It’s been a long time since I mentioned my beloved U. S. Virgin Islands. Here are some tips that I’ve learned through the years of visiting there. It must be special there, or I wouldn’t have been there sixteen times so far.
Did you know it’s actually illegal to wear your bathing suit away from the pool or beach in the Virgin Islands? Plus, with the extensive jewelry shops in downtown Charlotte Amalie, nobody would want to see your bikini anyway. They just don’t go well with that million dollar ring. Also, you don’t want to wear your bathing suit when you go out to eat, unless it’s your hotel’s pool bar.
Hey, at least they take American money and don’t have outrageous tips, although they might be included, so do be aware of it. There are hotel fees, though.
When you do go out, though, make sure to drive on the left. They’ve always driven on the left, ever since the trading days of yesteryear. Also, make sure to drive your seat belts, when you’re in the front seats anyway. Don’t use a cell phone while you drive, though. That is against the law, unless you have an earpiece with it.
When you do decide to go out to eat, there is nearly every type of restaurant imaginable. From formal tablecloth-laden tables, to fast food joints, to just the normal, every restaurants, to basically bars that serve some food too. My personal favourite is still Agave Terrace, at Point Pleasant resort on St. Thomas’s north side. It’s reasonably formal, and very attractive, but you can get away with not wearing jackets and ties as you sup on some slightly expensive meal options. Still, it’s delectable! Other than the usual staples you find most places, and the expected tropical fruits, the Virgin Islands also has some really great local foods, such as “rice and peas”, which is actually lentils or kidney beans, funghi, which is a tasty corn meal ball, johnnycakes, which is like our doughboys, and pate, which is also like a doughboy that’s stuffed with beef, chicken, or sometimes cod fish. OK, that last bit doesn’t sound so great to me. Then, there is always conch. That’s the meat of that shell you can hold up to your ear to hear the ocean.
One problem that many people have at least at the first visit to the islands is that the sun is considerably stronger than expected. Even on mostly cloudy days, or with cooling tradewinds, it is still vitally important to use effective sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses as often as possible. You do not want to mess up your vacation with a terrible sunburn.