Water Island is the smallest of the four major islands that make up the US Virgin Islands territory. Covering an area of just around 491.5 acres and with a population of less than 200, Water Island offers the ultimate get-away-from-it-all experience while being only minutes away from bustling St. Thomas island.
At a glance:
- Water Island is a residential island with no commercial establishments other than small kiosks and independent restaurants. There are no hotels, taxis, and public transportation. For their shopping, education, work, and other needs, residents go to Saint Thomas, which is only a 10-minute ferry ride away.
- Water Island has volcanic origins, and is located south of Saint Thomas along the Charlotte Amalie harbor. Many people mistakenly think of the island as part of Saint Thomas.
- The island features pristine bays with powdery white sand and crystal clear water. The best thing about these beaches is they’re not as crowded as those in Saint Thomas or the territory’s other main islands. It offers the best opportunity to get away from the crowd and indulge in a blissful retreat in the company of nature.
Water Island is the youngest member of the US Virgin Islands, having been transferred to territorial control only in 1996. But it has a history that goes back centuries, intertwined with the colorful past of the rest of the Caribbean.
- The earliest known settlers on the island were the Taino Indians, the Caribbean’s indigenous people who first lived here in the 15th century.
- The Danish laid claim to Water Island in the 1700s. In the 18th and 19th centuries, free blacks and mulattos owned and ran cotton plantations and livestock farms here.
- The island got its name from its natural ponds of fresh water, which is quite rare in the Caribbean.
- The island was sold to the Danish East Asiatic Company in 1905 and was purchased by the United States in 1944 to protect their submarine base in Saint Thomas during WWII. From the 1950s up to 1996, the island was leased to private individuals and corporations.
Water Island real estate
If you want your very own retreat in a tranquil Caribbean island, you’ll love what Water Island has to offer. Beautiful spacious homes on lots of one acre or more await you. Most have stunning water views and are surrounded by lush vegetation, providing you with all the privacy and tranquility you can ask for in an island getaway.
Homes on smaller lot sizes are also available as more affordable options to St. Thomas waterfront homes for sale. You can also find vacant lots with breathtaking views, perfect for building your dream island retreat at a lower cost than in the more developed sites around the Caribbean.
Water Island offers fantastic opportunities for investors, as well. With the absence of hotels, rental homes are vacationers’ best lodging options here. You’ll find wonderful properties that will make great second homes and can also be rented out to tourists. Larger properties can be subdivided into smaller lots for sale or for construction of rental homes in addition to your very own sanctuary.