United States Virgin Islands

Living in USVI

Iyna Bort Caruso

The U.S. Virgin Islands are an international mashup, an American territory with African and European roots set in the Caribbean.

Tourism drives the economy of the USVI, although it’s famously known for its rum production as well. Virgin Islanders are subject to the same laws and enjoy all the benefits of U.S. citizens with one exception. They cannot vote for president. Similarly, buyers from the mainland, known locally as ‘continentals,’ enjoy full ownership rights, as in the States.

USVI Real estate offerings include Caribbean-style cottages, hillside villas, seaside condominiums and parcels for new construction. Many developments offer onsite management for buyers interested in investment or long-term rental opportunities.

Of its three main islands, St. Thomas is the entry point for most visitors and as close to a Caribbean metropolis as it gets. It exudes an urban resort vibe. Charlotte Amalie, the USVI capital, is the hub of dining, shopping and nightlife, and its lovely harbor is one of the most visited ports in the Caribbean.

St. Croix is the largest of the islands, though still a bit of a secret. It has two pretty harbor towns of pastel-colored buildings, Christiansted and Frederiksted, that are linked by a heritage trail of museums, gardens, churches and natural attractions. St. Croix is the most geographically diverse island of the trio with green hills, pastures, small rainforests and, of course, beaches. Peppered among its natural wonders are three golf courses and the USVI’s only casino.

The most laid-back island is St. John where a herd of wild donkeys can stop traffic. St. John is heralded for its gorgeous white sand beaches and pristine terrain. Green growth and sustainable development is a priority here. More than 60 percent of the island is given over to national parklands, which puts a premium on its limited real estate, generally clustered around the main town of Cruz Bay.