One of the most common questions we get asked is “how do I get to St. John from St. Thomas?” Most likely you will be arriving to St. John, (U.S. Virgin Islands) from St. Thomas airport. The airport in St. Thomas is located on the opposing end of St. Thomas from the side facing St John. There are three main ways of getting from the Cyril E. King airport in St. Thomas to St. John and each has their advantages.
You can take a taxi from the airport to Red Hook, which is the closest ferry port to St John. Red Hook ferries are the most frequent, departing every hour most parts of the day from morning to night time. The ferry trip over from Red Hook is only 20 minutes and runs every hour, so if frequency is what you’re after Red Hook is likely the best bet. The ferry is $8.15 per person plus a $4 per bag fee. The downside is that you will need to take a longer taxi ride, roughly 30-40 minutes and the taxi will be more expensive. The taxi to Red Hook from the airport is $11 per person plus $2 per bag. The other caveat to taking a taxi is that these are shared van taxis and if you happen to be in a hurry be aware that the taxi usually won’t leave until the van is full or near full.
The other taxi to ferry alternative is to take a shorter and cheaper taxi ride to Charlotte Amalie, which is the downtown area of St. Thomas not far from the main cruise ship dock. You will save some money on the taxi ride per person and you will get a longer ferry ride, about 40 minutes, with really beautiful views of St. Thomas. The Charlotte Amalie ferry only runs three times per day so this option won’t work for everyone. The Charlotte Amalie ferry is $13 per person plus a $4 per bag fee. Note: due to the hurricanes, the Charlotte Amalie ferry is not currently running.
The third option is if you are looking to have a car on St. John, you could pick up the car at the St. Thomas airport and drive it to the car ferry and sail across on the car ferry. Budget at the airport generally has the best deals on four wheel drive cars and both the kiosk and the cars themselves are located in the airport a few steps away from arrivals. Please make sure to confirm with your rental agency if they allow the car to be taken to St. John.
Four wheel drive cars are the only rental cars allowed to be brought over to the island, and really the smart choice to explore the island. The advantage of renting a car at the airport is that there is no wait for a taxi or per person or per bag fees to pay, which certainly adds up for a larger group. You also have the flexibility to do some shopping on St. Thomas and bring things over with you. The car ferry is right next to the passenger ferry in Red Hook. It’s $30-35 per car depending on the company and is a very easy drive on and hangout process. Just make sure to arrive early enough to get a spot.
The drawback to this option is that right now there are only 2 car barges running and they can get quite busy. Make sure you have plenty of time if you choose to do this option as you may not be able to get on the barge you want and have to wait for the next one. This option should be avoided if you have a late flight into St. Thomas or an early flight out.
Ferries (both passenger and car ferries) run every hour from Red Hook in St. Thomas and take approximately 20-30.
Passenger Ferry: http://www.vinow.com/travel/virgin-islands-ferry-schedules/