Exactly How to get to St. John, USVI

St. John is an incredible natural escape, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but getting there can require jumping through just a few hoops- don’t worry, they’re easy and it’s worth it!  We will show you exactly how to get to St. John- including the most economical route, best overall, and the super cool splurge- a helicopter!

There are no flights to St. John, USVI, so for almost everyone(and everything) the only way to reach St. John is by boat(helicopter is also a very limited option).  And, more than likely, you will be coming from St. Thomas, although there are ferries coming in the St. John from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands as well.  

aerial view of Cruz Bay in St. John, USVI with labels for locations of car ferry, main ferry dock, and the creek

Cruz Bay is the only port for public transportation, but Coral Bay on the other side of the island does have a harbor for private boats. Make sure you know which dock your return ferry will be departing from, as there are 3 within Cruz Bay. There’s the main ferry dock, where most passenger ferries arrive and depart, “The Creek”, where the ferry from Crown Bay Marina arrives and departs, and then the car barge dock in another bay.

How to get from St. Thomas to St. John:  The Best Route

Well, the best route depends on where you’re coming from and how long you plan to stay on St. John.

Option1:  Pre-arrange a private transfer 

This is the best option for people arriving for an extended stay(more than one day) on St. John. 

The airport can be miserably busy in the afternoon when most flights arrive, so having a driver waiting for you will save time and headache.  Not to mention, when you arrive with your bags, the last thing you want to do is load them into a taxi, unload them at the ferry dock, and then tote them around until you arrive on St. John.

The following companies, or your hotel/villa can arrange private transportation to St. John.  Get your rental car on St. John in case there are any issues during your stay.  It’s much easier to deal with a company on the island rather than from St. Thomas.

Our Pick:  Dolphin Water Taxi- they meet you at the airport with cold beer and water, drive you to the dock in Red Hook, and then taxi you over to the Virgin Island Visitor’s Center.  This will require the transfer of luggage onto the boat, but we think the water taxi experience is more fun than the car barge option.  (approx $80pp- shared- includes land and water taxi)

Staying at the Westin on St. John?  They have their own ferry service including luggage drop off at the airport and delivered to your villa.

Option 2:  Private or Shared Taxi to Red Hook + Passenger Ferry

This is the best option for day trippers and people with little to no luggage who want more flexibility.  

Travel out of Red Hook is just so much easier because of the large number of ferries running.  Miss one?  No problem, grab a drink for a half hour and jump on the next.

Private taxis will obviously be a bit more expensive(approximately $90 from the airport to Red Hook Ferry Dock/ approx. $30 from the Cruise Dock to Red Hook), but will get you there faster and with more flexibility and control.  

Skip to all the details on the Passenger Ferry Options

Option 3:  Rent a car on St. Thomas and take a Car Barge  

This is the best option for people planning to split time between St. Thomas and St. John.

Most of the car rental companies in St. Thomas will allow you to take your rental car to St. John, but be sure to double check first!  Also, plan to get an SUV or Jeep for driving on St. John.  

This is a great budget option as you will save on transportation to St. John, and will also have the opportunity to stop for groceries at the more affordable stores on St. Thomas.  But, should you have a breakdown on St. John, getting service from a St. Thomas based rental company will take much longer.

Skip to all the details on the Car Barge Options

Option 4:  Private Boat or Helicopter

This is really only the best option for a fun splurge.  It’s not economical, but it will be a pretty cool experience!  

Private Boat

If you’re looking for a day trip to explore the beaches, we absolutely recommend that you rent a boat for the day.  It’s not as expensive and you would think, and the experience is incredible!

Private Water Taxis can pick you up from Crown Bay Marina(approx $400- 40+ min ride), Sapphire Bay Marina(approx $200- 20+min ride). 


A helicopter ride would be the ultimate exciting splurge!  The biggest limitation here is the luggage storage capacity, which is quite limited.  So, for airport transportation, this is only an option for light packers.

Caribbean Buzz offers helicopter charters from St. Thomas airport to St. John starting around $500, and gets you there in 15 minutes.  

Passenger Ferry from St. Thomas to St. John

For a passenger ferry, from St. Thomas there are 3 departure points:  Crown Bay Marina(near the airport), Charlotte Amalie(currently unavailable), and Red Hook Marina.  

Prices and departure times are always subject to change.  Click on the company links provided for the latest ferry schedules.

Red Hook 

Red Hook is by far the most popular route to get to St. John island, as it offers WAY more trip times, and both passenger ferry and car barge service.  But, it’s a bit of a trip from the airport and cruise ship terminal, so be prepared for a 30-40 minute taxi ride from the airport(approx $90) and a 25-30 minute taxi(approx $30) from the cruise terminal.  

Even with the extra driving time, the convenience of the schedule will probably make this your choice.

Varlack Ventures.  Check latest times and book here.

Departing Red Hook
6:30 am
7:30 am
every hour, on the hour from at 8:00 am – 12:00 am

Departing Cruz Bay
every hour, on the hour daily from 6:00 am – 11:00 pm

Adults:  $6.00
Children:  $1.00
Luggage:  $2.50 ea

Transportation Services.  Check latest times and book here

Departing Red Hook
every other hour on the hour from 9am-11pm

Departing Cruz Bay
every other hour on the hour from 10am-10pm

Adults:  $8.15
Children:  $1.00
Luggage:  $4.00 ea

Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas

Inter Island Boat Services.  Check the latest schedule and pricing here.

Departing Crown Bay Marina

Departing Cruz Bay

Adults $20
Children $10
Luggage $5 ea

Although Crown Bay Marina is the closest to the airport in St. Thomas, with the limited(only 1 per day) trips, it may not be your best option.

***VERY IMPORTANT:  This ferry does not use the regular ferry dock.  It arrives at and departs from “The Creek” in Cruz Bay***

Downtown Charlotte Amalie

**Ferry Service From Charlotte Amalie is not currently operating, but check the company websites for the latest schedule updates**

Varlack Ventures Ferry.  Check latest times and book here.

Transportation Services.  Check the latest schedule and pricing here.

Car Barge/ Car Ferry

There are currently 2 companies running car barges/ car ferries to St. John from Red Hook, the only location offering car transportation.   All pricing includes passengers, who ride in the vehicle for the journey.

Be aware that there is a bit of a lip to get up on to and off of the barges.  So, if taking a car, use extreme caution, and be prepared that there is potential for some damage to your vehicle.

Note that the Car Barge port is not the same as the passenger ferry(a mistake that nearly made us miss our ferry).  The car barge arrives and departs from Enighed Pond Car Ferry Dock in Cruz Bay.

Love City Car Ferries.  Check the latest Schedule Here.  

Departing Red Hook
Weekdays-  Every other hour from 7am-7pm
Weekends- Every other hour from 9am-7pm

Departing Cruz Bay
Weekdays-  6:15am, every other hour from 8am-4pm, 6:15pm
Weekends-  every other hour from 8am-4pm, 6:15pm

Car, Truck, SUV- One Way:  $35
Car, Truck, SUV- Round Trip:  $50

Big Red Barge.  Check the latest schedule and pricing here.  

Departing Red Hook
Every other hour on the half hour from 6:30am-6:30 pm

Departing Cruz Bay
6am, every other hour on the half hour from 7:30am-5:30pm

Car, Truck, or SUV- One Way:  $35
Car, Truck, or SUV- Round Trip:  $50

Car Barge FAQs

How long will the ride take?
The journey between Red Hook and Cruz Bay takes approximately 30 minutes on the car barge.

Do I need to arrive early?
Yes, you will need to arrive approximately 30 minutes before departure time to line up and board the barge.

Is there a per passenger fee?
No, all passengers are included with the fee for the vehicle.

Are there any additional port fees?
Yes, you will need to pay additional Virgin Island Port Authority fees at the booth before you enter the dock gates.  The fees are subject to change, but are around $3-4 per vehicle.

Private or Rented Boat

Water Taxi

Dolphin Water Taxi.  Check the latest prices and schedules here.
Shared taxi and water taxi- airport to St. John:  $78pp(incl. water and land taxi)

St. Thomas Water Taxi.  Check the latest prices and availability here.
Private Water Taxi from Crown Bay Marina to St. John:  $395(up to 4 people)
Private Water Taxi from Sapphire Bay Marina to St. John:  $195(up to 4 people)
-these prices do not include land taxis

Seahorse Land & Water Taxi.  Check prices and book here.
Private Land Taxi to Red Hook and Water Taxi on to Cruz Bay:  $400-500(3-4ppl)

Dohm’s Water Taxi.  Check latest prices here.
Water Taxi from Red Hook to Cruz Bay:  $30 per person (minimum $150) + $15 surcharge

Boat Charter

Wanting to explore all that the waters around St. John have to offer?  We absolutely recommend renting a boat for the day to beach hop and explore some of the off island snorkeling spots.  

Read our detailed guide to chartering a boat from St. Thomas here.


Caribbean Buzz Helicopters

Caribbean buzz offers charters to St. John from the airport in St. Thomas starting at $500, getting you there in just 15 minutes.  Looking for more than just transportation to St. John?  They have plenty of day trip and charter options to get you all over the USVI and BVI lightning quick, giving you more time to enjoy the islands, not to mention incredible views!

Enjoy St. John and the United States Virgin Islands!

St. John is a complete escape, with nature everywhere.  Known to have some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean off it’s shores and great hikes in the National Park, it’s an absolute must visit! 

Looking for more USVI info?? Read all of our US Virgin Islands travel Guides here.

About the author
Kristin Young