Getting Around U.S. Virgin Islands
The best way to get around any U.S. Virgin Island is in a car – either your own rental or a taxi. You can rent a car at or nearby one of the islands' two airports: the Cyril E. King Airport (STT) on St. Thomas and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) on St. Croix. Ferries from St. Thomas are the most efficient way of getting to St. John (which has no airport) or even the British Virgin Islands.
Taking a cruise is also a popular way to travel to the Virgin Islands – in fact, St. Thomas is one of the busiest cruise ports in the Caribbean. Although its port is less busy, you can also take a cruise to St. Croix. Popular lines to visit both islands include Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
Because the U.S. Virgin Islands are part of the United States, you won't need a special driving permit; a valid U.S. driver's license will suffice. Rental car agencies are located on each island, and car barges will allow you to transport your vehicle between islands. But driving in the U.S. Virgin Islands can be nerve-wracking. The roads are often narrow, winding, steep and bumpy. Ask to rent a car with four-wheel drive, remember to keep to the left and beware of the blind curves. Remember: Island mentality extends to the roads. Drivers often yield to other cars on the road and frequently use one or two quick honks to say "thank you" when drivers let them in (don't forget to say "you're welcome" with a quick honk in return).
Each individual island offers public transportation that's affordable but not necessarily reliable. Vitran buses circulate on St. Thomas and St. John, connecting their respective tourist attractions. On St. Croix, buses run between Christiansted and Frederiksted approximately every 2 1/2 hours (no service on weekends) with stops at popular shopping centers and tourist sites. Bus fares range from 75 cents to $1 per person depending on the rider's age.
Licensed V.I. taxis are labeled with a placard or license plate. You'll see hordes of them in downtown Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas or by the docks in St. John and St. Croix, and they're a great way to move around the islands. They'll stop at all the major tourist sites. But beware: they aren't metered, so negotiate your fare before accepting the ride. Most travelers pay somewhere between $8 and $40 per person for a round-trip taxi to and from the hotels to top sights on St. Thomas; between $12 and $54 per person for round-trip fares in St. John; and between $16 and $72 per person for a round-trip taxi around much of St. Croix.
Taking a ferry boat is an affordable way to travel among the U.S. Virgin Islands and to the British Virgin Islands for a daytrip. Boats frequently leave from the Red Hook dock in St. Thomas heading to Cruz Bay, St. John or Tortola, BVI, and there are usually charters that shuttle between St. Thomas and Virgin Gorda or Jost Van Dyke, BVI. If you're looking to island hop within the U.S. Virgin Islands, Vitran operates ferries. Passenger ferries between St. Thomas and St. John cost $8.15 each way or $16.30 round trip per adult. Ferries from St. Thomas to St. Croix cost $50 each way. Luggage will have an additional fee depending on which ferry you take. Schedules for island hopping around the rest of the Caribbean will vary, so check with your provider before you book.
If you want to make your vacation extra memorable, splurge for a seaplane ride to travel between the islands. Silver Airways (which acquired regional provider Seaborne Airlines in 2018) is the primary operator and offers routes to other Caribbean destinations like Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands. Schedules and prices vary, so you should check the airline's official website to plan your trip.
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