Sandra Scott Travels: Enjoy A Tropical Vacation In The US Territories

Last week I asked: Which of the American Virgin Islands is nicknamed “Rock City?”

St. Thomas.

St. Thomas.
St. Thomas.

Many people don’t realize that other than the 50 United States, there are territories that enjoy many of the same benefits as residents of the states.

The Caribbean Island of St. Thomas is one of the three U.S. Virgin Islands.

Locals often refer to St. Thomas as “Rock City,” St. Croix as “Twin City” and St. John as “Love City.”

The U.S. Virgin Islands make a great winter destination for those who might not feel comfortable in a foreign country.

Emerald Resort Beach
Emerald Resort Beach

Visitors will find the major language is English and the U.S. dollar is the currency.

But, there is still the tropical atmosphere and the feeling of being in a foreign country.

On St. Thomas, they drive on the left side of the road even though many of the cars are American style which can be a bit unnerving if one rents a car; however, there is not a lot of traffic.

There are only about 52,000 people on the island.

Blackbeard’s Castle.
Blackbeard’s Castle.

Also, if one’s health is an issue, keep in mind that health insurance is valid in U.S. territories.

St. Thomas is the gateway isle to the Caribbean and is known for its beaches and snorkeling spots.

The capital Charlotte Amalie, founded by the Danish in the 1600s, is a busy cruise-ship port.

Historic buildings include a 1679 watchtower called Blackbeard’s Castle.

It is doubtful that Blackbeard was ever there but it is good marketing.

I could see it high on the hill and wanted to visit, but it is not open.

snorkling day trip
snorkling day trip

It was not badly damaged by the hurricane, but like many other places they are using this time to upgrade.

Getting to St. Thomas is easy as there are frequent flights offered by several airlines with some flights less than $400, if you shop around.

Check out Google Flights.

Another way to arrive in St. Thomas is by boat.

Cruise ship
Cruise ship

If you don’t have your own boat there are dozens of cruise ships that arrive every week including Celebrity, The Queen Mary and Royal Caribbean.

Even though the island suffered significant damage after Hurricane Maria the cruise ports are ready and so are many hotels.

We stayed at Emerald Beach Resort.

 huricane damage
huricane damage

The hotel has a relaxed atmosphere, a nice beach and, literally, right next to the airport.

There are several options to fit all pocketbooks.

It is also one of the beach options for people off the cruise ships.

So about noon, a small group showed up to enjoy the pool, beach and bar/restaurant.

Their shrimp tacos are highly the recommendation.

Fort Christian
Fort Christian

Located on the harbor the 17th-century Fort Christian is now a local history museum and a National Historic Site.

It was named in honor of Danish King Christian V.

The fort is open even though it is in the process of being restored.

The museum has historical exhibits dealing with the Virgin Islands from the Stone Age to the present along with natural history displays and an art gallery.

There is a one-dollar safari bus that is a good way to see the island.

Most visitors head to the water to either sail or dive.

safari bus
safari bus

There is an opportunity to interface with the turtles or marvel at the coral.

There is kayaking and snorkeling.

Tip to novice snorkelers. When people jump in the water and splash around the pretty fish all head for cover.

If you want to see fish, float quietly above the coral and wait for the fish to think it is safe to come out!

Travel Trivia Tease™: What European city reveres swans?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!