Questions about St. John in December

Oct 7th, 2008, 04:39 AM
  #1  
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Questions about St. John in December

Hi! I'm looking into booking a vacation for a 25th wedding anniversary for me and my husband. I'm really leaning towards St. John and have found a 1 bedroom cottage available for rent in mid-December. I have some questions though.

1) Am I going to be sorry I don't have a/c? The cottage is in the Coral Bay area and appears hillside. Looking at an average temp. chart, it doesn't appear we'll have a problem but I want to hear opinions. We went without a/c in Hawaii in September; had been told tradewinds make it bearable, but there were no winds there the week we went (or we were told they changed directions!) It was pretty miserable. So I'm a little apprehensive this time booking again with no a/c, but this house is so cute and seems to have everything else we'd want at an affordable price.

2) I'm looking at the ferry schedule and thinking a day trip to Virgin Gorda might be nice. Anyone know how to spend a few hours in Virgin Gorda? Also, how long is that ferry trip? Haven't researched so wondering if we'd need to take a taxi from the ferry to The Baths and just basically wondering how we'd spend a few hours there.

Thanks for any help.
LisaMS is offline  
Oct 7th, 2008, 08:58 AM
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You should have no trouble without A/C in December. Typically the "Christmas winds" are up then, so it should be nice and breezy.

I think the ferry trip is about an hour. You would need to take a taxi to the Baths from the ferry dock. You can definitely spend a few hours poking around the Baths and nearby beaches and there are some nice spots for drinks and lunch(Top of the Baths comes to mind.) You might want to check to be sure no cruise ships are in Tortola on the day you plan to go, as the Baths can get overrun by their day trippers.
seasweetie is offline  
Oct 7th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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LisaMS,

I've been to St. John in February and we had a week with little to no wind! I'm glad we had A/C in the bedrooms. I won't rent any place where there isn't A/C - at least in the bedrooms. If this were my 25th anniversary I wouldn't chance it without A/C bedrooms. With so many villa choices you ought to be able to find one with A/C bedrooms for around what you are paying now.

As far as Virgin Gorda goes I would look to book a trip with someone like Pirate's Penny. It was/is $125 per person on a really nice boat. If you like adult beverages they stock first class liquors. You will get to Virgin Gorda quicker with them. After clearing customs they take you straight to the Baths and guide you through them. I can't overstate the importance of guide at the baths. You could take the ferry and it would take a little while to get there. Then you could get a taxi to The Baths but then what? Having been there 4 times I've seen many people wandering around aimlessly. Anyway just my 2 cents worth.

Happy anniversary!!
Pulley is offline  
Oct 7th, 2008, 12:37 PM
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LisaMS: Which cottage are you thinking of? Dependent on where it is in Coral Bay, it may be fine. Where we are is hugged by the hill and we don't get enough wind to make it tolerable without AC. Also, a breezy location combined with enough ceiling fans may be fine. As for Virgin Gorda, other than taking a ferry, there are many boat operators who go out there. It's about an hour and a half or so by boat.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Oct 7th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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Thanks you guys for the great information. Pulley, I appreciate the info in Pirate's Penny. I'll look them up.

Tuxedocat, I'm not exactly sure where the villa is. I found it on vrbo. www.vrbo.com/108972 If anyone wants to look and see what they think. It appears to be a great little villa but y'all might see something I didnt think about. (besides the a/c!)

I actually saw another place I liked but it's on St. Thomas. I don't think it has a/c either! http://www.vrbo.com/103639

Maybe I should consider Secret Harbour on St. Thomas? Or does anyone know of a villa with a/c on St. John that is less than $2K a week and still has a great view and privacy?
LisaMS is offline  
Oct 8th, 2008, 04:15 AM
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If you have ceiling fans, you won't need a/c. Ceiling fans allow you to live open air 24/7 to enjoy the ambiance of nature without the closed-in feeling of a/c.
xkenx is offline  
Oct 9th, 2008, 03:52 AM
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LisaMS

The house in Coral Bay that you are considering is Island Cottage. We stayed just below it in February in Calabreeze which was without A/C. We had no problem in February without A/C. It's a very convenient location but not very high.

Another option in that area, with December availability, that is much higher is Coconut Hill:

http://www.vrbo.com/115186

Tuxedocat: It's just up 108, the road before Island Blues.
RobertoB is offline  
Oct 9th, 2008, 07:30 AM
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Roberto, thank you for the info. So is higher better in your opinion? Just for the breeze or for the breeze and view?
LisaMS is offline  
Oct 10th, 2008, 05:31 AM
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In general higher is better for both the views and breezes. I'm sure this depends on what side of St. John you're on. We've only stayed in the Coral Bay area. Remember to ask about the access road. These can be somewhat of a challenge on St. John, especially if unpaved.

For our next trip, we've booked a place on Ajax Peak, which at times can be too windy. Guess I'm still searching for the perfect combination.
RobertoB is offline  
Oct 10th, 2008, 06:15 AM
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Roberto or Tuxedocat (or anyone)...well...now I am leaning towards another villa...decisions, decisions...

The price is good on this one...it still is in the Coral Bay area (which appeals to me) and the name of it is Rhumb Runners. Are either of y'all familiar with this villa?

It has a/c; king bed; pool; and looks like a nice view so meets all our criteria. I'm a little concerned about the roads though and how easy to get to and from.

What are the best beaches for sunning and snorkeling in the Coral Bay area, by the way, and will it be difficult to find parking for these beaches?

Thanks.
LisaMS is offline  
Oct 10th, 2008, 06:16 AM
  #11  
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Oh, forgot to include the link for Rhumb Runners. vrbo.com/139522
LisaMS is offline  
Oct 10th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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I'm with Pulley. Book a day trip on a boat, you will have a great day! They sometimes stop at Jost Van Dyke. At Virgin Gorda, you go to Spanish Town and then to the Baths, lunch/drinks are included. Don't forget your passports!
lollylo25 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2008, 07:39 AM
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I've always read favorable reviews on Rhumb Runners. It's located on a paved road and it's my understanding that the owner's live nearby.

Keep in mind that St. John is a small island. From Coral Bay you can easily drive to the north shore beaches. On the East End there's Vie's and Haulover. South from Coral Bay there's Salt Pond and the Little Lameshur area. A short hike from Salt Pond is Blue Cobblestone beach.

Parking is a good question. It was very easy on a November trip. Tough to find a spot if you arrived late in the day in February. My guess is that you'll be O.K. in December.
RobertoB is offline  
Oct 10th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Another great spot to snorkel is Kiddel Bay.
Pulley is offline  
Oct 12th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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Thanks Pulley (and everyone) for the information and suggestions. Ah, we are still in "find a good date" mode. I thought I had the date figured out but now I'm trying to coordinate with another couple and make this into a couple trip. They may be able to do this mid-November.

I see that is till Hurricane season. Until November 30th?! That makes me just a little nervous but maybe we'll be lucky. (Unlike the beach vacation we booked a week after Katrina that had to be cancelled!)

I bought the book "t St. John, Feet, Fins and Four-Wheel Drive". Cute book. I'm now officially obsessed with wanting to go to St. John. <sigh> Y'all wish me luck that it all works out.
LisaMS is offline  
Oct 13th, 2008, 03:54 AM
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Hi - My opionion - if you're used to having an a/c you'll want it and if you're not then you'll probably not miss it. A day trip to Virgin Gorda is definately worth the effort. This can be done either on your own using the inter-island ferry system or going on a trip where "everything" is taken care of for you.
TropicalFocus is offline  
Oct 14th, 2008, 05:25 PM
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I think a/c is a personal preference. Some can live without it, some can't. If you went to Hawaii and were miserable without it, I think you answered your own question. Why risk another vacation?? I personally wouldn't EVER book any island in the tropics without a/c. I spend most of my day in the heat, and I simply need to be able to take a break from it. Good luck and have fun...ST John is a magical island.
ScottB is offline  
Oct 14th, 2008, 05:55 PM
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LisaMS: So funny you should be considering Rhumb Runners! It just so happens that I was on the beach a year back with some folks who said they got a last minute booking at a place called Rhumb Runners. They said they were very surprised at how comfortable it was especially since they didn't have to pay an arm and a leg, and they thought that the owners were absolutely lovely. Well, that's the unsolicited scuttlebutt from the beach. I think it may be perfectly wonderful for your anniversary. From what I remember, it is pretty convenient to the Coral Bay restaurants. But a personal nudge, consider a evening at Miss Lucy's. "Guy" the owner will have it up and flying in December. If you call ahead and tell him it is a special occasion, they might just put you at the oceanside table with the least goat action. It's wonderful, and Coral Bay is wonderful. Best wishes for a wonderful anniversary. We spent out 10th there and it is forever a part of our happiest memories!
Tuxedocat is offline  
Oct 16th, 2008, 04:21 AM
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We are booked at Rhumb Runners in January. Please let me know what you think of it.
julieblount is offline  
Oct 26th, 2008, 03:40 PM
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Well, it has been a long process but I'm finally official! As in... the airline tickets are now booked and a house has been secured. After all the going back and forth with dates, we ended up booking a house I hadn't even mentioned here, and IT DOESN'T HAVE A/C. I guess I'm a gambler. (But will you cross your fingers for me for some extra luck that the tradewinds are blowing that week?) And by the way, the name of the house IS Tradewinds. Anyone know of it? www.tradewindscottage.com It seems like an exceptional value and the renter comments were really good in the "guest book".

So now to find a jeep! I'm in sticker shock, especially since the one place I called (L&L) didn't have anything under $520. I hope I haven't waited too late to find a little jeep at a lower price, but more than anything, I hope I don't have a problem finding a car, period!

The New Horizons II day trip looks really good and right now I'm just contemplating whether or not I want to splurge on it. It IS our 25th anniversary (trying to justify another cost)...

Okay, just wanted to give the update and say a "thank you" to all who have offered help.

LisaMS is offline  

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