To call Coral Bay a town may be a bit of a stretch, but that idea shouldn't discourage anyone from visiting – in fact it often is the reason that people arrive on St. John via Cruz Bay, then head straight to this sleepy community. How you'll get there, however, is entirely up to you, because if there is one thing this island has, it is transportation options.
The first step in getting to Coral Bay is to fly to nearby St. Thomas. From there, you get to decide whether you're in need of a car barge or regular ferry to get you to St. John. Some visitors also choose to sail into Cruz Bay to meet with customs officials before seeking anchorage near Coral Bay, and still more tourists each year will cruise to the island.
Coral Bay is such a small community that it is quite feasible for you to arrive on the island, get on the bus, and take you to the town where you can get around on foot. Feasible, yes; ideal? No. Renting a car to this part of the island is recommended, because although taxis will drive here, it is rare to find taxis milling around.
Even though there is no major airport on St. John, air travel will be part of the journey for most travelers. The first stop along the way will be the St. Thomas. As a major hub for transportation in both the British and US Virgin Islands, this airport is busy, which means you should have no trouble finding a flight that suits your needs. on
Because the airport is on another island, you will need to make arrangements to make your way to Coral Bay. The common way is to head to Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook and take a ferry over to Cruz Bay, and then a taxi, car, or bus across the island to Coral Bay. No option is cheap, but the secluded Coral Bay can be worth it.
Click here to learn more abouit flying into St. Thomas, including local airlines and the different routes avaliable.
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Unlike Cruz Bay, Coral Bay does not see large maritime traffic throughout the day. With that said, being secluded on eastern St. John, sailing around the island is one of the best ways to reach the town. Additionally, from Coral Bay, you are just a skip away from the British Virgin Islands. With no ferries, you can bet there are private charters ready to take people across. Click here to learn more about maritime travel here.
There is no cruise port in Coral Bay, or anywhere else on St. John, yet it remains a popular stop on Eastern Caribbean tours. To make this happen, large cruise ships will dock on St. Thomas and smaller vessels just off the coast of St. John and shuttle passengers over to Cruz Bay. From there, they can take a cab or the bus into Coral Bay for a quiet, leisurely day in the area, spending time on the beaches or checking out the local bars and restaurants.
Just be warned that the trip from Cruz Bay and Coral Bay can be long (especially if you take a wrong turn).Be sure to know when you need to be back to the ship, and plan accordingly, or else you may be left behind.
Locals and tourists who have frequented Coral Bay will always recommend that someone staying in the area rent a car. It is possible to get a taxi to the area from Cruz Bay, and the bus runs through town up until around 7:30 p.m., as the sun begins to set, it becomes harder and harder to find a ride in and out of town. Even if you call a local cab company, you may be told that service to the area is done for the evening. Most people can work their way around this and just plan to be back at their hotel before the sun sets, but you never know if dinner is going to run late, if you'll get caught up at an attraction, or if something else may come up.
Fortunately, renting a car on St. John isn't a difficult feat to accomplish. True, there are no rental car agencies set directly in Coral Bay, but since you'll likely have to arrive at Cruz Bay anyways, you can pick up a rental there. Learn more about rental car rates, recommended vehicles, and get some driving tips for Coral Bay when you click here.
To see a better selection of companies, however, you should head over to our Cruz Bay Rental Car Page.
Although using taxis as your main form of transportation is not recommended for those staying in Coral Bay for the reasons stated above, they do have their use. What you'll immediately notice when you do encounter a Coral Bay taxi is that they are not the yellow sedans with the word “TAXI” in block letters on the side that you see in movies and maybe on the streets of your home town. Instead, they are vans and trucks that have been modified to hold up to 24 passengers on bench seating so that they can transport as many passengers as possible at one time. Rates here are set in advance rather than metered and charged per person, rather than per car. Learn more about calling for a cab in Coral Bay by clicking here.
The public bus system on St. John is known as Vitran, which is short for Virgin Islands Transit. No buses originate in Coral Bay, but they do pass through the town on their regular daily route back and forth between theand Salt Pond Bay. The buses run from 5:00 a.m. until 8:10 p.m. every day and costs $1(USD) per person, per trip.
Public transportation on the island is cheap, but it does come at a cost: a lack of reliability. You never can be sure when the bus is going to show up, regardless of what time is posted, so don't plan on taking the bus if you have to be somewhere at a particular time. If you do, you'll likely show up late.
It is tough to avoid ferries if you want to visit St. John. Unfortunately, the ferries do not regularly make their way toCoral Bay, instead serving Cruz Bay almost exclusively. So while you will have plenty of options to get between St. Thomas and St. John, and the the BVI, they are not directly accessible out of Coral Bay.
If you want to learn more information to help plan your ferry-filled adventures (such as all the ferry routes and companies), click here to visit our ferry guide for Cruz Bay. It also may not be a bad idea to see our St. Thomas Ferry Page too, especially if you will be moving between the islands often.
Coral Bay can be your quiet getaway or your home base as you explore all of St. Johns natural wonders. Whichever option appeals to you, you'll have to spend a bit of time researching and planning your transportation options. The tips above have surely pointed you in the right direction, now your role is to choose the right method of transport to you, and begin making reservations if they are necessary.
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