There’s no doubt about it. Life in the city can be hectic, loud, and crowded. If you dream of beautiful blue skies, endless white sand beaches, and a laid back lifestyle, life in the US Virgin Islands could be your dream come true. The US Virgin Islands are located about 80 miles to the East of Puerto Rico and 1,100 miles to the Southeast of Miami.
The islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, as well as 50 smaller islands and cays, make up the Virgin Islands. With everything these islands have to offer, it’s no wonder that they’re such a popular vacation destination for folks from all over the globe. Here are ten reasons why you should consider leaving the city and heading to the US Virgin Islands!
1. No Passport Required
Do you hate the hassle of going through customs when you travel? Unlike other island destinations, the US Virgin Islands are part of the United States territory, so you don’t need a passport to visit there, and you will still be a resident of the United States if you move there. Even more convenient, US currency is used throughout the islands and the most common language spoken is English.
The island has a diverse culture that makes it feel like a real getaway with an authentic laid-back Caribbean feel, but it’s much more affordable and accessible than other Caribbean destinations, especially for US citizens. Oh, and did we mention that the airport is basically in the Caribbean Sea? How cool is that?
2. Unforgettable Snorkeling
The Islands hold a unique appeal for those who love to shop! You’ll find some of the best duty-free, tax-free shopping in all of the Caribbean in the US Virgin Islands. Whether you’re into jewelry, art, or fantastic bottles of rum, you’ll love scouting out all the good deals. US citizens can leave the islands with twice as many duty-free goods as most other destinations, up to $1,600 worth!
You can score unheard of deals on high-end brands… from watches to clothing. If perfume is your thing, you’ll love all the exotic scents that are made on the surrounding islands. Local artisans are famous for their incredible pottery, and St. Croix’s rum is terrific. Shopping in the islands offers something for everyone!
3. Duty-Free Shopping
If you’re headed to USVI, be sure to pack your mask and snorkel. The islands are loaded with stunning, one of a kind dive and snorkel opportunities.
Explore hidden caves and nooks, watch sea turtles and brightly colored fish swim about, or check out the remarkable coral formations right off the islands. You can even snorkel in mangrove forests full of colossal starfish.
The islands offer countless opportunities where you can just walk right into the water from the beach to enjoy incredible snorkeling right offshore. The entire underwater experience is unforgettable, and the shallow, crystal clear waters are perfect for all age groups and experience levels.
4. Virgin Islands National Park
Virgin Islands National Park is located on St. John, and it offers everything from exotic wildlife to countless hiking trails and walking paths for those who enjoy being out in nature. You can even walk an unforgettable trail that allows you to experience the entire island.
You can hike through abandoned sugar plantations, old stone ruins, and majestic forests. You’ll even see a deserted sugar factory and ancient petroglyphs along the way. The journey ends at one of St. John’s breathtaking beaches.
Wildlife lovers will want to visit the park to see all kinds of creatures from the water, land, and sky. In the air, you can see as many as 144 species of birds, various butterflies, and even bats throughout the park most of the year. On land, look for mongoose, iguanas, and even native donkeys. This park has it all, with whales and dolphins regularly spotted offshore as well.
5. Endless Summers
You really can’t beat the endless summers of the US Virgin Islands! With an average temperature of about 82 degrees during the day and mid-70s overnight, the islands offer some of the most beautiful weather on the planet.
All day rain showers are unusual, and it usually rains just a few minutes in the early morning or evening. Even the water stays at a comfortable 79 to 84 degrees all year long. Bathing suits, flipflops, sunshine, and blue skies… that’s what you can expect from this Caribbean paradise all year round!
6. Cruzan Rum
One of the best things about the islands is Cruzan Rum! On St. Croix, you can visit the distillery where the rum is made. It’s a popular destination for travelers from all over the world who want an insider’s view of the sugar can distilling process and the bottling procedures. And of course, the tour wouldn’t be complete without tasting some of their world-famous cocktails grabbing a couple bottles of spiced or coconut rum to take home. You’ll find plenty of rum throughout the islands, but nothing compares to the Cruzan Rum made in the USVI.
7. World Renowned Golf
St. Croix and St. Thomas offer gorgeous, world-renowned golf courses that have been frequented by US presidents. If you are a golfer, you’ll be right at home on the islands.
Don’t miss the Mahogany golf course on St. Thomas with fairways that offer views of the Atlantic Ocean and greens with views of the islands that you can’t get in many other places. You’ll also want to check out Buccaneer Golf Course on St. Croix. This course has been voted as having the most scenic layout for several years.
8. Unbelievable Beaches
With the combination of clear blue water, pristine white sand, and gorgeous weather, the beaches of the Virgin Islands are certainly the main reason the islands are so incredibly popular. Each of the three main islands offers something a little different.
On St. Thomas, you’ll find bustling, busy beaches, like Magens Bay and Coki Point, full of activity and surfside restaurants and bars. On the other hand, the beaches on St. John, such as Leinster Bay, are more off the beaten path, often quiet and deserted. If you want to mix things up with some kite surfing or sailing, head for St. Croix.
And, those aren’t your only options!
Countless small cays and islets can only be gotten to by boat, each one hosting its own gorgeous beaches. Water Island’s Honeymoon Beach is a local favorite.
9. Authentic Caribbean Cuisine
The cuisine of the USVI is as varied as its cultures. You’ll find everything from beach shack restaurants to fine dining all over the islands offering favorite local dishes and regional specialties. Authentic Caribbean Cuisine like okra, johnnycakes, callaloo, fresh fish, and more can be sampled in abundance. And there’s no lack of fruity cocktails, luscious desserts, and delicious ice cream made from exotic local fruits. The islands offer something for every taste!
10. The History
The USVI have an interesting and varied past. At one time or another, the islands have belonged to the French, the Spanish, the Dutch, and the English! History buffs will want to take in the historic remains of sugar plantations, abandoned rum stills, and old jails that are conveniently located within short walks of each other.
The US Virgin Islands are the perfect place to get away from hectic city life and adopt the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle. Whether you’re a nature lover, a sun worshipper, or a shopaholic, the islands can make all your dreams come true. Don’t hesitate to snatch up your piece of paradise before the rest of the world catches on!