What to know before your Virgin Islands Vacation 

Written by Katie Zachary

September 14, 2023

 Located in the Caribbean, The US Virgin Islands is a tropical destination with worldwide visitors every year. 

 With our turquoise waters and white sand beaches, it’s no wonder our natural beauty attracts visitors of all kinds every year.  Whether you’re a new visitor or a seasoned repeat visitor to the Virgin Islands there are a few tips and tricks to ensure a wonderful and smooth trip. 

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Travel and Getting to St John

Getting all the way to the Virgin Islands can take some time from certain areas in the world, but man is it worth it! If you’re coming all the way to St. John and not staying on St. Thomas there are a few ways to get here.  

  • The passenger ferry out of Redhook runs every hour on the hour for the easiest most frequent option.  When you leave the airport all you have to do is tell one of the waiting taxi drivers to take you to Redhook and they’ll take you directly to the front of the ferry terminal

  • If the timing works out, the Crown Bay Ferry run by Inter Island Boat services is the easiest.  It’s a quick 5 minute taxi ride followed by a 30-40 minute boat ride right into Cruz Bay and any taxi driver at the airport will know exactly where to take you also

  • If you’re looking for a private option, Love City Excursions offers private water taxis that can be matched to almost any schedule.  We pickup at Crown Bay Marina and Sapphire Marina weather depending and provide a safe, private and comfortable option to get quickly to St. John.

Rental Cars

There are a few ways to get a rental car but by far the best way to do so is on St. John.  Many of the rental car companies will meet you with your jeep when you get off the ferry, making it super simple and easy.   Aqua Blu Car Rental, St John Car Rental and Mr. Piper’s Jeeps are a few of the companies we recommend using on St. John.

Drinking Water and Conservation

Most tap water in Villas and Hotels is not safe for drinking (some is, so make sure you ask your host,) but filtered tap in restaurants is perfectly fine.  One thing is for sure, St. John is trying really hard to conserve plastic usage so pls consider  the environment before you buy plastic water bottles and please please recycle!  You can re-fill gallon water jugs at St. John Ice in the Lumberyard also! 

Courtesies and Island Customs

The laid back island atmosphere of the Virgin Islands sometimes leads to a casual approach to courtesies when in fact the island custom is quite proper.  We greet one another with Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Evening and it’s considered rude not to do so before speaking with someone.  Patience also goes a long way in the Virgin Islands, as a lot of things are very much on island time, so enjoy the view, don’t worry about rushing and really dig into the relaxing atmosphere of the island vibe.

Tipping is commonplace and expected for services in the Virgin Islands.  A standard tip of 20% is expected for taxis, boat captains, restaurant staff, bell staff and more.  Another common misconception is attire.  Beach attire is only acceptable at the beach.  Don’t walk through town in just a bathing suit and definitely don’t go into the grocery store or a shop/restaurant without a coverup. 

Island Hopping and Exploring

There really is nothing better than a day on the water in the Virgin Islands.  Whether exploring the BVI or USVI, definitely make time to spend a day on the water! A captains local knowledge will go a long way towards an excellent day and one your whole family is sure to remember.  Kids are more than welcome and do great on boats, even the little ones, who tend to sleep while underway, but one thing is for sure, everyone will be beat at the end of the day and talking about their day for weeks and months to come.

Beach Etiquette

The VI has taken steps lately to protect our reefs and there are a few ways of doing that in which you can help!  REEF SAFE sunscreen is the number one thing you can do! Skip the sunscreen and wear a rash guard when snorkeling or make sure you get proper reef safe brands and don’t use the bad stuff.  We don’t even allow spray sunscreen on our boats for this reason, they are chock full of chemicals and illegal to have in the Virgin Islands.  

Respect the Coral Reefs and don’t drag your fins, don’t touch and don’t bring anything home! Respecting the environment goes a long way in a fragile eco-system and it’s appreciated on all fronts!  If you’re lucky enough to see a sea turtle nest or even see them hatching, don’t touch and call the National Park immediately! 

Boat Days are the Best Days!

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