US Virgin Islands — Transportation
US Virgin Islands Taxis and Car Rental
St Croix, St Thomas, and St John all have reliable taxi services, but many taxis on the islands are actually vans, SUVs, or converted trucks known as open air safaris capable of transporting up to two dozen passengers at a time. Airports, cruise ship docks, large hotels, shopping districts, and restaurants are the easiest places to find taxis on the US Virgin Islands. Instead of metering, US Virgin Islands taxi fees are fixed and based on destination and charged per person. Visitors should avoid the gypsy taxis some island residents operate from their own vehicles and stick to reputable taxi operators like Islander Taxi Service (+1-340-774-4077) in St Thomas and Frederiksted Taxi Service (+1-340-772-4775) in St Croix.
Many visitors believe car rental is a cheaper and more convenient way to explore the US Virgin Islands. The islands’ car rental rates are comparable to their mainland United States counterparts, but advance reservations are generally cheaper. Purchasing extra insurance is highly recommended to anyone planning to take four wheel drives up the islands’ steep mountains. Although most vehicles have steering wheels on the left side as they are imported from the United States mainland, the US Virgin Islands are the only United States territories where driving is on the left side of the road. Other US Virgin Islands driving challenges include giant potholes, poorly signed roads, and high drunk driving rates.
US Virgin Islands Water Taxis
Ferries are the most common way to travel between the US Virgin Islands, and there are a plethora of sailing options to choose from. VI Sea Trans handles most ferry services between St Thomas and St Croix, a journey which lasts about 90 minutes. Ferries also depart regularly from St John’s Cruz Bay to Charlotte Amalie and Red Hook, both in St Thomas. Red Hook is also the main departure point for most ferries sailing between the US and British Virgin Islands, but visitors can also board ferries to the British Virgin Island of Tortola at Charlotte Amalie. There is also frequent ferry service between St Thomas and the smaller Water Island as well as bimonthly ferries to Fajardo, Puerto Rico from both St John and St Thomas.
US Virgin Islands Trains and Buses
There is no US Virgin Islands rail service, but Virgin Islands Transit (VITRAN) is a public bus service operating in St Thomas, St John, and St Croix. As full sized buses are unable to navigate the islands’ steep hills, most US Virgin Islands buses are actually large vans the locals call taxi buses. These buses drive on no regular schedules and pick up waving roadside passengers along their predefined routes. Although US Virgin Islands bus travel is not recommended for visitors on tight schedules, it is among the cheapest and most interesting ways to travel across the islands.