Is there an airport on St. John?
Nope. We don’t even have a stoplight. (Proudly.)
You will fly into St. Thomas first. From there, you will most likely take a people ferry or car barge to St. John.
Getting Between St. Thomas and St. John via Ferry
If your plan is to take a people ferry — either because you have rented a vehicle on St. John or because you are not renting one at all — you have two options. The easiest and most popular option is to take a taxi from the Airport to the Red Hook ferry terminal. But there is a ferry to St. John that leaves from downtown Charlotte Amalie too.
Getting a Taxi at the St. Thomas Airport
No matter which ferry you’re heading to, it is easy to get a taxi at the airport. Outside of the baggage claim area, taxi drivers are literally milling about waiting for you to ask them for a ride.
While it doesn’t seem organized, it is. Just tell the first taxi driver you see outside of baggage claim where you’re going and they’ll point you in the direction of the appropriate passenger van. (Read a little more about the St. Thomas passenger van experience here.)
If you’re not sure who the taxi drivers are, look for someone in the taxi area with a clipboard, or just someone who looks like they know what’s going on, and they’ll get you to where you need to be. We know it sounds a little haphazard, but you’ll get to the right taxi van. Trust us on this.
Red Hook to Cruz Bay Ferry
The most consistent and frequent option is to take the hourly ferry from Red Hook to Cruz Bay. Red Hook is the name of a little area or neighborhood (not quite a town) about a 20 – 40 min drive across St. Thomas from the airport, depending on traffic.
Ferries leave Red Hook reliably at the top of the hour from 7am until midnight. The ferry ride from Red Hook is about 10 minutes and costs $7/person and $1.50/piece of luggage.
Charlotte Amalie to Cruz Bay Ferry
There is another ferry that leaves from downtown Charlotte Amalie three times a day. Most of the time.
While the Red Hook ferry only stops in the case of inclement weather, the Charlotte Amalie ferry may not be running for a variety of reasons, so it is always best to plan for the case that you might have to go all the way to Red Hook.
Even though the Charlotte Amalie to Cruz Bay ferry schedule is less consistent, many people still prefer it. It is a convenient option if the timing of your flight arrival or departure coincides with the ferry schedule because the taxi ride is shorter.
However, the boat ride is a little longer. Depending on the boat, it can be anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. The taxi drivers at the airport will know whether or not the downtown ferry is running. You can always go to Red Hook if it’s not.
BUT on the way back to the airport from St. John, make sure to call the ferry company in the morning to make sure the Cruz Bay to Charlotte Amalie route is running so that you don’t risk missing your flight.
Getting Between St. Thomas and St. John via Car Barge
A lot of people who visit St. John regularly prefer to rent a vehicle at the airport on St. Thomas and drive to the car barge in Red Hook (located right next door to the people ferry terminal). Not all rental companies on St. Thomas will allow you to take their vehicles to St. John. Some will allow it but will not come over and help you in the event of a flat tire or other mechanical issue.
Some visitors obey this rule. Some do not.
If you rent on St. Thomas and drive over, it often makes sense to stop and buy some groceries before getting on the barge. The last car barge from St. Thomas runs at 7pm.
Do you have more questions (or answers) about getting from St. Thomas to St. John?
Let us know in the comments below what we missed.
More info on traveling in the Virgin Islands:
- Your Guide to Transportation on St. John
- Your Guide to Vacation Rentals on St. John
- Getting Around the Virgin Islands
- Things To Do in the Virgin Islands