Everything You Need to Know About Moving to St John:
What to Expect & How to Prepare
Moving to St. John? Holiday Homes is here to help. As an increasingly common destination for remote workers, retirees, and second homeowners seeking a relaxing beach home, St John is a coveted destination.. Before moving to St John, Prepare yourself for making the jump into our tropical Caribbean waters with information on neighborhoods on the island, cost of living info, resources for moving, and more.
What to Expect When Moving to St John
Neighborhoods Within St. John
The US Virgin Islands are comprised of three major islands – St John, St Croix, St Thomas.St John is the smallest of the three main islands, with about 60% of its land dedicated to Virgin Islands National Park. For those looking for privacy and easy access to the lush hiking trails in the park, St. John is an easy pick. Enjoy the slower pace of life, easy access to hiking trails, plentiful waterfront fun, and year-round beautiful weather. For more info on neighborhoods within St John, explore our St. John Map.
- Cruz Bay Quarter – St. John’s busy main port, with plenty of restaurants and activity, The majority of the population lives either here in Cruz Bay, or in Coral Bay, St John’s “other city.” If luxury homes suit your fancy, don’t miss nearby Chocolate Hole.
- Coral Bay – St John’s “other” city, a peaceful alternative to Cruz Bay Town that still has all the amenities and conveniences of living in a more populated area.
- Maho Bay Quarter– With the islands most beautiful beaches, Maho Bay offers serene respite on the north shore of the island. Popular areas include Peter Bay and Catherineberg,
- East End of St John – the quietest nook on the island, with views of the British Virgin Islands
- Reef Bay & Fish Bay – Offering views of St. Croix on a clear day, Reef Bay is the southernmost part of the island, extending largely into the national park. This area includes Fish Bay, plus magnificent Ditleff Point.
US Virgin Islands Property Tax Info
The Virgin Islands’ tax program is one of the most competitive tax benefits packages in the world. For property owners who qualify, it’s possible to see up to a 90% reduction in income taxes and a 100% exemption on property taxes. Depending on whether you own residential property, commercial property, or land, you will be required to pay a percentage of the property’s assessed value in taxes. Below are the tax rates by property type.
- Residential Property – .003770
- Land – .004946
- Commercial Property –.007110
Cost of Living in Virgin Islands
Cost of Living in Virgin Islands by Holiday Homes of St John
Utilities in St John:
The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) generates and distributes electricity and provides potable water in the major commercial and residential areas. Because of its reliance on fuel oil and continually escalating crude oil prices worldwide, WAPA’s customer rates are generally higher than in most regions of the United States. WAPA charges about 56 cents per kilowatt versus an average of 12 cents per kilowatt state side. Basically, electricity is pretty pricey here in the Virgin Islands, but lowering your WAPA bill can be as easy as using ceiling fans rather than air conditioning units, using LED or CFL bulbs, washing clothes in cold water, using a clothes line, and letting dishes air dry, or even investing in a solar water heater.
How to Prepare for Moving to St John
Congratulations — you are ready to make the move to St John! Holiday Homes can help you every step of the way.
Packing and Shipping to St John
Keep your move low-stress by minimizing your baggage — literally! Especially if you are seasonal or temporary resident, be very selective with what you decide to ship. With our tropical climate and humidity, pack only your warm weather wardrobe and leave behind delicate or antique items that are susceptible to mildew These items can be stored in a climate-controlled storage unit to preserve the for later use.
Once you’ve decided what to pack, the US Postal Service will be ideal for mailing small items thanks to flat rate priority shipping boxes, which should get your items to the Virgin Islands in about a week! Heavy books can be sent as media mail, meaning they will ship slower but at a reduced rate. For larger items, buy heavy duty packing boxes, which cannot weigh more than 70 pounds when packed. Postage cost will vary amongst states and should take 3-6 weeks to arrive in St John. Don’t forget to check with your airlines, as sometimes you can save money with free checked baggage.
For Permanent Residents, in addition to the your options above, you will want to get quotes from companies that ship large amounts of cargo. Here are some dependable options:
- Blue Ocean Transport – Shipping Company
- Phone: 305. 428.2735
- “We are a licensed ocean shipping company specializing in transporting cargo from between the U.S. Mainland & the Virgin Islands. We ship Commercial Cargo, Household Goods & Vehicles. These include the shipment of: Full Containers, Pallets, Boxes, Crates, Cars, Boats, Heavy Equipment & Machinery. We offer a comprehensive shipping service, including the pickup of cargo from their origin, ocean freight services, documentation and insurance. Our management has over 20 years of shipping experience to the Caribbean that will benefit you.”
- International Logistics Solutions – Personalized & Professional Logistics Solutions
- Phone: 340. 244.0519
- “Welcome to the Virgin Islands! We’re happy that you are thinking about joining us here and that you’re doing some homework ahead of time. With over thirty years of experience in shipping to the Virgin Islands, International Logistics Solutions is well prepared to assist you in your move. Your relocation here can be stressful, we can take away some of that stress. If you are moving your car, your boat, your entire household or just a few boxes, we can make it less painful.”
- Tropical Shipping – Celebrating 50 Years of Shipping Service
- Phone: 561.881.3971
- “Tropical Shipping made its maiden voyage to Freeport in 1963, with its landing craft the MV Tropic Ace, carrying machinery and building supplies. Today, Tropical operates ships from Canada and South Florida to The Bahamas and Caribbean, as well as providing inter-island transportation services throughout the region. Our customers transport everything imaginable – and we handle it all, from small packages to millions of tons of grocery products and building materials.”
Transportation after Moving to St John
After moving to St John, you will have two options: buying a car on the island or shipping your car. Keep in mind that smaller cars do not fare well on island roads, so SUVs with plenty of road clearance are the best. Buying a car is definitely the easier of the two options, but buying a new car on St John can be pricey. You can expect to pay 15-20% more on St John than you would stateside. Shipping your car costs around $2,5000 to ship. It takes planning but there are many upsides, particularly if you have a reliable car. The most common company used for shipping vehicles is Tropical Shipping, with contact info given above.
Finding the Best School after Relocating
The public school district spans St. John and St. Thomas, with 3 high schools, 1 middle school, 13 elementary schools, plus 2 alternative schools. If you are looking for a Private School on St John, don’t miss the Gifft Hill School, from PreSchool – 12th grade. In their words, “Our mission is to educate, challenge, support and empower students to ignite their passion for learning in preparation for college, careers, and their roles as stewards of our island and global community.”
Moving to St John With Pets
Moving to St John with a “fur-baby”? Breed, size, weight, time of year you will be traveling are all things to think about when planning your dog or cat’s trip to St John via airline.
If your pet is less than 25 pounds, they can probably travel with you in the cabin in a pet carrier. Pets over 25 pounds typically must travel in a climate controlled baggage space of the airplane. For pets traveling in cargo, you will need to purchase an airline approved crate. Make sure your pets have proper identification tags and that their carriers/crates are labeled with your name and contact information.
All pets traveling on an airline will need a standard health certificate from their current vet. Most vets do not suggest giving tranquilizers to your pet because it can increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems during flight. Airlines may require a signed statement that your pet has not been tranquilized prior to flying.
Keep in mind that travel restrictions during various seasons exist, primarily due to extreme temperatures where it can get too hot for pets. Most airlines also have restrictions for breeds at risk for breathing problems and heat strokes when traveling in extreme heat and exposed to stress. In this case, the best option is to have them travel with you in the cabin if their weight and size permits or choose an Airline with a climate controlled cargo area.
Questions about moving to St John? Get an answer from a local by contacting Holiday Homes today!