Rum Shop Ryan at Maho Beach, St John US Virgin Islands

Caribbean Travel Blogger: Rum Shop Ryan

SJVR: Welcome Ryan. For our readers that haven’t heard of you – can you tell us a bit about who you are and how you’ve risen to the top of the Caribbean Travel Blogosphere?

RSR: First of all, let me thank you for the opportunity to talk about a passion I think we all share, the Caribbean, especially after the hurricanes of Sept/2017. A little bit about me, hmmmm – I was born and raised in a small town just south of Kansas City, KS. Go Jayhawks! Ever since I was a small little pirate, I knew I wanted to live by the ocean. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. In 2001, after graduating from Pitt State, I loaded up a Uhaul and drove to to southwest Florida. No job, no friends, just knew I wanted to live on the coast of somewhere beautiful.

Living in Florida and traveling to the Keys was great, but I didn’t shake hands with the Caribbean until 2007. One of my friends decided to get married and St John Island was the destination. We were all big Kenny Chesney fans and his album Be As You Are, was a soundtrack to our lives. When I first stepped off the plane in St. Thomas I was blown away. The smells, the mountains, the water – it was like being smacked in the face with beauty. Then being able to stay on St. John, I was hooked. I told myself before I left, I needed to figure out a way to visit St. John and all the Caribbean islands as much as possible. That is where the idea of RumShopRyan.com was born.

I knew how to build websites a little, and I loved to write. So the natural progression was to build a blog and work really hard to build a community of other salty pirates that had a passion for Caribbean travel and culture like I did. The site grew a following rather quickly and here I am. The site launched in 2009 and It’s been one fantastic ride.

Rum Shop Ryan at Trunk Bay St John US Virgin Islands

SJVR: Obviously it’s not all about the rum. But you definitely love your rum drinks! Would you mind sharing a few favorites …?

RSR: True, it’s definitely not all about the rum, but rum is fun and it’s goes hand in hand with the Caribbean. What are a few of my favorites? That’s a tough one. I tend to connect drinks to special memories, thus making the drinks special. So every time I sip one of those drinks, it’s like taking a trip down memory lane.

Love the Goombay Smash from the Bahamas. Castaway Crystal and I just got back from a trip to the Bahamas and this delicious island drink was being ordered quite a bit.

Always have to say the Painkiller. During that 2007 wedding trip to St. John, we did a catamaran day sail around the North Shore. We snorkeled, we laughed and we we drank Painkillers all day. It was just one of those days you’ll always remember.

The Killerbee is also a favorite. This drink can be found at the famous Sunshine’s Beach Bar on the island of Nevis. I took a sailing trip with Island Windjammers several years ago and we dropped anchor just of of Pinney’s Beach, where Sunshine’s is located. I had only 3, and could tell that I needed to get back to the boat so I didn’t fall asleep on a palm tree and get left behind. Tasted great though!

SJVR: You list over 40 Caribbean island destinations on your web site. That’s a lot of travel. Care to share a few of your favorite islands …?

RSR: I probably get asked this question the most. It’s hard to say. It’s kind of like asking, which child do you love the most. Each island is different and has a unique personality. Some are large, some are small, some have mountains, some are flat, some are great for shopping and parties, some are great for fishing and escaping the world.

I will say that St. John will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where this journey began and there’s just something magnetic about the people, the hills, the beaches…it has a hold on me.

Love the blue waters of the Bahamas too, I’ve never seen water so blue and clear. It’s almost as if the water is plugged into an outlet, it just glows like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Especially in the Exumas.

SJVR: Our readers may not know … you were recently married. Crystal, the newest Castaway, seems like a great addition to the Castaway Family. Traveling with a partner … do you see things in a different light …?

RSR: She is the best! I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in life, or better partner with RumShop.

Do I see things differently now that I travel with my wife? It’s a good question and one her and I just talked about in the Bahamas.

Before Castaway Crystal, I would mostly travel alone, going on press trips and experiencing the islands. It was great, don’t get me wrong, but there was no one there to share it with. I’d be sitting on a stunning beach or on the bow of a boat just amazed I was there…true pinch me type moments, but something or I should say, someone was missing. That someone was her.

Castaway Crystal is a great photographer and writer, so it’s a match made in salty heaven. Plus, I think people like to read more about a traveling couple instead of a soggy single guy, little more relatable I think.

SJVR: Nothing reminds us of a destination like food and drink. You publish a Castaway Cocktails Recipe eBook. Where can our readers order it?

Coconut Castaway Rum Punch recipe

RSR: Yes, it’s called Castaway Cocktails. Great name right?! There are 52 island drink recipes in it, one for every week of the year. Each drink has a beautiful photo and a fun little story to go with it. If you like to drink paradise out of a glass, then the Castaway Cocktails recipe ebook is for you!

People can get one here – http://www.rumshopryan.com/product/digital-download/castaway-cocktails-recipe-book/

SJVR: Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself, the other islands of the Caribbean, and your experiences here on St John island, USVI.

 


Rum Shop Ryan is a successful Caribbean Travel blogger and rum expert! He brings his island adventures to over 30,000 monthly website visitors, 150,000+ Facebook Fans, 20,000 Twitter Followers and over 18,000 Instagram Followers. You can join him by visiting www.rumshopryan.com

Captain Awesome Food Truck Hansen Bay, St John East End

Hansen Bay Food Truck

Captain Awesome Grand Opening

Saturday May 5, 2018
at 11am – 6pm AST
Hansen Bay Beach – East End, St John

The time has come, the wait is over. The official announcement is here, Hansen Bay Beach is proud to announce the Grand opening of Captain Awesome, yummy eats on the beach, Food Truck. Opening day is May 5th, also known as Cinco De Mayo. We are aiming for an 11:00 am opening on Saturday the fifth. Texas-style tacos and more! At the present time it will be cash only, we are working hard to make it Credit Card friendly as soon as possible. As requested by the Health inspector and as required by the V.I. code, our pups must be leashed and maintained away from the Food truck for a distance of 25 feet. We are in the process of roping off the area to avoid any confusion. Also, smoking is only allowed in posted areas, no smoking whatsoever in the area of the Food Truck or on the beach, as per V.I. code. We have worked ever so hard to make this dream come true, we are counting on all of you for your support and compliance.


Captain Awesome Food Truck, Hansen Bay, St John owner


Captain Awesome’s Hansen Bay Food Truck Menu

STARTERSCaptain Awesome Hansen Bay Food Truck tacos

House Salsa
Rick House Guac
Dune’s Shrimp Ceviche
Salsa + Guac Combo

TACOS

Awesome “T” Steak
24 hr marinated steak, grilled to Texas standards topped w/fine diced onion + cilantro

Sunshine Chicken
Stewed Chicken blended with the Mexican Trinity ( tomatoes, jalapeños, onions). Topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and house-made avocado-lime crema.

Southern Crunch Chicken
Hand-battered Southern chicken tenders fried to golden perfection, topped w/shredded lettuce, pickled red onion and house-made chipotle crema.

Captain’s Catch
Captain’s Signature beer battered Mahi-Mahi, fried until golden, topped w/tangy cole slaw + house-made chipotle crema.

Vacation Veggie
Creative Vegetarian option using Morning Star Farm grillers, topped w/shredded lettuce, black beans, diced tomatoes + avocado crema.


Menu items and specials may change. But here’s a sampling to give you an idea of the tasty foods available from the Hansen Bay Food Truck.


GETTING TO HANSEN BAY

Located past Coral Bay on St John’s East End is a wonderful crescent-shaped white sand beach. Repeat visitors may already know the location as the former Vie’s Campground. Visitors will take Rte 20 ( North Shore Road ) or Centerline Road to Coral Bay. At the bottom of the hill you’ll come to a 3 way intersection. Proceed straight. Follow this road for several miles as it winds, climbs and dives along the rugged East End. At the bottom of a steep hill you’ll enter the VI National Park with Haulover South on your right and Haulover North ( EDITOR’s PICK for best snorkeling on St John ) on your left. Continue another .5 mi and you’ll see the entrance and parking to Hansen Bay Beach on your right.

Concordia Eco Resort post hurricane Irma

Concordia Eco Resort

September 2017 saw two Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and hurricane Maria, slam the island of St John. 200+ mph winds and rain left widespread destruction across much of St John. The Westin St John and Caneel Bay Resort, at the time of writing, are both closed through 2018 … with Caneel’s future the subject of much on and off island debate!

Lost among the news headlines is the loss of Concordia Eco Resort. This much loved collection of soft and hard sided tents and hard-walled suites was the vacation home of many of the former Maho Bay Campground visitors. After the lease at Maho ended, owner Stanley Selengut, focused his attention on a major renovation of most of the infrastructure at Concordia.

For those that don’t know about Concordia Eco Resort, it’s a 20 acre resort, bordering the Virgin Islands National Park above Salt Pond Bay and Drunk Bay. With expansive views of both bays and Ram Head, Concordia was the perfect location and destination for eco-minded travelers and clamping fans! More sophisticated than the former Maho Bay Campground and amenities that included the Concordia Cafe with live music!

Where to Stay

With the loss of Maho Bay Campgrounds and Concordia Eco Resort – what alternatives are there for comparable places to stay on St John?

The unique qualities, character and guest experience of Maho Bay Campgrounds and Concordia have no equal on St John. But there are alternatives … and we’ve brought together a great selection of affordable, eco-friendly island cottages and camping options.

What Compares to Concordia Eco Resort?

Looking for a place to stay on St John that’s family-friendly, where you can connect with nature, feel good about your impact on the island and spend between $195 – $285+/nt ( Concordia’s rates for 2017 )? Here are some possibilities …

LILLE PARADIS VILLALille Paradis Villa St John US Virgin Islands
Click to view Lille Paradis Villa
1 MASTER BDRM, 1 BEDROOM (LOFT), 2 BATH, POOL, A/C, WASHER/DRYER, OCEANVIEW, KIDDEL BAY ACCESS!

Lille Paradis offers a private pool and spa and private walking path to secluded and gorgeous Kiddel Bay, a rocky beach that is one of St. John’s best-kept secrets.  The house is surrounded by the green of the National Park and its unadulterated beauty. The covered decks at Lille Paradis are the perfect retreat from the sun, a priceless peaceful location.

Rates start at just $310/nt


TROPICAL TREE HOUSETropical Tree House Cottage, St john vacation rental
Click to view Tropical Tree House
1 BEDROOM (LOFT), 1 BATH, SCREENED PORCH, A/C, WASHER/DRYER, MOUNTAIN / WATER VIEW!Tropical Tree House porch view, Coral Bay, St John US Virgin Islands
NEW SOLAR POWER & TESLA POWERWALL BATTERIES!!

Rates start at just $135/nt


COCONUT HILL COTTAGECoconut Hill Cottage, St John vacation rental

Click to view Coconut Hill Cottage
SLEEPS 6, 2 BEDROOMS W AC, SLEEPING LOFT, 3 BATHS, SCREENED PORCH, POOL, W/D
BRAND NEW SOLAR SYSTEM INSTALLED WITH TESLA POWERWALL BATTERIES

Rates start at just $250/nt


REBECCA’S FANCY COTTAGERebeccas Fancy Cottage St John vacation rental
Click to view Rebecca’s Fancy Cottage
1 BDRM, 1 BATH, POOL, A/C, WIFI, OCEANVIEW, HANSEN BAY ACCESS

Located on St John’s East End . Hansen Bay, this spotless air-conditioned, one bedroom, one bath cottage has full kitchen with dishwasher, decks and patio with chaise lounges and gas grill. Rebecca’s Fancy was designed and equipped with full amenities for your comfort and convenience. Nature provides all the sights, sounds and smells. Just steps from Hansen Bay Beach, Hansen Bay Food Truck and some great snorkeling!

Rates start at just $285/nt


WINDWARDSIDE GUEST COTTAGEWindwardside Guest House Coral Bay St John

Click to view Windwardside Guest Cottage
Windwardside Guest Cottage, a charming little cottage that enjoys gorgeous views of the east end of St. John, the neighboring British Virgin Islands and Coral Bay. This home can be rented in conjunction with the main house at Windwardside or alone as your own little piece of paradise. The lush tropical plantings, built in privacy screening and the orientation of the buildings seclude them from one another. The guest cottage is very appealingly furnished, has a private hot tub, an airy enclosed shower garden and a comfortable front porch overlooking the sea.

Rates start at just $190/nt


TORTUGA COTTAGE CORAL BAYTortuga Cottage, Coral Bay St John vacation rental

Click to view Tortuga Cottage
1 bedroom, 1 bath, Ocean Views, Spa
Tortuga Cottage, the newest edition to Calabash Cottages. Tortuga is a cheerful and welcoming cottage with a gorgeous view of Coral Bay Harbor. This cottage has wonderful breezes, beautiful sunrises and moonrises, covered and uncovered decks plus a “hammock garden”. There is a private hot tub overlooking the Caribbean sea.

Rates start at just $220/nt


SAGO COTTAGE CORAL BAYSago Cottage Coral Bay St John vacation rental

Click to view Sago Cottage
1 bedroom, 1 bath, spa, outdoor shower, ocean views
Sago Cottage, a charming home nestled into the hillside above Coral Bay on St. John, Virgin Islands. Sago Cottage is a traditional west Indian structure – open and airy with brightly painted shutters and covered decks overlooking a gorgeous view. From its intimate and tasteful furnishings to its private hot tub under the stars, it is the perfect spot for a romantic holiday for two.

Rates start at just $250/nt


CORAL CARIBECora Caribe Cottage St John vacation rental

Click to view Coral Caribe, Fish Bay
1 bedroom, 1.5 bath, ocean views, children welcome, A/C, washer/dryer
Coral Caribe Villa is nestled on a hill overlooking beautiful Fish Bay on the southern shore of St John. This beautiful 1 bedroom upper villa has everything to make your vacation complete in a nice quiet area of St. John.

Bedroom has a king size bed. Queen size sofa bed for additional guests.

Rates start at just $150/nt


 

STONE POST ESTATE B&B / SMALL INNStone Post Estate B&B St John small inn

Click to view Stone Post Estate

Be a welcome guest at Stone Post Estate. Enjoy lovely views in every direction from sunrise to sunset. Stroll ever-changing, extensive tropical gardens designed to be especially attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Relax midst charming, comfortable furnishings indoors and out. And remember, Cruz Bay shopping and restaurants are only an easy 5 minute drive away. Beyond the tiny town an island of fabulous beaches and hiking trails invites your exploration. Every Stone Post Estate guest finds a unique and happy way to use it all for a delightful experience and memories to cherish.

Rates start at just $200/nt


The Crow’s Nest + Aft Cabin + Forward CabinCrows Nest Coral Bay vacation rental
Click to viewThe Crow’s Nest + Aft Cabin + Forward Cabin
1 Bedroom, 1 Bath, A/C, Walk to Coral Bay!

The Crow’s Nest is a fully air-conditioned efficiency studio apartment that can be rented alone, or together with 2 other studio apartments in the same building (Aft Cabin and Forward Cabin).

The Crow’s Nest is a chic, comfortable, tastefully-appointed, affordable studio. Newly remodeled, The Crow’s Nest is air-conditioned and features beautiful teak furniture with tropical ambience. Watch your favorite movies in the evening or read a book under the breeze of the overhead fan.  Or, walk to one of the many local eateries in Coral Bay

Rates start at just $140/nt


WIND RIDGE VILLAWind Ridge Villa vacation rental views over Coral Bay, St John, USVI

Click to view Wind Ridge Villa

1 Bdrm, 1 Bath, Oceanviews, Spa, outdoor Shower

Welcome to Wind Ridge, a sweet 1-bedroom, 1-bath villa with an outdoor garden shower. Wind Ridge sits majestically on the ridge overlooking Coral Bay harbor, Hurricane Hole, East end of St John and south to the tiny island of Leduc. The water views at Wind Ridge Villa are amazing any time of the DAY OR NIGHT.

Rates start at just $285/nt


 

Banana Cabana VillaBanana Cabana Villa St John USVI vacation rental
Click to view Banana Cabana Villa
2 Bedroom, 2 BATH,  WASHER/DRYER, OCEANVIEW

Banana Cabana is a delightful island home of Caribbean style design, with two separate pods, nestled on a hill overlooking the emerald green and aqua blue waters of Coral Bay and Hurricane Hole. Within easy driving distance to St. John’s most beautiful beaches and hiking trails, Banana Cabana is a private, peaceful vacation hideaway and a perfect love nest.

Rates start at just $210/nt


SAIL VIEW VILLASail View Villa St John USVI vacation rental
Click to view Sail View Villa
3 Bedroom, 3.5 BATH,  A/C, KIDS, WASHER/DRYER

Formerly a popular bed & breakfast, we now invite you to enjoy the main floor as well. Large outdoor kitchen and dining area so everyone can keep the grill master company. An easy place to relax with friends and family, enjoy the sun, a casual meal or refreshing drink.

A gourmet kitchen with Vulcan stove and breakfast bar.

Rates start at just $225/nt


Rate information was accurate at the time of publication. Prices subject to change without notice. Prices may reflect promotional pricing or seasonal discounts. Please see listing rates for current pricing and availability.

Bikinis on teh Beach Bar & Grill at Honeymoon Beach St John USVI

Irmaria Drink Bikinis on teh Beach Bar & Grill at Honeymoon beach St John USVILooking for a St John Beach Bar?

As many visitors to the US Virgin Islands know … if you want to go to a true beach bar you have to go to the BVIs. Places like Soggy Dollar, Foxy’s and Pirates Bight serve tropical drinks on beautiful white sand beaches. Try to find that on St John and the only spot that’s even remotely like these … is The Beach Bar on Cruz Bay. A great bar … but not located on a beautiful white sand beach with aqua blue water inviting you to cool off.

Well, that’s no longer true!

Virgin Island Ecotours recently opened up Bikinis on the Beach Bar & Grill. Located on one of St John’s famous North Shore beaches and inside the Virgin Islands National Park – just west of Caneel Bay Resort! Visitors can enjoy beach pub foods and island style drinks just steps from the inviting aqua waters of Honeymoon Beach!

All Day Water Sports Pass

Looking to enjoy a day of water sports? VI Ecotours has an incredible deal. Enjoy all day access to SUP, kayak, float, snorkel gear, chair and locker for just $49/pp! You can save 10% by reserving your Pass online. Honeymoon Beach All Day Pass reservations

 

Getting to Honeymoon Beach

With Caneel Bay Resort closed until further notice – there are really only 3 ways to get to Honeymoon Beach / Bikinis on the Beach Bar & Grill. Want to make it an adventure? Or, want to get there and start relaxing? Either way … here are your choices …

  1. VI Ecotours has a Zodiak water taxi that runs from Cruz Bay to Honeymoon Beach and back … You can book it online here.
  2. Local charters from St Thomas and St John routinely stop at Honeymoon Beach, St John. Ask your captain if it’s on your itinerary.
  3. Hike the Lind Point Trail. Approx 1.1 mi. each way. Moderate elevation change. Trail starts at the VI National Park’s Cruz Bay Visitors Center. See map below …

 


Boat from Cruz Bay to Honeymoon Beach

Call
Local: 340.779.2155
Text Us: 1.340.690.2540

St John USVI current conditions post hurricane recovery

MARCH 5, 2018 UPDATE

It’s been over 6 months since hurricane Irma and hurricane Maria swept across the Caribbean and crossed St John, St Thomas and St Croix, US Virgin Islands. For several months, your evening news brought you some incredible footage of the destructive power of a CAT5 storm. And many islands including Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the BVIs suffered some unbelievable damage. So, what can you expect when deciding to plan your next visit to St John?

The Good …

Over 99.99% of the island has power restored. Visitors will see lots of new power lines, poles and wires. A big thanks to the local WAPA lineman and a heartfelt thank you to the BBC Electric crews from Joplin, Missouri. Without their hard work the Island would not have recovered so quickly!

The Virgin Islands National Park beaches have reopened. Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Hawksnest Beach, Maho Beach, Waterlemon Cay … are open and welcoming beach goers with fewer coconut palms; but wider and flatter white sand beaches! Please note that Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Hawksnest Beach and Maho Bay all have damage to the Park infrastructure. At the time of this article, the Park had not announced a schedule for the infrastructure to be repaired. But, basic services are in place. And Trunk’s snorkeling gear and chair rentals  have resumed.

Many Cruz Bay + Coral Businesses have reopened. The basics … gas, groceries, Jeep rentals, bars and restaurants have, for the most part, reopened; and are eager for guests/patrons. The shops at Mongoose Junction are bustling with visitors going in and out of shops. The St John Brewers Tap Room is open, albeit much smaller, while they continue to work on their expanded bar. A fan favorite, Morgan’s Mango just reopened after months of repairs!

Hiking trails inside the VI National Park are cleared and passable. And the “clipped” vegetation affords some new vistas!

Moorings at the Park bays are repaired and accepting boats.

The Sad …

Visitors first glimpse of Cruz Bay will be the mostly closed shops, bars and restaurants of Wharfside Village. The infrastructure/buildings at Trunk, Cinnamon and Maho are, for the most part, in pretty poor shape.

Coral Bay is still in very rough shape. Mountains of debris are being sorted and trucked out. The dumpster area by Love City Market is still getting wood, metal, appliances dropped off. There’s still plenty of repair work that needs to happen. But, you’ll also find busy hands … businesses reopening, things being fixed and lots and lots of fresh, bright paint ; )

ST JOHN UPDATED PHOTOS

St John after hurricane Irma

ST JOHN ISLAND: HURRICANE IRMA / MARIA NEWS / INFO

UPDATED MARCH 05, 2018:
ST JOHN IS READY FOR TOURISTS

It’s been over 6 months since hurricane Irma hit St John, USVI. In that time power has been restored to 99.9% of the island. The Virgin Islands National Park beaches are open. Cruz Bay and Coral Bay business have reopened in large numbers. Restaurants, bars, shops, grocery stores, services, activities … have reopened. While there are still some St John vacation rentals that have been deemed a completed loss – many villas suffered little or no damage … and resumed welcoming guests!

See current photos from around St John on our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/stjohnvillarentalscom/


On September 6, 2017 at approximately 11:00 am EST HURRICANE IRMA barreled through the Virgin Islands. This CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE packed sustained winds over 150MPH and gusts over 185MPH! As you might imagine the islands of St John and St Thomas were heavily damaged. In the days since IRMA passed over the Islands, US Military, National Guard, FEMA and private organizations and citizens have supplied aid.


What does this mean for your existing St John vacation rental?

On-island managers and owners have done a great job getting their properties repaired. While some properties suffered a complete loss … the vast majority of rental villas have completed repairs … and some suffered no damage at all! That said, it will take some time for owners to get new photos up on their listings. In the mean time, please reach out to any owner/manager to confirm the property is accepting guests and what condition you can expect for your visit.

 

What does this mean for travel to St John during the coming 2017/2018 Season?

St John is ready for Tourists. Virgin Islands National Park beaches have reopened. Shops, grocery stores, gas stations, bars, restaurants, activities, Jeep and car rentals … have reopened for business.

“We have already heard from some of our Villa Owners – that their homes have only minor damage – while others will require extensive repairs.”

What Can I Expect? You’ll find that St John still has some visible “scars”. The number of majestic coconut palms that grew along the beach at Honeymoon Beach, Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay, Gibney Beach and Hawksnest Beach have been greatly reduced. Maho, especially, lost most of the towering palms! Oppenheimer’s iconic Palm Tree rope swing is gone! Cinnamon Bay Campground is months and months from repair. Concordia may never reopen. The Westin St John is closed through 2018. Caneel Bay Resort is closed while they decide the best plan for reopening. One thing that hasn’t changed … everywhere you go you’ll find beauty. The beaches are wider, more white sand, and generally flatter. The island is green and lush from many months of rain. And the people of St John, they’ve weathered the storm and found a new strength and warmth!


ST JOHN AID DONATIONS

Here are the two established and trusted St John aid organizations we recommend. Donate directly …and avoid the fees charge by sites like GoFundMe!

St John Community Foundation

The St. John Community Foundation is committed to collaboratively identifying and addressing community needs to enhance St. John; A True Paradise in which to live, work and visit!

Their website: http://thestjohnfoundation.org/


DONATE DIRECTLY TO ST JOHN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION


St John Rescue, Inc.

is an all volunteer organization dedicated to saving lives and building a better community through participation, education, and community spirit. St. John Rescue, Inc. was officially launched on November 30, 1996 when it was granted status as a 501(C)3 corporation by the United States Virgin Islands government.


DONATE DIRECTLY TO ST JOHN RESCUE

Air BnB VRBO guest service fees

“Airlines do it. Car rental agencies do it. Online vacation rental giants do it.”

What are they all doing?

They all have “hidden fees” tacked on to your transaction that drive up your bill!

What “Hidden Fees” do the online vacation rental sites add?

Before you click that BOOK NOW button on VRBO, HomeAway, Air BnB, you should know that all of the major online vacation rental sites charge what they call “guest service fees” or booking fees. They range from 5% to 16% of your booking total. Some generously cap your booking fee at $399.00. Others aren’t so generous and the fee can exceed $500 or $600!

Why do they charge a fee?Air Bnb booking fees guest service fees

Great question. Here’s what VRBO/HomeAway says …

“The service fee is paid by the traveler when booking through the HomeAway websites. This fee helps cover the costs of operating the websites for owners and travelers. Some of the costs to run HomeAway include: facilitating secure transactions, developing our products and services, and providing 24/7 customer service.”

Now I don’t know about you – but that sounds like a lot of revenue from each booking just to cover their web site! I mean, really …! Hundreds of dollars from each transaction just to facilitate that transaction?

Where are the fees hidden?VRBO guest service fees - HomeAway booking fees

Another great question! The mega rental sites will tell you they aren’t hidden. And to some degree they are right. They’ve hidden them in plain sight. With HomeAway/VRBO you’ll need to click the details text link. Air BnB has them as a line item in your quote.

How can I avoid booking fees?

If you’re traveling to St John, US Virgin Islands, you can connect directly with St John vacation rental owners and on-island managers to get the Lowest Prices and avoid the “guest service fees” charged by the mega rental sites! In fact, browse our listings and you’ll be doing just that … because we don’t charge owners a commission on bookings. And we don’t charge guests a service fee or booking fee! So start browsing knowing you’re dealing directly with St John vacation rentals by owners and on-island managers! BAM! You just save 5% to 16%!

St Thomas airport to Red Hook taxi service

Let’s face it the worst part of any vacation is the travel to and from your destination. From the lines at the airline boarding gate to stuffing your luggage overhead to the taxi ride to your hotel or accommodations. Well, we’ve got a solution to the waiting and multiple stops and shoulder-to-shoulder taxi service out of St Thomas Cyril E King airport to Red Hook ferry to St John.

St Thomas airport to Red Hook ferry taxi service USVI

You can now book private airport transportation to get to the dock as soon as possible from St Thomas Airport to Red Hook Ferry or St Thomas Airport to Charlotte Amalie Ferry; so you can make your continued trip from Red Hook Ferry to St John or Charlotte Amalie Ferry to St John with minimal wait time. This service is ideal for individuals, couples, families, or groups. The number and type of vehicles are assigned based on the size of your party and availability, and all of our drivers and vehicles are fully licensed and insured. Best of all, unlike St Thomas airport taxi services that charge for bags and carry-on items, there are NO BAGGAGE OR LUGGAGE FEES with our service.


Use our easy online form to check availability and book your airport transportation now!

Book online to reserve your Private Airport Transportation from STT to Red Hook ferry


Services offered: One Way Arrival, One Way Departure, Roundtrip

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Serving St Thomas Airport, Cyril E King International Airport
  • Private Airport Transportation
  • Quick Stop at Market or Convenience Store Upon Request
  • Non-stop Service
  • One-Way or Round-Trip
  • Service for Red Hook Ferry Dock or Charlotte Amalie Ferry Dock
  • No Baggage or Luggage Fees
  • No Waiting for Regular Shared Airport taxis to fill up
  • Perfect for Individuals, Families, Couples, and Large Groups
  • Type & Number of Vehicles Assigned Based on Party Size and Availability

INCLUSIONS

  • One-way or round-trip service to or from St Thomas Airport
  • Vehicle for private transportation
  • Quick Stop at market or convenience store upon request

EXCLUSIONS

Gratuities not included

CANCELLATION POLICY

Service must be canceled within 24 hours of your scheduled pick-up. If your flight is canceled, please contact your driver to reschedule or cancel service and receive a refund. If you booked a roundtrip, you may only cancel 24 hours prior to the first leg of the trip. As a roundtrip is considered one service, you may not cancel any individual part of a roundtrip. All contact details provided upon confirmation of your booking.

Save on St John vacation rentals during low season

“Lets face it, St John Island is one of the more exclusive Caribbean destinations.”

St John vacation rental mapThe Virgin Islands National Park covers about 2/3rds of the island – leaving a fairly limited area for development. And that’s what makes it such a special, mostly unspoiled, tropical paradise. But that protection comes at a price; St John vacation rentals are more expensive than other Virgin Islands like St Thomas and St Croix.

Travelers visiting during peak season and holidays should expect to pay premium prices at Caneel Bay Resort, The Westin St John, Grande Bay Resort, Gallows Point and at the many beautiful vacation rentals villas that dot the island. Higher demand means higher prices. It’s the same across the planet …wherever tourism is seasonal.

You don’t have to pay premium prices to enjoy a St John island vacation.

There are ways to save – and save big! First, and foremost is lodging. Did you know that off season rates average 30% less during low season? That’s right, you can save thousands of dollars on many top rated villas when you book your stay between mid April to mid December ( everybody uses slightly different dates to qualify for low season / high season ). Many people use the savings to enjoy a villa that’s outside their budget during most of the year. So, for the same money you can enjoy bigger ocean views, more spectacular pools and amenities and choice locations! It may also be a chance to stay at one of the most popular villas – that often book a year or more in advance! It’s a great way to experience all that St John has to offer – without breaking the bank!

“Off season vacation rental rates average 30% less during low season”

How do I take advantage of the low season savings?
Most villa owners and managers have 2 sets of rates, high season and low season. On our Listings you’ll see rate details. Check the owner’s low seasons and high season dates to verify the start and stop of each rental season. Most owners and management companies follow roughly the same dates, mid April to mid December. Book a visit within those dates and you could potentially save thousands of dollars vs the high season rates on that very same vacation rental. When booking you should inquire about any specials, discounts or promotions the owner or manager may be running.

Want to save even more?
Of course you do! Who doesn’t want to save money and lower the cost of their Virgin Islands vacation?! Click our Discounts Page to find last-minute savings and incredible deals. Most of the discounts are limited to 2 months out. So if your travel dates are flexible it can be a great way to save even more money on a St John villa rental.

Check out our current St John villa discounts.

If I go during “Off Season” is the weather bad?

We get this question all the time. The answer is – no, you’ll likely enjoy the same great weather, beautiful beaches and snorkeling as you would if you visit in January! Average temperatures are higher in the summer months. And we advise guests to avoid Virgin Islands hurricane season – which historically runs August and September.

Another great thing about visiting during low season – there are fewer cruise ships in port in St Thomas. And that means fewer day visitors to the most popular St John beaches like Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay Beach, Hawksnest Beach and Honeymoon Beach.

Other ways to save on your St John vacation?

Just like your accommodations, many of the activities, water sports, happy hours and St John bars and restaurants run specials to attract the smaller number of visitors. One of our favorites is the Honeymoon Day Pass. Visitors get access to a kayak, SUP ( paddle board ), beach chair, snorkel gear, float and locker at Honeymoon Beach. They usually charge $49/pp ( even at this price it’s the best deal on St John ). But, book online for a Day Pass between May 15, 2017 and December 15, 2017, using promo code SAVE20 and you’ll save 20%! Book early because they do run out of passes! If you’re traveling between August 15, 2017 and November 15, 2017 you can save an amazing 50% by booking online using promo code SAVE50. Get more details on the Honeymoon Beach All Day Pass here.

Freediving classes St John US Virgin Islands

St John snorkel gearSt John is home to some of the best shallow water snorkeling in the Caribbean. Each year visitors of all experience levels take home memories and photos of sea turtles, rays, corals and tropical fish. Much of what they see and photograph is in as little as 4′ to 8′ of water! But there’s a world beyond 8′ or 10′. Down below 10′ you’ll experience the undersea as never before. The surface becomes your sky. The fish swim past like birds and butterflies. And the rocky reefs become islands and mountains with forests of sea fans and gorgonians waving in the current.

With over 2/3rds of St John island protected by the Virgin Islands National Park – the overall health of the reefs and marine ecosystems has faired much better than most other locations in the Caribbean. And it’s this quality that draws in avid snorkelers and active tourists.

Looking for a unique experience during your St John vacation?
Adventure tourism is the current rage! Skydiving, hangliding, rock climbing are awesome ways to see and connect with a place while you make memories! While St John may not offer any of the above adventures – it’s not without some unique experiences. One such experience is found on St John’s remote East End.

There’s confusion about WHY divers enjoy freediving.  It is not about how long you can hold your breath or how deep you can go, it is about being and feeling close to the universe that exists below the to the waves.  This is what freedivers around the world are discovering and why it is growing so quickly.”

Rob Tutton, founder of VITAL Freediving, teaches the sport of freediving to everyone from beginners to experienced divers. Rob’s spent a lifetime in and around the water as a commercial treasure hunter and naval architect. In 2015 he became an AIDA Certified Freediving Instructor.  When recreating his life after 20 years working for the US Navy, he wanted to help people to experience the beauty of tropical reefs with peace and harmony.  He was freediving while searching for treasure ships in the early 1990’s, but back then the formal education taught in freediving was still relatively new.  But freediving is now growing at a minimum of 25% per year globally.

VITAL Freediving Courses adhere to the highest standards of the AIDA International Freediving. For more information about AIDA please visit: www.aidainternational.org.  He will soon be teaching PADI Freediving courses as well.  So if you’re already a PADI SCUBA diver, you can easily take a PADI Freediver course.  More information on those courses can be found at https://www.padi.com/padi-courses/freediver.

What makes freediving different from snorkeling?

VITAL Freediving St John static breath holdIf you’ve held your breath in the water then technically you’ve been freediving.  Snorkelers typically stay on the surface to view the underwater world, but freedivers focus on taking a deep breath and staying underwater.  Recreational freediving focuses around ways to safely maximize the time and depth for fun and relaxation.  Unlike other sports, freediving has many variations which confuses many newcomers.  Static breath holds focus on maximizing your breath hold and involves simply floating face down in shallow water (PICTURE OF STATIC from website?).  Dynamic freediving also occurs in shallow water but is about how far you can swim horizontally.  If you swam laps in a pool as a child, you swam a dynamic freedive.  There are also freediving disciplines that are about diving as deep as you can safely go, such as Free Immersion and Constant Weight freediving.  True purists perform Dynamic and Constant Weight dives without fins.

Do I need any previous experience to take a course from you?

The only experience required for freediving is the ability to swim a few hundred yards on the surface.  Since it is so different from SCUBA diving, some of the best students are those totally new to diving.

How dangerous is freediving?

Recreational freediving, performed with a trained buddy, is very safe.  The core of freediving training is to stay comfortable and pushing limits is discouraged.  This is the difference between recreational freediving and competitive freediving.  You may have watched videos of world record attempts.  Competitive freediving techniques are not taught by VITAL Freediving.  The safety standards required by AIDA has kept the organization relatively injury free and there has never been a student death.

I’m interested in taking a class. How do I register or signup?

Check out their website for information and class details:
http://vitalfreediving.com/

Call  “Rob” at 340-690-5803
or email me at robtutton@vitalfreediving.com