getting around -- rent a car or moped?

Old Dec 25th, 2002, 10:57 PM
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getting around -- rent a car or moped?

We will be enjoying a short visit to St Thomas and St Maarten in Jan. I appreciate all of the informative posts, but I have not seen anything about renting a scooter. Are moped type scooters available for rent? Or do you recommend a car? Either way, do you have any recommendations about who to rent from and what is a good price for a day rate? Thank you in advance.
Old Dec 26th, 2002, 04:03 AM
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There are scooters available for rent but IMO you might have to be a bit suicidal to rent one. Between the drivers and the narrow hilly twisty roads it seems awfully risky especially if you are going to use it at night. There are many car rental agencies and they are all competitive but if you want to take the vehicle to St. John on the ferry you have limited to Discount, Dependable and Budget but Avis may have started allowing it. Check with whomever you choose.
Old Dec 26th, 2002, 05:26 PM
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Don't know firsthand about the relatively new moped operation on St Thomas but I've seen a lot of tourists on them during the day in the past several months and it seems that the operation is going quite well. I'm sure they limit the operation to daytime driving as you definitely wouldn't want to be out on one of them once daylight's gone. Only an observer's viewpoint and I've noticed that drivers are very cautious around them (me too!) Certainly worth checking out on St Thomas anyway. St Maarten I don't know except that when I was there a few years ago the drivers in general weren't nearly as courteous as those on St. Thomas and that's saying something!
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 01:52 PM
STT for me
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Craig: On St Thomas we call the motor scooter renters "patients"...IF you have a lot of experience, are a very defensive driver and can resist the Painkillers all day, you might be okay...But there are too many who think it looks easy, drink too much and end up in the gut...
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 02:45 PM
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I wouldn't recommend the scooters. Very dangerous and the local drivers are not big fans of them. Stick to a car. Other smaller islands in the Carribean are better suited for the scooters, but not the Virgin Islands.
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 12:40 PM
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Thanks for your input. I think we will stick with a car.
Old Dec 29th, 2002, 04:37 PM
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Hello Craig - just remember that although our autos here are left hand drive, we drive on the left. Also, when driving at night, be aware that the headlights are factory-slanted to the right so you need to have good vision to avoid the glare. And a lot of people here don't dim their lights in the face of oncoming traffic which makes it worse. I'm not trying to put you off, it's just that you need to be aware of the pitfalls of driving here. I just saw a visitor yesterday who was driving a rental car and wearing a LARGE flannel wristband on his left wrist which said, "ON ST THOMAS KEEP LEFT!" Never seen that before but thought it was quite amusing, albeit very relevant.
If you're only here in St. Thomas for a short visit you might just use the taxi services to get from (a) to (b). Various taxis offer island tours, the "dollar" safari buses can get you around quite well - they travel from West to East during the day - and when you go to a restaurant via taxi, it's not a problem getting back to wherever you're staying because either the taxi driver who drops you off will pick you up by arrangement or most restaurants will happily arrange a taxi ride for you to be taken back to your hotel or guest house.
I wish I knew the name of the new scooter company on St Thomas so that you might get in touch with them for details of their operation, but they started operating after the 2002 telephone book came out. There was a very interesting article about them in the local Daily News and (as I posted further back) I see many very happy scooter-people scooting around on these brightly colored mopeds all over the place. If you can find out who are the operators renting them out via a V.I. tourism website it might be worth a check.
I hope the above has been a little informative and I truly hope you enjoy your short visit to St. Thomas so much that you'll come back for a longer stay the next time.
Happy New Year!
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