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Is a car on St. John a must?

muskegon, michigan
4 posts
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Is a car on St. John a must?

My family is planning a two week vacation to St. John the end of november. We will be camping at either Cinnamin Bay or Mayo campgrounds. We want to do alot of snorkeling and beach lounging but would like to rent a vehicle for part of the time to explore the island . Because of the expense we will not be able to rent a car for the entire trip. Will it be very difficult for us ( our children are 10, 14 & 15 )to be without a rental car for 5 or 6 days? Are there enough good beaches and snorkel spots within walking distance of those campgrounds to keep us busy for say 5 or 6 days? Or would the buses be a good option? Any advice on how we could make this trip more affordable would be GREATLY appreciated!

muskegon, michigan
4 posts
1 review
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1. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

Sorry I meant Maho Bay campground not Mayo. Is one campground in a better location or nicer than the other?

Pittsford, New York
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2. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

Hi! I would definetely recommend a vehicle to travel around the island. If you are not able to get one for the whole time you are there, take advantage of traveling to the other beaches while you have the car, and spend the 5-6 days at your campgroud or nearby beaches. You could always grab a taxi to take you to beaches close to Cinnamon or Maho. It would be difficult to walk to other beaches from where you are. The roads are hilly and narrow and not safe for walking.

On the days you do not have a rental car, you may want to consider taking a boat trip, if that is feasible. A day trip to the BVIs is worthwhile. Or, on Fridays, and I think Saturdays, you could take the Ferry out of Cruz Bay over to Jost Van Dyke. Again, a taxi could get you from your campground to the Ferry.

It is great that you will have 2 weeks on the island. If I can be of more help, let me know. Enjoy your trip!!!

Wisconsin
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3. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

The island has busses you can take for cheap, but I don't know the "schedule" (term used loosely on island of course) or where they run. Hopefully someone else can give you more information about that.

You asked about making the trip more affordable... with 5 people it would probably save you some money if you bought a lot of your dry/canned goods and shipped them down to be picked up on arrival. You might be able to save enough money to make getting a car for the 2nd week feasible.

Pia
St John, VI
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for St. John
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4. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

The bus runs once per hour and is $1.00 per person but it does NOT run to any of the North Shore Beaches - it travels from Cruz Bay to Salt Pond via Centerline Road.

Pia

Pia
St John, VI
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for St. John
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5. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

I forgot to mention that with 5 people taking a taxi to/from town once per day will be the same price as renting a car.

A taxi to/from Cinnamon is $9.00 per person each way so round trip would be $90.00.

A taxi to/from Maho is $13.00 per person each way so $130.00 round trip. There is Fretts Taxi Service that serves Maho at a discounted rate of (I believe) $8.00 per person each way but he runs every other hour - again still more expensive than renting a car.

If you decide to stay for the full 5 or 6 days that you do not have a car at the campground it will be no problem but if the children decide they want to run into town then the taxi's will soon add up - just something to think about

Hopefully this helps.

Pia

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for St. John, Cruz Bay
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6. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

I think you'll be happy without a rental car for part of the trip. There is a lot to do at both campgrounds. There's more variety of beaches at Maho, but one excellent beach at Cinnamon.

I've found that many repeat campers opt for Cinnamon Bay campground because they like the beach there better.

One option is to split your visit across both properties. Moving is a hassle, but that gives you four great bays that are a walk/swim during your visit.

Cheers, RickG

Washington DC...
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for St. Thomas
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7. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

Two weeks on St. John is a lot unless you just really love lying on the beach, snorkeling, hiking, reading...

Taxis, as others have indicated, are really expensive. Okay for a few times, but you need to do some planning ahead.

St. John is not a "walking" island. The roads are narrow, curvy, mountainous.

You need to have a plan for the days you have a car and get to all the pretty north shore beaches and around the island. You might taxi into town one day for the day or take the ferry over to St. Thomas for the day. You can also ferry to the BVI, but, again, it really adds up the more people you have.

muskegon, michigan
4 posts
1 review
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8. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

thanks everyone for your advice. I think we have decided to shorten our trip to 9 days and have a car the whole time. It will be so much easier not worrying about how we'll get around. And yes, two weeks of snorkeling and beach lounging might get old especially since we will be camping.I never thought about shipping food down. It sounds expensive . We were thinking we would pick up groceries on st. thomas before taking the ferry over. Are groceries much cheaper on st. thomas than they are on st. john? Or you think shipping them would be alot cheaper? Does anyone have any suggestions for affordable family resturants for those nights we're too wiped out to cook? Also, what's the " must do" list while we are there?

St Thomas
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for St. Thomas
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9. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

If you rent your car on St Thomas, as many do, you can hit CostULess and Plaza Xtra en route to the Red Hook ferry terminal and stock up on basic dry goods for less expense than shipping them down. There are numerous posts on this forum (use the search engine) on this subject, including directions but you can ask again!

Obviously you're not going to have freezer capability at either Cinnamon or Maho but both CostULess and Plaza Xtra carry a huge variety of canned goods along with dehydrated foods which just require a pot and some water and heat to make into a good meal. Plaza Xtra keeps in stock some great Goya rice mixes which are very simple to prepare and very delicious and also carry the longlife milk which doesn't have to be refrigerated. It doesn't taste that bad and boaties use it all the time! If you're into curries, Plaza Xtra also has a variety of packaged "heat and eat" entrees which aren't too shameful.

I'm a bit sorry that you've decided to cut down from two weeks to nine days. As a mere minion who's lived here for close to 25 years now, I would LOVE to be able to indulge and stay at either Maho or Cinnamon or a combination of both for a two week stretch but that remains a dream as long as I have a business here. Cheers!

thanks everyone for your advice. I think we have decided to shorten our trip to 9 days and have a car the whole time. It will be so much easier not worrying about how we'll get around. And yes, two weeks of snorkeling and beach lounging might get old especially since we will be camping.I never thought about shipping food down. It sounds expensive . We were thinking we would pick up groceries on st. thomas before taking the ferry over. Are groceries much cheaper on st. thomas than they are on st. john? Or you think shipping them would be alot cheaper? Does anyone have any suggestions for affordable family resturants for those nights we're too wiped out to cook? Also, what's the " must do" list while we are there?

St Thomas
Destination Expert
for St. Thomas
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10. Re: Is a car on St. John a must?

Oops, forgot to delete your post which I copied and pasted for reference. Mea culpa!

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