Planning Temporary Move
I've been lazily planning an end-of-summer move to St Thomas for a while now, and the time has come to get serious about hammering out the details. I've got a bunch of questions. Any advice would be very helpful. My situation:
I am a young professional academic-type who works remotely via the power of the internet, and my job basically goes where I go. Since I won't need to job hunt and am not looking to move permanently, I think I'm ok with just charging in without a pre-move visit. But this means I should figure out as much as I can before going.
I'm planning on a temporary stint in the 6-8 months range. I will be traveling light and looking for a furnished place. I know that STT has a seasonal tourism industry and attracts a lot of seasonal service workers, so it seems that there should be solid availability of housing that fits my needs. My plan is to head down in August and find a place starting September. Is this a reasonable time to be apartment hunting? Can I expect to find some decent options on shorter-term leases for furnished apartments? This would get me down there a couple months before tourist high season, which I hope should make it easier to find a lease. I've been keeping an eye on the Craigslist page for USVI, and it looks like there are usually solid options, but I'm curious if there are particularly good or bad times to be looking.
My plan is to spend a week or so in a hostel while apartment hunting. The best-looking option I've found so far is Rhoda's Guest House. Is this a solid place? The website looks pretty nice. Are there any other options along these lines? I saw a couple posts plugging a place called Crystal Palace, but that looks like it's about double the cost, and for a week stay I'd be happiest with something basic and cheap.
I typically like to get out of the house during the day and get work done at a coffee shop, library, or the like. Are there any nice places to recommend? Internet access is a must.
I do not have a car and plan to be traveling on foot. I'm used to walking a lot and would be totally fine having to hike a mile or two to get into town. But I don't want to be TOO far away from amenities, and mobility is valuable for exploring. How's the public transportation? How much will my housing options be limited by needing to be within a 1-2 mile walking range?
Since you have employment, that is a big advantage. That means that you can concentrate on exploring island activities. I know a lady who came with similar job and planned to stay 1-2 years, but she enjoyed island life and has stayed many years.
Temporary -- Rhoda's Guest House seems like a good fit for you since they have a low-cost bunk option. They are close to public transportation and you can get a TAXI when necessary. Crystal Palace is also good (more of B&B), but you are correct about the price difference.
Apartments --- Many landlords and realtors will expect a one-year lease, but there are also landlords who will rent short term (or month-to-month). Once you arrive, you can immediate start looking at what is available. If you come before high-season, you will have more options for apartments.
Public transportation is limited, but possible to work with (no public transportation available at night).
Working --- not familiar with a good library or coffee house to work, but there are probably a few options. Be aware that most public wifi locations will be used by a lot of tourists (use your own judgment regarding cyber security).
Welcome to the islands!
You might try Villa Santana.
It's in town near Crystal Palace but they do rent some apts. long term, furnished, at very reasonable rates so it may be an option if you're without wheels.
340-776-1311 ask for Louisa to inquire about rentals.
If that doesn't float your boat, you might look for rentals in the Red Hook area as there is bus and safari service in that location.
Being without wheels, will limit your rental options as we have no public transportation in most other areas.
Keep your eye on craigslist share situations too:
I moved to St John in your circumstances seven years ago. There isn't a coffee-shop culture in the islands as there is stateside; we have bars instead. And there isn't a lot of free WiFi on STT that I'm aware of. If the Internet is essential to your job, you will want to get at least two sources of it (I use my phone as a hotspot in addition to a broadband subscription) -- because it will go out or become unusably slow. How often varies, sometimes multiple times in a day, sometimes only a couple times a week. That said, it's not impossible to work remotely here. Make sure your employer is knowledgable about the VI as far as taxes -- others have run into difficulties with that. Finally, one thing I learned from moving here was that I didn't want to be tied to a computer all day long! YMMV -- enjoy the adventure.....