The way most everyone gets to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands is by ferry. The question is after you have docked at the ferry terminal at Cruz Bay, how do you get around on the island? What is available for you? If you are staying at a hotel, they may luck out if they have a shuttle service. And, if they do, there most likely will be a shuttle waiting for you at the dock when your ferry arrives at Cruz Bay. But, if you don’t have a shuttle service, what are your choices for getting around the island? Below are a couple of options for your stay in St. John.
Shared taxis are the easiest way to navigate St. John. They are not the typically metered taxis you would find in the states. Instead, the rates for a shared taxi are determined by the destination you are going to and you are charged per person, in your group, going to your destination. There may be an additional charge for luggage, wait time, and if the pickup is after hours.
Shared taxis are modified pickup trucks with bench seating with an overhead shade. They are not air-conditioned but the cool breezes of St. John should keep you cool while you are being driven. If you want to hail a taxi, you have to raise your hand to signal the oncoming taxi driver. If the taxi has a room they will stop to pick you up, otherwise, they will drive past you while you wait for the next taxi to come by. Because they are shared and there may be others in the taxi with you, the time it will take to get to your destination will vary so plan accordingly if you have a schedule to keep. If you have a lot of people in your group, a shared taxi can get expensive. You may want to consider a private “guided tour” for the day as an alternative.
Depending on how long you plan to stay in St. John, the most expensive yet flexible way to navigate the island would be in a rental car. Before you rent, think about where you are going to go. Are you going hiking on the trails in the Virgin Islands National park? Is your St. John villa rental’s driveway steep? Do you need clearance for the rental car for the roads to the beach? Before reserving or booking your rental, ask the rental company for recommendations as to the type of car you will need for your stay.
One other gem to keep in mind before you rent a car on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, you need to drive on the left side of the road! Most tourists that come to St. John are used to driving on the right-hand side of the road. Even though you drive on the left side of the road, the steering wheel is also on the left, like most typical cars in the United States. Make sure before you rent that you will be comfortable with that adjustment.
While it is the least expensive way to get around in St. John, it is not a walkable place. You can walk in town, near the shopping and dining either at Cruz Bay or Coral Bay, but there are very few sidewalks on St. John for you to walk on. Most of the narrow and winding roads on St. John are hilly with no shoulders you can walk on, making walking difficult.
Yes, St. John does have a public transportation system. It is known as VITRAN. The blue and white buses have very low fares and run between Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. They are rarely on schedule and as long as you are flexible with your time they are an easy and inexpensive way to get to Coral Bay for the day.
Once you know what your transportation options are while you are vacationing in St. John it is not that difficult to get around. You can explore St. John in so many different ways to do so.