The Best St John Caribbean Vacations

If you are looking for paradise, crystal clear turquoise water and few people, a St John Caribbean vacation is what you have been waiting for.  Bask on stunning white sand beaches in the year round 80+ degree weather and water plus explore all that this remote island has to offer, from snorkeling, hiking, diving plus great food.

St John photo collage

St John is located about 4 miles east of St Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).  The Virgin Islands consist of four islands, St Croix, St Thomas, St John and Water island, and are the easternmost extension of the Greater Antilles.

St John consists of lush vegetation and rolling hills that meet the beautiful, crystal clear and turquoise blue Caribbean sea.  Two-thirds of the 20 square miles is national park and has been preserved.  There are only about 4500 residents on the island.  Beaches are uncrowded, many with no people at all.

St John is one of the most beautiful and relaxing islands in the world and you are still technically in the United States because St John is one of several U.S. Territories.

The water is warm all year and the surrounding coves, reefs and islands offer some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world.  St John also has several scenic hiking hiking trails that guide you through the thick foliage and along side the stunning turquoise waters of the Caribbean.  Please visit our St John Activity Guide for more detailed information.

The Best Time to go to St John

The best weather is from December through May with February and March being the best months to vacation in St John.  Hurricane season starts in June and ends in November and although the weather could be just fine during the summer months, St John does sit in a location that often is affected by storms.  The weather in nearby St Thomas, and other nearby islands, are almost identical to St John.  For more information about monthly temperatures and rainfall, visit our St John / St Thomas weather page.

Getting to St John

One of the things that makes St John Caribbean vacations so special is that it is not as easy to get to as some of the surrounding islands such as St Thomas.  This is no airport or cruise ship terminal.  You arrive one way, by boat or ferry from one of the other nearby islands.

Most people fly into the main airport on St Thomas or arrive via cruise ship in the main city of Charlotte Amalie.  Once you are on the island you can take a passenger ferry or car ferry to St John.  Depending on the port that you leave from, the boat trip will take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.  However, the shorter trip from Redhook requires about a 45 drive from the airport to get to the port.  The longer boat trip leaves from relatively close St Thomas harbor in Charlotte Amalie.  Some of the major resorts on St John also have their own transportation.  Please look at our St Thomas / St John map for information on where the ferry landings are located.

Arriving in St Thomas

Plane lands at Cyril E King airport in St Thomas

You have now arrived at the open air Cyril E. King airport in St Thomas, just a short drive and ferry ride away from starting your St John Caribbean vacation.  The first thing that you notice is that you will exit the plane directly down to the tarmac and then walk into the airport.

Once you claim your luggage, you will have a few choices, 1) rent a car and drive to St John, 2) take prearranged boat transportation to your resort and 3) take the passenger or car ferry.  Rental cars and boat transportation are available right next to baggage claim.  All rental cars are on site and just a short walk from the terminal. 

Important ! - If you drive in St Thomas and St John, please note they drive on the opposite side of the road as in the United States but there is a twist - the steering wheel is on the same side as in the United States and not opposite like it is in England.  It is a little weird at first.

Hint ! - If you are going to drive in St John, many of the roads have steep switch backs.  In the rain, a front wheel drive car loaded with people and luggage will often times not make it up the road.  It is really important to rent a four wheel drive vehicle such as a Jeep Wrangler, Rubicon or equivalent.  There are models that seat 4 comfortably and also have sufficient luggage storage.  I did not know this and I rented a front wheel drive Mitsubishi Galant during my first visit.  There were several times that we almost were stuck in the middle of the road.  Learn from my mistakes !

I recommend renting a car and driving to Redhook Bay and taking one of the car ferries over to St John.  Nowhere on St Thomas can you drive faster than 35 to 40 miles per hour and the drive to the ferry is very scenic.  Be adventurous and explore the island.  In addition, this way you will have a car for exploring St John.

Redhook Bay - St Thomas

Redhook Bay, St Thomas USVISt Thomas Ferry to/from St John

Once you arrive at Redhook Bay ferry landing you must pay a small port fee at the stand in the parking lot.  Don't do what I did and mistakenly drive past the toll booth straight to the ferry.  You will have someone chasing you down on foot !  Once at the ferry entrance, position your vehicle so that you can back onto the ferry.  The boat personnel will help guide you onto the boat.  Once on board, the trip to St John's Cruz bay takes about 20-30 minutes.

Cruz Bay - St John

St John's Cruz baySt John Ferry to/from St Thomas

In St John, the ferry landing is located in Cruz Bay, directly across the channel from St Thomas' Redhook Bay.  As with the St Thomas Ferry, cars arrive in the parking lot and start lining up to back onto the ferry when it arrives.  Hint ! - The first to arrive to wait in line will most likely be the last to load and in some instances may not make the ferry because it fills up before you.  Lesson learned here is not to get there too early.