Located in the sun-kissed Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands are the perfect holiday destination for anyone searching sun, sea and relaxation. Every year the three main islands of Saint Croix, Saint Thomas and Saint John welcome over two million tourists.
The vast majority of them are missing out though, treading the beaten path and not making the most out of their holiday of a lifetime. Don’t want to be like everybody else? Like taking charge of your own destiny? If you do, read on to find out everything you need to know about exploring the US Virgin Islands (USVI) by Catamaran.
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As mentioned above, the USVI consist of three large islands but also of a further 50 smaller islands and cays. Whilst you can fly into Saint Thomas from the United States or farther afield, you can’t fly into the smaller, treasure trove islands.
The only way to get to them is by boat and your best option is a Catamaran. Whilst they are undoubtedly slower than a Yacht, they are the ideal vessel for touring the USVI. Steady, spacious and tranquil, a Catamaran is as close as you can get to a hotel on the sea.
Chartering a Catamaran
Those three words will immediately set the alarm bells ringing in your head as they bring one word to mind more than any other – expensive! Common sense dictates that hiring a Yacht or go on a US virgin islands catamaran cruise in somewhere like the USVI is going to be prohibitively expensive, but that’s not actually the case.
Borrow a Boat, affectionately known as the ‘AirBnB of boats’ is an online marketplace where you can hire a Catamaran with or without a captain for parties of all sizes, all year round. If you want to spend thousands of dollars on a top of the range vessel you can.
Or, you can find a perfectly serviceable and comfortable Catamaran for less than a hotel for the family and a couple of day trip excursions.
(Stuck for ideas? Watch this and then read up on our USVI travel itinerary below.)
USVI Catamaran Itinerary
So, you’ve been sold on the idea of Catamaran Charter and you’ve decided that you’re going to go for it and sail around the USVI, now what? Well, now it’s time to have start thinking about your itinerary and what you’re going to do when you’re there.
Below we have compiled a suggested list of activities and places to visit as part of your vacation. Don’t follow our guide to the letter though, do your own research and pinpoint places you want to go and the things that you want to see.
Remember, there is no set schedule for a Catamaran holiday, you’re very much in charge here so take things at your own pace. To get your inspiration flowing though how about:
Flying into Saint Thomas
Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as chartering a Catamaran, arranging for it to pick you up at your nearest body of water and then setting sail for the USVI. What you’ll have to do is fly into Saint Thomas via the Cyril E King airport.
From here we would recommend checking into a hotel for a couple of days and taking the time to acclimatise to the heat and check out the local sights. There are plenty of things to do inland on Saint Thomas from a peaceful afternoon sipping cocktails and admiring the view from Paradise Point to getting the blood pumping at Tree Limin Extreme Zipline.
Once you’re ready to hit the seven seas, head down to the marina and meet your captain, asking him to take you to…
Druif Bay and Christmas Cove
People travel to the Carribbean to experience the stunning white beaches, the turquoise water and the endless beat of the sun. You can experience all of that and more with a trip to these two destinations.
Spend your days lounging on deck of your Catamaran, feeling the sand between your toes on the beach and looking out for turtles as you snorkel in the sea. In the late evening position your Catamaran to capture a stunning sunset over the tranquil waters.
(Time it right and you might be able to swim alongside one of these at Druif Bay!)
Coral Bay and Leinster Bay
In these locations you’ll find yet more stunning beaches and marine life, including pods of dolphins at Leinster Bay. Trips to these two places are all about learning more about the islands, their history and their distinct culture.
Not far from Coral Bay you will find Fortsberg, an 18th century fort which gives you an insight into what life was like back when Denmark ruled over the islands. The Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins just off Leinster Bay is the ideal place to learn about the problematic and often bloody history behind the islands.
A trip to the lesser spotted Trunk Bay is all about exploration, whether that be underneath or above water. Those of you with a penchant for the deep blue will enjoy exploring over 650 feet of purpose built snorkelling trails.
Whilst the land lovers in your party can open their lungs and explore some of the gorgeous inland island trails.
Chartering a Catamaran to explore the USVI is undoubtedly one of the best ways to explore what’s on offer and it’s also customisable. Love snorkelling? Set sail for the reefs and the turtle habitats.
Want to learn about the history of the USVI? Get your captain to take you to the most significant historical and cultural location on the islands.
The phrase ‘holiday of a lifetime’ is often overused, but in this case, perhaps it doesn’t go far enough.