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CARIBBEAN TRAVEL GUIDE
The U.S. Virgin Islands: The American Owned Tropical Paradise Popular Among American Express Vacation Clients   by Virginia Morgan
St Thomas Vacation Preparations   by Scott White

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CARIBBEAN TRAVEL INFORMATION
The U.S. Virgin Islands: The American Owned Tropical Paradise Popular Among American Express Vacation Clients   by Virginia Morgan

With new passport requirements causing much frustration among U.S. travelers, American Express Travel is suggesting the US Virgin Islands as an excellent tropical vacation alternative to Mexico or the other Caribbean islands. The US Virgin Islands can be visited by tour packages, luxury vacation packages or by luxury world cruises. Although this island chain is not the first place most travelers think of when planning their luxury travel vacation, The US Virgin Islands has much to offer making the destination just as attractive as other Islands of the Caribbean.

Frenchtown, St. Thomas, Caribbean
Frenchtown, St. Thomas, Caribbean
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The Climate & High Season

When planning your luxury travel vacation to the US Virgin Islands, it's important to know the climate is very comfortable during all seasons of the year with moderate humidity and average annual temperatures of 80 degrees--making the the destination a great luxury travel destination any time of the year.

The busiest tourist season is from December to May, during the northern hemisphere winter. These months are more popular because the humidity doesn't increase until about June. Outside of these months, room prices tend to be less expensive, not to mention the islands are less crowded from June through November. The water is considered more beautiful between April and August. During these months, the waters are calmer and underwater visibility is best for diving and snorkeling. The islands have a rainy season, usually between the May and November, with most of the heavy rainfall between August and October. Similar to other Caribbean Islands, the US Virgin Islands has experienced hurricanes in past. Hurricane season runs from roughly, August through November, with the real threat generally being in September.

Snorkelers with Island in Background, St. Croix, Virgin Islands
Snorkelers with Island in Background, St. Croix, Virgin Islands
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Amazing Water Activities

Most travelers who desire a luxury vacation in the Caribbean are looking for crystal clear water, breathtaking coral reefs, thousands of colorful tropical fish and the time to simply play in warm waters. For the snorkeling fan or diving enthusiast, there is plenty to entertain you. Buck Island Reef National Monument tops the list. This nationally protected site was established to preserve one of the finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea. For a day combining land beauties with the mysteries of the deep, visit Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve. The preserve is home to some of the largest mango forests in the Virgin Islands, as well as coral reefs and a submarine canyon. It's not necessary to bring snorkel gear along; it can be rented just about anywhere and is often provided free for use by villa owners to guests.

American Express Tours says the U.S. Virgin Islands make a great luxury travel destination most any time of the year and more travelers are choosing the islands because they have so much to offer first time or seasoned vacationers. Discount luxury cruises, http://www.amtcruises.com/, seem to be becoming more and more popular as travelers uncover the beauty of the US Virgin Islands. For many visitors, the US Virgin Islands is considered "America's Paradise."

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About the Author - Virginia Morgan writes tourism and travel articles for AMT American Express Travel, a premier Internet resource for American Express Vacations. Serving customers online since 1996.
St Thomas Vacation Preparations   by Scott White

So you have finally made the decision to take a trip to the Caribbean. But what part of the Caribbean do you want to vacation in? There are so many islands to choose from and so little time. Well if you are nervous about traveling to the Caribbean then why not start with a trip to the US Virgin Islands.

Couple Walking on Beach, Magens Bay, St. Thomas, Us Virgin Islands, Caribbean
Couple Walking on Beach, Magens Bay, St. Thomas, Us Virgin Islands, Caribbean
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The US Virgin Islands gives you the security of being part of the US but is located south in the Caribbean. There are three islands to choose from. The first island is St Thomas. St Thomas is a bustling island with business, restaurants, attractions, hotels, St Thomas Condos, and more. It is a vacation for those that like a little fun and excitement at night with top quality dining.

St Thomas receives a lot of tourism especially from cruise ships. Cruise ships bring in a lot of traffic. They average between two and seven cruise ships per day. Think of the traffic that seven cruise ships would bring in. If every cruise ship averages three thousand people you could potentially have twenty one thousand people being dumped off into downtown per day. That is half of the islands population.

Accommodations in St Thomas are grand. You can choose from renting St Thomas Villas, Hotels, Timeshares, and more. You have to make the decision what works for you. Personally renting your own St Thomas luxury villa seems like a great way to go if you can afford the extra cost. You would get your own private pool, hot tub and many other great amenities.

Another great island to potentially go to is St John. St John is a beautiful island and a totally different vacation from St Thomas. On St John life is slow, very slow. The only worries of the day are which breathtaking beach to go to in their preserved park. There is really no comparison between St John and St Thomas. St John is really a relaxing, grab a book and go and relax vacation. St Thomas can be like that but offers much more in terms of nightlife and excitement.

St John is very cultural and actually larger than St Thomas. There are a few good restaurants on the island but nothing like St Thomas. The beaches are far superior though, offering some of the most picturesque settings you will ever gaze upon. Some of the favorite beaches are Hawks Nest, Trunk and Cinnamon Bays.

Beach at Cinnamon Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands
Beach at Cinnamon Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands
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Accommodations in St John are similar to St Thomas but are definitely more costly. You could expect to spend fifteen to twenty percent more to stay on St John. But you could also have the chance to see some big time celebrities because they love St John.

Once you have made your selection now you have to get to the island of your choice. Many flights go to the Virgin Islands but none go direct to St John. You will have to fly to St Thomas first and then take a ferry over to St John. That can be a big hassle as you have to lug your luggage off the airline and then schlep everything to a taxi and then off to the ferry. It is a long day for sure but well worth the trip to see beautiful St John.

Now get ready to pack. You will need a lot of sun tan lotion and sunscreen. Make sure to bring a lot of casual clothes. The locals do not dress up so dressing casually is the way to go. Men can wear shorts and Hawaiian type shirts and women can wear sun dresses. Even the most elegant restaurants only require that type of attire. So relax you are in the Caribbean mon!
 
 

The Harbor at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Caribbean
The Harbor at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Caribbean
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You'll want to bring medicines, especially allergy medicines just on case. Make sure to pack a lot of swim suits and tee shirts. Do not forget sunglasses as you will most definitely need them. You may want to bring an underwater camera just in case you do some snorkeling or diving. For sure you will want to bring your digital camera.

Which ever island you decide on you will have a great time. They both offer diverse activities and many options.

Remember to bring your passport. The laws are changing and soon you will be required to travel with your passport to the US Virgin Islands. So make sure to get your passport done as quickly as possible. Furthermore while you are in the Virgin Islands you may want to travel to the British Virgin Islands which are just a stones throw away.

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About the Author - Scott White owns Villa Nicoletta and is luxury St Thomas Villas. If you're looking for St Thomas Condos for rent then this is the luxury villa for you.
FEATURED ST CROIX HOTELS & VACATION RENTALS
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Colony Cove Beach Resort, Christiansted
Facing a 300-yard stretch of beach and calm blue waters, the Colony Cove Beach Resort is just over 1 mile from downtown Christiansted on the island of St. Croix. The largest of the U.S. Virgin Island, St. Croix is arid and rocky on the eastern end and lush with mango, mahogany and tree ferns on the western side. Beautiful beaches, rolling hills and tranquil pastures exist in the center of the island, and there are many of museums, rum factories and gardens to enjoy and explore. Christiansted is the shopping hub of St. Croix and features tiny boutiques selling handcrafted goods. A sundeck wraps around the freeform pool and 2 tennis courts exist on site. Smuggler's cove is an open-air restaurant serving lunch and dinner overlooking the Caribbean. 
Carambola Beach & Golf Resort, St Croix
Located in Kingshill (on St. Croix's north shore) is 10 miles from E. Rholsen airport on the northwest coast St Croix. This fishing village-inspired resort, built in 1986 by Laurence Rockefeller, is on the beach, with eye-catching, lush tropical landscaping of palms, hibiscus and bougainvillea. The resort's freshwater pool lies between the hotel and the ocean, sheltered by a mural-covered wall and surrounded by a sundeck and lounge chairs. Guests can snorkel in the tranquil waters of the Caribbean, or enjoy a vigorous game of volleyball or tennis. Home to a Robert Trent Jones, Sr., 18-hole championship golf course. The resort has a fitness center and child-care is available. 
Hotel Caravelle, St Croix
This first-class hotel is located on the waterfront, and is nestled quietly on the waters edge, overlooking the harbor. All rooms include a Tv. The hotel has a waterfront restaurant and bar. This first-class hotel is ideally situated for visitors to the area. It has a welcoming atmosphere that emphasizes friendly and hospitable service. The hotel has excellent facilities as well as comfortable guest rooms and public areas. *max 1 room per agency* this property was built in 1968.
Club St. Croix Beach & Tennis Resort by Antilles Resorts
Sits along a palm-fringed Caribbean beach on St. Croix's north coast less than two miles from downtown Christiansted. Ferries bring guests to Buck Island National Park, and snorkeling and scuba-diving are available nearby. From Club St. Croix, guests are within two miles of Whim Plantation Museum and Botanical Gardens. Breezez, the resort's open-air restaurant and bar, serves escargot, salads, pork marsala, lobster and pasta with tropical drinks in a casual atmosphere.  Situated on 13 acres of beachfront, the condominiums at Club St. Croix beach and tennis resort offer a fully equipped kitchens, separate living and dining areas and large private terraces.
Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino, Christiansted
Enjoy the brilliant blue sky, sparkling turquoise water and dazzling Caribbean sun at Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino. The high level of personalized service and attention to detail will make your stay even more enjoyable. The resort boasts two restaurants, including fine dining in the Starlite Bar & Grille, three bars, two freshwater pools, two whirlpools, children's pool, watersports center, game room, babysitting services, activities for children, concierge desk, gift shop, banquet facilities, fitness center and massage rooms. Play an exhilarating game of tennis on one of the lighted tennis courts or press your luck in the exciting action of the U.S.V.I.'s first casino. Retreat to your bright and airy room and enjoy all the conveniences that this resort has to offer.
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FEATURED ST JOHN HOTELS & VACATION RENTALS
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Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort, St John
A Rosewood Resort, located on St. John island, has long been one of the premier resorts in the Caribbean sea. Guests come here to disconnect in the pristine, natural surroundings and low-key luxury. Seven white-sandy beaches border 170 acres where the hotel's accommodations blend into the landscape. Conspicuously absent from the resort are digital distractions and the furious pace of the outside world.  The Caneel Bay Resort features an outdoor pool, 11 tennis courts, a fitness center and water sports equipment and programs. Guests let go of stress at the self centre through yoga, meditation and even star-gazing; by taking walks through the gardens, sipping afternoon tea and watching feature movies.
Grand Horizons Grand Horizons, Vacation Rental Villa, St John
This free-standing villa in its own building offers a breathtaking 270-degree panorama of St.John's beautiful south bays, of St. Thomas in the blue distance and of memorable sunsets.  3 bedrooms - sleeps up to 8.  The very private master bedroom/bath suite is on the entry level with its own private verandah; a staircase leads up to the main level and the kitchen, living area, and two more bedrooms with a bath in between. A covered wraparound gallery provides alfresco dining and a private hot tub. Fully screened, cool and breezy, and just a few minutes' drive to Cruz Bay and shopping, Grand Horizons is an excellent vacation value!
St John Inn, St John
Located near the beach in the Cruz Bay neighborhood of St. John, this hotel is close to Elaine Lone Sprauve Library and Museum and St. John Spice. Also nearby are Battery and Trunk Bay. St John Inn has an outdoor pool. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas. A continental breakfast is complimentary to guests. The staff can arrange concierge services, tour/ticket assistance, wedding services, and express check-out. Additional amenities include multilingual staff, coffee in the lobby, and air conditioning in public areas. This is a smoke-free property. St John Inn has 11 guestrooms. Televisions are equipped with satellite television channels and ESPN.
The Westin St. John Resort And Villas
Positioned along Great Cruz Bay, The Westin St. John Resort and Villas is located on St. John Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Trunk Bay's snorkeling trail is less than five miles from the property. Chloe & Bernard's offers fine dining ambience enhanced by a marble staircase, white-muslin drapes and rattan armchairs. The Beach Café & Bar offers weekend Caribbean buffets with live music, whereas Snorkels Bar & Grill offers bar service from mid-morning until the last patron departs into the night. The resort's 1,200- foot beach borders Great Cruz Bay where lounge chairs and umbrellas provide comfort and shade. The main pool complex includes an outdoor pool with a separate children's section, a volleyball net, a waterfall, garden islands and two spa tubs.
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FEATURED ST THOMAS PROPERTIES
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Crystal Cove Beach Resort By Antilles Resorts
Located on the eastern tip of St. Thomas, one kilometer from the red hook ferry, which provides service to emerald green St. John and the British Virgin Islands. Convenient to shopping and dining, the hotel overlooks sapphire beach, a half mile stretch of turquoise blue waters and white sand. The lush tropical setting and clear waters provide a tranquil getaway for both families and romance-minded couples.  The resort features illuminated tennis courts, a large pool and complimentary snorkeling equipment. There is a fitness center on site, and airport shuttle service is offered at no extra cost. The fully equipped units provide guests the comfort and privacy of their own villa along with all the amenities expected from a vacation resort.
Casa B, Vacation Rental Villa, St Thomas
Set high into the hillside overlooking the entrance to Magen's Bay, Tropaco Point is the perfect setting for Villa Casa B. Gardens and an entry portico welcome you into Casa B's Great Room with its generous windows framing extravagant blue views of sky, sea and pool, and verdant green islands beyond.  With sumptuous accommodations for up to six guests and amenities to match, this 3-bedroom St. Thomas villa rental is certain to please any vacationer looking for a relaxing, pleasant stay on our island.  We welcome you to peruse our website to catch a glimpse of what Casa B has to offer. View the amenity calendar to help plan your next vacation at Villa Casa B, a St. Thomas villa rental that stands well above the rest. 
Cottage P, Vacation Rental Villa, St Thomas
Situated on Picara Point on Magen's Bay. You will have an expansive ocean view, and a quiet cove just below with live coral reefs for snorkeling. This alluring and upscale cottage features two equal queen bedrooms with baths, central air-conditioning, a hot tub and very tasteful décor. Amenities: Cable TV, VCR, CD/tape player/radio, movie collection, books, games, central A/C, gas grill, laundry.
Mar Jardin Villa, Luxury Villa, St Thomas
A unique, security gated, waterfront, multi-level estate.  With views of its own  shoreline  where you can snorkel in the reefs.   Your own  private pool with lush tropical palm gardens. The large Great Room consists of  a  dining, living,  and wet bar area that leads to a balcony with panoramic views of famous Magen's Bay. 16-foot vaulted cypress ceilings encompass the entire area. The  air-conditioned main floor consists of 5 bedrooms, each with its own bath,  and mediterranean-style furnishings. The  master suite with king bed, has its own sitting/tv area with aqua-tiled double shower and benched seating. 
MD Villa, Luxury Vacation Rental Villa, St. Thomas
Surrounded  by mature trees and manicured landscaping, and below the property, fascinating natural wonders are to be found at Mermaid's Chair (the sand bar which separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean Sea, and which connects Botany Bay to Little St. Thomas, a small islet to the west owned by The Nature Conservancy) - snorkeling, beachcombing, shelling, hiking and kayaking.  These are private areas, just a few minutes' walk from villa, shared only with MD Villa and by occasional visitors to the Beach House on Botany Bay's 380-acre private estate.  And it's only a 20 or 25-minute scenic drive to town from this wonderfully-located villa.
Ritz-Carlton Club - St. Thomas Vacation Rentals
Amid the dreamlike beauty of St. Thomas, with its mountainous interior flowing outward to create a series of pristine white sand beaches, you'll find Great Bay. Here the best views in the Caribbean accompany eastern breezes that herald endless adventure.  In the center of this paradise is The Ritz-Carlton Club, St. Thomas - a 15-acre private hideaway you can call home. Here, the natural beauty of the island is complemented with grand architectural cues, including fine marble and subtle hints of tropical color.  Amenities include a breathtaking bay-side pool, private Members' Lounge, beach bar and grill, and a full-service spa; as well as full access to the adjacent Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas resort hotel. 
SC Villa, Vacation Rental Villa, St Thomas
Built in 1997 and overlooking Charlotte Amalie Harbor from a high, spectacular vantage point, SC Villa is the embodiment of private luxury.  At over 7,000 square feet (including two huge decks), the villa comfortably accommodates 12 guests. Of course, there's a large pool, as well as a fully equipped home theater, a gym, an espresso machine, and many other unique amenities that set it above and apart from other St. Thomas Villas.  The villa's seasoned, on-site concierge will cater to your client's every need without compromising their privacy. At the villa you can entertain up to 200 guests for weddings, parties or receptions, whatever the occasion....
Secreto Jardin Villa, Luxury Oceanfront Villa, St Thomas
Luxurious new villa built on 2 levels inside giant boulders. A sought after view of the tranquility of Magen's Bay.  The main level, offers a Great Room finished with terracotta tiles an elegant cherry  wood furniture, as well as a gourmet kitchen, an office equipped to plug into, and a dining area, powder room, and a  king master suite,Full a/c. The master suite has a  romantic sleigh bed with  large jacuzzi tub for two.  This level is surrounded by a covered deck; the staircase leads down to the  lower level suite and the second  master suite with a/.c. This has a canopied four-poster king bed, a sitting area,  and luxurious  his an her separate baths.There is a kitchenette an office. 
The Anchorage Beach Resort By Antilles Resorts
Located near the southeastern tip of St. Thomas, The Anchorage stands on the beach of Cowpet Bay, home to the St. Thomas Yacht Club. The resort is just three kilometers from fabulous shopping and dining in Red Hook, a village that features a ferry which transports visitors to St. John and the British Virgin Islands. All suites feature terraces or balconies with partial ocean views and dining sets. Tile floors with tropical furniture and décor grace the units. Fully equipped kitchens maintain ranges, refrigerators, blenders, microwave ovens, coffeemakers and dishwashers. Stacked washer/dryer combos are standard, as are breakfast bars, air-conditioning, cable television and VCRS.
Villa SS, Vacation Rental Villa, St Thomas
Consisting of two pavillions this villa offers you panoramic views of Magens Bay, just beyond the pool.  The main pavilion with its high-ceiling Great Room also has an open-plan kitchen, powder room, dining area,  and a covered shady veranda just off the pool. The pool is accessible thru sliding doors from the main pavillion. A granite kitchen has almost every piece of cooking apparatus and chef's utensils to create a fabulous meal, if you so desire. Kitchen island with bar stools.  An alfresco outdoor patio with cushioned chairs  The tiled deck leads to an infinity-edge pool, providing chaise lounges. On the other side of the deck the 2-story bed/bath pavillion. In front lies a green lawn of grass accentuated with tropical plantings and flowers.  Sleeps 4.
Wind from the South Villa, St Thomas
The villa is a luxury vacation Caribbean rental villa located in the Mafolie Estates section of St. Thomas overlooking the main harbor of Charlotte Amalie.  The home is nestled in a mahogany forest among other upscale homes 850 feet above sea level. A large open-air terrace furnished for lounging and dining overlooks the 20x40 foot swimming pool and the ever-changing harbor view. The beautiful cruise ships, the sailboats and the seaplanes provide continuous activity in the blue Caribbean below you.  The kitchen is completely new, as are the baths. All the furnishings are new and exhibit a look and feel of a Caribbean home, not a typical rental villa. 
Wyndcliff Villa, Luxury Vacation Rental, St Thomas
Welcome to Wyndcliff Villa, your own private tropical paradise perched on a cliff top overlooking the sparkling water of the Caribbean.  From the expansive sun-drenched deck and pool to the beautifully decorated interiors, Wyndcliff offers guests luxury at its finest in a comfortable-elegant Caribbean setting.  Wyndcliff reflects the essence of Paradise and elates the senses.  Inside the villa, tropical furnishings fill each room with colorful excitement.  The unique multi-level design of this elegant home provides maximum privacy inside and out, so guests can enjoy as much privacy or togetherness as they chose.  Split amongst the different levels are six bedrooms and five and a half baths. 
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