• Katie Grillo

US Virgin Islands

Updated: Feb 21

St. Thomas & St. John

Relaxing before my flight

I am sitting at the Emerald Beach Resort with my luggage in the sand, sunscreen on my tanned skin, and my book in hand. My journey from the north side of the island was made surprisingly easy due to the kindness of two local women who saw my hitchhikers point and picked me up from the side of the road. I got dropped off in Charlotte Amalie and took a $1 ride on the open air safari to the end of Airport Road. Rather than spending the next hour at the airport, I found myself here. The sun shining down on me, the sand still stuck to my toes, the gentle lapping of waves on the white sand beach just in front of me. I hear the sound of a plane approaching and see it land directly behind my shoulder. I take this as a sign that it’s finally time for me to leave.


 

Highlights

Living with a local -- Beaches, beaches and more beaches -- Island hopping


US Virgin Islands Map

This map shows a collection of things to Eat/ Drink, Do, See, or Stay. Each collection is in it's own group layer in the map to make it easy for you to explore by location or by topic. Click on a point to see the Map Happy Travel comments and get links to websites, google directions, and more!

Yellow points are the Map Happy Travel Favorites. These special spots are considered the Musts for your adventure. They are explained in greater detail below.



Map Happy Travel Guides

This was a unique trip for me where I really didn't plan a ton. I was visiting a friend that had been living on St. Thomas for a month before I arrived. I decided to go with the flow and trust in her as my tour guide. That being said, we had a lot of adventures!! Here are some of my favorites:


St. Thomas

Magen’s Trail and Magen’s Bay

Relatively easy trail that meanders through the forest and then down in the mangroves before taking you to the beach. Named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. White sands and crystal clear waters.


Sapphire Sunday Beach Party

Every Sunday Sapphire Beach offers live music at their outdoor bar. There were a bunch of people dancing but I chose to lay in the sand with my pina colada and just enjoy the views. There was also great snorkeling just off the shore.


St. John

Lind Point Trail

This trail starts near the visitor center and takes you out to a number of different beaches. The upper trail is a little bit steeper but shorter whereas the lower trail is longer but flattered. We took the lower trail on our way in and the upper trail on the way out. The upper trail gave us beautiful view the cove as we had it back to town.



Getting Around


By Car

Drive on the left but the the cars are the same as on mainland US (with driver on the left side)

Be sure you look both ways before stepping out to cross street!


Taxis Vans and open-air safaris (converted truck beds with open-air seating)

Make sure you greet the driver with a Good Morning or Afternoon but then you can try to haggle with taxi to get a better deal. They are more likely to take a lower fare especially when there are no ships in.

Hitching a ride in the back of a truck

Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking is common on the islands but should be done with caution. It’s best to only hitchhike in more of the local areas, away from the tourist crowds, such as on the north side of the island. Sticking out your thumb won't earn you a ride, I’m challenging you to ask a local for the inside tips :-)


Arrival and Departure

Airport Code

STT


Arrival

Van taxi can take you into a port area for just $10. This is much cheaper than taking a direct cab to accommodation outside of one of these ports.

When you come out of the airport, turn left and you should see all the vans lined up. Tell someone where you are trying to go. Have a specific destination and say it clearly. They will guide you towards which van you should get in. Have you cash ready for when you get off at your stop.


Departure

Regardless of your nationality or where you are headed, you are required to go through customs when you leave the USVI. Give yourself the same amount of time that you would for an "international" flight even if you're just headed back to the US mainland.

For those of you that are checking a bag, make sure you get into the correct line. You have to drop your bag off before getting in the customs line. I saw a lot of people getting confused by this.


The Basics


Tips and Tricks

Passports

If you are a US citizen, you do not need a passport to travel to the USVI but you might want to consider bringing it anyway. Upon departure, having a passport can help to “speed up the process” (according to the TSA staff I met). It's also a good idea to bring a passport in case you end up getting an opportunity to visit the BVIs or other nearby islands.


Money

Credit Cards Widely Accepted

Need cash for Taxis as well as for smaller shops and markets


Drinking Water

Airport says water is unsafe so they only sell bottled. I drank water all over the island so I don't know if this is true. I encourage you to do some more research and do what feels right for you.


Common courtesy

Do: Always greet people with a "Good Morning" or "Good Evening"

Don't: Walk around in a bikini off of the beaches


Further reading

I am a huge fan of Thrillist.com and the guides they provide. Check out their recommendations for St. Thomas: https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/things-to-do-in-st-thomas



Katie’s Visit Info

Travel Dates

Wednesday, February 26 to Monday, March 2nd, 2020


Travel Info

BOS to STT with a layover both ways.

Pro Tip: I purchased two one way tickets and saved $100!


Travel Buddies

Kelsey

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