How to Plan a Trip to the Virgin Islands

Jun 21, 2023

Discover the Beauty of the Virgin Islands

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The Virgin Islands, a stunning archipelago located in the Caribbean Sea, offers an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical landscapes. This paradise-like destination has something for everyone, from adventure enthusiasts to those looking for a relaxing getaway.

virgin islands beach

British vs. U.S. Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands are split into the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). The BVI consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with more than 50 other smaller islands and cays. To get to the BVI, there are two ways. The first is to fly directly to Beef Island Airport on Tortola (airport code:EIS). The second is to fly to Cyril E. King airport in St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands (airport code: STT) and then take the ferry to Tortola, BVI. Take note, the BVI require a passport.

The USVI consist of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas, and 50 other surrounding minor islands and cays. You don't need a passport to get to the USVI, but if you're wanting to island hop between the USVI and BVI don't forget to bring one!

Best Time to Visit

When planning your trip to the Virgin Islands, it's essential to consider the weather. The region enjoys a tropical climate, with temperatures averaging around 80°F (27°C) throughout the year. The best time to visit is typically between December and April when the weather is warm and dry. However, be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices during this peak season. For those who prefer fewer crowds and more affordable accommodations, consider visiting during the shoulder season from May to June or late November. Be weary, as hurricane season officially runs from June-November.

Top Attractions in the Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands National Park

Located on the island of St. John in the USVI, the Virgin Islands National Park covers approximately 60% of the island's land area and offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Explore the park's 20+ hiking trails, including the popular Reef Bay Trail, which takes you through lush forests, past ancient petroglyphs, and down to a secluded beach. Don't forget to snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of Trunk Bay, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

trunk bay

The Baths

One of the most famous attractions in the BVI is The Baths on the island of Virgin Gorda. A national park, this geological wonder consists of massive granite boulders that form a series of pools and grottos, perfect for swimming and exploring. Some of these boulders reach as large as 40 feet in diameter! Arrive early to avoid the crowds and enjoy this natural playground at its best. Onshore facilities include bathrooms and lockers for your valuables. 

Historic Sites

For history buffs, the Virgin Islands offer several fascinating sites to explore. Visit the 17th-century Fort Christian in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, or the Annaberg Sugar Plantation ruins on St. John. In the BVI, don't miss the Copper Mine National Park on Virgin Gorda, where you can learn about the island's mining history and enjoy breathtaking coastal views.

fort christian

Water Activities

With its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, the Virgin Islands is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Snorkeling and scuba diving are among the most popular activities, with top spots including the RMS Rhone shipwreck in the BVI and the underwater trail at Trunk Bay in the USVI. You have a high chance of seeing wildlife, so be sure to keep your eye out for sea turtles and starfish! Other water activities to enjoy include sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing.

Island Hopping

One of the best ways to experience the Virgin Islands is by island hopping. With numerous islands to explore, each offering its unique charm, you'll never run out of places to discover. Take a day trip to Jost Van Dyke in the BVI, known for its lively beach bars and stunning White Bay, or visit Water Island in the USVI for a more laid-back experience.

jost van dyke

Local Cuisine

No trip to the Virgin Islands is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Savor mouthwatering dishes such as conch fritters, johnnycakes, and roti, and don't forget to try the region's famous rum. Visit local eateries and beach bars to get a true taste of the islands' flavors. Here are some of the best beach bars in St. Thomas, USVI.

Get Out There and Explore

The Virgin Islands offer a diverse range of experiences for every traveler. From stunning beaches and fascinating history to exciting water activities and delicious cuisine, this Caribbean paradise is sure to leave a lasting impression. Flight prices may be a little daunting, but with enough searching and flexibility you'll find great deals on websites (some even <$500). After going, the only thing you'll wish is that you would've booked your trip sooner!

Thanks for reading,