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St.John first time questions?

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Dec 22nd, 2013, 12:41 AM
  #1
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St.John first time questions?

We would like to plan a trip to St. John next summer and would like to stay in the Cruz Bay area. We would like a villa or nice apartment to rent that is within walking distance of all the restaurants, stores, and activities in Cruz Bay. We also would like to forgo renting a car so can anyone give me an idea what a taxi will cost to take us back and forth from the beaches? We will be going off season and would like to spend between $1000 to $1500 for the week. I would love suggestions for a villa or apartment, also any other tips are much appreciated.
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Dec 22nd, 2013, 04:06 AM
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You'll find a list of taxi fares on these websites:
http://www.stjohnbeachguide.com/Taxis.htm
http://www.vinow.com/stjohn/getting_around_stj/taxi.php

Check out Gallows Point Resort - it might be in your price range. Also, go to the Virgin Islands forum at TripAdvisor - use the "jump to more Specific Forum" drop down menu to select "Cruz Bay" then use the "Vacation Rentals" link to bring up all the rentals in the Cruz Bay area - you'll find several in your price range.
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Dec 22nd, 2013, 09:09 AM
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Here is the TA link that RoamsAround mentioned: http://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationR...n_Rentals.html

You really aren't goint to find much in your price range even in the summer the is "true" walking distance to town.

This link will be your most affordable option and is "walking" distance to down but involves a very steep hill which you could take a taxi back up. It also reflects a "budget" by St John standards accomodation.

http://www.caribbeanvilla.com/st-joh...os/cruz-views/

Gallow's Point is out of your price range (and mine) even in low season. You could also look at Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel which is smack in the middle of town, but I am not sure if the units have a kitchen. Maybe one does. Other options close to your budget would be Lavender Hill, Estate Lindholm, and Star Villas. Walking distance is relative on St John because there are usually very steep hills involved. I personally have been staying at Grande Bay. It is just steps from town and is a few years new. You can look at the VRBO website and look for Grande Bay units. If you are not going to rent a vehicle, this is where I would recommend. If you do not rent a vehicle, you will be limited to the closer North Shore Beaches, but it can be done. I would still rent one for a couple of days. I am doing a trip next year and thinking about not renting but I have been to St John many times and have seen the island before. I will still probably break down and rent for a couple of days. Unless you go to the beaches with facilities, the beaches do not have chairs.
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Dec 30th, 2013, 05:07 AM
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We stayed at Coconut Coast Villas 2 years ago. It is right outside of Cruz Bay and within walking distance. A good 20 minute walk, but good exercise. We loved the studio apts and views from our balcony. Check them out http://www.coconutcoast.com/rates.html
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Dec 30th, 2013, 01:41 PM
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Check out Lavenderhill.net It's across the street from Gallows and is less expensive.
They're full apartments with a pool and great views.
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Jan 1st, 2014, 05:29 PM
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Both Lavender Hill and Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel look like they are in our
price range. Can anyone tell me is Lavender Hill within walking distance and is the hill a hard climb to walk back up? Is Cruz bay where most of the action is such as restaurants, shopping, nightlife, etc.? I am thinking we could forgo a car rental if we are close to everything, and just take a cab to the different beaches each day. We are big snorklers so can anyone tell me the best beaches to go to for snorkeling? We went to Curaçao last year and loved it but I have heard such good things about St. John so we would like to try it. Also we would be coming from Lancaster, PA. area so where would we fly out of for the best rates and does anyone know what would be a good airfare per person to fly? I would like to start looking now to compare airfares. Any other tips or help are much appreciated!
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 10:06 AM
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I would definitely choose Lavender Hill over Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel. Lavender Hill are condo units with a water view. CB Boutique Hotel is right in the middle of town with no view and are basic rooms with no kitchen. Like I mentioned, maybe one has a kitchen, not sure. The hill involved is the same one to Gallow's Point and is not bad at all. Lavevder Hill entrance is right across from Gallow's Point. There is another hill to get to the units which I have never walked, but I don't think it would be too bad. We have friends that always stay at LH and like it alot. Cruz Bay is definitely where the action is and you would not need a car from LH. MANY great restaurants, pubs, and low key shopping. All are in close proximity to each other. It is also safe to walk around in the evening. Can't help you much with the snorkeling as I don't, but my husband does. Most of the beaches have decent off shore snorkeling. Check out this link for snorkeling info and a wealth of information about the island.

http://seestjohn.com/snorkeling.html

I would think that your best bet would be to fly out of Philadelphia? I did a quick search leaving on weekdays in June and found a low of about $515 with a stop in Miami and some others with a stop in San Juan for about $650. I used the Travelocity as a search engine to get a variety of flight info, but I always book with the airline. I fly out of Detroit and usually buy if it is $500-$600. I doubt that fares would go much lower than that but they can surely go up!
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 01:10 PM
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Here is the link to VRBO, Cruz Bay rentals.

http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals...-john/cruz-bay

Here is a link to the condo I stay in. It can be rented a a studio which may meet your price requirements. It can also be rented a a 1 or 2 bedroom unit so the pictures reflect this. This owner also uses St John Villa Company as their greeter and you can ship a box to them and it will be at your suite when you arrive. I do carry on only and ship a Priority Mail Box down before with sunscreen and other "liquids". Very convenient!

http://www.vrbo.com/328461

The picture feautured from the "overlook" shows Grande Bay Resort. Yep, it is the big "ugly" thing. Lavender Hill is the 2 bulidings to the right and Gallow's Point would be further to the right, not pictured.
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 02:45 PM
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Okay, my friends stay at 5W Lavender Hill). States the walk up the hill is "Not bad at all". Hope this helps. I have not been on this forum much lately, so it has been fun to help. I LOVE St John. It is just the perfect location for me!
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Jan 3rd, 2014, 04:42 PM
  #10
 
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How many people? Not soliciting by any means, just to let you know a property our friends own. www condocruzbay dot com
Within walking distance to town, down the hill is easy, up the hill makes you work a little can walk to town to eat
shop, get a taxi to the beach etc. When you come home from
the beach, ask the taxi driver to take you up the hill, rather
than drop you off somewhere in town.A dollar or two more, but
very worth it , especially with beach gear in tow. very nice pool at their property. we have stayed there ,and we stop to see them each time we cruise and have a St Thomas port stop.
We too are from Pa (north) and your best bet is PHL to St Thomas.
Sherri
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Jan 4th, 2014, 02:56 PM
  #11
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Thanks for all of your help with the rentals, we are still in the process but we have it narrowed down now. I do have a few more questions if you could help. Since we will stay in Cruz bay and will not be renting a car, from looking at the cab fares we should budget about $25-$30 per day for trips back and forth to the beaches? How close is a grocery store or any other beach that we could walk to from say Grande Bay Resort? We are hoping to arrive, stock up on supplies, and then walk in to town that evening for dinner. The following six days we would like to go to a different beach everyday. We love snorkeling and like calm waters to snorkel in, right off the beach. What would be your suggestions for the 6 days for beaches we should see? We are also thinking of doing a day trip to Virgin Gorda, is the boat ride rough, I get seasick fairly easy? One more question, what is there to do in Cruz bay, and what are your favorite restaurants and bars? I know it's a lot of questions but this is our first time so please bear with me! Thanks so much for any help you can offer.
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Jan 4th, 2014, 05:19 PM
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LIME INN to eat for sure.
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Jan 5th, 2014, 07:06 AM
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Bixa: If there are just two of you, it will cost you (for the round trip) $20 to go to Hawksnest Bay, $56 to go to Salt Pond. This is why people recommend renting a car; it gives you the freedom to explore.

If you stay at Grande Bay, you will actually be in town and the walk to restaurants is simple. My favorites are La Tapa and Morgan's Mango.

The ride to Virgin Gorda depends on the state of the seas. Early in the summer it can be pretty windy and rough. Later in the summer, it can be dead flat calm. But the weather can vary during those times,too.

Is your $1000-1500 budget just for accommodations?
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Jan 5th, 2014, 07:11 AM
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P.S. I don't see that Grande Bay is within that budget. Remember that there is a hotel tax on top of the room rate...
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Jan 5th, 2014, 12:41 PM
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Walking into town is easy from Grande Bay, Lavender Hill and Gallows. Just bring comfy shoes and leave the heals at home. For dining, I like Rhumb Lines (spicy fusion cuisine); Cafe Roma for simple Italian (if it's back open) -- there are lots of food choices. Taxis costs about $5-7 per person for the beaches from the ferry dock area. All the beaches are lovely. The closest North shore beaches like Hawksnest are the cheapest and Maho is the most expensive due to the distance. You really can't go wrong on your choice. Cinnamon is one of my favorites.

You might want to rent a car for a day or two to get to Salt pond and the Coral Bay area (eat at Skinny legs for example or shipwreck's landing). Last time when I was in town it cost me $89 for a 24 hour car rental. If there are no budget limitations, by all means, get the car for the whole time.

If you're susceptible to sea sickness it can happen anywhere, just check the weather and sail or boat on calmer days.

Hiking is a joy. Check out all the options from Cruz Bay, just be sure to pack Keen's or similar shoes.
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Jan 5th, 2014, 01:31 PM
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No beaches walking distance from town except for this one

http://seestjohn.com/trails_lind_point.html

No close grocery store except Starfish Market or Dolphin Market. Neither of which I would want to carry groceries back!
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Jan 5th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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You might find some basic items at the Gallow's Point store.
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Jan 5th, 2014, 05:06 PM
  #18
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Thank you everybody! We have decided to up the budget a bit so we can stay at the Grande bay. The 1000 to 1500 was just for lodging but as I said we have agreed to up this amount some so we can get something we really want. I guess we will have to taxi to the grocery store for our supplies. We might consider a car rental for a day, will have to wait and see. Thanks again for all your help!
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Jan 7th, 2014, 04:10 PM
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You could check with your condo owner to see if they do provisioning. The owner that I rent from as I said uses St John Villa Company, but they do have a $150 minimum with a 25% surcharge. We added some adult beverages in the provisioning and it was not too hard to spend $150. Groceries are quite expensive. We also added a case of bottled water which we didn't want to drag around. We ate all of our breakfasts in and took snacks or sandwiches from a deli to the beach. Ate all dinners out.

One of the things I love about Cruz Bay are all of the great dining options. We don't do the very upscale dining so I can't speak to those places. All of our meals were fantastic this last trip. We ate at The Lime Inn, Rhumblines, High Tide, Da Livio's, and Virgin Fire. Virgin Fire is new and looks to be getting off to a great start. If you like thin crust pizza, run, don't walk to Da Livio's. They have a wood burning pizza oven on the patio. It is probably one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. The owners are from Italy, so the toppings are not the usual pizza toppings as in the states. We ate there last year too Delicious! I think the other entrees were expensive, but for pizza, not too bad (by St John standards). One of my other favorites is Sam and Jack's Deli in The Marketplace where Starfish Market is. Sandwiches definitely big enough to split, but a pretty good walk from Grande Bay. Maybe if you get a rental one day, you could try them out. I forgot, Banana Deck is also pretty solid and right next to Grande Bay. We didn't go, but The Terrace looked to have pretty good happy hour appetizers.

So many fun little bars in Cruz Bay. Beach Bar, Joe's Rum Hut, Woody's, Across the Street, X on St John, Barefoot Cowboy Lounge... The link that I provided earlier, seestjohn.com has a live music schedule. If Innervision's is playing anywhere, they are a fabulous Reggae Band.

As far as beaches go, you really can't go wrong with any of the North Shore Beaches. One of my favorites is Maho, but it is one of the farthest on the North Shore Road and not as many taxis to get you back to Cruz Bay. Some may disagree since it is "crowded" by St John standards, but I would for sure go to Trunk Bay. Stunning Beach! I did a new to me light hike last time and if you do only one, I recommend the Cinnamon Bay Loop Trail across the road from the Cinnamon Bay Beach parking lot. It is relatively flat, has some great ruins, and signage telling you what you are seeing. Lots of history and not strenous. The Lind Point trail to Solomon Beach is also fun, but don't carry much with you. You can also taxi to Caneel Bay, walk to Honeymoon, then on to Solomon. There is a beach hut where you can rent Adirondack chairs for $5.

In my early trips, I did not do a rental vehicle on St John, but I have to highly recommend one, at least for a day or two!
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 08:23 AM
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About groceries -- We bring non-perishables in our suitcase (assuming you get free bags checked) and have no problem carrying back groceries from Starfish. Just shop so you carry only one bag each and it's a pleasant 10-minute stroll to Grande Bay, Lavender or Gallows. The items that I bring in my suitcase are the expensive ones on St. John -- cereals, crackers, coffee! and other packaged goods. Be sure to bring your sunscreen, too. i only walk to Marketplace if I'm ready to walk the 25 minutes, but it's worth it for the great cheese shop across from the grocery store.
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