Travel to the US Virgin Islands: what you need to know for 2022

The US Virgin Islands are a beautiful chain of islands in the Caribbean including St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. With warm turquoise waters filled with abundant marine life, a diversity of island flora and fauna, and a thriving multicultural heritage, these islands are among the most magnificent in all of the Caribbean.

If you’re planning on traveling to the US Virgin Islands or the Caribbean this year, there are a few things you need to know about the islands, their entry requirements, and their attractions.

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Safety, entry requirements and COVID-19

The US Virgin Islands are one of the most accessible destinations in the Caribbean. US citizens don’t even need to bring their passport! Because they are a territory of the United States, like Puerto Rico, travelers can travel to and from the islands without a passport.

The destination is also not listed by the US State Department’s country information or risk level system due to its territorial status, although masks are still required in public spaces where the social distancing is not possible. The islands use US currency, so travelers won’t have to worry about exchanging their currencies, and it’s a relatively safe destination for Americans.

Coconut trees on the beach.  Photo taken on the north coast of the US Virgin Island of St. Croix, not far from the beach where Christopher Columbus landed on his second voyage to the Americas in 1493, naming the island Santa Cruz.  (photo via kaia
The north coast of the US Virgin Island of St. Croix. (photo via Kaiao/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Travelers over the age of five wishing to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands must complete the USVI Travel Screening Portal and must also test negative for COVID-19 up to three days prior to arrival using an antigen or RT-PCR test, although travelers are not required to be fully vaccinated to enter.

Where to stay

St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas all offer amazing hotels and resorts. Some are more expensive than others, of course, while others offer all-inclusive accommodations and amenities.

Our advice would be to first choose which island you are likely to spend the most time on, and then only search for accommodations on that particular island. For example, if you want to spend the majority of your time visiting the coral reefs and the national park, you’ll probably want to stay in St. Johns, while history buffs will probably enjoy staying in St. Thomas.

Either way, there’s no limit to the types of accommodations you can find in the US Virgin Islands, from condos to private villas and luxury resorts!

Attractions

From strolling the beaches around the islands to making friends with locals and fellow travellers, the US Virgin Islands offer an incredible wealth of cultural and ecological attractions for all types of travelers. It is considered one of the best areas for sustainability in the Caribbean, with national parks that preserve local wildlife both on land and at sea.

Experienced divers and beginners alike will love exploring the wrecks and coral reefs off the island, which are home to over 500 species of fish and over 40 types of coral. A great destination for divers is Buck Island Reef National Monument, home to an Elkhorn Barrier Reef system. Hikers and animal lovers can also explore the Virgin Islands National Park, which comprises more than 60% of the island of St. John, including the island’s rainforests.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Fort Christian, Caribbean Forts
Fort Christian in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. (photo via Starcevic/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Historical and cultural attractions also abound on all three islands. Having belonged to seven different nations throughout history, the multi-ethnic culture of the three islands lives on in its unique music and cuisine, while its buildings bear witness to its colonial past.

Travelers to the capital of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas can visit Fort Christian, a 300-year-old fort, as well as Blackbeard’s Castle, a 17th-century Dutch lookout that came under the control of the infamous pirate during his reign of piracy. Travelers to St. Croix can visit the Christiansted National Site, which offers seven acres of history that help travelers understand the island’s colonial past.

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