We hope you're having fun in the sun this summer! Our goal is to keep you informed about some of the latest news, offers and events in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Whether you're preparing for your next trip or are a long-time resident, you're sure to learn something about St. Thomas + St. John in our newsletter, on our website or in our latest magazine.
BY ALLISON MICHAELS | JUNE 24, 2014
The U.S. Virgin Islands made an impression on travelers this year, jumping from last year's fifth-place spot to No. 1 in the Caribbean for 2014-15. Since this island trio is a major port for Caribbean-bound cruise ships, USVI's visibility is growing -- and travelers seem to like what they see. Last year's top pick, the Cayman Islands, slipped into second place and St. Kitts & Nevis fell just behind in third. Though seventh on our World's Best list, Puerto Rico was just shy of earning a spot on the Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean list this year.
BY: FRANCES NEWBOLD
As a former Philadelphian, but now a long time resident (37 years) of St. Thomas, I can't understand why visitors flock to St. Thomas during the winter months while ignoring the summer. As someone who lives there year-round I can honestly say that the summer is absolutely my most favorite time of the year. The traffic and people congestion is almost non-existent, the waters are calm and warm (yes, I have acclimated - I don't swim during winter!), the beaches deserted, prices seem more reasonable, and you can walk into a restaurant without a reservation.
I mention all this because summer is really a fabulous time to visit St. Thomas and St John. The temperature hovers around 88 (much more comfortable summer temperature than in Philadelphia where I grew up!) and it's really quite comfortable due to the ever-present tradewinds.
There are many advantages to off-season travel in the Virgin Islands. First, hotel rates are discounted 25% to 50%. Second, you're less likely to encounter crowds at beaches, restaurants, and shops. Especially in St. Thomas, where a slower pace prevails in the off season, and you'll have a better chance to appreciate the local culture and cuisine.
When the waters are as calm as they tend to be during the summer months you can get to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands in just an hour and a half (you will need your passport to visit the BVI).
August is the prime month for sportfishing. Boats come from all over the world to participate in the USVI Open Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament USVI held July 9th, 10th, 11th. Read more about sportfishing. Red Hook, a town on the East End of St. Thomas (where most of the fishing yachts stay during the fishing season) becomes one huge party with all the restaurants staying open for most of the night, music blasting and drinks-a-flowing non-stop.
There are all sorts of things to do with the kids. A visit to Coral World, a hike on historical Hassel Island, the St John Festival (Carnival) Children's Village in Cruz Bay opens with fun and games on Sunday June 22nd, the St John Festival parade is on July 4th, A kayak tour into the mangrove lagoon with VI Ecotours, a Zipline Tour or simply just hanging out at Magens Bay Beach, one of the world's most beautiful beaches. You can download coupons for special discounts on activities at http://bit.ly/ActivitiesCoupons.
As in summers past, the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is offering a really great package that cost you much less than if you were to visit during the winter.
This year's promotion is called "Virgin Islands Nice." For the promotion details go to http://bit.ly/VirginIslandsNice. The discounts include a free first night hotel stay, instant monetary credit, and $300 in certificates that can be redeemed at participating restaurants, boutiques, spas and attractions across the territory. The packages are customizable, allowing travelers to work with 16 different tour operators to build their own "Virgin Islands Nice" summer getaway, romantic escape, dive adventure or culinary vacation.
Browse through this website - www.StThomasThisWeek.com - to see what is happening this summer in St. Thomas and St. John.
Come join the locals as we enjoy the quiet side of St. Thomas and St. John. You don't need a passport since the Virgin Islands are part of the United States. Once you have discovered how nice it is here during the summer we hope you'll be back again and again!
Photo courtesy of the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.