Author Topic: 3 Day Getaway to St Thomas / St John Island  (Read 3607 times)

Offline Yoel1

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3 Day Getaway to St Thomas / St John Island
« on: February 05, 2021, 09:35:56 AM »
never wrote a TR before but after always reading and hearing everyone else's, i'm giving it a crack...

Just came back, we had an amazing time! and a suntan in the winter!

You don't need a passport, as it's a US territory just ID card, and British Virgin island is completely closed (as of Jan 2021)

New Yorkers now have until October 1, 2021 until the REAL ID is required for flying within the U.S.

We uploaded our rapid negative test results within 5 day's of our flight (no later than 24 hour's before arrival) to USVI gov site and we got an email within a few hours with an approved Green Barcode (no quarantine required) after landing, before entering the airport USVI national guards met us and asked for Barcode, scanned and welcomed us to the island, The weather was outstanding, averaging about 70-80F (while NY had a snow storm... Sorry, New Yorkers..)

UA flight took about 3h45m from EWR to STT and was $176/RT PP. No WiFi most of the flight but free entertainment on your mobile phone if you download the United app.

We rented a car from premium car rental in St Thomas, $69/day after tax (booked it last minute) we chose compact as everything else was pricey and out of stock, as soon as we exit the airport we saw a 15 passenger van, with a few stickers of car rental names waiting for us to drive to the car rental.

Our rental car was heavily scratched and 6 year's old but air-conditioning worked,
We took clear photos of outside and inside scratches for the record if they try to bill us for old damages, (which they didn't).I would still recommend a 4x4 jeep as it's extremely bad road conditions, The customer service at premium car rental was bad and slow.

Note: St Thomas and St John especially have extremely narrow, curvy, uphill downhill roads I've ever seen, I wouldn't drive above 25mph in most roads in Town. In just 3 day's we saw already 2 small accidents. you also drive on the left side of the road like England but with an american car, so it's very interesting experience.

We drove to Red Hook (35 minutes) and took the St Thomas & St John Car Ferry boat, Booking with Big Red Barge was easy, You can reserve your spot on our barge online  or pay cash on boat but you are not guaranteed a place the ferry comfortably seats up to 24 vehicles and their passengers. but if a few food truck arrives they will go up first, one way is $35 + $4 port fee at the port  When you book a roundtrip, you’ll receive a discount. ($55) their is also another boat company similar price different hours schedule.

We stayed at the Westin St. John Resort Villas, (Cat 7, 45k/day)

The pool, beach was open,  all the grounds were also open.

Parking is behind the main lobby, and they will drive you with your luggage's to the room with a small golf car,

masks are required when taking the small golf car to and from hotel room, and in any indoors.

We got the smallest room, but it was still spacious compared to other places, was fresh and clean, great central air conditioner, our villa had a, microwave, electric range, and fridge and freezer can opener, washer and dryer, wash detergent and dish detergent (dish detergent had OU Kosher :)) starbucks coffee and a stainless steel kettle. (No coffee cups..but we asked the restaurant and they gladly gave us)

Westin Hotel has a option, of $120/per person boat taxi from airport to directly to Westin hotel boat dock takes about 45m , If you're only staying 2-3 days this is highly recommend. (with one easy transfer in red Hook were you go on to a private large boat operated by Westin hotel) I would highly recommend for those not feeling comfortable driving in harsh road environment.

With the boat fare, You get unlimited rides for the duration stay, and Hotel will take over your luggage at the airport and hand deliver it to your hotel,

Walk from hotel to main street is about 15m

if you want to tour anywhere else you going to have to pay for a taxi, they are most of the time waiting in front of hotel. (We didn't use taxis so don't know the prices, but I heard they are reasonable)

You will land in St Thomas, if you plan on staying in St John, anything you plan on buying you should try to buy in St Thomas not in St John as St John will be twice the price.

I would say about 20-40% of grocery items have OU Kosher Supervision. We even for found can coconut milk with OU Kosher and orange juice with OU, and we added a small vodka that we used for a cocktail mix. ( alcohol is sold in most groceries)

(Chabad doesn't seem to be in full operation due to covid-19)

See photos below of sample kosher item we found at:

Food Center

84CJ+RW Estate Bovoni, St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Also Note: next to the grocery is 1st stop east Gas station was the lowest gas price we found.

On day 2 we went to Annaberg Sugar Plantation, Ruins of an 18th-century sugar planation, including a windmill tower & factory, with ocean views. parked down hill and walked up 5 minuts untill we saw Annaberg Sugar Plantation (photo) and also we went until the  fence were you can see right across the British Virgin island (photo)

on way back:
TSA at Cyril E. King Airport somehow seemed very strict and very thorough throughout and it almost felt like an international flight security checkpoint, but didn't take too long as they had enough agents. (TSA pre line was closed)

Remember: don't bring back any mammals, rocks, shells, fish meat fruits and vegetables from the USVI to mainland it is strictly prohibited. We even saw a confiscated Beach stone at TSA table.

(We made a last inspection for any leftover items and throw out all prohibited food before entering the airport)

A new law enacted in the U.S. Virgin Islands bans the importation, sale and distribution of sunscreen containing oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene, otherwise known as the “toxic 3 O’s." My small travel sized banana boat 50 SPF sunscreen lotion spray did not contain any of those toxic 3 O's.
But check before bring it into USVI. to avoid being fined. or buy locally (but will cost more than mainland)

Also make sure your cell phone works in USVI, most US Cellular phone companies work also in the USVI = St Thomas, St John, but you will need to check with your network provider before leaving. We used Google Fi, and downloaded Google offline maps before we left so we had a seamless GPS coverage even we had small areas with no reception.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2021, 09:57:52 AM by Yoel1 »

Offline zagguru

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Re: 3 Day Getaway to St Thomas / St John Island
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2021, 02:31:43 PM »
Great TR.

Offline jopav613

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Re: 3 Day Getaway to St Thomas / St John Island
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2022, 11:19:33 AM »
Thanks for the detailed report Yoel.

My wife and I are planning on going jan 30-feb 3. I booked 2 airbnbs, one in STT and one in STJ, both refundable as we are still deciding between stt and stj. my wife LOVES beaches and I love scenery. We are not wild people, we don't like casinos or water sports. Just mainly to relax on the beach. Would you suggest one over the other? Did you spend any time touring or going to the beachj in STT as well? Also we heard about wild donkeys roaming around everywhere, my wife is more of a city slicker and is nervous about them be aggressive. Are they found on the beaches as well? Curious what your experience was with them. :)