Vacation destination St. John covers an area of less than 20 square miles so you may wonder why the island is home to so many car rental agencies. The answer is actually quite simple: St. John is a fantastically beautiful Caribbean island, and taking in all that it has to offer requires four wheels. Mopeds and scooters are extremely popular in places like Barbados and the Bahamas, but trying to navigate the hills and mountains of St. John on such a machine would be an exercise in frustration and futility.
If you are used to straight, well-lit and beautifully paved roads, it will likely take you a little time to acclimate to driving in St. John. The roads range from traditional blacktop to unpaved trails, and vehicles drive on the left side of the road. However, unlike Great Britain and most other countries where motorists drive on the left, the vehicles in St. John have their steering wheels on the left just as they do in other parts of the United States. The way to avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the road is to remember the adage “people in the U.S. Virgin Islands drive shoulder to the shoulder.”
Vehicles also travel far more slowly in St. John, and the speed limit on the island is only 35 mph. While a police officer is unlikely to pull you over for speeding, herds of goats, nomadic donkeys and locals making their way on foot will prevent you from going much faster than the posted limit – even if you wanted to. Bear in mind that speeding will probably be the last thing on your mind as you will be surrounded by some of the most breathtaking views in the world.
You will want to keep your wits about you while driving on St. John as the hills are steep and there are many twisty stretches of road. If you rent a vehicle with a manual transmission, it would probably be a good idea to practice some hill starts before you set off. While gas prices on St. John are higher than they are on the mainland, you won’t spend too much at the pump because you won’t be covering many miles.
The most valuable driving tip for visitors to St. John is to pull over whenever a local or “safari” taxi appears in the rear-view mirror and allow them to pass. Also, don’t get upset if other drivers keep beeping their horns at you because this is how people greet each other in the USVI.
You will not find major car rental companies like Avis, Hertz or Alamo in St. John, but you will find several local businesses that will be happy to rent you a late-model vehicle to explore the island with. The following is a list of some of the island’s most popular and best reviewed car rental agencies with prices that were accurate in early September 2020. They are all located in Cruz Bay.
This rental company has been in business since 1974 and is the most popular place to rent a vehicle on St. John. The company has several Jeep Wranglers available as well SUVs like the Jeep Cherokee and Ford Explorer. The service at St. John Car Rental is prompt and friendly, which may be why the company has been voted the best place to rent a car on the island by the Virgin Islands Daily News. Vehicles can be booked online or over the phone, and weekly prices range from $510 for a two-door Jeep Wrangler convertible to $660 for a Ford Explorer SUV.
Prices start at $80 per day for a Jeep Wrangler and they do not charge extra for additional drivers. The family-owned company offers a courtesy shuttle to pick renters up and drop them off, and booking a vehicle on the easy to navigate website takes only a couple of minutes. In addition to the ubiquitous Jeep Wrangler, which dominates the roads of St. John, Courtesy offers larger vehicles such as the Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Durango.
The choice at Conrad Sutton is limited but the prices are attractive. A two-door Wrangler costs $80 per day or $480 per week during the vacation season, and a Jeep Cherokee is only $10 per day more. These prices don’t come with any hidden surprises other than tax as the company offers unlimited mileage, free parking, free pickup and drop off, free additional drivers and even gives its customers free maps of the island.
You won’t have to worry about getting stuck if you rent from Aquarius as the company includes free breakdown assistance with all of its vehicles. Custom pricing plans are available to those who wish to rent cars for longer periods, and mileage is unlimited. The prices at Aquarius are very straightforward as a two-door Wrangler, four-door Wrangler and Ford Escape all cost $85 per day in the off season. Prices are $10 higher during the peak season. As the name implies, you can also rent paddle boards, snorkeling gear and kayaks at Aquarius.
We hope you found our car rental information handy and encourage you to use it during your tropical island stay. To elevate your vacation experience, set your compass and proceed to our 22-villa destination, The Hills, St John. For more information about our luxe rentals in the “Beverly Hills of the Virgin Islands,” you can contact us at 800-727-6610 to hear more.