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.
"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.
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'!
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.
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
Averaging 80 degrees year round, truly! St John weather is ideal!
The generic answer to this generic question is that the weather on St. John is usually the same, day or night, winter spring, summer and fall – LOVELY! Seriously, though, the daytime temperature is always 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, bright sunshine with an occasional fluffy cumulus cloud and, maybe, a quick rain shower in the afternoon (we hope daily to keep our rainwater cisterns full) and often with a spectacular rainbow. The nighttime temps are maybe 10 degrees lower. Really, year-round the weather on St. John is always this nice – except for Hurricane Season which peaks in mid-September! We have more guests during the summer from the south (Florida, Georgia, Texas and the Carolina's) who come to get away from the heat and humidity at home. What makes Great Expectations unique is that the Villa faces east over the Caribbean Sea towards Africa and benefits from the almost constant, cooling, easterly Tradewinds which blow unobstructed through the Villa naturally cooling all the rooms. But, nothing can beat floating in the bathtub-warm-temperature of the Caribbean Sea in the middle of a Northeastern snowstorm during January, February or March!
While most cellular phones will work on St John, only AT&T and Sprint have no roaming charges in the US Virgin Islands. But, many of the beaches look directly at the British Virgin Islands and often you will pick up their signals, so we recommend turning off your phone or at least putting it in airport mode while you are at any of the US National Park beaches on the north shore.
Since the recovery after the 2017 hurricane season, we’ve noticed that Verizon has gotten better and Sprint has gotten worse.
No. A taxi from the Villa to town (Cruz Bay) costs $5 per person. From town to, say, the beach at Trunk Bay, costs another $8 per person. That’s > $25 per person round-trip with a tip (if you ever want to see the taxi driver again during your stay), or $100 per day for 4 people – more than the daily cost of a rental car on St. John! Some might ask at this point, “but what if we do not go to one of the US National Park beaches every day?” Our answer is then do not come to St. John; while there are two beaches within walking distance of the Villa, neither comes close to the beauty of the white sand beaches along the north shore of St. John in the US National Park.
Still not sure? How’s this: we have never had in over 20 years of business any guest who did not rent vehicles while on St. John or who realized after not renting that they should have. Trust us, rent sufficient vehicles so that everyone in your group can explore one of the world’s greatest islands! We have even arranged discounts for our guests from a number of rental car agencies on St John and St Thomas, so you have no excuse!
The US & British Virgin Islands use US currency. Most businesses accept major credit cards although a decent-sized minority do no accept American Express.
The answer is by Ferry. It is only a 20 minute ride from Red Hook to Cruz Bay on St John and the views are magnificent. Besides the public ferry which runs every hour on the hour until 10pm (as of 2/8/18), think about taking a private water taxi which departs whenever you are ready to go, no fuss, no muss.
St Thomas (STT). Many of the major US airlines including American, Delta, United, and JetBlue fly into St Thomas from the states.
If planning on staying or visiting the BVI at the beginning or end of your trip, Beef Island (EIS) is an option as well.
While current US government regulations do not require a US passport for travel to or from the US Virgin Islands. However, we recommend you bring a passport (or you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate and, for anyone 18 or older, a driver's license or other government identification with a photograph) in case you want to visit the British Virgin Islands.
When you leave the Virgin Islands, you will need to clear US Customs in the St. Thomas airport. While a passport is not necessary, it does make things go faster.