We are often asked, What should we bring to St John? What do you recommend for families? Groups of adults?
Here are a few thoughts:
If someone whines at home, you can count on them whining in St. John. The beauty and tranquility you see will get droned out by the insistent annoyance of whiners.
Villa Tesori offers plenty of room. Private balconies off of each of the 4 main suites. Read a book, or enjoy a glass of wine with that special someone. Brian and I enjoy our mornings alone on our balcony. Drinking coffee and catching up with each other and the world. If you discover a whiner in your group....hide on the private decks...Throwing them off the deck might destroy the solar panels.
While the master bedroom deck is amazing, we only spend time there when it is the 2 of us in the house. We would suggest drawing straws or rolling dice to see who gets what room. The apartment is amazing with a king and full kitchen. Secluded for privacy or for the younger crowds that want to get away.
One vehicle for two couples is ok, preferably one vehicle per couple. Not everyone is going to want to do the same thing. You are on vacation, St John has a great deal to offer. Dining and snorkeling with the same people all week can strain friendships at times.
I hate to use the word plan, but plan a beach day. Make sure everyone knows where to go and what time to leave. St John offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We provide chairs, towels, snorkel gear and coolers. No glass is permitted on the beach. Go to the beach early or late, the masses usually get there at 10 and are gone by 3. Check the cruise ship schedule, Trunk can look like the Jersey shore when multiple cruise ships drop their tourists off.
When you do plan a beach day, make sure everyone knows when you are leaving to and from the beach. There is always one Pokey Puppy in every group which will force everyone to wait for them. State a "wheels up" time to leave for the beach. If they want to sleep in, they can catch up. The same for return trips....perhaps you got lucky and have a Manta or Eagle Ray in the water and some of the group want to stay longer. Having an extra vehicle at the beach will let others get on about their day.
If you like to snorkel, bring an underwater camera. Or, rent one from St John Beach Bum. It is located next to the ferry dock in Cruz Bay. We love to review our pictures when stuck in Pennsylvania. A picture of turtles or blue tang (Dori can be found at Ditleff) makes a boring day in Pennsylvania better...
Dine in a few nights. Villa Tesori has incredible sunsets most of the year. Brian and I love to watch the sunset, cook on the grill then go into town. We also enjoy just sitting in the rotunda watching the cruise ships slip by, drinking and listening to the Coqui's. Cruise ships at night look like floating christmas trees. There are apps that will tell you the name of the ship, where it is going and where it has been. It is fun to think about all the people on those ships with 3000 of their closest friends while enjoying a quite evening in. We use Shiptracker.
Break out the binoculars or telescope at night. Amazing views of the sky are available from VT.
Have a Villa Gravity day......allow Villa Tesori to keep you all day. Plan ahead, Start the blender early and enjoy what the home has to offer. Put on sunscreen early and often. There is plenty of shaded area at the gazebo or the rotunda to stay safe. Get creative with the margarita machine. The gazebo ice maker should keep up, but if not St John market is a few minutes away.
If you want to go out to eat make reservations ahead of time. This is especially important during high season. Zozo's, Asolare and others get packed. Call ahead for reservations. WEEKS in advance. Find out what time sunset is and bring your camera.
Charter a boat or go out on one of the group tours. It is a short trip to the BVI's. Go to the Soggy Dollar, Jump from the Willy T. Shop at Pussers Landing. Visit Foxy's and listen to him rhyme a song about where you are from. To get the captain you want, it might be necessary to make reservations many months in advance.
Take a day and visit Coral Bay. Get a burger at Skinny Legs. Take a Sloop Jones workshop and create your own shirt. Go to salt pond and look at all the visitor created sculptures.
Ladies, we are sorry, but your hair will get frizzy. St John is a tropical island with high humidity. We do provide hair dryers. Bring conditioner and a smile, everyone's hair will be frizzy. St. John is also a makeup optional...you will sweat, Raccoons are not native to the Virgin Islands. Don't worry, everyone else will sweat as well!
If you go into town at dusk or later, you might want to wear long pants. Villa Tesori is 700 feet up and has nice breezes. Cruz bay and Coral Bay are not as breezy. There is a higher chance of noseeums in town. Long pants can help prevent bites. Remember to put on bug spray when going into town for the evening.
Seat belts. There is no open container law on St. John (we recommend against drinking and driving), but seat belts are mandatory. If you don't want to be pulled over by the local constabulary, wear your seat belt. It is also against the law to talk on a cell phone and drive on St John. Wait until you get to town or the villa to return that call!
Drink right, drive left. Every trip down we are nearly hit by some tourist not paying attention to the road. Yes, it is the most beautiful place on earth, but you want to get home in one piece.
The locals are comfortable on our windy roads. If they are on your tail, pull over and let them pass. Some of our local drivers could challenge Mario...
Road obstacles...We have some unusual traffic on our little rock. Sheep, Goats, Donkeys and the occasional wild boar will get in your way. Just take out your camera and click away.....the rest of us do as well. Pull over first!
Construction traffic. Occasionally you might get stuck behind a truck. Give them a safe distance. Brakes fail. Do not tailgate, especially trucks going up hill!
If you are out and about remember to reapply sun screen. Sun burns are no fun. You might also want to consider investing in rash guard shirts. I burn next to a light bulb, so an extra level of protection is self preservation for me.
Gatorade type water drops. You can buy these at nearly every grocery store (we get ours in bulk from amazon). Put a couple drops in your water bottle and instant gatorade. The sun is really draining if you are out playing. Much cheaper alternative than buying the pre made sports drinks on island. They cost about 6 dollars via amazon prime.
If the power is out on island, relax. Villa Tesori has a generator. Bring the party back to VT, or sit at a local bar and enjoy the view!
Wifi....we have 2 separate wifi services plus are able to get data via ATT. Data rates range from 512k to 14mb, subject to Jumbies and weather conditions.
Food products are more expensive on St. John. It is an island, everything must be imported. We generally bring down frozen meat, fresh veggies (tomatoes, carrots, peppers) and cheese. Brian loves cheese, and quality cheese might as well be priced in bitcoin!
We use small coolers that are effective as carry on items. Ensure the meat is frozen and pack everything around that. Also make sure that the cooler is full, otherwise items warm up too quickly.
Food and Drink budget. You can work this out as you wish, but it has been known to cause problems. One person or couple does not pay for their fair share. Figure this out ahead if possible. It can help prevent unhappy friends and family.
As a request, bring down pet treats, supplies. If you have time drop them off at the St. John Animal Care Center, or leave them on them Island in the kitchen as you leave. We will have the items dropped off for you. Thanks for your support!
As we own a lot on Ditleff Point, explore this special place. There is a key card on one of the set of house keys. If you want to have a secluded unique snorkel, Ditleff is amazing. It is a rocky beach with private access. 5 minute ride from VT. There is rarely anyone on the beach. Walk to the end of the point, it is worth the hike!
Go out for a night and listen to some wonderful music. There are many musicians on island and schedules of who is playing where are available via the venues. Also, Sunday night open mike night at Sun Dog Cafe is wonderful! Local talent and Tourists get up and perform.
If anyone has ideas to add, just email, respond in comment or messenger. We will be happy to put up helpful ideas.
Enjoy your time in Paradise.