Carribean weather, white soft sand and turquoise blue waters that pretty much sums up USVI!
Located in the west of the Carribean sea, USVI is a United States territory. If you are traveling from the US, you don’t need a visa, just your drivers license (real ID). As of this writing, you need to produce a covid negative report once you land on the islands. USVI portal has all the covid related information for the island.
St Thomas island is just about 32 square miles in size so you could technically do without a car rental. The only problem, there is no Uber or Lyft service on the island so you have to hail taxi the old school way. A lot of hotels/AirBnB’s have private taxi contacts which could be availed. We however wanted to have freedom in terms of moving around the island so rented a car for the week.
Things to do in USVI:
- Beach, beach and beach – USVI is all about the beaches. The entire island is lined with beaches big and small, some popular some not so popular but all equally beautiful. Given the size of the island, you can easily beach hop, we did 2 beaches per day.
- Day trip from St Thomas to St John – 20 mins by ferry, St. John is absolutely doable in a day. Passenger ferry runs almost every 30 mins and car barge ferry runs every hour. If you have rented a car in St Thomas we highly recommend you to take your car to St John.
- Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas – Cute little downtown with cobbled streets and old brick buildings. Spend a day in the downtown shopping from one of the numerous duty-free jewelery/watch shops, dining in the restaurants, walking around on the cobbled streets. Don’t forget to take the ’99 steps’ to get a good view of the island.
- Snorkeling & Scuba diving – If you want a little extra from the regular sun-n-sand fun at the beach you can do snorkeling and scuba diving.
- Frenchtown, St Thomas – Spend an evening here walking and dining at one of the restaurants. Every restaurant followed social distancing and mask rule to the T.
Itinerary for a week
Day 1 – NYC to STT
From the airport we headed straight to our AirBnB. There are a lot of narrow steep roads on this island. Our AirBnB was on top of the island, with a panoramic balcony view to the ocean. After freshening up we headed to a supermarket to get groceries for our stay, had an early dinner and called it a day.
Day 2 – Brewers bay & Magens bay
The first beach to start our trip was Brewer’s Bay beach, around 5 mins from where we were staying.
Known to house sea turtles, little did we expect to see so many turtles so close to the shore popping their head every once a while. There’s also a food truck here that serves authentic “Pate” along with other dishes. Relishing on our chicken and spinach pate we then headed to our next destination.
Magens Bay beach (5$ pp entry):
From Brewers Bay we decided to directly go to Magens Bay, we missed a turn and ended up in a neighborhood we just couldn’t seem to get out of 🙂 Finally we got on track and were able to reach Magens Bay – atleast our daughter had caught a good nap.
This is a perfect beach for everyone, relatively long shoreline and nice sizeable bed of shallow water makes it ideal for families with small kids. Also has good washroom and shower facilities.
Day 3 – St John’s island
We took the 9am car barge from Red hook to St John. Loading the car is a good test of your reversing skills. You can either stay in the car or hang out on the deck upstairs. Don’t forget to use your car handbrake. Our daughter was quite excited for the entire duration it being a first time ferry experience for her.
Its best to take the ferry as early as you can and have breakfast at St John. There are a few restaurants, coffee shops, juice places close to the ferry terminal.
Lind point trail:
After grabbing breakfast and a refreshing smoothie, we took the Lind Point hiking trail. A free parking permit is easily available at the visitor center right opposite where the trail starts. This trail goes all the way around the island. However we took the 1.2 mile lower trail which ends at Salomon beach.
The beach is secluded and is perfect if you prefer less crowd. After spending a couple of hours here we hiked back the trail, picked up our car and drove to Trunk Bay.
Trunk Bay beach:
Trunk Bay is similar to Magen’s Bay beach, its touristy and you get a good stretch of flat shallow ocean bed from the shore. After spending the afternoon here, we drove around a bit on the island, and took the 5 pm barge back to St Thomas
From the ferry terminal we went straight to Sugarcane Grill for a big meal, considering we’d skipped our lunch.
Day 4 – Coki beach
Our initial plan was to visit Coral World at Coki Beach, instead we decided to go to the beach. What a lovely change of plan it turned out to be!
Not all beaches in Virgin Island have food/beverage options. Coki Beach in contrast is a fully stocked beach – you can rent umbrellas/chairs, have food/beverage orders taken right at the beach and have your hair braided while you sip on beer!
You can relax on the beach on your chair or lie submerged in the warm water. The highlight of this beach though is the small piece of coral reef you have right at the shore beholding some beautiful and easily accessible piscean life – you can either scuba dive or snorkel for a very reasonable price.
Its a small beach so fills up fast, but the crowd makes happening in our opinion – hours literally went by like minutes here and we didn’t realize we had spent 6 hours. A day well spent!
Day 5 – Charlotte Amalie
After 3 days of non stop beach hopping, we decided to take a break and visit St. Thomas downtown in Charlotte Amalie. It was a cloudy day anyway not so ideal for beach. Two things stand out in this place – one is huge arch like shop entrances to old brick buildings lined on both sides of cobbled streets and restaurants nestled in narrow alleys. There is a rustic charm to this place. A lot of jewellery shop owners getting friendly with you to check out their wares is common. The streets have 2 hour parking limit, however near the circle you can get free parking.
Strolling aimlessly along the alleys taking pictures with the old structures as background, we then decided to visit Gladys Cafe for lunch. This place is gorgeous – with walls that seem to be masonry work from yore to high ceilings. The food was good quality too. After lunch we took the 99 steps from where you get a good view of the island. We took some more pictures and then called it a day.
Day 6 – Lindquist bay & Magens bay
We loved Magens bay beach so much that we had to go one more time before heading back to New York. We stopped by at Frenchtown to grab our coffee and breakfast. Most of the restaurants open after 10 but we found this Frenchtown Deli that made good breakfast and coffee. Satisfying our growling tummies we set off to the North end to explore some more beaches before make one final stop at Magens Bay.
Day 7 – Flight back to NYC
Having enjoyed loads of sun, sand and the beach we bid our farewell to this beautiful island!
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