Menu Close

St. Thomas Airport Update: New Step Requires Extra Time

Well folks, it looks like the dreaded experience over at the St. Thomas Airport has potentially just gotten a little worse. Travelers will now have to pass through agriculture prior to boarding. This added step now means that travelers with checked bags have five stops to make before entering the terminal. Travelers with carry on bags now have three stops.

For those of you who’ve traveled from Puerto Rico to the United States, you probably recall having to put all of your bags – luggage and carry ons (backpacks, computer bags, etc.) – on a belt to pass through the agriculture machine. This has been happening at the St. Thomas Airport for about a week, and, according to the Customs agent I spoke with Wednesday, this will continue from here on out.

There’s a thing called APHIS (the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) that prohibits the movement of agriculture products from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to the United States. What they are most concerned about is mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as certain plants such as flowers. This is because these items can potentially bring an invasive pest or disease to the United States.

Click here to view a list of what you can and cannot bring with you when leaving the St. Thomas Airport. 

What Leaving the St. Thomas Airport Now Looks Like

Checked Bags

  1. For those of you who are checking bags, your first stop is the airport counter. They will tag your bag, but they will not take it.
  2. Next you will go through Customs. They will ask you a few questions like if you are bringing any food, where you are going, where you stayed, etc. Families can go up together.
  3. You will then pass through Agriculture. You simply place your bags (all of them) on a belt and retrieve them on the other side.
  4. You will drop your bag at the bag drop area.
  5. You will go through security.

Carry On Bags Only

  1. You will start at Customs. They will ask you a few questions like if you are bringing any food, where you are going, where you stayed, etc. Families can go up together.
  2. You will then pass through Agriculture. You simply place your bags (all of them) on a belt and retrieve them on the other side.
  3. You will go through security.

Helpful Things to Know 

You can use Global Entry at the St. Thomas airport, although you need to physically have your card with you when you do so. Global Entry is only good for the card holder. You cannot bring anyone along with you. The lane for Global Entry is the far right after you pass through the glass doors when entering the Customs area.

The St. Thomas airport does have precheck. The precheck lane is on the far right after agriculture.

If you are checking a bag, the cutoff time is 90 minutes. After that, they will not allow you to check your bag.

When they tell you to arrive three hours before your scheduled departure, they kind of mean it. The lines can be very long during season, and especially on Saturdays. I try to avoid Saturday travel at all costs. Just my two cents.

That’s it for today everyone. I’ve been looking ahead to winter airfare prices, and it’s looking pretty good! I’ll have more on that soon.


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.


Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

 

Caneel Bay: Update on Beach Access & Shuttle

Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday! Here is a quick update on what’s happening over at Caneel Bay.

Back in May, I told you how the National Park planned to open Caneel Bay beach to the public. This was a big announcement, as we were all somewhat discouraged from using this beach while the resort was open. Caneel Bay beach is the beach that you see down to the right from the Caneel overlook. It’s located in front of numerous shuttered hotel rooms and ZoZo’s restaurant.

Well, unfortunately, this has yet to happen. At the time, the Park’s latest superintendent said she was waiting for restrooms to arrive. I am not certain if that has happened yet, but the beach remains closed from the land. It is accessible by water only, as are all of the beaches in the US Virgin Islands.

Caneel Bay overlook
Caneel Bay beach

The shuttle to Honeymoon beach is still running. The shuttle only runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. currently. I am sure those hours will expand later in the year when season resumes. The shuttle is $6 per person, per way.

The shuttle runs every 15 minutes.

You still are unable to walk through the resort. You can walk the Lind Point trail to Salomon and Honeymoon beaches, but you are not allowed to walk beyond that. And on the reverse, you are not allowed to walk from the Caneel Bay entrance to Honeymoon like you were able to do in the past. Hopefully this changes soon, as well.

For those of you who are on island now or will be soon, you will notice that the remnants of the sugar plantation have been cleared over the past couple of months. Things are definitely happening over at Caneel. They’re just happening on island time. 🙂

The former ZoZo’s restaurant
The Caneel Bay plantation

Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.


Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

 

 

 

Cruz Bay Bar Finally Reopens & Brings Back the $4 You Call It!

Well folks, welcome to slow season. The island is quiet. Restaurant closings are on the horizon. Quite frankly, there’s not too much happening here at the moment. So with that being said, I am excited to share a little nugget of information for those of you who do plan to travel this summer  – the $4 “You Call It” happy hour has returned! And you can be one of the first ones to try it out!

Our friends over at 420 to Center, an eclectic little bar tucked away beside Slim’s parking lot in Cruz Bay, finally reopened a few weeks ago after being closed for more than four months. And when they did, they bought back the famous “You Call It” happy hour – a sip and save event of sorts. 🙂

The $4 You Call It happy hour occurs daily from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. It’s not a Painkiller or frozen drink kind of place, but rather one where you can get a cold beer and good conversation.

You have to love the honesty! haha

For those of you who’ve visited us for years, you may remember the $3 You Call It happy hour that used to happen at Joe’s Rum Hut before the storms. Lots of memories were made there for many of us! So thank you Sharkey and everyone at 420 for bringing a little nostalgia back to the island. 🙂

Want to see exactly where 420 to Center is located? Check out Explore STJ’s searchable restaurant map at www.explorestj.com/restaurantmap.

That’s it for today, folks! I have a busy day of condo showings and island tours! Chat later this week!


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.


Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

Red Hook/Cruz Bay Ferries Reduce Schedule for Off-Season

Quick update everyone!

The ferry that transports passengers between Red Hook and Cruz Bay just announced that they will be reducing their schedule for off-season.

The ferries will continue to operate the normal schedule daily until 7 p.m. Effectively immediately, hourly service will cease starting at 7 p.m. The new schedule after 7 p.m. is as follows:

The ferry will run from Red Hook to Cruz Bay at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The ferry will run from Cruz Bay to Red Hook at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.

There will no longer be a ferry from Red Hook to Cruz Bay at 9 p.m. or at 11 p.m. There will no longer be a ferry from Cruz Bay to Red Hoo at 8 p.m. or at 10 p.m.

This is a temporary change due to off-season travel. I will let you know when the normal schedule resumes.

And just as a reminder, the Charlotte Amalie ferry is not currently running due to off-season travel. That is expected to resume November 1st.

That’s it for today! Have a. great weekend!


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

It’s never too early to book your island tour!

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.


Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

New Restaurant Receiving Rave Reviews!

I absolutely love the view up here! (Image credit: Tropical Bandit Photography)

Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday! I am excited to tell you about a new restaurant that recently opened in Cruz Bay. It’s called The Hideaway STJ, and it’s been receiving rave reviews!

The Hideaway STJ is the latest concept created by my friend Vince “Vinny” Alterio. Vinny is an incredibly talented chef, who worked at La Tapa and Asolare before launching his own private chef and catering company. I’ve had the privilege of using Vinny’s private chef services multiple times over the years, so I can tell you firsthand that it’s top-notch.

Chef Vinny Alterio (Image credit: Tropical Bandit Photography)

Naturally, I was super excited earlier this year when Vinny told me about his latest project – The Hideaway STJ. Vinny wanted to create a spot with the taste of a Michelin Star, but one that felt like home, he told me. And I am excited to say that he has created just that.

The Hideaway STJ is located in the back of the former Lumberyard complex, tucked between the Roti King and St. John Ice. The Lumberyard is located up the hill from the bulkhead dock (which is between customs and the Visitor’s Center), and about halfway to Dolphin Market at the roundabout. For those of you who visited us post-hurricane, it’s the area where Barefoot Cowboy used to be, among other businesses.

(Click here to check out Explore STJ’s searchable restaurant map to see exactly where The Hideaway STJ is located.)

The Hideaway STJ is a cozy restaurant with amazing views of the Creek. Like many of you, I loved sitting at Barefoot Cowboy and watching the boat show every afternoon and then the sunset at night. I’m excited that we have a spot to do that, once again.

So cozy! (Image credit: Tropical Bandit Photography)
Such a great little bar! The bar top is from the old Quiet Mon Pub. (Image credit: Tropical Bandit Photography)
Daytime views! (Image credit: The Hideaway STJ)
Incredible sunset views! (Image credit: The Hideaway STJ)

Vinny built a custom food trailer, which serves as the kitchen for The Hideaway STJ. It is an open kitchen, so guests can watch the chefs at work, which is always fun. Joining Vinny on his team are chefs Juan Orlandi and Trace Miller.

The Hideaway’s menu features a variety of fresh, local ingredients and will vary based on time of year. Here are the current selections:

(Click to enlarge)

The Hideaway STJ is open Friday through Monday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. They plan to close for off-season at the end of August. Its reopening date has yet to be announced.

Check out The Hideaway’s website at STJHideaway.com for more information. Cheers all & congrats Vinny!


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

It’s never too early to book your island tour!

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.


Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj

Island Update: St. John Restaurant Closings & More

Hello everyone, and happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great holiday last week! I know I did! I figured it’s been a bit since I posted an island update, so here we go!

Let’s start with St. John restaurant closings. I’ve been getting a lot of emails about this one. The dates are slowly starting to trickle in, but I do not have the full list as of yet. Here are some that I have so far:

  • ZoZo’s is closed for the season. They will reopen in December.
  • Lovango Resort + Beach Club will close July 20th. They will reopen in December.
  • The Terrace is closing for the season on July 25th. Reopening date TBD.
  • Lime Inn’s last day will be August 2nd. They will reopen October 14th.
  • Johnny Lime’s last day will be August 2nd. They will reopen October 14th.
  • Drink is most likely closing on August 8th. They will reopen on Halloween.
  • Miss Lucy’s last day will be August 9th. Reopening date TBD.
  • Skinny Legs is closing on August 10th. They are reopening on Halloween.
  • Rum Hut is tentatively closing on August 10th and tentatively reopening on October 16th.
  • Extra Virgin Bistro is closing on August 11. Reopening date TBD.
  • Cafe Roma will be closed August 18th through August 31st.
  • Lime Out’s last day will be August 23rd. They will reopen October 20th.
  • 1864 is closing on August 29th. Reopening date TBD.
  • Dave & Jerry’s is closing on August 30th. They are reopening on October 7th.
  • The Windmill Bar, The Upstairs, The Beach Bar, The Longboard, Cruz Bay Landing, The Tap Room, and Sharky’s By the Water are a few spots that will remain open during off-season.

That being said, off-season is basically here. The island had a great crowd the past few weeks to celebrate Festival, but now we are expecting it to wind down for the season. It is still a great time to visit for those of you who are looking for a last-minute vacation. Most of the vacation rentals have reduced prices during the summer months, so there are great deals to be had. I know many of you are concerned about possible tropical weather, so I do suggest getting travel insurance for summer trips.

Speaking of weather, Hurricane Beryl did not affect the island last week. The system passed well to our south, thankfully.

Not on island, but want to see what’s currently happening? You can check out our webcams at www.explorestj.com/webcams.

I am hoping to have the full list of closings by the end of the week. I will post them at www.explorestj.com/closings. I will also upload a printable list when it’s complete.

That’s it for today, folks! New restaurant news coming later this week – stay tuned! Have a great one!


Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.


Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj