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"Laying on my beach towel on Trunk Bay Beach-St John, US Virgin Islands (with a cool drink and last night's leftovers)... Looking through the palm tree above me. Thanking God for a new day, while enjoying the ocean breezes, the sounds of the surf and no worries on a beautiful tropical day...Now that's a vacation. (Advice about the islands from a local below)"
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US Virgin Island Travel Advice continued..
MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION ON THE VIRGIN ISLANDS ...
First- You need no passport to enter the US Virgin Islands as a US citizen, as it is a US territory. However, once on the Islands, take ample time to explore the many sights and attractions of the Islands, and do not just settle into a mega resort. If you are going to travel the long trip to the the USVI, you honestly need to spend some time going to some of the many beautiful beaches, finding quaint restaurants on the beach, exploring the interesting historic sites, and just spend time just enjoying the island experience. Provided you are going to explore this tropical oasis, you have several traveling choices. RENT A CAR OR JEEP-You can rent a car or jeep (a car is fine on most roads).. If I stay over a week, I will usually rent a car at least a couple of days. It will cost $50- $75 a day. Consider renting from a local mom and pop shop. Their cars are fine, they deliver, they are cheaper and they will negotiate. And several of the national chains also offer rentals. CALL A TAXI-You can rent a local taxi, but it's not that cheap. A taxi can always be found at the airport, and throughout the shopping districts on St John and St Thomas, or you can phone a taxi to pick you up anywhere. For two people to travel from one end of the island to the other it will cost $15-one way per person.. With a tip expect to pay around $10 for even a short ride in town. And expect to ride with groups of other strangers on a large taxi van. TAKE THE SAFARI BUS AND SAVE-If you are traveling in close proximity to the major east/west highways on St Thomas, and St John you can take the local shuttle bus, called the "Safari". The "Safari" is a reliable open air shuttle bus the locals use and it cost just one dollar to go from one side of St Thomas to the opposite side. (NOW THAT'S A TRAVEL DEAL).. A new bus arrives at numerous sites along the route about every ten minutes. The "Safari" bus is safe, interesting and amazingly fast..(Unfortunately, the "Safari" is not suitable for transporting lots of luggage, and the closest airport bus stop is about a mile from the airport terminal). .. RIDE THE FERRY- If you travel between St Thomas and St John you will be traveling by ferry..The ferry ride To Cruz Bay, St John (the St John ferry dock) is a short twenty minute ride by ferry departing from (Red Hook) on the far east end of ST Thomas, and the cost is about five dollars per person..(Keep in mind, the one hour taxi ride to the east end (Red Hook) from the airport is about $15 per person).. Or you can take the forty-five minute ferry ride to St John from the shopping district dock in downtown Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas, at a cost of $10 and just an $8 fifteen minute taxi ride from the airport to the Charlotte Amalie ferry dock.. (See the St Thomas Source website below for the most recent ferry schedules/prices).. The east end (Red Hook) ferry runs well into the night and much more often..(and prices do fluctuate), but the Red Hook ferry is always about half the price of the downtown Charlotte Amalie ferry.. A ride on either ferry is actually a nice way to relax after a long flight, with such beautiful topical sights along the way. And the ferries do run on schedule for the most part. RENT A BOAT-Lastly, you can even rent a small motor boat for $400 a day from several operators, and be your own captain and go from beach to beach... SEAPLANE- How most will travel between St Thomas and St Croix.. Also, consider a day trip to the British Virgin Islands-(Totola, Virgin Gorda or the smaller BVI's). It is a great day trip by ferry..The amazing "Baths " on BVI's Virgin Gorda are worth the trip. However, a US passport is necessary for this trip.
ST CROIX, ST THOMAS, ST JOHN OR WATER ISLAND...
Anyone considering a trip to the US Virgin Islands will need to decide which island or islands they plan to visit .. Having spent considerable time on all three of these tropical gems, I can say with experience that each island has its own unique personality. ST THOMAS-St Thomas has the duty free shopping, with some of the best duty free retail shops in the world to buy jewels, electronics, liquor, clothes, etc... And St Thomas has several mega-resorts. ST JOHN- St John offers the best beaches/views, and the true tropical experience.. No other place in the world has such a magnificent national park covering two-thirds of an island, and not tainted by commercial exploitation. And while on St John, by all means rent a jeep and travel the north shore road to Coral Bay and have lunch at Ship Wreck Landing. The views are amazing.. ST CROIX - St Croix has everything the other two offer plus a couple of great golf courses... St Croix is more open and larger than both St John or St Thomas. And far less busy that St Thomas. Due to the distance, commutes to St Croix from the other islands is usually done by seaplane, and not by ferry. However, St Croix is still a lovely place to visit. WATER ISLAND- Water Island is a lovely small island, that is mostly known by the locals.. I have vacationed there and it is a private oasis just a short boat ride from Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas,USVI. It has a couple of quaint tropical beaches and its almost like having a private island to yourself.. There are no five-star resorts on Water Island, but you will find private villas and a few guest houses that offer nice accommodations for your trip. Water Island is just a short boat ride from St Thomas, but very private, as you can only get there on a small ferry.... Water Island would be a great escape for a travelling celebrity wanting to relax in privacy, but still close to everything the other islands have to offer.
CONDO, PRIVATE HOME, A GUEST HOUSE, OR LUXURY RESORT/HOTEL....
There are many various accommodations available on the USVI.. All three of the main islands have the five star mega resorts/hotels-that are pricey , but with all the amenities. Then there are also the small more relatively modest hotels with most amenities, but considerably less expensive. And there are guest houses with few amenities, but very nice and very reasonable in price. Many of the local workers in the USVI often rent a room in a guest house on a weekly or monthly basis, and many offer bed and breakfast. (See the Bed And Breakfast website above) Many visitors, especially those traveling as a large group, will rent a luxury villa or condo. It's very nice to rent a furnished condo or villa and be able explore the many sites in your rented jeep. And by renting a condo or villa you will save you a considerable amount over the cost a luxury hotel resort, including the cost of meals by cooking in your private kitchen in a very nice condo or villa. And almost any hotel, condo or quest house on all the islands will have great ocean views from your balcony.. And remember to travel like a local and just hop in your rented jeep and beach hop to a new beach every day.. You will never want to leave the islands..
ADVICE ON THE MANY BEACHES OF THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS...
All the islands have beautiful tropical beaches and I will only address just a few, and any of the many beaches in the USVI will be a very nice beach. St Thomas' most popular beach is probably Magens Bay. If you do not have a rental car the taxi fair to Magens Bay from most locations on St Thomas can be relatively costly. Magens Bay is a long lovely beach with a respectable beach bar/cafe. A lot of the locals find their way to Lindberg Beach, which is located a very short distance from the St Thomas airport. Lindberg has two nice beach bar/cafes adjacent to two modest hotels. The surf at Lindberg is calm and gentle. You can actually catch the "Safari" to Lindberg, and walk about a quarter of a mile to the beach from the drop off point.. If you enjoy snorkeling and spending a lot of time on the beach, I recommend St John.. Even the locals on St Thomas go to St John on the weekends. St John has many lovely tropical beaches, most within the Virgin Islands National Park. The most notable beach being Trunk Bay, with its famous snorkeling trail. And AS TO SNORKELING- (Actually, the best snorkeling on Trunk Bay is at the far western end of the Trunk Bay along the rocky cliffs next to shore, and not the marked trail around the small cay, which is crowded with all the tourist). If you go to Trunk Bay, go early morning before the cruise ships arrive and enjoy the beach by yourself. When the beach gets crowded with all the cruise patrons, the best advice is to just pack up and head back to town and set up on one of the locals favorite local beach, Hawks Nest.. Bring your own cooler to Hawks Nest, as there are no concessions, but it is beautiful, and close to Cruz Bay and much more private..Outdoor toliets are available, but no running water. Just east of Hawks Nest is a small lovely beach, Oppienhimer Beach, (also called Gibney) where you will find some of the best snorkeling on the island in the shallow waters just off shore, and lots of coral.. Also, drop us an email (email@example.com), and we will pass on the name and location of a small cay where the snorkeling is unbelievable (lots of star fish and coral), and it also has a small sandy beach..You will probably be the only one on this small cay... And truthfully, any USVI beach is great place to spend the day and I have only named a few..
For additinal traveling advice about the US Virgin Islands (including the latest ferry schedules to all the islands, including ferries to The British Virgin Islands)- See the: St Thomas Source -The USVI internet news site.. (Just check the visitors center for a wealth of information...)
For latest VI happenings-See the link on the Virgin Islnds Daily News website, which includes the daily web edition of the USVI daily paper- The Island Trader : Virgin Island Daily News
And below-View a live webcam above the Cruz Bay, St John ferry dock (A new photo every 30 seconds):
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