Helpful Links & Books:
Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Drive
A complete, easy-to-use, fun, travel guide to exploring St. John, Virgin Islands. It contains everything you need to know about the St. John's beaches and hiking trails, as well as its confusing system, of roads, foot-paths and goat-trails.
St. John Off the Beaten Track
The guide offers an insiders view into the quintessential St. John with its hiking trails, scrambles and gut walks. Singer, a long time island resident, provides a framework for reference with lots of fast facts and an easy to read description of places of interest, flora and fauna, amidst a well laid backdrop of St. John s rich history and island legend.
STJ Online Forum
Friendly & knowledgable forum with both locals and tourists with tons of information about anything and everything St. John.
Recommended Car Rental Companies:
Cool Breeze Car Rental
Rugged small and large jeeps, friendly and helpful staff.
St. John Car Rental
Specializes in Jeeps, Wranglers and Suzukis.
Questions & Answers
The population of St. John is still small and laid-back - only 4,000 people call St. John home. Known as the Emerald Jewel, this is where other Virgin Islanders go to get away from it all. Many visitors discover they can totally relax and enjoy themselves here — something that can be hard to do these days.
The other ferry leaves from Red Hook, about a 40 minute taxi ride from the airport and costs $6.00 plus $3.00 for each large bag. This ferry is only a 20 minute ride across Pillsbury Sound to Cruz Bay. Either way, getting to St. John is no problem. Private water taxis are also available, but they are much more expensive.
Vida de Mar is a quick and easy 5-10 minute drive from town, 5 minutes from the market, and 10-20 minutes from white sandy beaches, yet still feels a million miles from anywhere while you are there. Vida de Mar has it all — spectacular views, gorgeous sunsets, private, secluded sand and pebble beach, oversized pool, tiled jacuzzi, some of the best diving and snorkeling on the island, and even a resident iguana family!
Not that you would want to leave once you arrive, but if you do wish to venture out for a hike, shopping, dining, or a day at one of St. John's famous white-sand beaches — it's not a hassle like at some other villa locations.
All you really need to bring is sunscreen, a bathing suit, casual clothing and you'll be all set! (Please remember, St. Johnians are modest people and it is not polite and against the law to wear bathing suits while in town, so if you do plan on spending the day at the beach and also go to town, be sure and bring a cover-up or other proper clothing).
So, if you are planning any day trips, you will need to bring your passport along with you. Health certificates are not required if you're entering from the U.S. or Puerto Rico; citizens entering from other countries should follow the same guidelines as for the mainland U.S.
Cruz Bay, the main town on the island, is only a 10 minute drive, which has shopping, nightlife, dining, SCUBA and snorkel rental and trips. Or, stop off at Great Cruz Bay (where the Westin Hotel is located), which is only 5 minutes from Vida de Mar, and sign up for a sunset cruise or rent a power boat for the day.
Vida de Mar is also stocked with an ample supply of emergency supplies such as batteries, flashlights, tape, rope, light bulbs and other necessities for your convenience should you need them. You may also arrange for a a personal shopper to pick up and stock your villa before you arrive. Please feel free to ask us about this new service!
There are three main markets on St. John — all on the way from town to Vida de Mar. The largest of these, Starfish Market & Starfish Gourmet, are located in The Marketplace shopping center and is only a five minute drive from the villa. Starfish Market & Starfish Gourmet have just about anything you could need, including a fabulous fresh fish and meats, baked goods and pastries from the famous St. John Bakery, fresh salads and produce, ice, beer, liquor and an impressive wine section. The closest market, St. John Market, is the closest market to Vida de Mar and only a few minutes away, right outside the Westin Hotel entrance.
Also, feel free to contact us (the owners) at any time regarding questions or issues regarding your experience at Vida de Mar. Our contact information is located on the Contact page.
Rainfall varies with the time of year but there really is no "rainy" season where it will rain all the time. Most of the time the showers happen at night. Obviously, we can't guarantee that you will have perfect weather, but you are more than likely to have spectacular weather anytime of the year. Just be sure and pack some light rain gear or an umbrella for those unexpected showers should you be out on a hike or at the beach.
There is also a bus system on St. John called VI Tran, but it only goes from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay and back and isn't the most convenient schedule. Yes, it is true that St. Johnians drive on the left in a regular American car, but once you get used to it, it's not so bad! St. John is small — there are only two main roads and no stoplights, so there isn't too much other traffic to worry about, and difficult to get lost.
On a week-long vacation many years ago, we decided to stay at Caneel Bay on St. John. After a great week getting into the rhythm of the resort, we had to go back to the hustle and bustle of life in Chicago. We had a few hours to kill before hopping the ferry back to St. Thomas and decided to take a taxi tour of the island. Seeing the absolute beauty of the island on the taxi tour, we both realized how much we had missed by not exploring the island more. Looking back, we realize that the very first time that we stood on the top of Bordeaux Mountain overlooking Coral Bay — we fell in love with St. John.
We made a pact to come back and experience the island the way it should be experienced. We came back many times, renting a different villa in a different area of the island each time. Every time we came down, it got harder and harder to go back. Finally, in 2002, we stayed at Vida de Mar, which also happened to be for sale at the time.
We knew right away that Vida de Mar was the perfect location — not too far, not too close, beautiful views and right on the water. Well, long story short — we bought Vida de Mar and hope to make it our full-time home someday. Although this isn't possible now due to jobs, pets, etc - we have taken that first step and are committed helping others share the experience of St. John and hopefully enjoy it as much as we do!