Visitors craving a little escape from lively St. Thomas can take a 15-minute ferry over to secluded, St. John. But what many visitors do not visit is the USVI’s charmingly historic and peaceful Water Island; often referred to as the “4th Virgin.”
Located just a half-mile south of Charlotte Amalie and easily accessible (10-minute ferry ride), Water Island is a peaceful, quiet retreat that’s ideal for a quick getaway. The island has a population of fewer than 200 people. Travelers interested in staying overnight can shack up in a private villa or cottage; no commercial resorts or hotels are located on Water Island. In downtown Water Island, visitors can check out Phillips’ Landing, the breathtakingly beautiful vista at Fort Segarra, several Indian camp excavations, picturesque Honeymoon and Sprat Bay Beaches, and many well-preserved ruins.
One way to explore Water Island is via a tour with Water Island Adventures. This half-day excursion begins with an informative ferry tour of historic St. Thomas harbor, Charlotte Amalie, followed by a bike exploration of Water Island. Meandering on rolling natural roads, bicyclists can visit the old hotel site which was the inspiration for Herman Wouk’s classic novel, Don’t Stop the Carnival, and the site of a plantation from the 1700s, before arriving at serene Honeymoon Beach for a refreshing swim. Each group is accompanied by trained and experienced guides. There are frequent sightings of island wildlife, such as birds and reptiles, during the tour.
Centuries ago, Water Island was identified as one of the few places in the Caribbean with freshwater ponds where sailing vessels could replenish their freshwater casks. Water Island’s first known inhabitants were Taino Indians whose habitation is evidenced by artifacts excavated at four campsites on the island. It also has been documented that pirates anchored in Water Island’s bays, out of range of the guns of Christian Fort on St. Thomas, where they would lie and wait for merchant vessels entering or leaving the port of St. Thomas.
The ferry operates daily between Crown Bay Marina on St. Thomas and Phillips Landing on Water Island. Depart from Tickles Restaurant at the marina; the trip takes about 10 minutes each way. Ticket pricing for adults is $5 one-way, $9 roundtrip, children $3 one-way and $5 roundtrip. For more information and for ferry schedules, contact the Water Island Ferry at (340) 775-5770, (340) 690-4159 or (340) 690-4446. For more information on Water Island, visit vinow.com/waterisland.
Because of its secluded nature, the Pizza Boat is exactly what is sounds like – delivering freshly-made pizzas to residents and visitors. The boat docks on Honeymoon Beach.
Monday Night Movies
On Monday nights, residents and visitors gather on Honeymoon Beach to watch an open-air movie on the beach. For additional information on this, please visit vinow.com/waterisland.
Because Water Island is so small visitors get to know residents and often end up hiring a captain and dinghy to explore the ruins at nearby Hassel Island as well as in the harbor.
For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, call 800-372-USVI (8784) or go to VisitUSVI.com. When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel—including on-line check-in—making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens. Follow us on Twitter (@USVImockojumbie) and become a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/VisitUSVI).