If you ever find yourself in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and you need a private car do yourself a favor and call "Ms. Verna". I was fortunate to experience her warm personality while I was in St. Thomas for the day; she was our driver from Megans Bay back to the ship.
She is a local, knows the island very well, and very friendly.
Many people come to St. Thomas by boat. Most of them come by cruise ship . Boats are Big in the VI.
If you are NOT there on a cruise ship, you might want to make a note of how many cruise ships will be in (using the website below) on each day you are there so that you can go into town on a day with less ships in port. Some days there are more than 6 ships in port (in which case some of them will be anchored).
During our cruise of the Caribbean, we were lucky enough to go to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.
We were on the Carnival Victory, which was a really nice cruise ship. We enjoyed the company of several other cruisers from CruiseCritic.com and enjoyed St. Thomas, although most of our time on the islands was actually spent in St. John.
Country Buses travel between town and Red Hook every hour. They start running at 5.30am from town and end at 8.30pm from Red Hook. There are buses that travel past the airport toward Bordeaux. City buses travel between the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital bus stop to town starting at 6.15am until 10.15pm. The first bus from the Airport to town is at 6am and the last is 9.30pm. Country Bus Fare $1 and City Bus $.75. The public bus system is not very reliable so is not recommended for persons on a tight or limited time schedule.
Taxi service is abundant on St. Thomas. Taxis are readily available at the airport, cruise ship dock, large resorts and from popular attractions and beaches. Taxis charge per person and by destination. There are no metered taxis. This is how we got around the island.
There are a few shops that rent scooters, most are located across the street from the main cruise ship dock in Havensight. Motorcycle rentals are not popular but a few of the scooter rental shops do have them. Bicycles are available more for sport than transportation and using them to get around the island would really only be feasible for a serious athlete, due to the steepness of many island roads
Renting a car will allow you to see the island at your own pace. Rental Agencies are located at the airport, walking distance from the main cruise ship dock and at large resorts. There are several agencies to choose from. Renting a car is highly recommended if you plan to spend several days on the island. Having your own transportation will make sightseeing, beach hopping, dining, shopping much more convenient
Cabs abound on St. Thomas and on St. John. They are not your usual-looking taxies but are usually either vans or open-air covered trucks. The open-air covered cabs are an adventure, especially the ones with no seatbelts; you just hold on and enjoy the ride uphill and down. The views are great out of these and if you have a nice enough driver he or she will stop for you to take pictures at scenic points. Look for the Virgin Islands Taxi Association's licensed taxi vans with the labeled license plates and the numbers on the roof. They charge a standard rate dependant on which part of the island you are going so you cannot get ripped off. I do not suggest renting a car on St. Thomas because the streets are congested and narrow plus people from the mainland just can't seem to get the whole driving on the left thing. Driving on St. John is a different story and it's worth renting a jeep for a day trip because the island is significantly less populated and you really only have to watch out for other tourists on the road and wild donkeys crossing. If you don't feel like driving, though, there are plenty of cabs there too.
Inter-island transport consists primarily of ferryboats, but you can charter private boats and seaplanes at a much greater expense. The passenger ferry from Red Hook, St. Thomas to Cruz Bay, St. John is only $6 round trip so there's not much to complain about there. You can take cars on the one ferry but most car rental places won't let you take the cars off island. You can also catch a ferry from Red Hook to the British Virgin Islands Tortola, Jost Van Dyke or Virgin Gorda. We didn't get a chance to do this but will when we go back this summer.
There is so much taxis on the Island that you will never wait more than 5 seconds... The rates are fixed and it is cheaper that renting a car. But careful, some taxi driver charges more than the fixed fees. Take the insland tourist magazine; they include the rates for most of the points you would go to.
Another option is the Bus, that is not really a bus, but a Safari type of truck. It cost $1 and it goes around the island. The only problem is that the bus goes one way, so depending on where you want to go, it may take a big tour in the island until you get there.
Taxi is another option you have, howver I have to warn you that this is very expensive!! They charge per person and not per ride and also they charge for the luggage: small $2, medium $3, large $4.
From Red Hook to Sapphire, a two minute ride would cost us $3 per person, plus tip. We decided to go walking, since it was only 10 min walking...
If you are staying for a while there, I would recommend to rent a car.
At first, we rented at Budget. The service and price is as any Budget in US. The car was old, but driveable. While there, we found a cheaper rental: Discount Rental Car.
The cheap is not always the best. The car did not have power steering, had mechanical problems, the spare tire was flat (we found this out when we had a flat...)
St. Thomas is frequently a port-of-call for cruises...it is a fantastic port!
I particularly like the Celebrity cruiseline. They have a much deserved reputation for fine dining, marvelous service, excellent entertainment...an all-around great cruise line. We've taken 3 cruises and will definitely return again to Calebrity!
Beyond a doubt the best transport for a cruiseship passssenger is a taxi. Every place we went we found cabs readily available to custom-made tours of the islands, usually for less than the single-passenger charge for shore excursions. Avoid the crowded busses of shipmates - grab your own cab!
Most people know that you drive on the left in St. Thomas. It takes some getting used to, especially at corners. However if you want to drive somewhere and ask for directions, expect some strange responses. My wife was at a hardware store and was told that East End might have what we were looking for. Assumption: East End Hardware. Directions were to turn left at the two speed bumps by the Catholic church. It was a lumberyard and she managed to find it. When she got home and told me, the scary part was that I actually understood the directions withour further explanation. So be prepared to ask for more specifics. She also got two blocks from the bridge for another store. We never did find that one. There aren't any rivers or creeks so there are no car bridges, just one pedestrian bridge.
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