U.S. Virgin Islands (COVID edition)

Preparations: Like most islands, you are required to take a COVID-19 test prior to entering their territory. U.S.V.I requires your test to be taken within 120 hours (5 days) prior to you landing there. You must also complete a health assessment form either electronically or if you booked your flight less than 24 hours from departure then you must print out the form and complete it manually. We had to complete the form manually, you would think this would have made our entry a little more difficult; however, it was a complete breeze. You show them the form and your COVID-19 results prior to entering the V.I. airport and you are on your way.

Accommodations:  We stayed at Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham which is located in Smith Bay. It is about 30-mintues from the airport. The reviews said this was one of the best places to stay on the on the island. I liked it because it was very resort like and was in a centralized location from a lot of the places we went around the island. The only thing that I didn’t like too much was their food onsite; there is only 1 place to eat and it is very basic and overpriced. The checking in process was a little annoying because we kind of just wanted to get our keys and go, but since they are also a timeshare, they try to get to come to their informational and talk about all these wonderful perks you can get. There is a local supermarket Louie’s Market that is a five-minute walk from where we stayed, you can get the basics here- snacks, juice, water and wine. There is also another Market- Moe’s Fresh Market which is a chain around the island, but the closest one is a 5-8-minute cab ride away in Red Hook- they sell fresh and hot foods.

Transportation: The best way of getting around the island is by Taxi. I found this to be super convenient and not too expensive. The only thing is they charge by person; but the most we paid was $15 each and that was to and from the airport (I suggest taking a regular taxi to and from the airport verses the Resort Shuttle- which is $25 per person each way). I highly recommend not to rent a car because they drive on the opposite side of the road.

Things to do and Places to eat: My favorite part to experience and talk about lol… Coki Beach, which is about a 7-minute walk from where we stayed. This is something that I intentionally kept in mind when booking a place to stay. On one of our cruise stops 3 years ago we went to this beach so I had to make sure we made our way back. The vibe was still everything I remembered- Great food, strong drinks and blue water! Coki beach is a must when visiting St Thomas!!! Beach chairs are $5 each, umbrella $10 and the food is amazing!! They have everything from Jerk Chicken, Snapper, Salmon, to shrimp. But, if you want quieter vibes and not really looking for food at the beach then Sapphire Beach is also good option, it’s close to the marina as well- this is about a 5 minute drive from where we stayed.

If you go into town, near where the Cruise ships would normally dock it’s not as busy as it normally would be due to COVID, a lot of the stores aren’t open or have shut down due to damage from the hurricane. A lot of the jewelry stores are still open, but not so many of the gift shops. There are a bunch places to eat down there. We went to The Pelican Shop which primary is for cigars but they also have Hookah and drinks. It’s really small but cute, we sat outside and brought our own speakers. Around 3:30/4pm the Jerk Chicken food truck setup and since we were already outside we told him what we wanted as he was setting up so we were his first customer for the day. His food was pretty good, not as spicy as I needed it to be but it was good! His name is Leadon, so make sure to show him so love if you go out there, he’s right across the street from the Pelican Shop.

Duffy’s Love Shack is also a highly talked about place on the island, we went there the first night and I’ll just say not for me. I didn’t like their drinks, it was just way too sweet and felt like they used cheap liquor. However our waiter was super nice and good vibes. They are located on the strip in Red Hook, if you want to try it out for yourself.

If you are a seafood lover like myself, then you have to make a visit to Mim’s Seaside Bistro. Everything was perfect! I haven’t tasted a lobster this good in a really long time. I had the Coconut Curry lobster with baked potato and vegetable. Typically on Thursdays they have all you can eat shrimp but they suspended it due to COVID. I would recommend coming here right before the sunset because it’s right along side of the water. Our waiter was so pleasant, her mom runs the place and she was there helping here. She actually attends my Alma matter John Jay, but is back in town due to the pandemic.

If you’re a Steak lover, then I would recommend going to Prime at Paradise Point. We were originally supposed to go here but opted out for Seafood. Another place that is best going to right before the sunset because it’s at the top of the hills and I am sure the sunset is one to remember.

Looking for a day trip? Then take a ferry ride to St. Johns, you won’t regret it! It’s about a 20 minute ride from St. Thomas. You catch the ferry at Red Hook Terminal and it was $8.15 per person each way. We went to Trunk Bay beach (#10 Beach in the world). I think the picture below speaks for it’s self! It’s a $5 entry fee but it’s absolutely worth it.

Overall is was a great and much needed trip! I think that many people overlook the Virgin Islands when they are thinking of places to go. I love it because you’re away, and get everything that another island/country has to offer but you’re still in the United States so No Passport required! Everyone on the island was super friendly and nice which is always a bonus. One thing I noticed and respect is the way they are handling COVID, they are very strict and enforce wearing your mask everywhere, some places even make you sanitize your hands before entering and all of the establishments close by 10pm or 11am to restrict partying and disobeying social distancing rules.

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