Beginner’s Guide to the US Virgin Islands – Part 2

Beginner’s Guide to the US Virgin Islands – Part 2
US Virgin Islands Are you heading to the US Virgin Islands for the first time and need some questions answered? The Beginner's Guide to the US Virgin Islands is a great place to start. In Part 1 of this two-part series we answered some of the most common questions that people have about this Caribbean destination – such as what side of the road you can drive on, if you can drink the water and whether you need to bring your passport. In Part 2 of the Beginner's Guide to the US Virgin Islands we will provide you with even more helpful information you should know when planning your USVI trip.

What language is spoken in the USVI?

The most widely spoken language in the US Virgin Islands is English. Sometimes the locals speak it quickly and with an accent, so it might be difficult to understand at first. There is also a Creole version of English that exists which also involves a unique vocabulary, different pronunciations and unique grammar rules. While English is the most common language on the islands, it is also common to hear Spanish and French Creole spoken as well. Immigrants from Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico speak Spanish and immigrants from St. Lucia, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin, Dominica, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique and Haiti speak French Creole. This is a big part of the islands culture and diversity

Do I need to rent a car in the USVI?

Renting a car while you visit the US Virgin Islands is not essential, but it can offer several advantages. A rental car can be handy, as it will give you the freedom to be able to explore the island on your own schedule and see some of the more off-the-beaten-track areas. There are several rental car companies on the island, including Thrifty, Avis and Hertz. If you choose to rent a car, it is important to learn the rules of the road first. Drive cautiously as the roads can be hilly and winding. Always beep your horn when going around blind corners and be aware of others who might not adhere to the speed limits. If you are uncomfortable driving on the left side of the road or with the speed of traffic, there are other transportation options available too. Getting around on foot, bike, shuttle, ferry and boat are other alternatives for traveling outside of your hotel or resort.

What is the drinking Age?bar-1135583_1920

Unlike the US mainland, the drinking age in the US Virgin Islands is 18 years old. There are several great drinking establishments on the islands thatare loved by visitors, including Duffy’s Love Shack, the Caribbean Saloon on St. Thomas and the Brew Pub in Christiansted on St. Croix. If you are of age, try some of the island specials.

What is There to Do Besides Relax on the Beach?

One of the main reasons to visit the US Virgin Islands is to enjoy the relaxing pleasure of stretching out on a beautiful beach and soaking up the sunshine. However, if you want to take a break from the beach, there are many other great things to do. Learn about history on a tour of Fort Christiansvaern or visit the Estate Whim Plantation Museum of St. Croix. Go on a nature trek in the Virgin Islands National Park. Go scuba diving at the amazing Buck Island Reef National Monument – one of the most diverse marine gardens in the Caribbean. You could even visit the Cruzan Rum Distillery to learn about how this drink is made. There’s much more to do in the USVI than just lounging on the beach, so get out there and explore! Part 1 and Part 2 of the Beginner's Guide to the US Virgin Islands should be a good introduction to the USVI. For even more information, visit our site.

4th of July in the U.S. Virgin Islands

4th of July in the U.S. Virgin Islands

usa-598261_1280If you find yourself spending 4th of July in the U.S. Virgin Islands you must make plans to celebrate the holiday with us! Here’s how 4th of July in the U.S. Virgin Islands is celebrated a little bit differently on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.

4th of July in St. Croix:

The island of St. Croix generally celebrates on  the afternoon of July 4th from into the early morning of Sunday July 5th. Join revelers in Frederiksted, which is the heart of St. Croix, for music, food, fun and of course a stunning fireworks extravaganza.

4th of July in St. John:

4th of July in the U.S. Virgin Islands might be best spent in St. John. On the nearby island of St. John, the day is full of celebrations starting very early morning (Yes…VERY early a.m). Starting before the sun rises at Cruz Bay, J’ouvert is a large Carnival street party and parade that begins well before dawn on the morning of July 4th. The energetic celebration includes costumed dancers and calypso bands and dancing until the sun comes up!

Then in Cruz Bay is the biggest event of the St. John Festival – the parade! See mocko jumbies, carnival royalty, listen to steel drum bands play while colorfully dancing troupes dance along. Some troupes include masqueraders wearing from the smallest costumes of bikinis with beads to elaborate, large costumes that stretch the width of the parade route. The parade route starts at the National Park Visitor Center entrance and runs through Cruz Bay.

4th of July in St. Thomas:

St. Thomas has perhaps the milder of celebrations on the 4th of July in the U.S. Virgin Islands. While festivities are more minimal, you can still expect to cap off the day of celebration with a grand fireworks display over the magnificent Cruz Bay harbor.

The U.S. Virgin Islands takes pride in being connected with the U.S. and the celebrations show. Plan your July vacation in advance by booking your hotels and resorts today.

Best Snorkeling in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Best Snorkeling in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Stay cool and experience the underwater life this summer! St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix all have wonderful spots that showcase the beautiful sea creatures, coral and more that live right underneath the ocean’s surface. Here is a list of the best snorkeling in the U.S. Virgin Islands:

Best Snorkeling in St. Croix:

  • Cane Bay
  • Buck Island

Best Snorkeling in St. John:

  • Hurricane Hole
  • Haulover Bay
  • Leinster Bay

Best Snorkeling in St. Thomas:

  • Coki Point Beach

For even more places to snorkel near the island, check out our snorkeling page. Have other spots you love that we left off our list? Please share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! We love learning (and seeing pictures of) new places and adding to our list of best snorkeling in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Visiting St. John in June

Visiting St. John in June

Summer months are a popular time to go on a family vacation because kids are out of school. But did you know that summer is also one of the best months to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands? Read perks of visiting St. John in June.

Weather in St. John

June is the perfect time to plan your trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, especially St. John. Weather is most mild between April and June, meaning temperatures won’t be too high yet. With an average high of 89 degrees and an average low of 76 degrees, weather in St. John in June is just right. Did we mention June also has among the lowest rain fall? Plan an early summer vacation and miss hurricane season!

Booking Hotels in St. John

Despite the perfect weather and little precipitation, April to June are some of the slower tourist months for hotels and resorts. Even better for you! This means beaches will be less crowded and room rates are likely to drop this time of year. Book your hotels and resorts in St. John while prices are low!

St. John Festival

The festival season in St. John celebrates and showcases the best aspects of Caribbean culture at the St. John Festival. Each year has a different theme and lasts for an entire month with various activities. The festival’s activities conclude on the 4th of July with a parade and an evening of fireworks.

Young or old, there are activities for all! Music is a must throughout the entire month. Also the mocko jumbie, ghost-like figure, makes an appearance. Make plans for visiting St. John in June and help us celebrate our Caribbean heritage!

What are you waiting for? Get your ducks in a row, so you’re visiting St. John in June of next year.

Top Virgin Islands National Park Events and Tours

Top Virgin Islands National Park Events and Tours

Hotels and resorts are known for facilitating top rated excursions, but on your next trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, we dare you to attend an event like a local. Are you up for the challenge? If so, here are some of the top events and tours hosted by the Virgin Islands National Park.

Beach-to-Beach Power Swim

For the past twelve Memorial Days, the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park has hosted the Beach-to-Beach Power Swim on St. John. Starting at Maho Bay Beach, swimmers have the option to choose between three courses:

  1. Short Course- Maho Bay to Cinnamon Bay- 1 mile
  1. Intermediate Course: Maho Bay to Trunk Bay- 2 ¼ miles
  1. Long Course- Maho Bay to Hawksnest- 3 ½ miles

It’s a great event for visiting families to swim with the locals and support the mission of the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park. Plus, how many people can say they raised money while swimming in the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Bird Watching

Depending on the season (usually  September to Decemeber), Virgin Islands National Park will also host free, weekly bird watching. Tourists have the chance to observe birds all over St. John island, while viewing both migratory and native species.

Hike L’Esperance Trail

Again, depending on the season (usually November to April), Virgin Islands National Park offers hiking tours of St. John for just a small fee. The tour leads you everywhere from a historic Danish road to ruins and plantations, to St. Johns sacred trees and Bay Rum trees, to the best views of Reef Bay. You’re sure to get every glimpse of the landscape on this hiking tour. Read more about hiking in the U.S. Virgin Islands here.

We really value the preservation of our island and the efforts Virgin Islands National Park puts forth to protect our ecosystems. So on your next vacation, stop by and say your hellos to the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park.