The US Virgin Islands are the perfect destination if you’re looking for a tropical getaway full of gorgeous beaches, turquoise water, and swaying palms. This group of three islands just southeast of Puerto Rico is a haven for sailors and beach bums alike, but before you go, here’s 17 things you should know about the USVIs:
1.The US Virgin Islands are a US territory, which means that if you’re an American, you don’t need a passport to travel there.
2.There are three main islands in the USVIs: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.
3.Thomas is the main island and most people’s entry point into the Vis. The cruise ships dock in St. Thomas. It’s also where you’ll catch the ferry to St. John or a flight to St. Croix (although there are some direct flights from the mainland).
4.Although it’s a US territory, they drive on the left side of the road here.
5.Most of the islands have SUPER steep roads (especially on St. John’s famed north shore) with some pretty tight turns. If it’s raining or the roads are wet, you’ll probably want 4WD.
6.If you’re looking for shopping, nightlife, hustle and bustle, and big resorts, head to St. Thomas.
7.If you want a quieter vacation where you can unplug and unwind in some of the prettiest scenery on earth, head to St. John.
8.For great beaches, golf, and historic sites, head to St. Croix.
9.If you’re spending any time on St. Thomas, be aware of your surroundings. Crime is higher than on the other islands so stick to populated areas and be alert to getting pressured and hustled into cab rides, tours, etc.
10.It’s very easy to get from St. Thomas to St. John via ferry, The passenger ferry leaves out of Red Hook every hour (you’ll have to take a cab from Charlotte Amalie).
11.If you need to kill some time before catching the ferry to St. John, stop by Duffy’s Love Shack. Their claim to fame is being the world’s most famous parking lot bar.
12.Island time is a very real thing in the VIS, but here’s what it really means: THEY can be on time but YOU can’t. Plan to arrive early for excursions, ferries, and appointments, but don’t be in a big rush if they’re not on time.
13.If you’re planning to hit up any happy hours in the Vis, the drinks of choice are usually Pain Killers and Bush Whackers.
14.Mosquitos can be pretty bad in the Vis, especially on St. John where the majority of the island is preserved as a national park. Bring or buy plenty of bug spray (the kind with deet!) and consider using the wristbands as well.
15.It’s not unusual to see chickens, cows, donkeys, and goats roaming the islands (especially in St. John) so drive carefully.
16.The British Virgin Islands are very close (especially from St. Thomas and St. John) so you should definitely consider doing a day trip there.
17.The VIs are a very laid back place. Unlike other Caribbean islands, you won’t find many people getting dressed up for dinner (unless it’s a very fancy place). Swimsuits, tees, hats, and flip flops are perfectly acceptable most places.
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