What to do in the USVI

travelVirginia HartComment
I'd like to share a couple "insider tips" for those of you who are also fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to the US Virgin Islands.

If you stay in St. Thomas and explore the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie, you will soon learn that its main attraction is shopping. The majority of the stores sell jewelry and the owners come off as a bit pushy in their attempt to sell you their merchandise. For the New Yorkers reading this, think Chinatown. Keep in mind, though - with their eagerness comes the ability to bargain.

...but if it all becomes too overwhelming and you realize you're hungry, hop into one of the cabs (yes, those enormous minivan/tank-esque vehicles) and ask them to take you to Tutu Park. You will be whisked off to a secluded circle of colorful huts, one of which is "Jack's" restaurant - an outdoor venue strung with festive & island-y lights and decorations. It's owned by a fellow who's friends with my boyfriend's family. (Take note: order the wings - you won't be disappointed.) Inside one of the surrounding huts you can watch as a candle maker fills empty shells and coconuts with wax. Pretty neat.

Should you venture to St. John, you must visit one of the beautiful white sand beaches. If you're dropped off near a shopping area called Mongoose Junction, the cab drivers will encourage you to go to the main beach called Trunk Bay. Beware: you must take a cab there and you must also pay for entry to be alongside many other tourists. If you're looking for something a bit more secluded, try this:

First, grab lunch in the lovely little deli at Mongoose Junction. You can also rent snorkeling gear nearby. You will see a baseball field on the left and then a hiking trail off to the right. The hike takes about 15-20 minutes. Just follow the signs for Salomon Beach & Honeymoon Beach. (Are you a girly-girl that considers 5 minutes on the stairmaster in an air-conditioned gym "hiking"? You'll be fine. I hiked it in flip flops. And I somehow managed to not fall. And I'm the biggest klutz ever.)'s totally worth it. See below.

Pictured: Salomon Beach. Right around the corner from those rocks is Honeymoon Beach.

Happy travels!

until next time,