Surprise Tips from the US Virgin Islands

It’s been a long time since I mentioned my beloved US Virgin Islands. Here are some tips I’ve learned through the years of visiting there. It must be special there, or I wouldn’t have been there sixteen times by now.

Did you know that it is actually illegal to wear your bathing suit outside of the pool or beach in the Virgin Islands? Plus, with the sprawling jewelry stores in downtown Charlotte Amalie, no one 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 at your hotel pool bar.

Hey, at least they accept US money and they don’t have outrageous tips, although they might be included, so be careful. However, there are hotel fees.

However, when you exit, be sure to drive on the left. They have always driven on the left, since the commercial days of yore. Also, make sure you’re wearing your seat belts, when you’re in the front seats anyway. However, do not use a cell phone while driving. That’s illegal, unless he has a headset with him.

When you decide to eat out, there are just about every type of restaurant imaginable. From formal tables laden with tablecloths, to fast food places, to the normal, all restaurants, to basically bars that also serve some food. My personal favorite remains Agave Terrace, at the Point Pleasant resort on the north side of St. Thomas. It’s reasonably formal and very attractive, but you can get away with not wearing a jacket and tie while dining on some slightly pricey food options. Still, it’s delicious! In addition to the usual staples found most places, and the expected tropical fruits, the Virgin Islands also have some really great local foods, like “rice and peas” which are actually lentils or beans, funghi, which is tasty corn. food ball, johnnycakes, which is like our cakes, and pâté, which is also like a dish filled with beef, chicken, or sometimes cod. OK, that last one doesn’t sound so good to me. So, there is always conch. That’s the meat of that shell that you can hold close to your ear to hear the ocean.

A problem that many people have at least on their first visit to the islands is that the sun is considerably stronger than expected. Even on mostly cloudy days, or with refreshing trade winds, it is vitally important to use effective sunscreen, hats and sunglasses as often as possible. You don’t want to spoil your vacation with a terrible sunburn.

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