current information about local entertainment, please refer to any of the local newspapers such as the Daily News, The Tradewinds, or the Island Trader.
Duffy’s Love Shack is usually a lively spot at night and local music such as calypso; soca and reggae may be enjoyed at Fred’s in Cruz Bay.
Parking In Town:
Available parking in Cruz Bay will vary with the time of day and is usually jammed. For shopping, part in either Wharfside Village or behind Mongoose Junction. While there is no metered or pay parking on the island, please note that the time restrictions and handicapped parking spaces are strictly enforced. Regular parking tickets range between $25 and $50 with handicapped violations being upwards of $1000.00
The villas on St. John do not include the services of a staff but if guests are arriving late in the day they may want to have some items pre-stocked for their arrival. This service is available for additional charges. Please be sure to advise us at least a few weeks prior to your departure. Provisioning/pre-stocking service alone will cost approximately $25 per hour with generally a two-hour minimum charge.
St. John Restaurants:
Intimate Euro-Asian cuisine overlooking quaint Cruz Bay Harbor.
Beach Terrace at Caneel Bay Resort:
An elegant beachside setting at one of the Caribbean’s premier resorts.
Located in Cruz Bay on an upper level, it offers good pasta and pizza in a casual setting.
Café Wahoo (formerly Pussers Restaurant & Bar in Cruz Bay):
Spectacular views from Bordeaux Mountain, the island’s highest look out point. International cuisine with a sophisticated menu.
Duffy’s Love Shack:
Funky, casual and great drinks!
Ellingtons at Gallows Point in Cruz Bay:
Offering casual fine dining with sunset views of Pillsbury Sound…Continental cuisine with a Caribbean flair.
Equator at Caneel Bay:
Open air dining in a former sugar mill, featuring fresh flavors and good wines.
Fantastic fresh fish entrees with an accent on fresh ingredients are featured in this casual tropical setting and open air dining room.
Set in a garden and one of the most popular spots it serves generous portions of burgers, lobster, grilled fish and an all you can eat shrimp fest on Wednesday nights.
Morgan's Mango Phone:
Located next to Mongoose Junction, the restaurant is known for its seafood and West Indian specialties. Open daily for dinner.
The majority of the villas do require a security deposit to be paid along with payment for the actual villa. The deposit is refunded, assuming no damages or overseas phone calls, generally around 45 days from the date of departure from the villa.
Cruz Bay, the arrival point for boats and ferries from St. Thomas, is a charming town situated on a picturesque harbor at the west end of the island. The majority of shops are all located around Cruz Bay but visitors should note that the island is not a duty-free shopping haven. Rather, the island offers smaller shops that specialized in local crafts and art. Wharfside Villa is located just steps from the ferry dock and offers quaint shops, water sports and restaurants.
A bit further from the ferry dock (around a 5 minute walk) is the charming Mongoose Junction shopping plaza that offers studio shops, fine boutiques, galleries, jewelry shops, restaurants and water sports
Snorkeling & Diving:
St. John offers exceptional close in snorkeling directly off its spectacular white sand beaches. First time visitors will not want to miss the famous, although sometimes crowded, underwater snorkeling trail at Trunk Bay. Visitors may snorkel and follow the various buoys that outline the shallow water trail. The 15 underwater plaques identify the corals and fish that inhabit these waters.
St. John Sports:
Horseback riding, sports fishing, snorkeling, scuba, diving, parasailing, sailing, tennis, kayaking are all available on the island.
The St. John villas generally only include limited maid service. Each property has the frequency of service listed in its detailed written description on our website at www.villascaribe.com. Please note, however, that additional maid service as well as cook/chef service may be arranged for additional fees.
The majority of the resorts (The Westin Resort) on the island have tennis courts that may be booked even if you are not a guest for a court fee. Call the Pro-Shop at the Westin for court times and availability (693.8000 ext. 1740) as well as information on clinics and private lessons. Additionally, there are public courts at the town courts located across the street from the Fire Station in Cruz Bay.
St. John falls in the Atlantic Time zone, which is one hour ahead of US Eastern time. The island does not observe daylight savings time.
Tipping of the staff:
It is appropriate to tip the villa’s housekeeper (if included) for excellent service and a job well done. We recommend $2-$4 per guest, per day.
St. John is only 9 miles long and 4 miles wide with a total area of 20 square miles. It is mountainous (86%) of the land surface is of wooden slopes rising to 1200 feet at Bordeaux Mountain) and features a very irregular coastline of fabulous beaches tucked between the many bays and coves.
Tourist Board Contact Information:
USA/New York Office: 372.USVI
TV & VCR Rentals:
All of the St. John villas are equipped with cable/Satellite TV and VCRs-so rentals are not necessary.
St. John Transfers:
St. John rental villa visitors will fly to St. Thomas and then take a cab to either the St. John Ferry from downtown Charlotte Amalie or from the Red Hook dock on the East End. We recommend the ferry from Red Hook because it is a calmer passage and the ferries run more frequently. For more information on St. John rental villas and St. John villas, please click here to view our complete selection of St. John rental villas.
The villa’s cistern water is filtered before it comes out of the faucets and is safe to drink but for those who have delicate stomachs it would be wise to drink bottled water.