DREAMSCAPES Spring/Summer /2018
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Whether you’re into a few rounds of island hopping, reclusive getaways hidden in tropical surroundings, family fun or just lazing around on world-class beaches, the U.S. Virgin Islands manage to offer it all within a remarkably small amount of real estate.

As a U.S. territory, it has long been a popular destination for American tourists. Recently the island resorts have widened their appeal by introducing all-inclusive vacation offerings. It’s a move that definitely increases their appeal to Canadian tourists who like their package deals.

Once owned by the Danish, this small collection of islands was a centre for commerce, sugar cane production and slavery. Evidence of the islands’ checkered history lingers, from the Danish-style buildings to sugar plantation ruins and memorials to heroes of local slave rebellions. Today the three main islands, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, have become a popular destination of choice for all types of vacationers. And, although the islands are within close proximity to each other, each has its own unique cachet.

St. Thomas

St. Thomas, once a thriving port of call for merchants in the 1700s and 1800s, now beckons tourists with a wide array of enjoyable adventures, shopping and spectacular views. This casual, friendly island is a great place for sunset catamaran cruises, evening dinner parties on the beach and open-air cab rides throughout its hilly terrain. 

We stayed at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, an all-inclusive locale just two miles outside a town called Red Hook. Our group also had an opportunity to visit the wide array of resorts in the vicinity, ranging from the kick-off-your-shoes-and-relax family-oriented Bolongo Bay Beach Resort (an all-inclusive) to the top-of-the-line, newly furbished Ritz-Carlton, with its secluded oceanfront villas and suites, health and fitness programs, and stunning grounds. All offered a wide selection of water sport activities, from snorkelling and diving lessons to sailing.

Adults and kids alike should not pass up a trip to St. Thomas’ Coral World Ocean Park, a 20-minute drive east of the island’s historic town, Charlotte Amalie. This two-hectare marine attraction features scores of activities, from underwater walks and family sleepover events to face-to-face encounters with sea lions and sea turtles—a rare treat offered by few marine parks in the world. Many of the animals on the meet-and-greet circuit were rescued from certain death in the wild, including the South American sea lions that love to join you in the pool, shake hands, accept a fish or two, and even plant a big fat kiss on your cheek. Adding to the excitement is the plentiful population of stately iguanas found sunning themselves around the picnic tables.

St. John

For a more subdued Zen-like experience, the quiet and sparsely populated island of St. John is a mere 20-minute ferry ride away. The Virgin Islands National Park comprises two-thirds of the island, and visitors can explore the lush vegetation that covers most of the park’s terrain. Among other notable attractions, St. John is home to Trunk Bay Beach, named by National Geographic Magazine as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. Be sure to try out the underwater trail while you’re there. Other stellar swimming spots include Cinnamon Bay and Salt Pond Bay.            

Located near the Annaberg Plantation ruins, the Caneel Bay resort is a one-of-a-kind getaway. Its expansive grounds feature a community of exclusive villas so private, they don’t have phones and televisions. A popular wedding spot on the property is a tumbledown sugar mill where couples can celebrate their nuptials under the stars in a historical setting.

St. Croix

For its part, St. Croix offers elegance and grandeur interspersed with plenty of history. Once the major location for prosperous sugar plantations, it is now populated with spectacular oceanview resorts and stately homes perched on the hillsides far from the madding crowd. It’s worth your while to make a quick call at the Whim Plantation Museum, a lovingly preserved heritage site, which gives you a unique glimpse into the past.

Our stay at the Buccaneer resort was a rare treat, where the beach literally reached the back step of our spacious and well-appointed villa rooms. For those who prefer a livelier nightlife, the all-inclusive Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort offers a casino, evening Caribbean buffets and nightly shows. For something well off-the-beaten track, the Chenay Bay Beach Resort’s unassuming cottages hide splendid interiors and exclusive access to a mile of white sandy beaches.

An extremely popular St. Croix event is a sailing expedition to the Buck Island Reef National Monument, where you can spend hours swimming and snorkelling on the reef in the turquoise-blue waters. We departed Christiansted on board one of Big Beard’s Adventure Tours’ luxury catamarans. This historic town’s shopping district showcases a number of talented local artisans, including silversmiths and jewellers whose selections include the “hook” bracelet, a St. Croix original.

It’s amazing how much there is to discover in this multi-island getaway where the islanders do their part to make you feel welcome, whatever your inclination. For anyone planning a family vacation, a destination wedding or simply looking for R&R in a quiet setting, it’s remarkably easy to find an itinerary to suit your tastes and budget.

Travel Planner

For more information, visit or call:

U.S. Virgin Islands Department
of Tourism: usvitourism.vi;

Best Western
Tokyo Tourism
Cartier Place
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