USVI Vacation Guide
Known for incredible live music, St. Croix and St. Thomas are filled with a plethora of musical entertainment from Marley cover bands and jazz trios to calypso bands and acoustic guitar musicians. You can find live music daily at fine dining restaurants, beachside bars, sunset sails or local bar hangouts. Karaoke is a popular activity on St. Croix; your best performance might be revealed right here in the USVI!
Get a heaping dose of Crucian culture at a Caribbean night featuring mocko jumbies, fire dancers and quadrille dancers. Take the family to the famous crab races where racers choose their beloved crab and name them before the main event. The first crab that makes it outside the course circle is declared the ultimate winner. If that’s you, there are several prizes up for grabs thanks to local businesses.
Feeling lucky? Win big at the Divi Carina Bay Casino on St. Croix’s East End or at Caravelle Casino in downtown Christiansted. Bushwackers at Crown Bay Dock on St. Thomas is the premier gaming on the island where you can play the slots or try your hand at poker. Maybe you’ll win enough to pay for your next beautiful USVI vacation rental!
If we were to list all the Caribbean culinary delights found in the US Virgin Islands, we’d run out of space online! Take your taste buds on a gastronomic journey complete with sustainable seafood and locally grown fruits and vegetables deliciously complementing each dining experience encountered.
Experience St. Croix’s local food at several Crucian restaurants around the island. If you’re unsure of where to go or what to eat, take a food tour with Virgin Islands Food Tours. This guided food tasting and cultural walking tour offers multiple restaurants and dishes for the price of one with authentic local cuisine to tantalize your palate. St. Thomas Food Tours offer a similar experience featuring locally owned and operated restaurants, specialty food shops, and the delicious cocktails.
Head to a beach bar for more causal fare or indulge in West Indian fine dining at one of the island’s many upscale dining establishments. Visitors will find a variety of cuisines including American, Asian, Italian and Mexican throughout each island. On St. Croix, head west to Frederiksted and catch a spectacular sunset any night of the week while dining on succulent lobster and Caribbean inspired side dishes. Havensight area in St. Thomas is a great location for lunch or dinner after shopping in the Havensight Mall. You’ll uncover a lively bar night scene in various locations around the island like Red Hook. One of the top night spots for food, drinks and music, this East End town is littered with restaurants and bars on either side.
Only on St. Croix can you buy a pig a beer, enjoy Sunday brunch at a gas station and enjoy local conch water by the bayside at 3am. The culinary landscape on the island has evolved into one with intense focus on sustainable agriculture with processes and techniques that supports and protects the environment. Restaurant owners and chefs are preparing their dishes with ingredients grown on island such as watermelon, tomatoes, herbs & spices and meats and seafood.
The calendar is chockfull with celebrations of food ranging street festivals to benefit dinners. Avid foodies often plan their St. Croix vacation around Taste of St. Croix, a yearly event connecting St. Croix’s chefs, farmers, fishermen and purveyors.
TripAdvisor tends to be an excellent resource for restaurants and eateries as well local foodie influencers like Cruzan Foodie and Eating St. Croix. Be sure to leave your own reviews of the establishments you visited on your trip to assist future travelers with their restaurant itinerary!
When it comes to shopping, there’s no better place than the U.S. Virgin Islands! Why do we say that? Because there are no sales tax or duty added to most items, making shopping in the USVI a pocket bargain. With endless shopping opportunities to be found, shop with peace of mind without any pushy salespeople to worry about.
You can casually stroll up and down the streets of Christiansted to find handmade jewelry, local art, beachwear, souvenirs, skincare products and other island treasures. In Frederiksted, the city comes to life with street vendors and shops when a cruise ship docks at the port. In St. Thomas, Charlotte Amalie is famously nicknamed the “Shopping Capital of the Caribbean.” You will find more than 100 duty-free stores, including many jewelers, and a bevy of other shops selling souvenirs, fine crystal and china, brand-name clothing and alcoholic spirits.
St. Croix is also home of the original hook bracelet! Created in 1964, it features a horseshoe-shaped clasp that resembles a hook. The story behind the Crucian Hook Bracelet is one that symbolizes true love. It is said that if the bracelet is worn with the hook opening pointing towards your heart, it means that your heart is taken. If the hook opening is worn away from your heart, it symbolizes that your heart is open and available to find true love. Another popular piece of jewelry found on St. Croix is chaney (pronounced chay-nee). A word combination if ‘china’ and ‘money,’ these delicate pieces of pottery can be found on the surrounding beaches and grounds of old sugar plantations after heavy rains.
St. Croix and St. Thomas is home to K-Mart Department Store, Home Depot and Office Max where you can find a host of essential items and products needed to make your visit more comfortable. On St. Thomas, most of the island’s shopping is done in Charlotte Amalie where you will find countless unique shops and boutiques. Head to Vendor’s Plaza near Emancipation Park and Fort Christian for silver jewelry, t-shirts, tropical print wrap skirts, shirts and dresses, bags and watches, trinkets and more. Local food vendors and an ice-cream stand are also found in this area. Vendor’s Plaza is open Monday through Saturday 8am to 5pm. On Sundays, fewer vendors are open. Based on the number of ships in port, more vendors are open for business on this day.
The USVI offers several activities to fulfill any traveler’s desires. Whether you’re the fast-paced adrenaline seeker or the laidback nature lover, visitors can choose from countless experiences primed to help them discover the hidden gems of America’s Paradise.
Enjoy a relaxing day under a shaded palm tree reading your favorite book, napping or daydreaming. If you’re looking for something a little more active, you won’t have to look too far. Take your pick of any of the following activities: snorkel, scuba dive, paddleboard, kayak, jet ski, ride horseback, zipline, off-road Jeep and ATV tours, hike, fish, kitesurf, golf or tennis. Those are just a few of the popular activities to try on St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Some of our favorite travel activities on St. Croix include a day trip to Buck Island, diving the famous wall at Cane Bay, participating in a guided sea turtle watch during turtle nesting season (April 1 – September 1), and deep-sea fishing. On St. Thomas, we encourage visitors to hop on the ferry to Cruz Bay in St. John for a daytrip. There you can explore the sprawling national park snorkeling, camping and hiking along mountain paths to hidden coves. Spend a day on the water sailing to famous spots in the British Virgin Islands or take a catamaran sunset cruise in the Charlotte Amalie Harbor. It’s impossible to get bored or be without something to do on St. Croix and St. Thomas.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is home to a few notable sites. St. Croix’s documented heritage dates to the 1400s, during the days of Columbus. You can visit the 1493 Columbus Landing Site in the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Reserve where Columbus landed in when he came to this side of the world. Head to the easternmost point of the United States, Point Udall. Here you can check off a bucket list item by being the first person in the US to see the sunrise of the day. From east to west, you can witness the island’s rich history firsthand. Hundred-year-old sugar mills are scattered across the island. The Carambola Tide Pools found on North Shore consists of beautiful rock formations where you can take a dip to cool off. St. George Village Botanical Gardens showcase the natural botanical beauty found on St. Croix. A former 19th-century sugar cane plantation, it spans 16-acres among building and ruins and boasts over 1,000 native and exotic species and varieties, including a medicinal herb garden, an orchid house, a rainforest trail, a fruit orchard and so much more.
St. Thomas’s must-see sites are steeped in Danish history. The iconic landmark Fort Christian is the oldest standing structure on the island. With a bright, red-painted exterior, it features a picturesque Victorian clock tower. The famous 99-Steps were built by the Danes to assist in navigating the island’s hilly terrain. These step-streets are found throughout Charlotte Amalie and has a few more than steps than the famous name implies. The breathtaking ceiling murals depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament are not to be missed at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. Take a free guided tour or attend any of the daily masses.
There are sightseeing tours for all interests on both islands. Connect with a local taxi driver for an island tour or head to one of three distilleries on St. Croix: Cruzan Rum, Captain Morgan Rum or Sion Farm. Set sail to Buck Island Reef and National Monument on St. Croix or the offshore cays and bays in St. Thomas. Kayak rentals and tours allows you to arrive at destinations on the water that many people don’t get to experience. Head into nature with horseback rides on the beach, scenic drives through the rainforest, nature hikes, Jeep tours and more.
Stock your vacation villa refrigerator, sailboat galley, or rental home pantry with the large selection found in our grocery stores. On St. Croix, you can find everything you need at any of the following stores: Plaza Extra East, The Market St. Croix, Pueblo Supermarket, Cost U Less, Food Town and Seaside Market & Deli. St. Thomas options include The Market St. Thomas, Cost U Less, Moe’s Fresh Market, Pueblo Supermarket and the Fruit Bowl, to name a few. If you’re unable to find what you need in the larger stores, stop in at nearby gas station or any of the small convenience stores. You’ll be surprised by their selection which rivals some of the larger stores.
There is a running joke that says if you find a product you love in a store, be sure to buy a lot of it because it may be gone next week! We are still an island that has many provisions shipped in and availability can be limited on various items.
On St. Croix, visit the farmer’s market at the Department of Agriculture Fairgrounds in Estate Lower Love on Saturday mornings. From 5am to about 12 noon, you find vibrant agricultural offerings like locally grown produce, farm fresh eggs, fresh sugar cane, locally made pepper sauce, cakes, sweet treats and much more. At roadside stands in St. Thomas and St. Croix, you can get fresh caught seafood including snapper, mahi, wahoo, tuna plus conch and lobster (when in season). While you’re at it, make a quick roadside stop for fresh coconut water served straight from a hand cut coconut for a one-of-a-kind island experience!