The US Virgin Islands is a chain of over 50 slices of paradise, each island flying the U.S. flag. St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John are the most popular for honeymooners and welcome the most visitors to their shores. And while they feel like exotic hideaways, these islands are as easy as pie for American couples to make their home away from home: the dollar is the official currency, English is the official language, and driving is on the right. An incredible number of pristine bays, coves, inlets and beaches can be made your own even if downtown areas are crowded. History, natural beauty and plenty of culture are on display, and the duty-free shopping is world famous. Whatever you consider to be fun in the sun can be found one one of the three main sister islands, each connected by local plane and ferry service.
- ST. THOMASSt. Thomas is the most sophisticated and active of the three sister islands. It is not unusual to see ten mega-size cruise ships in the port, and in the capital of Charlotte Amalie which has been a bustling seaport since the 1600's. Downtown is action-packed with shoppers and diners. Historic warehouses, some built during the days when pirates like Henry Morgan and Blackbeard sailed the waters, today house shops offering duty free liquor, perfumes, clothing (some designer), jewelry and electronic equipment, without any risk of a swashbuckling pirate getting between you and the great deals.
- ST. CROIXThe largest of the three sisters, St. Croix is quieter and more pastoral than the other two. The town of Christiansted is lined with charming, pastel colored buildings. The countryside's rolling hills are a beautiful sight indeed, and many of the white sand beaches are just as Columbus "discovered" them in 1493. Scuba divers love it for the 850-acre reef national park, and lots of other opportunities for water sports abound. Of course, if lazing around on the sand soaking up the sun and sipping at cocktails is more your thing, St. Croix is perfect.
- ST. JOHNThe smallest of the trio, St. John is also the most tranquil. Nature lovers can't get enough of it, as two thirds of the entire island is a national park. You may have heard of some of its famous beaches such as Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay, or Trunk Bay, which are all noted for their pristine beauty and romantic scenery.
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Tips & Advice
Tips & Advice+
- AREA CODE: 340
- AIRPORT CODES: The code for the main airport in St. Thomas is STT. In St. Croix, it's STX
HELPFUL HONEYMOON HINTS
- Take the same safety precautions that you would take in any of the world’s big cities: travel with small amounts of cash; lock valuables in your room or hotel safe; lock your door and be aware of your surroundings.
- MEGAN’S BAY: This heart shaped stretch of white sand is a perfect place to share your love. It is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful bays and is worth every penny of the small entrance fee. Conditions for water sports and swimming are just about perfect, but going on weekdays is better than weekends.
- SHOPPING: Even if you don’t buy anything, just walk down main street to see the scene. Besides the international brands of jewelry, cameras and clothing, local handicrafts are of interest. You can watch artists producing silk screened fabrics, brooms, perfumes, candles, jewelry or other items at Tillett Gardens.
- EMBRACE CUSTOM: It’s an African custom for new brides and grooms to jump over a broom to start their life together. You can buy your own special broom at the "Broom Man" who makes them in all sizes and shapes at the NATIVE ARTS CO-OP.
- SAIL AWAY: Sail on the 45 ft. Sea Ray from Magic Moments. This is an island stopping cruise with snorkeling and a delicious lunch of lobster and wine. Tel: 340 775 5066.
- ESTATE WHIM: You can tour this former sugar plantation which has been restored to its original design. Romantic Candlelight Concerts are held on Fridays and Saturdays in season (Dec.-March.) Tel: 348 772 0598. www.stcroixlandmarks.org.
- SUNSET JAZZ: Enjoy jazz in Fredericksted. Call 340 277 0692 for schedules of jazz performances.
- BUCK ISLAND: Snorkel along an underwater "marked path" off the north shore to watch colorful marine life. www.nps.gov/buis.
- DRINK WITH PIGS: Crazy. Don’t forget your camera and have a beer with the pigs at the Pellier Domino Club. Buy a beer for yourself and one for one of the pampered pigs who will down it as you watch.
- CRUZ BAY: The only town on St. John, is the busiest place on the island, but everything about it is tiny. Shops, galleries and informal restaurants are tucked in along a few short streets. It’s a great place for people watching, especially when ferries from St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands dock.
- TAKE A HIKE. St. John is laced with hiking trails but the Reef Bay Trail is considered one of the best. A park service ranger can be your guide and tell you about flora, fauna, history and even petroglyphs along the way. Take the safari bus ($6 per person) from the Visitors Center to the head of the trail to find your guide. Call before you go to check on times and make a reservation. Tel: 340 776 6201.
- PACK A PICNIC: Stop on a beach like Maho Bay, Cinnamon Bay, or Hawksnest. Trunk Bay is a favorite with snorkelers a there As there is an underwater trail. Go early to get a parking spot and rent equipment.