THE ENTIRE ISLAND IS AT YOUR DISPOSAL TO MAKE YOUR TIME AT ANDANTE IN BEAUTIFUL ST. JOHN THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME.
ST JOHN, US VIRGIN ISLANDS:
By wide consensus, St. John is considered to be one of, if not the most beautiful of the Caribbean islands. The smallest & most idyllic of the three United States Virgin Islands, it is best known for its dozens of post-card perfect white sand beaches, turquoise bays abounding in colorful corals & rainbows of tropical fish & endless vistas of green velvet hills. Only nine miles long and three miles wide, it has no high-rise buildings, cruise ship docks or airport. The combination of forty beaches and the fact that three fifths of the island is preserved as the Virgin Islands National Park by the US National Parks Service, makes St. John the jewel of the US Virgin Islands.
Geologically and historically rich, the island is dotted with ruins, peaked by verdant mountains and sundered by alpine canyons. Unlike many tropical islands, St. John remains still relatively unscathed by the pressures of development. Each of its many bays and white sand beaches offer a different glimpse of a kind of primeval paradise.
St. John’s principal activities are aquatic including swimming, underwater snorkeling, diving,kayaking, jet skiing, fishing, sailing, power boating. Visitors to the island also enjoy tennis, jeep jaunts, hiking, picnicking, fine dining, yoga, massage, meditation, live music and dancing. Golfing is available on nearby St. Thomas. The National Park Service Visitor’s center located on the Waterfront, is a treasure trove of information on the history, archeology, beaches and many hiking trails the island has to offer.
Barely 6 degrees variance in temperature and the ever-present tradewinds from Africa makes this island a year-round vacation retreat and the Virgin Islands the sailing capital of the World.
TRAVELING TO ST. JOHN:
St. John can be easily reached by a 20 minute ferry ride from the island of St. Thomas. Most travelers fly into Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas. The airport is served by several major carriers, including Delta, American, United, US Air and Jet Blue, making travel from anywhere in the United States fairly easy. Vacationers can also fly into the airport on Tortola and travel by ferry over to St John either directly or via St. Thomas, depending on ferry schedules, but travel this way is a bit more complicated.
The easiest and most common way to get to St. John is by the passenger ferry (tel: 340-776-6282), leaving Red Hook on St. Thomas’ eastern tip. The ferry trip is about 15 to 20 minutes each way. The one-way fare is $6 for adults, $1 for children 11 and under, and $2.50 per piece of luggage. Schedules change without notice, so it’s best to call in advance. Normally, the ferries run every hour on the hour beginning 6:30am until midnight.
Travelers usually take a multi-passenger van/taxi from the airport costing about $20/person to Red Hook. The ride takes 20-45 minutes depending on traffic. Individual taxis for groups or families are also available for about $80 total.
For those who prefer a shorter taxi ride, but a longer (sometimes more turbulent) ferry ride, the ferry landing in downtown Charlotte Amalie within sight of the many Caribbean cruise ships that dock at St. Thomas, is about a 45 minute ride to the ferry dock at Cruz Bay on St. John. The cost is $10 each way for adults and $1 for children under the age of 11. These boats are limited in departure times. A taxi ride is still required, but is less expensive.
CRUZ BAY FERRY DOCK
Those of our guests who choose to rent a car on St. Thomas would take the car ferry “Barge” that departs from the Red Hook ferry dock. It runs approximately every half hour from 7 AM to 7 PM, but trips can be canceled subject to breakdowns. One way is generally around $30 and round-trip is generally around $50. For first time visitors to St. John, we recommend renting a car on St. John.
All Guests of Andante will be personally met by our property managers, at either the passenger ferry dock or the car ferry dock. Our property managers will get you to your prearranged rental vehicles familiarize you with the Cruz Bay area and the island, accompany you to the Villa, and get you oriented to the house. Both prior to and after your arrival, our property managers serve as your on-island concierge for all of your vacation needs, such as arranging excursions, assistance with car rentals, villa provisioning, in-villa massages, spa services, chef services, and dinner recommendations and reservations.
GETTING AROUND ST. JOHN:
Getting around the island is easy. Cruz Bay, the major town where the ferry docks are located, is on the west end of the island facing Red Hook in St. Thomas. It is connected by well maintained paved roads to most of the bays & beaches, and to Coral Bay, the picturesque yacht harbor on the east end of the island.
Colorful canopied Taxis are available at the ferry dock, The Westin and at the larger beaches like Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay. They can also be called. They offer rides to every island destination as well as tours.
The Vitran bus service runs from Cruz Bay over Coral Bay to Salt Pond and back every hour and is a great and affordable ($1 per person) way to cross the island, or to get to any of the numerous hiking trails that start around Centerline Road.
For guests of Andante, we highly recommend that you rent a car to get maximal enjoyment and ability to explore the island to its fullest.
If you’ve never been to the St. John before, or if you don’t want to deal with negotiating the traffic of St. Thomas, or the responsibility of getting the vehicle back to St. Thomas in the event of malfunction, we recommend renting your car on St. John. Several local agencies, all a short walk from the ferry dock in St. John, offer rental cars, jeeps and canopied trucks, by day or by week.
When you rent Andante, our property managers will assist you in arranging a car rental. When you arrive on the island, our property managers will meet you, get you to your rental car, and accompany you to Andante where they will give you a detailed orientation to the villa and the island.
It is also possible to rent a car in St. Thomas, either at the airport or in town. There are pros and cons. Not all agencies will allow their cars to travel to St. John, and when you rent a St. Thomas car, you are solely responsible for any repairs it may need on St. John. Rental prices on St. Thomas might be slightly lower. Whatever your needs, when you decide to become a guest of Andante, our property managers will assist you with all of your options.
TRAVELING TO NEARBY ISLANDS:
St. John is part of an archipelago of islands that make up the US and British Virgin Islands. St. Thomas is the most urban of the three US Virgins. It is just 3 miles across the channel and a 15-20 minute ferry ride. St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands and lies to the south of St. Thomas and St. John. It is much farther away and requires a plane trip or long ferry ride (once per week) to get there. You do not require a passport to get to any of the US Virgin Islands. St. Thomas has a lot of shopping, a bowling alley, a golf course, a year-round large screen multiplex cinema and other attractions.
With a valid passport, visiting some of the British Virgin Islands can be a great day trip. Our Property managers will be happy to help you make plans for exploring surrounding islands either by the extensive ferry system or on one of the many boat charters available on St. John.
DINING IN AND OUT:
DINING AL FRESCO AT ANDANTE BY THE SEA
Whether you plan to go luxury all the way, and either eat out or have a chef prepare all of your meals; or if you enjoy preparing your meals at home; or you plan to do a little of both, the beauty of having a villa is that you have complete flexibility. While there are no large supermarkets, St. John has a few very well stocked grocery stores within a short driving distance of Andante, where you can find pretty much any food, meat, fish, wine, beer or liquor that you would get on the mainland. In addition, arrangements can be made to have the villa provisioned prior to your arrival.
Restaurants are many and varied, from funky to fine. By and large, because the market is so competitive, the quality is excellent across the board. In addition, St John has excellent chefs who will prepare a private gourmet meal especially for your party, served right at Andante, under the stars, with the sounds of the ocean in the background.
If you are planning to do a good deal of cooking at home, be prepared for higher grocery prices particularly on meats and fish, since most items must be shipped in.
Some of our guests help to cut costs by purchasing some foods on St. Thomas prior to coming over, but this entails either having a rental car or private taxi. For those guests using the Taxi Vans, there is a well stocked grocery store across from the Red Hook dock, and some of the prices are more reasonable than St. John prices.
Another option, dependent on where you are traveling from, is to purchase items like meats and fish at home, portion and marinate them in freezer bags and freeze them. Pack them in a soft-sided collapsible rolling cooler with gel packs and bring them onto the plane with you as a checked baggage item. You can then pack the cooler into a suitcase for the trip home. Many insulated soft-sided shopping bags with frozen items can even fit into larger pieces of luggage if they don't exceed weight limits.
ACTIVITIES & EXCURSIONS:
Watersports abound! Besides visiting one of the many world class beaches, our guests can charter boats from kayaks to ketches to catamarans by the day or week, with or without captain. Day excursions for sightseeing, picnicking, snorkeling, or scuba diving are offered on every variety of sail or motor craft. Sport fishing is an experience you’ll always remember. Activities on land include hikes you can take on your own or with a National Park guide with talks on the islands history, geology, flora and fauna; horseback riding, donkey trail rides, rock climbing, exploring historic ruins & more.
Our property managers will assist you in planning all of your activities to make your vacation the experience of a lifetime!