United States Virgin Islands Travel Guide
About United States Virgin Islands
Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, and Saint John are the main islands that comprise the United States Virgin Islands. Their proximity to Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands makes the larger of the islands, Saint Thomas, a popular cruise destination, but that does not change the laid back feel that each of them displays in earnest. Each of the United States Virgin Islands has distinct characteristics all their own:
Saint Thomas – Considered the most cosmopolitan, St. Thomas still retains much of the secluded nature and rustic charm it has had for centuries. Only 32 square miles, St. Thomas offers visitors just enough activity to keep them interested if they choose to engage and enough privacy to relax the days away. For an active yet relaxing excursion, take the 99 steps of Charlotte Amalie and treat yourself to incomparable views of the island.
Saint Croix – The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint Croix maintains its small village appeal. An island steeped in culture and history, visitors will find much in the way of art, dance, and music at any given time. Do as much or as little as you want on this island – diving, ecotours, and boating abound if you choose to indulge.
Saint John – This island provides the absolute definition of private vacation. About 60% of the island is a national park, celebrating Saint John’s natural beauty. The tranquility this island provides is a welcomed respite from the hustle and bustle found in other tourist destinations in the Caribbean.
Water Island – This 491 and a half acre island is about a half-mile off the shore of Saint Thomas. Populated by less than 200 people, this little getaway island offers seclusion and relaxation, exploration, and camaraderie. It isn’t uncommon to make friends with the residents and enjoy a meal or movie with them on a comfortable evening.
The United States Virgin Islands were originally the home of the Ciboney, Carib, and Arawak Indians. After changing hands frequently between the French, British, and Spanish, the U.S. Virgin Islands was sold to the United States in the early 1900s.
The United States Virgin Islands offers much to the adventurous traveler. Visitors can island-hop to see and feel the different perspectives or choose one island and explore what it has to offer. The choice is yours. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, no matter what you choose, you will be in paradise.
Where To Stay In The United States Virgin Islands
Visitors to the United States Virgin Islands stay in a wide variety of accommodations, including private rental, guesthouses, and luxurious all-inclusive hotels. Some of the best hotels in the U.S. Virgin Islands include:
- Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
- Paradise Cove Oceanfront Villas & Suites
- Pavilions & Pools Villa Hotel
- The Ritz Carlton St Thomas
- Chenay Bay Beach Resort
- Tamarind Reef Resort
- The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort
- Sandcastle on the Beach
- Caneel Bay Resort
- Concordia Eco Resort
- Estate Lindholm
- Gallows Point Resort
- Garden By The Sea Bed & Breakfast
Activities In The United States Virgin Islands
Major tourist activities in the U.S. Virgin Islands include:
- Touring Christiansted, the capital city of St Croix lined with charming pastel-houses and buildings dating back to Danish Settlement
- Hiking and exploring the 5,000 acres within the Virgin Islands National Park, which covers two-thirds of St John
- Snorkeling the Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkel Trail in St John, which has over 30 different types of fish
- Diving the near wrecks within the Buck Island Reef National Monument, St Croix
- Swimming and relaxing at Magens Bay, one of the best white sand beaches within the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Golfing at Carambola Golf Course, a par-70 championship course in St Croix designed by Robert Trent Jones
- Duty-free shopping in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, with numerous designer shops at Yacht Haven Grande
- Sailing amongst both the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands
Facts About The United States Virgin Islands
St. Croix: 84 square miles, St. Thomas: 32 square miles, St. John: 20 square miles
Unincorporated Organized Territory of the United States
Telephone Country Code:
left side of the road
Cruzan Rum & Captain Morgan Rum
Cyril E. King International Airport
110 V/60 Hz – plugs are U.S. standard two and three-prong
Visa Information For The United States Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands is a territory of the United States, and as such American immigration rules apply. That said, no visa is required for citizens of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and most other European countries.
Americans from the mainland just need a valid I.D. (i.e., driver’s license) to enter the United States Virgin Islands. All other visitors to the U.S. Virgin Islands must have a passport with at least another six months’ validity. Furthermore, all visitors must have a return or onward ticket plus sufficient means to support themselves during their stay in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa For The United States Virgin Islands
With a valid passport and supporting documents, it can take between two to four weeks for a U.S. tourist visa application to be processed by the nearest American Embassy.
Is It Safe In The United States Virgin Islands
Compared to major American and European cities, the United States Virgin Islands is relatively safe as crime levels are low. That said, it is though recommended that visitors be vigilant at all times, especially when away from the major hotels and tourist areas.
How To Get To The United States Virgin Islands
Most visitors to the United States Virgin Islands arrive via the Cyril E. King Airport (IATA: STT, ICAO: TIST, FAA LID: STT), located two miles west of the central business district of Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas.
There are no direct flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe to the United States Virgin Islands. As such, most visitors fly to one of the nearby Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico, and then connect to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
From the United States, book flights to the United States Virgin Islands via:
- American Airlines: Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami (Seasonal: Chicago–O’Hare, New York–JFK, Philadelphia)
- Delta Air Lines: Atlanta, New York–JFK (Seasonal: Boston)
- JetBlue: New York–JFK, (Seasonal: Boston)
- Spirit Airlines: Fort Lauderdale, Orlando
- Sun Country Airlines: Minneapolis/St. Paul
- United Airlines (Seasonal): Chicago–O’Hare, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles
Within the Caribbean region, book flights to the United States Virgin Islands via:
- Air Sunshine: Anguilla, Dominica–Douglas-Charles, Nevis, Saint Croix, Saint Kitts, San Juan, Tortola, Virgin Gorda
- Cape Air: Saint Croix, San Juan (Seasonal: Tortola, Virgin Gorda)
- Jet Blue: San Juan
- Sea Flight Airlines: Saint Croix
- Silver Airways: Saint Croix, San Juan
- Tradewind Aviation: Saint Barthélemy
- VI Airlink: Anegada, Tortola
Note: There are other airports in the United States Virgin Islands, including Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (IATA: STX, ICAO: TISX, FAA LID: STX) located in St Croix. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Spirit Airlines operate flights to Saint Croix from the United States. Air Sunshine, Cape Air, Coastal Air, Seaborne Airlines, and Sea Flights Airlines operate flights within the Caribbean region, mostly from Saint Thomas to Saint Croix.
When To Go To The United States Virgin Islands
The most popular time to visit the United States Virgin Island is mid-December to mid-April when the weather is warm and sunny. The low season for the U.S. Virgin Islands is from August to late October, when temperatures are sweltering and muggy. There is also a higher risk of tropical storms and hurricanes during this period.
Major events attracting visitors to the United States Virgin Islands include:
- February: Annual St. Croix International Regatta
- March: Mardi Gras Annual Parade
- March: International Rolex Cup Regatta
- April: Virgin Islands Carnival
- June: Mango Melee and Tropical Fruit Festival
- August: U.S. Virgin Islands Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament
- October: Virgin Islands Fashion Week
- November: Annual Holiday Arts, Crafts & Music Festival
- December: Christmas in St Croix
Weather In The United States Virgin Islands
The weather in the United States Virgin Islands is warm year-round. The temperature ranges between 73°F and 89°F. Mid-April to early May is a popular time to visit St Thomas as their carnival is in full swing. Mid-December until early January is popular for St. Croix during the Cruzan Christmas Fiesta.
Getting Married In The United States Virgin Islands
Couples looking to get married in the United States Virgin Islands will need to apply for a marriage license from the Superior Court of the U.S. Virgin Islands in St Thomas or St Croix. The couple will also need to submit a letter stating dates of visit, length of stay, and preferred wedding date if they want to have the marriage ceremony performed by a judge.
In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
- birth certificates along with driver’s licenses or other forms of identification
- certificates of no impediment or single status report
Also, if applicable:
- divorce papers, i.e., decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
- proof of parental consent if under 21, stamped and signed by a solicitor
- proof of name change by Deed Poll stamped and signed by a solicitor
Couples will need to be on the island eight days from receipt of the notarized application unless paperwork is completed before arrival.
Marriage Application: US$100, Marriage Ceremony: US$400 and Marriage License: US$100.
Two people are required to witness the marriage.
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