So you haven’t renewed your passport. Or you never got around to getting a passport. Granted, these days without a passport, you can’t go to Canada, Mexico and a multitude of nearby Caribbean islands; however, no passport is required for entry to US territories.
This includes Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas, plus…
The United States Virgin Islands which encompass St Thomas, St John and St Croix. These are destinations where your driver’s license suffices for entry.
Located in the Atlantic Time Zone and a three hour flight out of Miami, this paradise in the eastern Caribbean offers all the amenities of a tropical vacation.
The USVI were discovered by Columbus on his second voyage in 1493, these islands exchanged hands over the centuries with Spain initially taking possession, then back and forth between England and Denmark. Purchased from Denmark during World War One in 1917, they became a US territory.
Due to the English heritage, people drive on the left in the Virgin Islands. Consequently, you don’t need to go to Japan or England to experience driving one the “wrong” side of the road.
St Thomas is the best known of the three Virgin Islands. Mountainous and picturesque with turquoise bays and inlets surrounding the island, Charlotte Amalie is the capitol and main harbor. Cruise ships on eastern Caribbean itineraries make this a busy port of call and an embarkation point.
The main airport is close to two Best Westerns, one within walking distance, the other with an attractive beach with full service restaurant and bar about one mile away. Cab fares have set rates for passengers and luggage regardless of distance traveled.
Just outside the cruise ship dock, is the St. Thomas Sky Ride gondola that takes visitors up to a mountain overlook where one can kill time while waiting for an outbound flight and enjoy a beautiful panorama overlooking Charlotte Amalie.
This mountainous island has numerous bays and beaches. Coki and Linquist beaches are the most popular. Coki point has the Coral World Ocean Park where one can enjoy the undersea world. Frenchman’s Bay, Megan’s Bay and Hull bay are also key attractions
Just east of St Thomas is St John, home to the world’s most beautiful beaches. OK, there are countless of beautiful beaches on the planet, they like to think their’s are the best.
Just like its sister island, St John is mountainous with multiple turquoise bays and inlets. In the center of the island, we have Virgin Islands National Park with 20 hiking trails and views unsurpassed of the neighboring islands.
Bordeaux Mountain at 1230 feet, one can enjoy breathtaking views of St Croix, 40 miles south, the British Virgin Islands, the Atlantic and the Caribbean.
Cruz Bay is the quiet capitol and main harbor of this lovely island getaway. Trunk Bay and Caneel Bay sport scenic beaches and excellent hotel accommodations.
St Croix is the largest of the three islands. Not as mountainous, more flat, long and expansive. Christiansted is its capital and the destination of choice on this island with plenty of restaurants, shopping and historical sites.
I stayed on St Croix for a week back in 1991, enjoying a superb condo and a week of excellent scuba diving on its pristine reefs. We rented a car for a day to “experience” driving on the “incorrect” side of the road.
Fredricksted is the main town on the western side of the St Croix. In 1994, cruise ship peers were built to accommodate multiple ships at once. There is also an aquarium located in town which is a popular attraction, not to mention, plenty of shopping.
Buck Island National Monument is a short boat ride from Christiansted. This is a popular destination for scuba divers, snorkeling, kayakers and sunset cruisers.
The US Virgin Islands abounds in history with numerous places of historical interest.
The higher elevations on St Thomas and St John are noticeably cooler and a good place to escape the humid environs found at sea level.
The climate is mild year round averaging 75 to 85 degrees. Direct flights are available from several east coast cities.
So go enjoy America’s Caribbean.