St. John, US Virgin Islands – so much to say about that place and I will have numerous posts on the topic! I have had the privilege to vacation there about 10 times as of this writing. In general we have rented villas from an island realtor who has been super helpful and just great to work with. I have noted over the years that many people just don’t realize that renting a villa is an option in many places but it can be a great way to go. Essentially, you have a house for the duration of your stay, and that house may have a pool, or a hot tub, (sometimes both,) cable TV, gourmet kitchen, multiple bathrooms – all the comforts of home and probably more! There are plenty of villa rental firms that also offer maid service, chef or catering service, spa sessions, and other high end amenities. (The Working Stiff and his wife do not generally travel like that!) With a villa rental you can save vacation money by preparing some of your own meals to whatever extent you like. With a full kitchen for example you can make your own toast and coffee in the morning and then pack up the jeep and head to one of the spectacular beaches. On St. John, where the houses are largely up in the hills (not convenient to town,) we have found over the years that we eat most breakfasts at the house, most lunches out somewhere after the beach, and then dinner is either in town or on the grill back at the house.
The US Virgin Islands are a United States Territory, and are made up primarily of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, plus Water Island and many smaller surrounding islands. The capital is Charlotte Amalia (Ah – mahl -yuh) on St. Thomas. St. John is just to the east of St. Thomas and St. Croix is about 36 miles south from there. One of the greatest features of the area is the Virgin Islands National Park, which encompasses about 65% of St. John, large areas of underwater reef as well as numerous small islets and parts of the other 2 main islands.
Get to St. John by flying into Cyril E. King airport on St. Thomas (STT), taking a cab to one of 2 dock areas on St. Thomas, and then the short ferry ride over to St. John. There are plenty of options to shop for rentals, including VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner.) I and my family have had great success with renting villas from Private Homes for Private Vacations. They are down-to-earth people and great to work with. They will meet you at the ferry dock, take you to get your rental car, lead you up to your rental house, and generally assist you with whatever else you need to help you explore the island and enjoy your stay. You may very well do fine elsewhere but we have found Private Homes to be a sure thing!
The Working Stiff