Below is a simple, interactive St John map that highlights the location of key landmarks that you will need during your visit. We included nearby St Thomas because most likely you will arrive in St Thomas via air or cruise ship.
The island of St John is about 7 miles long and 3 miles wide. The highest point is Bordeaux Mountain at an elevation of 1,277 feet.
The island of St Thomas is about 13 miles long and 4 miles wide making it about double the size of St John. However, the population of St Thomas is over 50,000 and about 10 times larger than the 4,000 who call St John home. One reason for this lower population, is that 2/3 of St John has been designated as a United States national park and is therefore protected from development. This makes St John very unique as compared to the surrounding islands.
The tallest point on St Thomas is Crown Mountain at just over 1500 feet.
(1) Cyril E. King International Airport
(2) St Thomas Ferries
(3) Cruise Ship Terminal
(4) Redhook Ferry
(5) Buck Island
(6) Cruz Bay Ferry
(7) Westin St John
(8) Trunk Bay
(9) Maho Bay
(10) Mary's Creek
Driving around the island is fairly easy but driving is on the opposite side of the road as compared to the United States, but with an American style car with the steering wheel on the left, not the right like in England. This makes the experience somewhat more interesting as the driver is always positioned against the sidewalk portion of the road, not the middle.
St Thomas has a few round-abouts, one near the airport. Should you rent a car and are not familiar with driving on the other side of the road, this will be your first interesting challenge.
Some of the roads can be twisty and steep with sharp turns, especially in St John. A four wheel or all wheel drive vehicle is recommended due to the steep roads and turns that become very slippery after or during a rain shower. During our first trip we retned a Mitsubishi Galant front whell drive. With four of us in the car, we had a difficuly time making it up one main road during a rain unless. For ouir next trip we rented a Jeep Sahara 4WD and it was perfect.
Water trucks often drive in the middle of the road, straddling the center line. They honk their horn before approaching sharp curves, as should you. Don't drive with load music or you may miss this warning. We were warned by a friend that owns a home in St John. He said, you will come around a corner, and there it is, a big water truck in the center of the road. Because most people are driving on the opposite side of the road than they are used to, the common reaction is to swerve the other way, right into the truck.
Speed limits are low, usually in the 25 to 35 miles per hour. This helps for those unfamiliar with the island. I found no issues and felt very comfortable driving on both islands and had the freedom to go explore everything on my own schedule.
St Thomas is also home to the Cyril E. King International Airport and nearby cruise ship terminal located in the Charlotte Amalie business district. The majority of people who visit St John will arrive via the St Thomas airport or cruise ship port.
There are only a few ways to move back and forth between the two islands, via people, car ferry or resort boat. In St Thomas people ferries are located in Charlotte Amalie harbor and Redhook bay. Car ferries are only located in Redhook bay. In St John all ferries, people and cars, are located in Cruz bay.
To use the resort boats, special arrangements must be made with the resort that you are staying at, in advance of your arrival, . Most resorts will meet you at the airport and take you to the boat in Charlotte Amalie. The trip from Charlotte Amalie to St John takes about 45 minutes. From Redhook, about 20 minutes.
If you don't want to deal with the car ferry or driving in St Thomas, you have the option of renting a car on St John once you arrive. If you do this, it is recommended that you take the people ferry from Charlotte Amalie in St Thomas. This way the trip to the airport or cruise ship terminal is much shorter and will cost less.
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.
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.
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.