US Virgin Islands Travel Guide
The US Virgin Islands are a contradiction. They are more populated than the British Virgin Islands just to the east and St Thomas is a cruise ship magnet, but on the other hand it is
easier to find quite secluded coves.
The US Virgin Islands started off as a settlement of the Danish West India Company as they settled St Thomas in 1672, St John in 1694, and purchased St Croix in 1733 from the French. It was not until 1917 that the United States bought the islands for 25 million dollars (the equivalent of more than half a billion dollars today). The US did this because they feared the Germans would take them over and turn it into a submarine base.
I have spent six plus years running charters out of St Thomas, so I have spent ample time around it and St John. I have sailed my boat 40 miles south to St Croix for two different week long get-aways.
Likes, Dislikes, and Recommendations
Many people feel St Thomas is crowded, dirty, and loud, while I cannot disagree with that assessment there are some cool things on the island. The downtown area has some historic building, Frenchtown is nice, hiking Hassel Island is well worth it, and the turtles at Buck Island are always a hit.
Now St John is a totally different island. If you want snorkeling and hiking better than the BVI with WAY less boats around, then this is the island for you. Two Thirds of the island is a National Park and most of the bays have zero infrastructure. Almost any bay you go into will be quiet and give you time to simply relax, but my personal favorite part is the southern coast.
St Croix is 35-40 miles south of the other islands and is larger than St Thomas, St John, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda combined. There is a lot of great stuff to do on the island, but surprisingly there are relatively few protected harbors. My favorite things are the downtown area of Christiansted, Annaly Pool, Whim Historical Plantation, and the Cruzan Rum Factory.
My biggest dislike in the USVI is the fact that customer service is atrocious compared to US standards. If you want to try and get in with the locals saying good morning, afternoon, or evening will go a very long way.
Below you can get even more helpful hints by watching the travel videos I made for the US Virgin Islands. Also, you can read all about the USVI in my blog posts located below the video.