Virgin Island Travel Safety Tips

Safe Virgin Island travel easy. By using some common sense and a few basic precautions you can enjoy your Virgin Islands vacation with no worries.

Virgin Island Travel Safety:

The Environment

The Sun:
The Sun in the Virgin Islands can be fierce. It's easy to get a sunburn, so protect yourself accordingly. Use high SPF sunscreen (at least SPF 15; higher is better). Wear a hat.

Limit the amount of time your skin is exposed to the Sun's rays, especially in the early part of your visit.

When swimming, and especially when snorkeling, keep in mind that your back is exposed. I recommend that you wear a t-shirt when you snorkel, and be sure to use a good waterproof sunscreen, particularly on the backs of your legs.

Don't let a nasty sunburn ruin several days of your Virgin Island vacation.

The Sea:
Don't overestimate your swimming abilities, or underestimate the power of the ocean. That small islet just off the beach may be farther than it looks, and it may be surrounded by heavy waves and unpredictable currents.

Wave action, especially on the north coast of the islands, can be severe. There are often jagged, rocky outcrops concealed just below the surface. These are frequently encrusted with spiny sea urchins and stinging fire coral.

Virgin Island Travel Safety:


Traffic travels on the left side of the road in the Virgin Islands. If you're used to the North American system, you need to use extra care, whether you're a pedestrian or driving a rental car.

When crossing streets or intersections on foot, remember that cars will
be coming from the opposite direction that you're used to. When
driving, take things slowly until you adjust to driving on the left.

St Thomas and St John are known for extraordinarily steep, windy roads and hairpin turns. Honk your horn when approaching these turns.

The locals, who've been driving these roads their whole lives, often drive at seemingly hair-raising speeds. Be careful.

Virgin Island Travel Safety:


All of the Virgin Islands have mosquitoes. Fortunately, there's no malaria or yellow fever here.

However, certain mosquitoes in the islands do carry Dengue, a nasty virus. Although Dengue is treatable, there's no cure for the infection and no vaccine. It can result in fever, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, rash, and sometimes death.

Dengue is carried by the daytime-active Aedes mosquito. Though Dengue isn't a common occurrence in the USVI, it's best to be safe. Use a good insect repellent containing DEET (something you'll want to do anyway, to avoid itchy bug bites).

There are wild donkeys living on the Virgin Islands. You're most likely to see them on St John. You'll sometimes see them standing right in the road; be careful when driving around curves. You'll also see them on the side of the road and on trails when you're hiking.

Although they look cute and gentle, they can be surprisingly aggressive. They may charge if approached. They can deliver a very strong bite, and they kick, too.
Keep a safe
distance from them. They're not farm animals or pets; treat them like the wild animals they are.

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