We started checking for airfare in January 2016 to travel to St John USVI for Thanksgiving week.
We have been to the Virgin Islands many times over Thanksgiving and found the prices were higher than we have ever paid during previous trips. We watched prices over the next six months and finally decided to just use our frequent flyer miles. With five months until our trip, we had no problems booking our flights using miles.
This year we planned to stay on St John and started looking for villas to rent for the week. We found Seas the Day (click on the link if you want to book directly with Eric and save yourself the 10% booking fee on VBRO). Working with Eric was easy. He was very responsive to all our questions. We have used VBRO in the past and found they started charging a 10% fee in 2016.
Our travel day arrived and we had a 6:00 a.m. flight out of BWI with a layover in Miami. When we arrived in Miami we changed into shorts and stuffed our winter clothes in our bag. Back on the plane we arrived in St Thomas around 1:40. Walking down the stairs to the tarmac, the heat hit us immediately. We were ready to begin our vacation.
When we travel we usually only have carry on luggage. But on this trip we decided to check a bag, as it is free as J has an AA credit card. This will allow us to bring full size sunscreen and bug spray, along with some food. This will save us money as the taxis and ferries charge for each suitcases and sunscreen and bug spray is expensive on the island.
After getting our bag, we went outside to get a taxi to Red Hook. The taxis are lined up and you tell them where you are going and they direct you to a van heading in your direction. It is a shared van which held about 10 people. There were already people getting in the taxi and loading luggage in the back. We were on our way within 10 minutes. It took about 30 minutes to get to the Red Hook ferry. Waiting for the luggage to get unloaded from the van takes some time, as you pay the driver when your luggage comes out. The cost for the van was $15 per person plus $4 for a bag, plus tip.
TIP: While one person waits for the luggage, the other person should go get in line to buy the ferry tickets as there will be a long line. This will save time and allow you to get on the next ferry. Just tell them how many tickets you need and how many pieces of luggage you have. They will give you tickets to get on the ferry and to put on your bags.
It was 2:40 when we got in line to buy our ferry tickets. It took about twenty minutes to purchase the tickets. Luckily the ferry was late as it had to refuel. After purchasing our ferry tickets $7 per person plus $4 bag, we got in the next long line to get on the ferry. Kids were going home from school and were butting in line to get on the boat. There was not much organization, but remember, its island time and everything moves slower.
After getting on the boat, we headed straight to the top to sit and enjoy the ride. When the ferry left it was packed. It’s a short twenty minute ride to St John.
When we got off the boat, we had to wait for our luggage to be unloaded. There was a stand with samples of rum calling my name.
While waiting for J to get our bag, I called Eric to let him know we arrived. He would meet us in twenty minutes at L & L Jeep rental where we were renting a jeep for the week. When we got ready to leave we called our daughter T and told her to look at us on the web cam. Nothing like being in warm weather while family is back home freezing and you wave to them as we were talking on the phone.
We walked a couple of blocks with our luggage to the jeep rental office and completed the paperwork for our jeep. They offered parking on their lot for $30 for the week, which we paid. There is no free parking in Cruz Bay as most everywhere is now charging. It was convenient to park in their lot during the week when having dinner or going to Happy Hour.
TIP: Rent a jeep as you will need it for the steep hills and driveways, especially when it rains. Make sure to rent on St John. If you rent in St Thomas and take the ferry over, it is your responsibility to get back. We had a flat tire during our stay and just took it back to L & L and they fixed it and we were on our way. Great service.
John was looking over the jeep and I was standing waiting to get in when Eric drove by and identified himself. He pulled over and waited and then we followed him to the villa. The driveway at Seas the Day is pretty steep and we were glad we had a 4 wheel drive.
The rental unit was in the bottom of the house and there are quite a few steps to walk.
There was a gorgeous patio that we used everyday. There was a toweling rack to dry wet bathing suites, beach chairs, grill and beach coolers for our use.
The house is only two years old and they did everything top of the line. There was a hose outside to wash our snorkeling equipment off when we returned. This keeps sand from the beach outside of the apartment.
The bed was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.
The bathroom had a beautiful walk in shower.
The kitchen was fully equipped if you wanted to cook during your stay. They provided bottled water and beer to get us started which was a nice touch. You could drink the tap water, so you did not need to buy water unlike when we stayed in St Thomas.
There was air conditioning in the unit that we only used at night as it was very comfortable during the day with the door and windows open. A large TV hung on the wall and fast wireless internet was provided.
But the best part was our view for the week. Who would ever get tired of looking at this view every day?
Where do you stay on St John?