Our United States Virgin Islands Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help you plan your trip to one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. No matter how often you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from Cyril E. King Airport and Henry E. Rohlsen Airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need?

    We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. You’ll also learn about the most popular landmarks in the US Virgin Islands such as the Virgin Islands National Park, Fort Christian, and Mountain Top. You’ll also learn about the most popular towns and villages in the US Virgin Islands such as Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted, Cruz Bay, and Frederiksted. It’s all compiled in this United States Virgin Islands Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip to the US Virgin Islands.

    1

    What are the main towns and villages in the United States Virgin Islands?

    The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) comprise 3 main islands – Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas – plus 50 other small islands and islets. The archipelago is in the Lesser Antilles, with Puerto Rico to its east and the British Virgin Islands to its north. Christopher Columbus first visited the islands in 1493, and they were alternately occupied by the Spanish, the French, the Dutch, the English, and the Norwegian and Danish before being sold to the US in 1917.

    The main cities and towns are Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas, St Croix, Cruz Bay on St John, and Anna’s Retreat on St Thomas.

    Charlotte Amalie

    Charlotte Amalie is the capital city of the US Virgin Islands. Founded in 1666 on the south coast of St Thomas Island, Charlotte Amalie is famed for its Danish colonial architecture and for the many historical buildings it hosts. Its deepwater harbour is one of the busiest ports in the Caribbean, while Cyril E. King Airport is the prime arrival hub to the US Virgin Islands.

    Christiansted

    Christiansted is the largest town on St Croix Island, established in 1734 on the northeastern coast. The former capital city of the Danish West Indies, Christiansted was built by African slaves – it features rather unique African-Danish architecture. Aside from a few historical buildings and the Christiansted National Historic Site, scuba diving is the main draw here.

    Cruz Bay

    The main town on St John Island, Cruz Bay is a popular destination that features a good choice of dining, shopping, and nightlife entertainment options, including a casino. Cruz Bay beach is lined with bars and shops and the Cruz Bay Town Historic District offers great walking tours. Nevertheless, the main attraction of St John Island is the Virgin Islands National Park that covers an area of over 14,000 acres on the island and 5,500 acres of adjacent ocean.

    Frederiksted

    Frederiksted sits at the western end of St Croix Island, the largest island of the US Virgin Islands. Named after the king of Denmark who bought the Danish West Indies in 1754, Frederiksted is home to a deep-sea port served by ferries and cruise ships. Fort Frederik, as well as Rainbow Beach, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, and St George Village Botanical Gardens, are some of Frederiksted’s top attractions.

    2

    When is the best time to travel to the United States Virgin Islands?

    The United States Virgin Islands have a tropical climate, with average temperatures ranging between 79°F and 84°F year-round.

    • The rainiest time of the year is between September and December with about 13 rainy days per month. January–August sees an average of around 9 rainy days a month.
    • Hurricanes and tropical storms occasionally hit the islands between June and November.
    • December–March is the most popular time to visit the US Virgin Islands, but it’s also peak season when hotel and flight prices rise accordingly.
    • April–June is the best time to visit the US Virgin Islands. The weather and temperatures are favourable and it’s when you’ll be able to avoid the summer crowds. Hotel and flight prices are also normally lower during this period.
    3

    United States Virgin Islands basics

    • Plug type: A and B
    • Electricity: 110 V – 60 Hz
    • Currency: United States Dollar (US$)
    • International dialling code: +1 340
    • Emergency telephone number: 911 from a land phone and 340-772-9111 from a cellphone
    4

    How to get to my hotel in the United States Virgin Islands?

    Cyril E. King Airport

    Cyril E. King Airport (STT) lies about 2 miles west of Charlotte Amelie on St Thomas Island. It’s served by 10 airlines with flights from some of the main airports in the US and the Caribbean islands. Cyril E. King Airport has 1 passenger terminal served by 1 runway. The terminal features a good choice of dining and shopping options as well as facilities like free Wi-Fi and banking and currency exchange services. Transfer options to help you get to any destination on the island include:

    • Taxi ranks, right in front of the terminal
    • Shared and private vans
    • Car rental agencies’ desks, found inside the terminal

    Henry E. Rohlsen Airport

    Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) is on the south coast of St Croix Island, 5.5 miles east of Frederiksted and 6.5 miles west of Christiansted. It’s served by a handful of airlines with a few flights from Miami and Charlotte and a majority of domestic flights from other Caribbean airports, including San Juan in Puerto Rico as well as Terrance B. Lettsome and Taddy Bay – the 2 main airports in the British Virgin Islands. Taxis and car rental agencies can be found inside the terminal.

    Ferries to/from St Thomas

    No ferries serve the US Virgin Islands from the US mainland. However, inter-island ferries are available to reach any island in the archipelago (including the British Virgin Islands) from St Thomas. The island has 2 main ferry terminals – Red Hook Dock and St Thomas Cruise Ship Docks – that can easily be reached by taxi from Cyril E. King Airport.

    5

    How to get around the United States Virgin Islands?

    Travel tips

    • The best way to explore the towns and villages is on foot.
    • For longer distances, renting a car is most convenient for getting around the 3 main islands. The roads are generally in reasonable condition, but you can expect occasional potholes as well as winding and steep roads. Note that the US Virgin Islands is the only place in the US where you must drive on the left. You’ll need an international driver’s licence to be able to drive (up to 90 days) here. If you come during the high season (December–March), it’s best to book a car a few months ahead.
    • Taxis are also a good way to get around, but they’ll cost you more for travelling throughout the islands.
    • Vitran runs a network of public buses on the 3 main islands. It’s a very cheap way for getting around but is less reliable.
    • Getting from one island to the other by ferry is pleasant and affordable. Vitran operates public ferries between St Thomas, St John, and St Croix. USVI Ferry can get you to the 2 other main islands of the group plus Water Island, as well as Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke, and Anegada in the British Virgin Islands.
    • Private water taxis are more expensive but they’re a great way of getting around the islands.
    • If you have NauticEd Bareboat Certification, chartering a bareboat is a fantastic way to explore the archipelago. If not, you can also charter a crewed boat for one day or more.
    6

    What are the main annual events in the United States Virgin Islands?

    St John Carnival and Independence Day

    • Late June–early July
    • Held since the ‘60s, St John Carnival lasts more than a week and ends on the 4th of July, blending a traditional Caribbean event with the US Independence Day celebrations. Expect festive parades featuring stilt dancers known as moko jumbies, the crowning of Miss St John and the carnival king, as well as impressive fireworks.
    • Where: Cruz Bay

    St Croix Blue Bay Jazz Festival

    • November
    • St Croix Blue Bay Jazz Festival is a 5-day event that brings together local and international artists. Jazz enthusiasts will enjoy the combination of their favourite music with Caribbean cuisine and a festive atmosphere. Street entertainment and arts and crafts activities are also part of this festival.
    • Where: Fort Frederik beach in Frederiksted

    Transfer Day

    • March 31st
    • Transfer Day celebrates the anniversary of the purchase of the Virgin Islands by the US from Denmark, at 4 pm on March 31st, 1917. It features a reenactment of the original ceremony, a military parade, and various cultural events.
    • Where: On all USVI islands
    7

    What are the main landmarks in the United States Virgin Islands?

    Virgin Islands National Park

    Virgin Islands National Park covers about 60% of St John Island plus 9 square miles of the adjacent sea. It offers miles of rainforest hiking trails, stunning beaches such as Maho and Cinnamon bays, and historic sites such as the Catherineberg Sugar Mill Ruins and Petroglyph site.

    Fort Christian

    Completed in 1680, Fort Christan is a Dano-Norwegian-built bastion that overlooks the Charlotte Amelie Harbour. The oldest standing structure in the US Virgin Islands, it served as a government house and point of defence against pirates. Today, it hosts the St Thomas Museum.

    Mountain Top

    Hailed as among the most scenic views in the world, Mountain Top is not only a fantastic viewpoint offering vistas over the Caribbean Sea and 20 islands – it’s a shopping mecca and is considered the birthplace of the famous banana daiquiri cocktail.

    Fort Christiansvaern

    Fort Christiansvaern is a well-preserved Danish colonial fortification established along Christiansted Harbour on St Croix Island. Largely completed in 1749, it’s a star-shaped fortress that served as a courthouse, a prison, and even as a church. Ranger-guided tours are available.

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