Postcard from USVI
Made up of three distinctly different islands, the US Virgin Islands make for the tropical beach vacation of your dreams. There's St. Thomas, a buzzing island with a yacht-lined marina and stunning vistas; St. Croix, blessed with golden sunshine, glorious temperatures, a captivating past that is tucked away in a vast natural rainforest; and then there's St. John, a nature-lovers dream, offering a high-end experience while still keeping its charming authentic Caribbean flair.
Words by Monica Walton
BOAT over to Buck Island to snorkel or dive. A national monument with crystal clear waters it is perfect for diving and spotting sharks, eagle-rays and green turtles. Go on a full or half-day trip and experience a playful underwater snorkelling trail before hitting the pretty secluded beach and sailing back for sunset.
STOP & STARE at the elevated
views of iconic Trunk Bay, graced with magical blue waters, bright white sand, a backdrop of verdant never-ending hills. One of the most-visited beaches in St. John, Trunk Bay is a must-see, mainly to soak up the laid-back Virgin Islands culture and of course, those glorious year-round sun rays. When it comes to beaches, Trunk Bay is the winner.
INDULGE at one of the intimate, hidden gem restaurants in St. Croix. Stroll around quaint and pretty Christiansted, which is just
as delightful at night as it is in the day. Grab a 'Cruzan rum' cocktail along the boardwalk and duck into one of the upscale restaurants to dine on Caribbean or international dishes on an outside fairy-light laced patio.
SHOP at Mongoose Junction in St. John, a beautiful tropical and upscale shopping complex in Cruz Bay, home to trendy restaurants and fashionable stores where you can get anything from a freshly-pressed juice at a rustic-chic deli to a treasure trove of crystals and jewellery at the boutique 'caravan gallery'. The perfect gift to take back with you - the St. John hook bracelet.
CHOOSE your adventure You have three islands, so take your pick. With multiple seaplanes and commercial flights leaving St. Thomas to get to St. Croix daily, it's pretty simple to hop between the islands. To get to quieter, more secluded St. John, grab the ferry for a more relaxed experience that’s great for a romantic getaway in peaceful bliss if there’s just two of you.
CLIMB the 99 Steps in Charlotte Amalie, the main city in St. Thomas. The Dutch who first built the city used stairs instead of streets to keep the city connected. The longest staircase is the flower-framed, 99 stairs (actually 103) that cuts through Downtown and was made from bricks used as ship's ballast in the 1700s.
SAILING the crystalline white sands and blue seas of the US Virgin Islands are just one of many draws, but it's also a sailor's paradise. The cool trade winds and small uninhabited islands awash with Caribbean charm make for peaceful, line-of-sight sailing and plenty of exploring.
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