Why go to St. John (U.S.V.I.)?
Island is two-thirds national park, with quiet beaches, hiking trails, snorkel spots and shops
Most cruise lines call in nearby St. Thomas; only a few come directly to St. John
St. John offers something for everyone without the crowds of other Caribbean islands
St. John (U.S.V.I.) Cruise Port Facilities?
Cruise ships can't dock directly in St. John. If your ship calls at St. John, you'll be anchored and tendered ashore to the National Park dock.
Most cruisers, though, come to St. John by passenger ferry from a cruise ship that is docked in nearby St. Thomas. There are two places on St. Thomas to catch the ferry to St. John. Red Hook is a 15-minute ride (about $6) across the sound from the east end of St. Thomas to Cruz Bay; ferries leave every hour on the hour. Charlotte Amalie is a longer and usually rougher ferry ride that is more limited, schedule-wise; boats leave downtown Charlotte Amalie harbor at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., returning from Cruz Bay at 11:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Plus, that route will run you twice as much.
A multitude of activities and dining opportunities are available within walking distance of the ferry dock in downtown Cruz Bay, a good anchor point. Just east of the dock is Wharfside Village, where you'll find powerboat rentals, grills and bars as well as stone-walled shopping haven Mongoose Junction. Access to the Northshore beaches, such as Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay, are a 15-minute taxi ride.
Good to Know?
Hurricane Irma passed over the Virgin Islands in September 2017 and destroyed a huge chunk of the national park in St. John. Before planning to hike or embark on any activity along a beach or in the wilderness, be sure to check with the National Park Service on what's open and safe. Some restaurants and beach concessions are still working to come back, a year later.
On Foot: The tender or ferry drops you in the heart of eminently walkable Cruz Bay.
By Taxi: Safari (open air) cabs wait at the ferry dock and at the major beaches and hotels. Taxis are generally found at the ferry terminal, where the boats that ply the waters between Charlotte Amalie/Red Hook and St. John tie-up; it's about a five-minute walk from the tender dock.
By Car: Local rental car agencies are clustered mostly around the car ferry area. Among those within easy walking distance are St. John Car Rental (340-776-6103) and L & L Jeep Rental (340-776-1120). Rates start at $80 per day, $75 off-season.
Editor's note: Locals drive on the left side of the road in St. John. Keep this in mind before renting a car. Rentals go quickly; if you are certain you want to rent a car (most are Jeeps), it is advisable to reserve one before leaving home.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The U.S. dollar is used throughout the Virgin Islands, including St. John, but foreign currency can be exchanged at major banks; an ATM is located in First Bank, two blocks north of the ferry dock.