Good morning and a warm winter greeting from Gaia’s Pearl, St John’s newest luxury villa. Many of us are experiencing colder than usual temperatures and may be thinking of getting away to the crystal clear seas and pristine beaches of the Caribbean. We’d like to offer you a small holiday gift, a survey of getting to and around our beautiful island. The information below is based on 10 adults with each having one piece of luggage.
Getting to St John
To get to St John you must travel through St. Thomas airport (STT). STT is served by several US cities and major airlines, some with multiple flights each day. Once on St Thomas, there are three primary ways to get to St John, and each will require some kind of taxi service from the airport. STT taxi rates can be found here.
1. Hire a private water taxi from Crowne Bay, St Thomas to Cruz Bay, St John. This will range in cost from $500-$1,000 plus fuel and gratuities. Our preferred boat is Neptune; it will accommodate up to twelve passengers and their luggage. **Be sure to mention you are staying at Gaia’s Pearl!** A taxi from Cyril E. King Airport to Crowne Bay Marina will cost $9 per person ($6 per passenger and $3 for luggage) a total of $90 for a 5 minute ride.
2. Hire a taxi from STT to Red Hook and board “The People Ferry.” A taxi for ten, including luggage is $200 ($17 per person and $3 per piece of luggage). Ferries charge $8.15 for non-residents, plus $4 for each piece of luggage, for a total of $321.50. The total trip to Cruz Bay will cost $521.50 Ferry schedules and rates can be found here.
3. Hire a taxi from STT to Crowne Bay and catch the Ferry to Cruz Bay, St John, a total of $355 (taxi and ferry with luggage). The Crowne Bay ferry does not run as frequently as the Red Hook ferries.
Please note that the costs of returning to St Thomas will be similar to those stated above.
Regardless of your mode of transportation to St John, our exclusive concierge, Shimer solutions, will meet you at the dock and help you get settled into Gaia’s Pearl.
Getting around St John
Many of our guests ask, “do we need a car on St John”, and “should we rent a car or hire a taxi?” Keep in mind that St John’s terrain is extremely hilly; getting around by foot is not an option. For our families, a rental car (or two) is the best option. We like the flexibility of having our own car(s); we don’t care to wait for a taxi at the house, or have to look for one in Cruz Bay. Also, taxis can be quite expensive when you look at multiple trips in a day.
As an example, to get from Gaia’s Pearl’s location on Contant Point, and return to Cruz Bay is $7 per person, each way, for a total of $140 round trip for all ten guests. To get from Contant to one of our favorite beaches, Hawks Nest, it could cost your party up to $150 each way. So, in one day your party could rack up over $400 of taxi services, and this doesn’t include those spontaneous trips to the grocery store, and paying the taxi to wait as you shop. Therefore, daily taxi trips can come to one-half the cost of one rental car for a week, about $800-$1,000. Some of our preferred taxi drivers are highlighted on this list. They are familiar with Gaia’s Pearl and may be willing to work with you on rates for your stay. This article is a great overall resource for taxis on St John.
Renting a Car
There are plenty of car rental companies on St. John, most of them with Jeep Wranglers, or similar. The costs from one company to the next are similar. Our preferred rental companies can be found on our website, and here is a more inclusive list of what is available on the island.
A convenient and economical option is to rent cars on St. Thomas, drive to the Red Hook terminal and drive the cars on a barge. Our preferred rental car company is Paradise. A Paradise representative will meet you at the airport with your car, drive you across the street from the airport to sign paperwork, and then you and a friend return to the airport to collect the rest of your party and bags. The whole process from meeting Paradise and being on your way will be about ½ hour and then another ½ hour easy drive to Red Hook to catch the car barge.
There are two car ferry companies, Love City and Big Red Barge. Each charges $50 per car, or $65 for a round trip. We recommend buying a one way from Red Hook to Cruz Bay, as you may not be certain on which barge you will be on for your return. Each company also takes reservations, if you have some certainty what time you will be boarding the barge. Whether you have made a reservation or not, be sure to arrive 30-40 minutes before scheduled departure. The total cost of the car barge round trip (without buying a two-way fare) is $100 per car. Compare this to using people ferries to and from St John and St Thomas for 10 people and bags of $600-$700 round trip.
Keep in mind that parking at the beaches is generally free, but hard to come by at many locations, especially during peak seasons. Parking in Cruz bay can be hard to find, and most of it will cost you $5 per hour. Our preferred parking is the centrally located old St John Lumber yard just off the circle as you head toward the National Park Visitors Center. It is self pay using a QR Code and one payment for multiple trips in and out during the day will usually suffice.
If you choose to rent a car, always remember to drive on the left hand side of the road on all of the Virgin Islands, not just the British Islands.
Looking Forward to you visiting
While the winter calendar is nearly full, there are opportunities for you to escape the chill and experience the exceptional at Gaia’s Pearl in January and at the end of March and into April. Please look at our calendar and check your travel dates against our availability. Remember you can save hundreds by booking direct with Gaia’s Pearl instead of the popular online travel agencies that charge up to an additional 10-20%.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.