I’ve decided to make themed blog posts about destinations I recommend traveling to for a low price and/or destinations I have traveled.
My first post will be about my trip to the US Virgin Islands.
- Destination: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
- Dates: August 19th – 24th, 2017
- Airport Departure: BOS
- Airport Arrival: STT
- Airline: Delta (as always)
- Housing/Hotel Accommodations: AirBNB
- Ground Transportation: Rental Car & Ferry
St Thomas is the second largest of the 4 islands that make up the unincorporated US Territory known as the US Virgin Islands. The US Virgin Islands were purchased from the Danes in 1912 for $25 million in Gold and were used during the early 20th century as a defensive strategy to control the Caribbean and the Panama Canal (specifically during the First World War.) The other three islands are St John, St Croix, and Water Island. Blah Blah Blah, the island is old with a rich history Early European sugar farming and African Slavery. So needless to say, this was a place I was interested in visiting… also the AMAZING beaches were a plus 😉
St Thomas is the second largest island in the USVI but the most populated island, with about 50,000 residents (that is half of the entire population of the USVI’s). The location in the Caribbean also makes it a great place to visit for warm ocean waters, year round tropical weather, colorful ocean life, and a great mix of people from all over the world.
So… the part that you are most interested in… how do you get there? Well for starters, most people get to the island by plane or by cruse ship (some people charter private boats but that isn’t something that I will ever be talking about.) There is one major airport on St Thomas, Cyril E. King Airport, and is an international airport. The airport is TRULY an island airport, you board and de-board the plane via stairs and the airport only has like 10 terminals.
Because this is an international airport, you can get here pretty easily from anywhere in the world. I flew from Boston MA to St Thomas direct via Delta and the tickets were only $224.00 per person round trip. However, I used point for this trip because I had so many and wanted to use them up and have extra spending cash on the island. I recommend searching google flights for the best day to arrive and depart. It seemed that arriving on a Friday or Saturday and leaving on a Wednesday or Thursday was cheapest. But this all depends on the departure city, airline and the time of year… do your research well ahead of time.
Ground transportation… a rental car is a must but keep in mind that they are quite pricey. The island is quite mountainous with windy and sharp turns, a vehicle with 4×4 is NEEDED! So I did my research ahead of time and found a couple that has a few cars they rent out to visitors. The name of the company is Zip Rentals (not to be confused with zipcar.com) and is a small time operation (no website). The owners name is Lisa and can be contacted via phone () or email (email@example.com). I paid only $300.00 for a 5 day rental of a RAV4, go ahead and look online to try and find a better price, you wont find one! Jeeps run about $100-$175 per day (or more during the busy season.) Keep in mind though, you are on an island and fuel prices are high, so try and conserve fuel 😉
Island Hopping is something that can easily be done. I took a day trip to St John ($50.00) via the car ferry and visited some of the beaches over there. If you have the time, I highly recommend it! If you have your own car, I would suggest the car ferry as the taxi’s on St John AND St Thomas are quite expensive.
AirBNB was for sure the best price for this location. I stayed with 3 other people and we split the cost 4 ways. I highly recommend looking at what ever is cheapest but had AC within the unit. It gets quite humid and can be uncomfortable during the night. Also, bugs at night are bad so having the AC helps keep them outside. There are a few hotels that were not over priced but they were small. Our AirBNB was 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and was $1,600.00 for 5 night, split 4 ways was only $400.00 per person. However, if you go during January-April… you will be paying out the eyes in hotel costs as this is their busy season.
Restaurants, Food and Alcohol – Food is VERY VERY expensive. A jug of orange juice is about $8… The good news is that alcohol is quite cheap and when yo order mixed drinks, they are often strong as alcohol is cheaper than the mixer. If you can, stay away from they cruse ferry terminals, they are tourist traps and the local businesses price gouge HARD. However, if you mention that you are on the island for a few days/weeks, you are more likely to get a better price at smaller shops and stores. Nightlife if quite limited as most locals day drink but when it is the busy season, I was told the night life becomes more popular.
Weather-It rains like every day so just keep that in mind but don’t worry cause rain storms often only last about 30 minutes.
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