Direct with Owner St John Vacation Rentals

Book Direct St John vacation rentals

Before you browse and book on one of the big online travel and vacation rental web sites – take a close look at the rates and fees! The “service fees”, aka booking fees, will surprise you!

A once free service has morphed into a wallet busting booking fee on most of the large travel sites!

Years ago guests could jump onto VRBO … the web site that literally created the online vacation rental by owner industry! A guest could browse available places to rent. The site had a large inventory and each listing displayed a gallery of photos, description of the property, a map/location and rates. BRILLIANT! Users flocked to the web site – found the perfect vacation rental – and connected direct with the owner to complete the reservation/booking. The property owner paid VRBO a subscription fee … later adding a percent of each booking to increase revenue. But the guest … well, the guest never paid a dime. That was until a myriad of other vacation rental sites popped up. HomeAway, Flipkey, Tripadvisor, were followed by an even larger number of aggregators ( sites that pull listings from a number of sources, combine them to create a huge inventory). The Age of Priceline, Trivago,, Tripping, and dozens and dozens of other web sites!

The result of all of this sharing and swapping and competing created higher and higher fees; and rates were different on each site. So along came the aggregators with a new spin – “Lowest Rates” comparisons. All of this might seem like it benefits the consumer .. the traveller. But it doesn’t …!!!

As each vacation  rental site spent more and more money to compete against rivals … and as the largest sites began buying smaller sites for astronomical amounts of money … investors began to expect large returns and double-digit growth. So the platforms began inching up the owner fees. Adding charges for leads/inquiries. And when that well ran dry – they turned their attention to … you guessed it … the guest!

A once free service has morphed into a wallet busting booking fee on most of the large travel sites! The major players in the industry now charge “service fees” built into your online booking. VRBO caps their “service Fee” at $599 per booking. AirBnB charges a percentage – avg 12%-14% of each booking. These fees can add hundreds and hundreds … in some cases thousands of dollars to the cost of your vacation rental. So, what can you do?

Luckily, the island of St John has a fantastic Book Direct vacation rental web site. The site has more listings than AirBnB; and nearly as many as VRBO. But the best part is each listing is direct with the owner or manager – so you avoid the nasty booking fees! If you’re planning your first visit or you’re return trip to St John – check out .

St John Villa Rentals

St John US Virgin Islands vacation rentals guide

St John island is one of the HOTTEST DESTINATIONS in the Caribbean. This tiny island is almost 2/3rds National Park. With stunning beaches and protected forests, reefs and historic plantation ruins; it’s no wonder why St John is on just about every Top 10 Destinations List.

VRBO/HomeAway/AirBnB charge a 4% > 16% Booking Fee! That can add between $200 and $900 to your rental!

Unlike other Caribbean travel destinations, St John island has just two resorts [ Caneel Bay Resort and The Weston St John ]; and neither is an all inclusive resort. Luckily St John has over 800 vacation rentals. They range in size from a 1 bedroom Caribbean cottage to 8, 9, and 10 bedroom luxury villas. Prices span from a few hundred dollars to over $7,500 dollars per night! So it should come as no surprise that the job of choosing a St John rental villa can be daunting. On top of that, the mega-rental sites often obscure communication with villa owners and managers, charge guest “service fees”, and ballooning booking fees are passed along to guests!

St John villa rentals logo

Well, the St John island rental community seems to have had enough of the bullying, guest service fees and pay-to-play inequities of those large online rental sites. In response they’ve developed . The site officially launched on September 14. We suspect it will take a few months for the number of villa listings to grow. In the mean time … have a look. We think they’ve come up with an easy to use site, attractive listing pages and according to their site they offer the following advantages over the mega-rental sites:

Check out their new web site. We think you’ll agree it’s easy to use and delivers accurate results vs the featured/promotion laced search results too often found on other vacation rental sites!


St John Villa Rentals web site homepage

Daniel and the Jumbies

Daniel and the Jumbies book by Jules

A fun story for children of all ages …

Daniel and the Jumbies book by JulesDaniel and the Jumbies is a fictional middle grade chapter book that playfully uncovers some of the mysteries of historical folklore of the Caribbean. This story takes readers of all ages on an adventure with a boy named Daniel who was uprooted from his home in Connecticut to a new and unfamiliar place called St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. As Daniel makes big adjustments, he takes us all on a journey like no other, to a small, unique and exciting island in the Caribbean and into the minds and hearts of the fine locals who reside there. And on the way, he just might encounter a Jumbie, a special spirit who lives among the beauty of the islands and enriches the lives of those who are lucky enough to visit, even in our imaginations…

“I decided to write Daniel and the Jumbies in order to share the unique beauty and magic of the island of St. John and it’s special people with kids of all ages. Also wanted to demonstrate how folklore legends like Jumbies can be seen as good or bad depending on one’s perspective, and do so while trying to capture the magic that is St. John.”

Jules has been involved with teaching and working on educational materials used in the classroom for most of her adult life. Her passion for the beautiful, magical island of St. John in the United States Virgin Islands allowed the story of a boy’s unique adventures to unfold in her middle grade chapter book, Daniel and the Jumbies. Although Jules continues to be involved with trying to enrich the lives of young people everywhere, she still enjoys editing material from teens and adults as well, while pursuing her dreams of writing across multiple platforms.

Jules lives in sunny Florida with her dear husband and beloved son, and they enjoy sailing together on Tampa Bay. She is grateful every day for her devoted readers, and proudly serves on the Editorial Board of the IPPA Network, hoping to make a positive difference in the way we all view the world (

Jules is the owner of Palm Tree Literary Services (, and helps her teenage son Dylan with his venture to share some relaxation tools with his business Palm Tree Hammocks (

Jules welcomes your feedback and questions and can be reached at the following email address:


Daniel and the Jumbies can be purchased on or please visit:

St John Update post hurricane

In September of 2017 a pair of CAT5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, swept through the Caribbean leaving a path of destruction. The US Virgin Islands sustained a near direct hit from hurricane Irma and Maria. What does St John look like now? Well, the island is well on it’s way to recovery. Power has been restored. Communications have been restored. Many businesses, shops, restaurants, bars, services, transportation and activities have reopened. So, let’s take a quick photo trip around St John to Trunk Bay, Peter Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Cruz Bay.


Bikinis on the Beach Bar & Grill

Bikinis on teh Beach bar & grill, Honeymoon Beach, St John USVI

St John’s newest bar is a beach bar! Located on Honeymoon Beach, St John, Bikinis on the Beach Bar & Grill sits along the soft white sand beach of one of St John’s most beautiful beaches.


Visitors will enjoy cold island drinks, including the soon-to-be-famous Irmaria drink! You can also try some of St John Brewers micro brews … like Island Hoppin IPA, Pale Tourist, Tropical Mango Pale Ale, Liquid Sunshine or their home-made Ginger Beer, Root Beer and energy drink, Green Flash.

MENUHoneymoon Beach Bar St John US Virgin Islands

Their menu consists of beach favorites like burgers, fish tacos, chicken quesadillas, Caribbean Lobster Roll, rollups, hummus, chips and cold pasta salads. Simple. Tasty.

Enjoy beach-side seating.


There are three ways to get to Honeymoon Beach.

1) Hike the approx. 1.0 mile Lind Point Trail  which starts behind the Virgin Islands National Park’s Cruz Bay Visitors Center. This narrow trail takes you around Lind Point to Salomon and Honeymoon Beach. The hike isn’t among St john’s more challenging trails … but, there are some hilly sections and it is advised that you bring water and wear appropriate shoes. It’s not really a flip flop hike.

2) Take Virgin Islands Ecotours zodiak from Cruz Bay to Honeymoon Beach ( … and back).

3) Arrive by boat. There are many charters that can and do include Honeymoon Beach as a stop for snorkeling.


Looking for a beachie setting for a large gathering? Honeymoon Beach is a great spot! Bikinis on the Beach will be handling catered beach parties and events from 20 people to 100 people. Give them a call for details and to make arrangements.


Plans are … for live music. Stay tuned ; )


Virgin Islands Ecotours Honeymoon Beach Hut has been running a popular All Day Pass for a couple of years. It’s our PICK for best deal on St John. You get a chair, snorkel gear, access to a kayak, SUP paddle board, float and locker for just $49/pp ( accurate at time of publishing this post). You can also rent individual items.


Virgin Islands Ecotours offers several kayak, hike and snorkel adventures that begin, depending on the tour, in either Cruz Bay or Honeymoon Beach. Our favorite is the kayak tour to arguably St John’s best snorkeling … at Henley Cay.

Waterlemon Cay Paddle boarding

SUP Waterlemon Cay St John US Virgin Islands National Park

There’s perhaps no more adventurous way to discover a tropical beach or hidden cove than from the water. I suppose it taps into the “Columbus” in all of us. First foot steps on a coconut palm lined sandy beach. The blues and aquas above and below your paddle board. It’s a truly unique experience. And so, after countless hikes out to Waterlemon Cay, I decided to do something different. I decided to paddleboard to Waterlemon Cay!

I called my friend Lucy, an avid paddleboarder and owner of SUP-St John to see if she wanted to join me. She said she hadn’t been out to Leinster Bay in a while – and  agreed to come along. So we arranged a day; and met up in Cruz Bay. I loaded her SUP onto my Jeep. We took North Shore Road. It’s the most direct route and it passes along most of St John’s famous beaches like Caneel Bay, Trunk Bay, Hawksnest Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay. Along the way we chatted about island life – and 20 minutes later we arrived.

Quicksilver Dry Bag back packWe pulled into the lower parking area of Annaberg Plantation; along the edge of Leinster Bay, St John. This is the start of the Leinster Bay Trail out to Waterlemon Cay. It was late morning. Visitors were already unpacking snorkeling gear from rental Jeeps. It was the kind of day where the clouds are a crisp white. The ocean is a stunning cobalt blue. And the aquas of the shallow water shimmer with streaks of sunlight. A perfect day to be on the water. I pulled down a shiny new 11′ SUP ATX Adventure Premium board. And Lucy pulled down her 12′ Fanatic Falcon Air. The SUP ATX boards are perfect for getting started on SUP. They’re stable, wide and the deck pad covers the full length! For those with more experience … the Fanatic Falcon Air is a great choice.

We brought the boards down to the water’s edge; and gathered up our dry bags. I carry a Quicksilver backpack/dry bag. It’s super comfortable for hiking. And it’s small enough to bring on a paddle boarding adventure. I’ve owned it for several years; and trust it with my Nikon DSLR/iPhone/GoPro/etc. I’ve used it for flotation –  never had it leak! Great for those 10 minute downpours that pop up in the tropics! And the mesh pockets on the sides are perfect for 2 frozen bottles of water.

An uneventful launch – and we’re making our way over the crystal clear waters of Leinster Bay.

Waterlemon Cay 360° Paddleboard Guide


We ran parallel with the Lameshur Bay Trail that runs along the shoreline. We stayed about 60 to 100 yrds out – in about 15′ of water. To the east you can see Waterlemon Cay approximately 3/4 of a mile away. As we traversed Leinster Bay, Lucy gave me some pointers. Proper position of your hands and paddle. Proper posture for balance and strength. If you’ve thought about SUP paddle boarding but were hesitant … don’t be … A little instruction and you’ll be up and paddling in no time!

Once we rounded the point I could see The Windy Hill Ruins sitting on a hilltop over Waterlemon Cay.

Conditions were perfect. A light steady breeze coming from the east. No significant waves. And not much marine traffic. As we came to the point that divides Leinster Bay from Waterlemon Bay – I looked back over my shoulder. From here I could just make out the windmill and rambling ruins of Annaberg Plantation. This is a big part of what being on the water is all about. It’s a unique vantage point. Just you surrounded  by water with an unobstructed view of the islands! Once we rounded the point I could see The Windy Hill Ruins sitting on a hilltop over Waterlemon Cay.

We chose to follow the shoreline into Waterlemon Bay. It added about 1/2 mi to the trip. But I would suggest it to anyone making this same trek. It allows you to stop at the little sandy beach – where the Leinster Bay Trail turns into the Johnny Horn Trail. Behind the beach you’ll find some narrow donkey trails that lead to an amazing set of early ruins. You can also head up the trail ( bear right at the split ) and visit The Old Danish Guardhouse Ruins and The Windy Hill ruins.

After a short stop for some hydration and a quick bite – we headed for Waterlemon Cay. A short paddle and we put up on the sandy coral cobble “tail” that runs from the southern end of the Cay. I’ve snorkeled here dozens and dozens of times. But I wasn’t about to let this trip pass without snorkeling. We spent about 30 minutes rounding the far side of the Cay. The sometimes dangerous currents that surround Waterlemon – were still.

Snorkel gear stowed away – we began the trek back to the parking area. This time we made a b-line from the Cay to our launch point. The wind from the east – put the wind at our backs for the return. That shortened the time and effort required to make the approximately 3/4 mi return trip.

Back at the parking area – Lucy and I loaded the boards; and began the drive back to Cruz Bay. We both agreed, it really was a great day! A day that I would recommend to everybody looking for a St John adventure!

Thanks again to Lucy for the  paddle boarding tips [ one of these days I’ll get some paddle boarding lessons ] and a fantastic St John day on the water.

St John Hurricane Irma Disaster Fund

St John USVI irma relief funds donations

In the days ahead, St John will need your support to rebuild and repair. Please consider a donation to support this effort. Below are two established 501(c) non-profits which will make sure that the dollars donated are spent wisely.

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:


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.


We currently have 45+ all volunteer members. There are no paid positions in our organization. These dedicated local members donate valuable expertise and time to the community of St. John.

Like any small community, the many needs of St. John go beyond the capabilities of its government infrastructure. We are chartered to provide: emergency rescue and medical support services to St. John EMS, Police, Fire, National Park Service, VITEMA and DPNR. We also assist DHS, United States Coast Guard and FEMA.

St John Rescue members have specialized skills that are critical. Some of the many services we provide include but are not limited to vehicle and structure stabilization, extrication, triage, Jaws of Life, portable AED, oxygen kits and island wide communication systems. At a minimum, all responding members are Certified Emergency Medical First Responders.

Winston Churchill once famously said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

St. John Rescue, Inc. Homepage

P.O. Box 1225
St. John, VI 00831

Honeymoon Beach All Day Pass

Honeymoon Beach St John all day pass promo codes

One of our top must-do’s on St John is a day at Honeymoon Beach enjoying their All Day Pass. Not only is it arguably the best deal on St John; it’s a great way to relax, enjoy the beach and water and dabble in some water sports activities.

How to redeem your SAVE 10% promo code.

Simply enter the promo code, Island, to save 10% when you book your pass(es) online.
Valid throughout the year!
Book asap – as the offer is subject to availability – and they do run out of passes!

Click here to visit the reservations page:
Book Honeymoon Beach All Day Pass Online Now!

If you are traveling to St John, or St Thomas ( with a day trip to St John), between now and November 15, 2017 you can enjoy saving up to 50% on the Honeymoon Beach All Day Pass! Already the best deal on St John … 1/2 price makes this even sweeter! Now you can enjoy a day at Honeymoon with access to SUP/paddle board, kayak, snorkel gear, chair, float and locker for 1/2 OFF their reg. $49/pp rate. 2 people … all this gear … all day …for under $50! Seriously, you’d be crazy not to sign up.

How to redeem your SAVE 20% promo code.

Simply enter the promo code, SAVE20, to save 20% when you book your pass(es) online.
Date(s) must be between May 15, 2017 and December 15, 2017.
Book asap – as the offer is subject to availability – and they do run out of passes!

How to redeem your SAVE 50% promo code.

Simply enter the promo code, SAVE50, to save 50% when you book your pass(es) online.
Date(s) must be between August 15, 2017 and November 15, 2017.
Book asap – as the offer is subject to availability – and they do run out of passes!

Click here to visit the reservations page:
Book Honeymoon Beach All Day Pass Online Now!

So, where is Honeymoon Beach?
Honeymoon Beach is part of the Caneel Bay Resort – and is inside the VI National Park boundaries. Visitors can access Honeymoon Beach via the Lind Point Trail that starts behind the VINP Visitors Center in Cruz Bay. Or take a taxi to Caneel Bay Resort and make the .5 mi walk to Honeymoon Beach. Renting a car on St John? You can also access Caneel Bay Resorts parking – and make the .5 mi walk to Honeymoon. Parking is “free” if you spend $20 at a Caneel concession – and bring your receipt to the gatehouse.


St Thomas Airport Transportation to St John

St Thomas airport to Red Hook ferry St John

OK, so you’ve decided on a vacation to St John, US Virgin Islands. Everybody’s talking about the beaches and hiking and beautiful villas. Even your neighbors have been to St John … and now go back every year. And why not, it’s a truly stunning vacation destinations that doesn’t require a passport for US citizens!

Next step, where is St John and how the hell do I get there?Vies Beach Hansen Bay St. John US Virgin Islands

St John is a tiny island, just 9 miles long. And most of the island is protected within the US Virgin Islands National Park. No place for an airport and no flat ground even if there was a place! No airport?! That’s right, St John does not have an airport. Luckily it’s located just a few short miles from St Thomas; and is connected to the other US and British Virgin Islands by a convenient inter-island ferry network.

So how do I get from Cyril E King Airport (STT) to St John?

Most guests arrive on St Thomas – landing at Cyril E. King airport on St Thomas. From there you’ll grab a taxi to the Red Hook, St Thomas ferry. The ferry takes approximately 20 minutes to cross over to Cruz Bay, St John.

You’ll be assigned a taxi, along with 6 to 8 other travelers! All waiting for the a/c to come on!

As you can see there’s a fair bit of travel left – even after you land in STT. Well, until recently you would wait in a group outside the baggage claim area. From there you’d be assigned a taxi, along with 6 to 8 other travelers. Shoulder to shoulder – waiting for the a/c to come on. Bags loaded, you head off to Red Hook. along the way you may stop at area hotels to drop of St Thomas guests. And that’s where it begins to be a hassle. Well, you don’t have to travel like this!

Private St Thomas > St John Airport Transportation

You can now reserve private airport transportation! How much does it cost? You’d be surprised, it’s only a few dollars per person more than the cattle-car taxi options! Here’s what makes it The way to travel …

Our service allows you 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!

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


  • 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



  • 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



  • Gratuities not included


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.

USVI Full Day Sail – Snorkeling – Caribbean Lobster – Premium Open Bar

St Thomas and St John full day sailing charter, snorkeling, Caribbean lobster and premiu open bar

The best vacations are the ones where you take home fond memories that last well beyond your visit.

How about a full day of discovering St John from the sea?

There’s nothing like a day on the water! Blue skies over head. Blue and aqua water below. The sounds of the sails. And the soothing rocking of a sail boat. Sweeten the day with ample chances to snorkel beautiful reefs, enjoy a “low country” shrimp boil with Caribbean Lobster, sip premium adult beverages and end the day with a Virgin Island’s sunset bathing you in orange and yellow splendor! Sound good? Sounds GREAT, right!

Full day charter St Thomas St John USVI

Set sail from Cruz Bay aboard a 37′ sailboat for a full day on the water.

Your experienced captain will guide you to some amazing coves, bays and beaches; and off the beaten path snorkeling spots. You’ll discover St John’s stunning white sand beaches and coconut palm-lined coastline; much as the earliest visitors discovered these shores. Stops on your journey provide an opportunity to swim with sea turtles, rays, conch and a myriad of tropical fish.

Snorkeling + Lobster + Premium Open Bar + Sunset

All this sun and fun will make you pretty thirsty.

No worries, while onboard you’ll enjoy a premium bar including local Cruzan Rums, Stolichnaya Vodka, Beefeater Gin, Jameson and Crown Royal Whiskies, Glenlivet Scotch, Milagro Tequila, Compari and more! Those of you looking for the perfect island libation should try the boat’s signature drink, “Pedro’s Pirate Punch”. Sweet fresh passionfruit mixed with mango, coconut and aged Cruzan Rum with just a touch of nutmeg.

All this sun and fun will make you pretty hungry!

Your chef will prepare a traditional Beaufort Stew ( aka, low country shrimp boil ) based on “Momma’s Recipe” with a nod to the islands and local Caribbean Lobster! A wonderful “hands dirty – bellies full” feast you’re sure to enjoy!


Trip Details:

Duration: 6 hours. Departs at 1pm. Return at 7pm.
Max Passengers: 6 people
Departs: Cruz Bay, St John on the beach in front of High Tide Restaurant

Private Full Day Sail with Sunset – Caribbean Lobster and Premium Open Bar includes:

•    Enjoy an all-inclusive day of sailing in the crisp Caribbean waters
•    End your cruise with a spectacular sunset
•    Travel in style on our 37-foot sailboat
•    Swim and frolic in different coves and bays in the USVI
•    Experience some of the best snorkeling in the world in the clear, blue water
•    Take in breathtaking views of rays, sea turtles, colorful fish, and the reef
•    Visit each cove and bay for a different ocean life experience
•    Relax, listen to music, and get to know our first mate, Pedro the Boat Dog
•    Sip refreshing drinks, cocktails, beer, and our signature “Pedro’s Pirate Punch” drink
•    Traditional homemade dinner on board with Caribbean lobster and a South Carolina-style “lowcountry” shrimp boil
•    Sunbathe either on deck or on one of the many white sand beaches
•    Enjoy over 15 years of experience from our friendly captains
•    Perfect for families, groups, or those with children



What if …?

We understand … things can happen! If you need to cancel for any reason, we’ll give you a full refund on most tours as long as you cancel at least 24 to 48 hours in advance. Check the bottom of each tour or activity description for cancellation terms. We want you to enjoy the best of our beautiful islands!

St John Island

Getting to know St John island is half the fun. Discover the best St John resorts, top St John snorkeling beaches, beach bars and restaurants and more!. Our pages are the #1 Virgin Islands resource for visitors - providing maps, guides, bar and restaurant reviews, St John villa rentals and news announcements.


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