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Old Apr 2, 11, 4:49 pm   #1
 
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5 Days in St John - Should I rent a car?

We'll be staying at the Westin in St John for five days in May. Should I rent a car or is it easy to go to beaches and restaurants by taxi? Any rental places recommended? Are taxis cheap and easy to find?

We don't really plan on moving around too much, mostly spend the day in the beach and going out in the evening for dinner.
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Old Apr 3, 11, 12:51 pm   #2
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Taxis are readily available, but are pricey (and charge per person rather than per ride). There are a lot of great places on STJ to explore. Consider renting a car in STT and bringing it over to STJ via the car ferry from Red Hook.
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Old Apr 4, 11, 2:51 pm   #3
 
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Tough to say. Taxi's are all over the place, but it adds up depending upon where you are going. I doubt you eclipse 90 bucks a day (typical island rental). I woud suggest that one day you do rent a car and hit the NE section and go have lunch at Vies or head to the SE section and go to Salt Pond and hike out to the Rams Head in the latter part of the afternoon.

BTW, hitch hiking is quite popular. I picked up a couple of people when I was driving. So don't be afraid to ask for a ride.
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Old Apr 6, 11, 11:22 am   #4
 
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The Westin has an on-site rental agency with a decent supply of cars. We did a taxis on days we were heading to Cruz Bay for lunch & dinner, but it added up quickly. We then rented a car for a couple of days to drive to beaches and the eastern part of the island.
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Old Apr 12, 11, 2:01 pm   #5
 
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To make the most of your time and to explore the island, its beaches and reefs as you wish, absolutely rent a jeep - not a car. Both rentals and taxiis are pricey, but a rental buys you complete freedom to spend your time as you wish. Last visit, we had a good experience with Paris rentals near the Cruz Bay ferry dock.
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Old Apr 17, 11, 5:57 pm   #6
 
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Thank you all kindly for your responses. Unfortunately we will have to postpone this trip to next year, but we'll keep this in mind and will most likely rent a jeep for at least 2-3 days.

thanks
FR
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Old Apr 21, 11, 8:11 am   #7
 
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Definitely rent a car there are so many different beaches that you can visit. I would recommend getting a Jeep - when it rains the roads can be slippery and while I had a car it was fine, there were some moments I was terrified going up and down the steep roads where trunk/hawksnest beaches are.
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Old Sep 3, 12, 3:01 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by nyuaznguy View Post
Definitely rent a car there are so many different beaches that you can visit. I would recommend getting a Jeep - when it rains the roads can be slippery and while I had a car it was fine, there were some moments I was terrified going up and down the steep roads where trunk/hawksnest beaches are.
Do any of the majors (National, Avis, Hertz, etc) have pickup location at either St John or St Thomas. What should I expect a daily Jeep rental to run? $60-100?
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Old Sep 14, 12, 1:43 pm   #9
 
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Will be visiting in a few weeks, 7 nights in St. John, and I was pondering the same question. Jeeps are ~$70/day on St. John this time of year. Have done enough research to learn another option is rent at STT and use the car ferry to STJ. So I booked a compact with Avis at STT. Should be noted no codes or coupons seem to work for STT, believe me I've tried!

But now I'm reading a 4-WD is best on St. John. If we skip remote places, do we need a 4-WD? Was told the same for our Vieques trip this year (plus they only rent jeeps there anyway) and discovered that a 4-WD was not necessary in Vieques (just skip remote beaches). Is St. John more hilly than Vieques?

For the price of an 8-day jeep rental plus car ferry (only 2 of us), that would pay for a lot of taxis. Other option (staying at Westin) is rent by the day when we want to venture out.
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Old Sep 15, 12, 5:33 pm   #10
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No "need" for a 4WD on STJ.
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Old Sep 16, 12, 8:21 am   #11
 
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Originally Posted by cactuspete View Post
No "need" for a 4WD on STJ.
Thank you, exactly what I was hoping to hear. Jeep is at least >$200 more than a car. If we do a couple of all-day snorkeling etc. excursions, it would bother me to have a $70/day vehicle sitting in a parking lot.
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Old Sep 21, 12, 2:42 pm   #12
 
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I, personally, wouldn't drive on St. John without a 4WD. We've rented a Jeep both times, and we still skidded out on the numerous hairpin turns. If it's rainy, they're even slicker.

That being said, taxis are plentiful and make constant rounds to the more popular beaches. If I only had 2 people in my party, I'd definitely skip the rental altogether and stick to taxis. If I had 4 people, that might tilt me in the direction of renting a car, though I'd still only book for the days that I wasn't going on day trips. There is no price break for renting by the week.

I'd definitely recommend booking a car if you head to one of the more remote beaches, such as Coral Bay, Waterlemon or Salt Pond. Getting there is no problem, but hailing a taxi home might prove problematic because taxis don't hang out at those beaches like they do the northern beaches. (Maybe you can negotiate a pick-up time when they drop you off...)

Anyway, if this helps make your decision any easier, below is a link for taxi rates. Scroll down to see the rates to/from the Westin. For instance, assuming 2 passengers, Westin to Cinnamon is $9 per person, per way. Getting to/from downtown is $5 per person, per way. Even if you go to Cinnamon, return home, then take a taxi into town to eat dinner later, $36 + $20 + tips might still beat rental rates. (Note that you won't want to take a rental car into Cruz Bay anyway, because parking is so limited.)

http://www.vinow.com/stjohn/getting_around_stj/taxi.php

P.S. Hints: If your car rental agreement says that you're not allowed to remove the top off your jeep, they mean it. I heard a couple arguing over a $75 charge because they removed it for a day trip, even though they put it back on themselves.

Also, they can and will charge $75 for excess sand in your car, so pack a few garbage bags to line your trunk and floors.
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Old Sep 23, 12, 8:45 am   #13
 
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Recreation, Thank you for the excellent and helpful feedback--I really appreciate the time you spent providing me with info and the link. Very interesting story about the roof top & sand! List of taxi fares is especially helpful.

Being that it's the off-season (1st of October), will the parking still be bad in Cruz Bay? Lots of rental agencies and all have availability. If we decide to go with a jeep, maybe there will be specials if we wait until we get to STJ to make a decision.

Before your post, I booked an Avis car in St Thomas. Managed to scrape $100 off the rate just by dropping a day (had been 8) and picking up at the cruise port rather than the airport (but with return to STT). We're staying at Marriott the first night. So for my weekly rate of $235 I thought it was a no brainer. But I certainly don't want to skid out, damage the undercarriage, or get stuck in dirt/sand on STJ in a rental car.

I'm coming to the conculsion that with 2 people rent vs. taxi and car vs. jeep is a subjective choice. I'm probably over-analyzing this too much.
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Old Sep 28, 12, 2:47 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by Steph58 View Post
Being that it's the off-season (1st of October), will the parking still be bad in Cruz Bay? Lots of rental agencies and all have availability. If we decide to go with a jeep, maybe there will be specials if we wait until we get to STJ to make a decision.
I've never been to St. John in October, so I really don't know. I do know that some restaurants close in the fall due to low season, so it would stand to reason that the crowds are thinner. The town is a short 10 minute ride, so even if you can't find a spot, you could easily drive back to the hotel and take a taxi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steph58
Before your post, I booked an Avis car in St Thomas. Managed to scrape $100 off the rate just by dropping a day (had been 8) and picking up at the cruise port rather than the airport (but with return to STT). We're staying at Marriott the first night. So for my weekly rate of $235 I thought it was a no brainer. But I certainly don't want to skid out, damage the undercarriage, or get stuck in dirt/sand on STJ in a rental car.
$235 is a great rate. Our 6 day Jeep rental cost over $500. All the roads we ventured on are paved; it's the jackknife turns that caused us to skid out. Anyway, I'd say keep your car and see how it goes. Worse comes to worse, park it and take taxis instead. Actually worse comes to worse, you'll be in the middle of a hurricane and won't need to worry about your car size.

Also, what time is your return flight? Be sure that the car ferry runs when you need it to run, and that the car rental place is open as well. A poster on another board had an early morning flight and had to return his car to STT a day early.

http://www.vinow.com/general_usvi/in...o%20Cruz%20Bay
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Old Oct 2, 12, 2:24 pm   #15
 
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I would never drive a car on STJ that was not 4 wheel drive. I can't count the numner of times we've seen compact cars slide down the sharp curves and steep slopes becasue of wet roads. It doesn't take a lot or rain to make driving a compact virtually impossible. We met two family on the car ferry this past July and they had a jeep & a Hundia and were staying over near Coral Bay. During the week we saw them and they NEVER drove the car to any beaches only to Skinny legs. There is a reason 90% or more of the locals have a 4wd VEHICLE.
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