Helpful Tips For Your St. John Vacation.
Knowing the details ahead of time about how you will make the transition from the St. Thomas Airport to your St. John car rental agency, how much it will cost and how long it will take is one proven way of ensuring a relaxed trip for a first time St. John visitor. Hopefully some of the other information below will help also... Yes we do have banks and ATMs, we use the American dollar but drive on the left in American vehicles, we are relaxed in our attire but ask you wear swimsuit cover-ups when not on the beach. And we look forward to meeting you. St. Jonians are a friendly group of people, if you need a question ask, you will get an answer and a smile.
Please bring sunscreens with ONLY:
NON-NANO Zinc or Titanium Dioxide.
Geography, Language & Population
Geography: 18.3° N 64.8° W; 19 square-miles (two-thirds US National Park)
Language: English; Population: approx. 4500
November through February are the coolest months to visit. The weather holds to a temperate 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with constant refreshing sea breezes. September to October will often bring a more intense heat, averaging more in the mid to high 80's but the subtropical breezes remain a constant. Usually there is more rainfall July through January, while spring and early summer can be quite dry. On any given day, however, brief rain showers are not uncommon.
Hurricane season extends from June through November. The park provides ongoing information for visitors including where to go in the event of a serious storm.
Light cotton clothes are recommended. Long lightweight pants will help to protect you against insect bites. Sleeves or a light wrap may be desirable in the early morning or evening during the cooler season. St. John is a relaxed island and it is rare that formal attire is requested.
St. John works on Atlantic Standard Time zone, GMT+4 except that daylight-saving time is not observed. The days do get shorter in the winter months but only by an hour or two. During the summer months it is light from around 6 AM until 7:30 PM approximately.
With the exception of Cruz Bay and the Resorts water is collected from rain and stored in individual cisterns.Conserve it whenever possible when the cistern runs dry water must be transported over from the water plants on St. Thomas. It is recommended that you drink bottled water.
This may seem like a silly subject to approach on a website like this. However, island etiquette is very important on St. John. The locals and residents of St. John appreciate being greeted before business is attended to, and do not appreciate seeing almost naked visitors in the streets on on the look-out areas of the roads.
Greet everyone with a " Hello, how are you?", “Good Morning” or "Good Evening”. Do this before you talk business. Pleasantries are important to the locals.
Be discreet and cover up your bathing suit when in town. Swimsuits are for the beach.
Pull over to let cars pass if you want to enjoy the scenery, they may be late for the ferry. Island time is a good time, it is also a slow time. Relax and enjoy your visit.
Government, Duty & Taxes
About the Government
St. John is a part of the US Virgin Islands which is an UN-incorporated US Territory with a locally elected governor and senate. The government is made up of three branches - the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. Fifteen senators are elected every two years. Government elections are every four years.
An elected representative is sent to Congress however the territory residents do not get to vote in the presidential elections. Virgin Islanders do pay federal income taxes but the collected monies stay in their local treasury.
The territory of the Virgin Islands is administrated by the Department of the Interior.
Citizenship: American • Government of the US Virgin Islands: US Virgin Islands Government - Official Site
US Citizens are highly recommended to bring along their passport when traveling to the US Virgin Islands. Although not officially required to show one on the flight down you will be required on your return trip to provide evidence of citizenship by showing a passport, driver's license, birth certificate or voters registration card along with a picture ID.
Non US citizens but permanent residents, need certificate of alien registration or green card on leaving territory. If you are planning to make a day trip to the British Virgin Islands definitely bring your passports. Citizens of other countries should carry whatever the US Travel regulations request. Where no visa is necessary have your passport and the green I-94. If a visa is required then bring the white I-94 and your passport.
US Immigration and Naturalization Service office: (340) 774-4279
Taxes:7.5 percent tax added to hotel rooms and a departure tax for the US Virgin Islands is added to airline ticket fares. There is no sales tax on the islands.
Customs & Duties
US visitors, including children, can take back or have mailed, $1,200 worth of duty free imports every 30 days which is double the 600 limitation placed on Caribbean basin countries and much more than the $400 that US residents are allowed when returning from most foreign countries. When your exemption is exceeded the first additional $1000 is dutiable at flat rate 5%, above that your purchases will be subject to various rates of duty. Family members traveling together may make a joint declaration.
US Visitors to St. John may mail undeclared gifts valued at up to $100 to family or friends at the rate of one mailing per day to the same address. Island made items are customs exempt. Obtain a certificate of origin if value exceeds $25. Also original paintings, unset precious gems and various other items.
Be sure to ask or call the Bureau of Customs (340) 774-2510
Exempt are up to: 5 cartons cigarettes, 100 cigars,
and 5 bottles of liquor, (an additional bottle is allowed
provided it is a product of the islands such as a Cruzan Rum)
Plants in soil cannot be transported, but some fruits can.
Dept. Agriculture: (340)776-2787.
Leaving the islands all baggage subject to inspection by U.S. customs.
The customs agent may require you to show a receipt for your purchases.
15 to 20% is good here as it is stateside although there are some hotels and restaurants that add a 10 to 15 percent service charge to the bill.