Island hopping in the United States Virgin Islands is a golden opportunity to experience over fifty islands and cays of pure Caribbean goodness. The islands are very committed to sustainable tourism and eco-tourism, and have taken steps to protect their environment. This has created a pristine tourism product that is loved and appreciated by all. For instance, visitors can lounge on the best beaches in the Caribbean; explore spectacular coral reefs on snorkelling adventures or stroll through historic cities of the islands and gaze in amazement at colourful colonial architecture.
The main benefit of island hopping in the United States Virgin Islands is that you can enjoy several islands in a single tour. Each island is memorable with specific traits and charms that make them unique. The main islands are Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas and Water Islands; and the capital city, Charlotte Amalie is located on Saint Thomas. Some of the minor islands and cays are privately owned, but are still under the rule of the United States Virgin Islands government.
Island Hopping in the United States Virgin Islands
It is very easy to travel between the US Virgin Islands for short or extended trips. There are frequent daily plane and ferry services which make island hopping a breeze. All travellers must possess a valid government identification (a passport is recommended) in order to travel among the islands of the United States Virgin Islands. Travel by plane is facilitated by Seaborne Airlines and Cape Air who operate short shuttles between St. Thomas and St. Croix. Average flying time is twenty-five minutes.
Travel by ferry between the islands varies and can be as little as ten minutes up to thirty minutes. Ferry schedules are operated between Red Hook and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and Cruz Bay, St. John. There is a car barge service that runs from Red Hook, St. Thomas to Cruz Bay, St. John. There is also a ferry service from Crown Bay, St. Thomas to Water Island. Travellers can also depart Frenchman’s Reef Resort at the Frenchman’s Reef Dock and transfer to Charlotte Amalie at the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront.
Inter-Island Tour Providers in the United States Virgin Islands
Research schedules for island hopping in the United States Virgin Islands using the links below:
The Saint Croix Experience
Saint Croix measures 28 miles long and 7 miles wide and is the largest of the United States Virgin Islands. Its rich history is complemented by its with many archaeological sites and ecological preserves. One of the innovative experiences on the island is the farm to table movement, which educates on the importance of locally grown, organic food. The island is home to the Estate Whim Plantation Museum, Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve and the Christiansted National Historic Site. Some of the top activities on St. Croix are scuba diving, golf, sports tourism and sport fishing and art and craft.
The Saint John Experience
Saint John is a small island that always amazes visitors with its natural beauty. It was once a sugar producing nation and this allowed the island’s economy to flourish. Saint John has several gorgeous beaches which have caught the eye of many. Hawkesnest Bay and Trunk Bay, two of the beach highlights on the island, are considered to be two of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Points of interest on the island include the Virgin Islands National Park, Cruz Bay, the Cinnamon Bay Nature Trail and the Reef Bay Trail. Popular activities on the island are snorkelling, scuba diving and off-road explorations.
The Saint Thomas Experience
Saint Thomas is a culturally rich island that is well known for its national landmarks, fine dining and exciting nightlife. The island is very mountainous and allows for breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea at points as high as 1,500 feet above sea level. The island is home to the St. Thomas Synagogue, Blackbeard’s Castle, Drake’s Seat, Valdemar Hill and Magens Bay. With over 40 beaches, Saint Thomas is regarded as one of the top beach destinations for snorkelling and paddle boarding in the world, thanks to its soft sand and clear water. Top activities on the island include, snuba, parasailing, windsurfing and kayaking.
The Water Island Experience
Water Island is a remote, scenic small island of about 500 acres with a population of less than 200 people. It is a quiet, peaceful and laid back island which can only be accessed by ferry or boat. Building developments are minimal, and a result, the island is even more beautiful and unspoilt. The island is heavily dependent on St. Thomas because there is no airport, no schools, no supermarkets and very few businesses in operation. Must see attractions are Honeymoon Beach, Fort Segarra and ruins of plantations that were active in the colonial era. Activities on the island include hiking, paddle boarding, fly boarding, snorkelling and swimming.