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Three Perfect Days: U.S. Virgin Islands

White sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters have long drawn travelers (and pirates, and Christopher Columbus) to these islands, but it's the friendly locals and unexpected adventures that have kept so many coming back

Author Grant Stoddard Photography Peter Frank Edwards

The St. Thomas Synagogue in Charlotte Amalie

Picture 3 of 13

LIFE IN THE LEFT LANE
Driving in these islands can take some getting used to

Sixty-six percent of the world’s population drives on the right side of the road in left-hand-drive cars. The remaining 33.9 percent drives on the left in right-hand-drive cars. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, however, they drive on the left in left-hand-drive vehicles — and it’s no easy skill to master. The trick, say the locals, is to remember to keep your left shoulder to the shoulder. Not everyone is great at doing that, of course, but if you can get through the first couple of hours, you’ll be fine. (If not, taxis here are reasonably priced and abundant.)

BEER BELLIES
Bending an elbow with St. Croix’s thirstiest residents

Tucked into the rain forest east of Frederiksted is the Mt. Pellier Domino Club, a place known for three things: a honey-and-spice rum called mamajuana; stick-to-your-ribs fare from a Trinidadian named Norma George; and beer-guzzling pigs. As the story goes, free-roaming pigs used to snatch beers out of patrons’ hands, so the response was to start buying them their own. Order four (nonalcoholic) brews, shake them up and put them in the mouths of your new drinking buddies, who, despite the spray, will enjoy every drop. It’s about as lowbrow as it gets, but a whole lot of fun to watch.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
The inside scoop from those in the know

Elgitha Hodge
CONCIERGE AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, ST. THOMAS
“You have to try the food here — it’s fantastic! I recommend callaloo, a stew of okra, local greens, meat, seafood and spices. Gladys’ Café, Victor’s New Hideout, Diamond Barrel and Petite Pump Room are all great places to try the local cuisine.”

Shomari Moorehead
DEVELOPER OF MYVI, A U.S.V.I. TOURISM APP
“There are some beaches by Point Udall on St. Croix that are special because they take a little effort to get to. Also, there are beaches that appear and disappear depending on the currents. What’s cooler than discovering a beach that wasn’t there yesterday and might be gone again tomorrow?”

Michael J. Foody
CHEF AT AQUA BISTRO, CORAL BAY, ST. JOHN
“We’re a stone’s throw from the British Virgin Islands, like Jost [Van Dyke]. There’s a place called Foxy’s, which is this crazy beach bar. Cold Coronas, rum drinks … it’s a great little island. Or Norman Island. If you can charter a boat and get there, it’s perfect.”


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2 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: U.S. Virgin Islands”

  1. George Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    We used the travel app Explore St. John for our trip. It was VERY useful!

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/explore-st.-john/id428169483?mt=8

  2. Steve Burry Says:
    March 17th, 2012 at 10:18 am

    While in St. Thomas, take a ferry boat ride over to St. John and take the Bad Kitty Catamaran for an all day excursion through the British Virgin Islands…..absolutely beautiful and a lot of fun!! The boat stops at 4 different islands where you can snorkel, eat lunch, and try the island favorite tropical drink: The Pain Killer. It costs around $200 per person, but it’s well worth it!! One of the best excursions we’ve been on.

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