Here are some helpful facts for anyone considering moving to the US Virgin Islands.
The US Virgin Islands are located 1,100 miles southeast of Miami, and 110 miles east of Puerto Rico. Just a few miles directly north of us are the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Technically you’re entering Britain, so you’ll need a passport when you take your boat over to the BVI, but the currency is the US dollar. The United States purchased St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John (and a few surrounding cays – pronounced “keys”) in 1917 from the Danish for $25-million in gold for strategic reasons during World War I. Evidence of Danish culture and the language filters through many aspects of life in the islands.
US Flag Reigns Supreme
We’re a U.S. territory, which means we enjoy the protection of the US flag, court system and the convenience of US currency. The language is English, but the rich cultural history of the territory is also reflected in dialects and patois. Unlike the British Virgin Islands, there is no discrimination when it comes to purchasing homes for sale in the US Virgin Islands. There are plenty of St. Thomas condos for sale as well – suitable for all budgets. Buying a home on St. Thomas or buying a condo on St. Thomas – you’re a click away from expert help and patience.
Three Islands? – Technically Four
St. Thomas is a 31-square-mile island, and if you buy property here you will most likely enjoy breathtaking views as part of your daily life – whether it’s homes for sale on St. Thomas on the northern side of the island whose mountainous terrain offers spectacular elevations, or whether you’re interested in St. Thomas condos for sale, close to the ocean. An estimated 45,000 people live on St. Thomas in communities ranging from the vibrant East End, with nightlife and restaurants, to the bucolic West End, with small farms and quiet country roads. Barbara specializes in St. Thomas real estate, but she can provide very good referrals to buyers interested in purchases on St. Croix or St. John. She can also be your guide to Water Island – see below.
Water Island is a relatively undiscovered gem of a small cay abutting downtown Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. It’s known as the “fourth” Virgin. Water Island is home to fewer than 200 families, some full-time residents, many second-home owners, who prefer Water Island for the sake of its quaint lifestyle, as well as luxury USVI real estate options. Golf carts are the preferred method of transportation on Water Island, home to the gated community of Sprat Bay which has its own pier and secluded beach. For a laid back afternoon, a popular destination for Water Island residents, as well as day-trip boaters, is Honeymoon Beach, with its concessions Heidi’s and Dinghy’s. An hourly passenger ferry runs between Crown Bay on St. Thomas and Water Island and costs $10 round-trip.
St. John is dedicated largely to national park. Two-thirds of this 19-square-mile island is preserved by the federal government. The rest features world-class beaches, quaint shopping villages and homes ranging from modest to Hollywood-star magnificent. The port town of Cruz Bay is a mixture of upscale shopping and dining and an unpretentious local lifestyle enjoyed by an estimated 4,500 residents.
St. Croix, an 82-square-mile island with some 50,000 residents, has a distinctly laid-back feel. Historic buildings with pastel colors add an old-world flare to the streets and alleyways of its major towns, Christiansted and Frederiksted. A much flatter island than its jagged cousins St. Thomas and St. John, St. Croix boasts three golf courses, eighteenth-century sugar mills and horseback riding on the beach.