A Local's Guide to the US Virgin Islands: Vacation to the Islands
“America’s Paradise”- I read this tagline on the license plates of passing vehicles every day in the US Virgin Islands, and the truth of it resonates with each breathtaking Caribbean view found around every twist and turn of the island roads. With the crystal Caribbean sea and all the marine life, coral reef, and wondrous encounters it provides and the laid-back “5 o’clock somewhere” ambiance, mountainous terrain, and spectacular vistas of the islands, the USVI are unlike any mere beach town you’ll find in the United States. For US travellers, the US Virgin Islands provide a true tropical paradise vacation without the need for a passport. The unique history, culture, and cuisine of the US Virgin Islands gives visitors a feeling of experiencing a new country alongside the security of remaining in the United States. Each of the islands has exclusive features to offer visitors such as their individual Carnival celebrations with elaborately costumed parades and festivities attracting tourists and islanders alike. I’ll be your local guide through the highlights of each of the U.S. Virgin Islands, proving why “America’s Paradise” is where your next vacation should be:
- St. Thomas- Also known as “Rock City”, there’s always something happening in St. Thomas! Its airport, stateside brands, and close proximity to other Virgin Islands create the bustling hub that is St. Thomas. St. Thomas contains the capital of the USVI and is the most densely populated of the Virgin Islands. With multiple cruise ships in port, open air Islands Tours cruising around, and tourists and locals alike walking the sidewalks of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas has an electric energy to it that is uncommon in the Caribbean islands. Shopping is among the top attractions in St. Thomas with duty free deals found on jewelry, liquor, and luxury brands in the plentiful shopping areas throughout the island. Downtown Charlotte Amalie is home to perhaps the most picturesque harbor in the Caribbean and is rich with historical sites such as Fort Christian and the famous 99 Steps. Magens Bay Beach is one of the best beaches in the world, found right in St. Thomas, along with dozens of other beautiful beaches featuring a variety of water activities such as fantastic snorkeling and diving locations. St. Thomas truly shines when it comes to island hopping with daily ferry service and Boating & Sailing Charters visiting neighboring U.S. and British Virgin Islands for a vacation that includes multiple islands and fantastic sights along the way. The party of the year for St. Thomas is in April as Carnival is celebrated with parades, local vendors, and Caribbean cuisine galore! St. Thomas is the island for an action-packed itinerary, world-class beaches, and an unforgettable Caribbean vacation!
- St. John- Where else in the world can you find deer swimming off the beach, roadside donkeys, and flying eagle rays all in one place? With over 75% of its landmass designated to the National Park Service, St. John is unlike any of the other US Virgin Islands. Visit St. John via ferry service from St. Thomas and arrive in Cruz Bay, the main town area of the island. You’ll realize why they call it “Love City” as you’re welcomed with a shot of local rum, the quaint scenes of waterfront restaurants and bustling shops, and the smiling faces of the local people. Visit some of the most pristine and well known beaches in the Caribbean such as Cinnamon Bay, and snorkel the famous underwater coral trail at Trunk Bay in the National Park. See the spectacular views of the neighboring British Virgin Islands as you tour the island. St. John is the nature-lovers paradise with its abundant flora and fauna and plentiful hiking trails. Even the history in St. John is one-of-a-kind as you’ll find anything from sugar mills ruin to Taino Indian petroglyphs while hiking the island. It’s a true American celebration as St. John hosts Carnival every year around 4th of July weekend, complete with a spectacular fireworks show over the Caribbean Sea. With no franchises or traffic lights and a profound connection with nature, St. John is a true off-the-grid island community like no other!
- St. Croix- The largest of the USVI, St. Croix is secluded in the Caribbean Sea, accessible by its airport, seaplane from St. Thomas, or private boat hire. St. Croix is not frequented by cruise ships, making it a desirable island getaway without the worry of crowds at top attractions. St. Croix’s dozens of beautiful beaches make water activities such as sailing, kite boarding, and kayaking among the top attractions that the island is known for. Buck Island which features a thriving reef and underwater snorkeling trail is one of only 3 underwater U.S. national monuments, providing a truly exceptional experience, while a host of incredible diving sites from wrecks to walls put St. Croix on the map for divers. St. Croix contains the only casino found in the USVI along with other one-of-a-kind sites such as the Captain Morgan and Cruzan Rum distilleries and the beer drinking pigs at the Domino Club. Known as “Twin City” for the distinct towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted, the island of St. Croix is also rich in history and culture with unique sites such as early forts, museums, colonial churches,and heritage landmarks open for experiencing in these areas. Visit the sustainable farms and celebrate the extraordinary food culture with the annual Agriculture and Food Fair. You won’t want to miss the biggest party held in the islands around Christmas time as St. Croix hosts Carnival late December through early January. With so many remarkable sights and experiences to offer, St. Croix should be on your radar for USVI destinations, and it’s just the beginning of what awaits you in the Virgin Islands!
Who knew passport-free American paradise was here waiting for you along? Whether it’s shopping with a waterfront view in St. Thomas, hiking the historic trails in St. John, or enjoying a beer with your new ham of a friend in St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands are full of extraordinary experiences for you and your family to have the vacation of a lifetime! So what are you waiting for? Start booking those domestic flights to paradise and let CaribbaConnect see you through your island plans with our exclusive local guides to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Who knows? You may love the islands so much that you never leave, just like me!
Be sure to check out our Excursions page to book the best excursions on St. Thomas and St. John! If you have any questions about vacationing to the USVI, call or e-mail us for authentic local insight!
Welcome to America’s Paradise,