A Beginner’s Guide to Visiting the Virgin Islands

Posted By : Thomas/ 3570

Rules & Regulations

Communications. The U.S. Virgin Islands do have their own area code, which is 340, so before dialing to make reservations to your favorite restaurant, make sure to dial 340! Callers can also make direct calls to the continental U.S. But coverage can vary depending on your service provider. We have had the best reception using AT&T, with Verizon coming in a close second. Check with your service provider before traveling if you’ll be relying on making calls.

Driving. In the VI, motorists drive on the left side of the street per state law. So make sure that before you hop in that rental, you STAY LEFT. Otherwise, you’ll have a really hard time getting around! Any U.S. driver with a valid, up-to-date driver’s license can drive in the Virgin Islands for up to 90 days. Foreign visitors will need to purchase a temporary driving permit before driving in the VI, even if you have a valid driver’s license from your home country. These permits can be purchased through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or any car rental agency.

Cell Phones and Driving. Using a cell phone without an earpiece while driving is prohibited by law in the U.S. Virgin Islands, so we’d highly recommend not doing it! Also refrain from texting while driving or you will be ticketed.


Duty Free Allowance. Boasting the highest duty-free allowance in the Caribbean ($1,600 per person), the USVI also has no sales tax on any island! That’s right, shop til your heart’s content without having to pay any sales taxes!

Taxi Fares and Receipts. Taxi fares are calculated per person and are based on point to point travel, not length of trip and mileage. Be sure to confirm your fare with the driver before you hop aboard the taxi. For your safety, only use taxis that have a TP or TAXI on the license plate and a lit dome atop the vehicle. It is recommended that passengers ask for a receipt any time they take a taxi ride and note the taxi driver’s name or ID badge number, which should clearly be visible in the taxi.


Tipping. Typically 15% to 20% are customary for decent service in the USVI. Some places automatically include gratuity in the bill, so check with your server before leaving the establishment.

Getting Around

Local Customs. Offering a cheerful “Good morning” or “good afternoon” to islanders while in the Virgin Islands will get a visitor quite a bit further than a simple “hello”. The locals take this pretty seriously, so if you’d like a hearty reply or an answer to any inquiries you may have, be sure to remember this.

Dress Code. Dress in the Virgin Islands is casual, but remember that appropriate attire should be worn in public areas. Swimsuits should only be worn at the pool or at the beach. Trust us, you’ll get some funny looks if you hit the town in your trunks!

Appropriate Attire

Leave No Trace. Do your part to help us preserve the marine ecosystems surrounding the islands. Removing any shells, coral, or any other natural resource from the environment is strictly prohibited by local law. So remember: take memories, leave footprints!

Safety Tips. Visitors to the USVI should exercise the same caution that would be expected when traveling anywhere else. Keep hotel and car doors locked when not in use. Always remain aware of your surroundings no matter where you are. If you do have to travel at night, it is recommended to stay in well-lit areas and to remain in groups.

Departure. When you’re ready to head home, be prepared to provide proof of citizenship. All non-U.S. citizens will need to provide a passport. Although a passport is not necessary for U.S. citizens, it is recommended to have photo ID ready for ease of travel.

Cyril E. King Airport

Trouble When Visiting. Although an emergency occurring when visiting the islands is unlikely, it is best to be prepared for any event that could occur.

In the event of an emergency, Dial 911.

Department of Tourism Helplines:

St. Thomas & Water Island

St. John

St. Croix

(340) 774-8784

(340) 776-6450

(340) 772-0357