No! This is true for all of the US Virgin Islands. Customs allows a Duty Free Allowance of $1600 when returning to the US as well as being able to bring back five bottles of liquor duty free or six if one is locally produced, like Cruzan Rum. Often you will find good savings in bringing liquor back home.
We drive on the left. Why, well there are a number of different explanations. The US Virgin Islands were owned by Denmark until 1917 so it is not a carry-over from the way they drive in, say, England as may be the reason behind driving on the left in the British Virgin Islands.
One story is that it is because of the donkeys (we have lots of wild asses – tourists aside – residing on St. John) who were trained to walk on the left with other traffic and could never get over it. More likely it is the rum! In any case, not to worry, you cannot get going very fast on St. John so except for the forgetful tourist driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, driving on the left is nothing to be concerned about.
NO! Folks who live and work on St John are quite modest. Please cover up when going into stores when on the way to or from your beach day. Ladies: this means not showing your bikini. Guys: This means no bare chests.
"Good day" or “Good morning/afternoon.” It is customary on St John to acknowledge a person, whether a shopkeeper or a wait staff person in a restaurant, by saying a simple 'good morning/afternoon' before starting your transaction (like ordering your breakfast or asking for an item in a store). What a lovely custom.
Yes, located in the Marketplace is Chelsea Drug Store, a full service pharmacy. You might want to call ahead, 340-776-4888. If you feel you might have a particular need, you might want to call ahead to check on the availability of specific drugs.
The Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on St John (located on Centerline Road) was reopened in March of 2019!
The DeCastro Clinic in Cruz Bay is now closed.
The Roy Lester Schneider Hospital is located on St. Thomas. Emergency room service is available 24 hours a day at the hospital. St John is also fortunate to have the all volunteer St John Rescue organization available to assist St John's fire and police.
In case of emergency call St John Rescue at 340-776-9110 or 911.
The Zika Virus: please see the <a href=" http://www.healthvi.org" target="_blank">USVI Health Department</a> with information on Zika in the Virgin Islands: We also recommend the purchase of <a href="https://www.insuremytrip.com/travel-insurance-plans/comprehensive/" target="_blank">Comprehensive trip insurance</a> from Insure My Trip.
</br></br>Most insurance companies recommend that anyone who is booking travel and is concerned about the Zika virus should consider a Comprehensive travel insurance policy. Not all travel insurance policies are going to cover trip cancellation or trip interruption for pregnant travelers who are canceling their trips to areas affected by the Zika virus, so customers are encouraged to read their policies and talk to a travel insurance expert to be sure they’re getting the coverage they require in this particular instance.
We strongly advise against doing that; Great Expectations, or whatever villa you choose to rent, should be your home for the week and not the site of a party for folks not staying there. We know of no villa on St. John with indoor seating, dining, parking or bathrooms to accommodate comfortably more than the people staying at the villa. Case in point: with 8 bedrooms, Great Expectations is one of the largest rental vacation villas on St. John and while we have 8 ½ bathrooms, all the bathrooms except for the half-bath off the Great Room are accessed by going through someone’s bedroom (many villas insist upon renting porta-potties for parties which you definitely do not want to do in the tropics!). Even if you are okay about lots of people going through your bedroom to use your bathroom, there is the challenge of having sufficient indoor space to accommodate everyone comfortably; while it is romantic to think of a beautiful outdoor dinner with guests sitting around rented round tables with soft candlelight under a starlight sky, even if no one minded spraying themselves with bug repellent, what will you do if a sudden Caribbean rain squall joins your dinner party?
We do however allow for special events (rehearsal dinner, wedding reception, corporate dinner, brunch) with up to 1 outside guest per person staying at the villa for a maximum of 32 people. We charge an event fee of $1750 for this and require that all plans be reviewed and approved by us 1 month prior to the event.
St. John is a rocky island and these days almost nothing is grown to eat except for Josephine's Greens (available for sale at Starfish). Local fishermen sometimes sell their catch across from the Post Office in town. While it is a sight to watch as they chop the fish with their machetes, the fish are not refrigerated and who knows where or when they caught it! As a small island, currently virtually everything on St. John is imported. When we first started coming to St. John years ago, there was not one market; we had to bring with us what we wanted to cook and eat. Today, the ‘good news’ is that you can purchase all manner of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, poultry and meat in a number of terrific markets on St. John. The ‘bad news’ is that because it is all imported (by plane from the states), everything is very expensive (except for liquor and jewelry, which is duty-free).
All you need bring with you to St. John is a bathing suit or two, casual clothes, and tennis or "court" sneakers (the acrylic tennis court surface is the same as used at the U.S. Open so, please, no running shoes which leave nasty skid marks). We also recommend you bring snorkeling gear (or you can rent equipment on St. John from Low Key Watersports (which offers our guests a 15% discount) for some of the finest snorkeling in the world!
Atlantic Standard Time. During the spring and summer months we are on the same time as the U.S. East Coast. When the clocks fall back in the autumn and winter, the USVI remains an hour ahead. However, you are on vacation so the unofficial time while on St John is definitely 'island time'!
We have tried to anticipate having waiting for you all the amenities you could possibly need to enjoy your Caribbean vacation. All you definitely need to bring is your spouse, kids (maybe), parents (be nice to them), friends and any well-behaved family. Great Expectations is equipped and stocked with everything else you will need except for your clothes and personal toiletries. We try to have waiting for you plenty of toilet paper, soap, towels (including beach towels), linens, plates, glasses, utensils, pots and pans. We have washers and dryers available for your use with, assuming the previous guests have not used all our supplies up, laundry detergent and dryer sheets. We have dishwashers (with soap), outdoor BBQs (with propane) and a private basketball and tennis court (with basket balls, tennis balls and tennis rackets). We do not provide snorkeling equipment which can be rented by the day or week from one of the dive shops in town which have a much larger variety of sizes, than we could provide (and we have arranged for a discount for our guests). We do have free WiFi (Internet) but you will need to bring your own laptop computer (or there are a number of Internet cafes in-town where you can use their computers for a fee). We also provide complementary Netflix video streaming. Mother Nature will provide plenty of sun and the most gorgeous stars at night!
Not much. We do not supply personal shampoo, toothpaste, body lotion, beer, wine, liquor, coffee, tea or food. There may or may not be any coffee or tea as well as suntan lotion but it depends on the largesse of the previous guests. We do not have a Keurig or other individual cup coffee-maker. We do not supply bottled water (the water from all the Villa faucets is filtered and purified by an EPA-approved system and probably cleaner than your water at home). We do not supply a car for you to use. What else? We do not provide telephones or TVs in the 4 Main Villa bedrooms (but there is a 60 inch LED HDTV in the Great Room and a smaller TV in the Guest House). We do not provide air-conditioning in the Great Room (all the other rooms are air-conditioned) because it is designed to be open, encouraging the flow of people from outside to inside with tiled patios on both sides (the Great Room does have a Big Ass fan -- seriously that is what it is called). We do not have a piano, billiard or ping-pong tables (we do have lots of outdoor toys including 3 swimming pools, 2 hot tubs and a basketball/tennis court).
The answer is absolutely! St John is a small island but, it has tons of wonderful nooks and crannies to explore. Taxis are available but, they are on island time and not dependable when you might want to go to the beach or to a restaurant at night. so yes, to enjoy St John and have the vacation that you have dreamt about please rent a car. Best of all we have arranged for guests of Great Expectations to get discounts at several of the St John rental car firms.
Our property manager, Kristen Cox, arranges to meet you at the ferry when you arrive. She will often drive you to your rental car agency or have them already there to meet you. It is about 5-7 minutes to drive to Great Expectations from Cruz Bay.
Great Expectations sits about 150 feet above two beaches within walking distance from the Villa. To the east, accessed by a path directly from the Villa is the beach at Hart Bay which has phenomenal beach combing; all manner, sizes and shape of coral wash up onto the beach during storms from the coral reef which comes right up to the shore. The Villa’s grounds are decorated with the best pieces of coral; guests carry coral back from Hart Bay beach planning to take them home as souvenirs only to discover their suitcases which were packed full on their way down, will not accommodate the coral on their way home!
To the west, is the beach at Chocolate Hole harbor which is accessible by foot or by car (you can park right next to the beach). Since it is on the lee (non-windy) side, this beach is perfect for snorkeling; there is a salt pond (created during hurricanes when sea water is blown inland and trapped there after the storm passes) at the north end of the harbor which the government allows the landowners around it to keep a channel dredged out to the sea so all sorts of fish and turtles feed on the crustaceans which grow in the salt pond as they make their way out to the ocean!
However, neither of these beaches is as nice as the beautiful white sand beaches of the US National Park located along the northern shore of St. John (about a 10-15 minute drive on paved roads from the Villa).
Hurricanes can occur at anytime of the year. The World Weather Travelers Guide has a good article about hurricanes in the Caribbean. Should a hurricane threaten St. John, you would have plenty of warning these days so even if you are on St. John, you would have time to leave should that be necessary. What you do need to be concerned about is the cost should your vacation be delayed or interrupted! We highly recommend to all our guests the purchase of trip interruption/cancellation insurance; in the winter it may be a snow storm at home creating havoc in vacation plans, in the summer it could be the threat of an approaching hurricane, or, heaven forbid, a medical emergency to anyone at anytime!
While hurricane season stretches from June through November, September is usually the most active month around St John