To get to St. John, visitors fly into neighboring US Virgin Island, St. Thomas, then take a cab to catch a ferry from Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook. No need to rush or make reservations, there is usually a ferry every hour and a car barge every half hour.
Airport Code STT
St. John island does not have an airport, so to get there, you must fly into Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas. Airport code STT, the St. Thomas airport receives flights from down island, as well as San Juan (SJU) and direct flights from popular cities across the United States, including Miami (MIA), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Atlanta (ATL), Charlotte (CLT), Philadelphia (PHL), Newark (EWR), New York (JFK + LGA), Boston (BOS), Chicago (CHI) and more.
American Airlines, US Airways, Delta and United all fly to St. Thomas (STT). Local airlines that fly between the St. Thomas, St. Croix and San Juan, Puerto Rico include Cape Air and Seaborne Airlines. Smaller airlines (Air Sunshine) and charter planes cater to inter-island travelers.
Taxis from the St. Thomas airport are big, air-conditioned vans. When you exit the terminal and get your bags, the taxi dispatcher will direct you to the van going in your direction. The van typically will not leave until it is full, so if you pride yourself on packing lightly and being the first to the taxi, take a breather and grab a cool beverage from the airport bar while you wait for fellow travelers to grab their luggage from the carousel.
While taxi rates are subject to change, expect to pay about $10/pp for you and your bag to get to Charlotte Amalie and $20/pp for you and your bag to get to Red Hook. Cab drivers do not accept checks or credit cards, so be prepared to pay in cash. The good ‘ol American dollar is the official (and preferred) currency of the US Virgin Islands.
Most visitors to St. John will be looking to catch the people ferry out of Red Hook, St. Thomas, which leaves every hour on the hour from 6am to midnight. Red Hook ferry terminal is a 30-minute drive from the airport, which can double in heavy traffic. Schedule permitting, visitors may also catch a ride on the downtown people ferry that leaves out of Charlotte Amalie, only a 5-minute ride from the airport.
If you rent a car at the Cyril E. King airport on St. Thomas, you’ll drive yourself to Red Hook to catch the barge. Remember to KEEP LEFT! Take Veteran’s Drive East away from the airport (i.e., turn right at the first light) and follow the orange “Tommy Starfish” signs for the Red Hook Ferry.
Remember the last car barge leaves St. Thomas at 7pm and the last people ferry leaves at midnight. If you have a late afternoon or evening flight and plan to rent a car on St. Thomas, you will not be able to get to St. John until morning. (Yet another argument for waiting to rent your car until you get to St. John.)
You do not need a reservation to travel to St. John from St. Thomas on the ferries or the barges, however, this is the islands, so schedules are subject to change – especially the barges. If your timing is tight, definitely call ahead to get the latest scoop on what’s running and when. Inclement weather, Coast Guard inspections, and breakdowns do arise and can send your schedule into a tailspin. Read more about Ferry Schedules and what to expect.
Barges and ferries to St. John all arrive in Cruz Bay, the “big city” of St. John. Big is relative, but you’ll find three dozen bars and restaurants, retail shops (duty free!), rental car agencies, island tour info, taxi cabs, and more.
One thing to remember is that here people drive on the left side of the road. You may wonder if it is better to rent a vehicle in St. Thomas or St. John. Get the opinion of a local. There are several car rental companies to choose from.