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Christmas vacation to USVI - where for first-timers?

Clinton, New Jersey
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Christmas vacation to USVI - where for first-timers?

First question is whether the air and water are warm (80+ F) the end of December.

Otherwise, we are first-time visitors to the Caribbean and like the idea of the USVI both because we still would be in the US and the VI National Park.

We are most interested in "on the beach" resorts, with food available on-site or very close. But we wouldn't need too many fancy amenities, not interested in spas or fitness centers, but eco tours interest us. Talking about food, we have Caribbean friends, so is there "local food" in the USVI like Jamaica and other islands would have?

Also, is renting a car necessary if we want to go to access points for the National Park? We are newbies so a place with a snorkel/scuba package would be great. 2, maybe 3 adults, one teen, and two pre-teens.

Would we need scuba lessons beforehand, or can you learn easily? Also, is asthma an issue for scuba diving? We aren't even sure if just snorkeling is fine (bring our own snorkels?) or we "have to" scuba dive to get the full experience.


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1. Re: Christmas vacation to USVI - where for first-timers?

You will want to check with your Dr. about the asthma. Both my son and I (10 year old) were not cleared to scuba dive. Don't risk it unless you are 100% cleared. Have a blast, snorkeling is awesome!

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2. Re: Christmas vacation to USVI - where for first-timers?

If you want to stay on the beach, I would focus on St Croix and St Thomas because there is not much beachfront property on STJ and what there is tends to be very expensive. Read through the forums for those two islands to see which one might suit you better as they are very different. End of Dec is high,high season in the USVI and very busy, and many places might already be booked, so the quicker, the better.

Tulsa, Oklahoma
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3. Re: Christmas vacation to USVI - where for first-timers?

The air and water temp will be around 80F and with the humidity will feel warm but not hot.

The national park is actually on St John, as short ferry ride away.

We nearly always rent a condo via VRBO.com on Sapphire Beach at Sapphire Beach Resort and Marina. It is one of the few "on the beach" places on St Thomas, the rooms are litterly steps away from the water.

Local food is pretty much everywere depends on how local you want to get, some places can be a bit dicey just like all the rest of the islands.

A car is your best bet as there is virtually no reliable public transportation and cab fare is per person and adds up quickly. You will need it to properly explore St John if your really interested in seeing the national park.

As far as scuba goes, you will have to answer some medical questions and depending on how you answer you may need a Dr. to sign off on the form. Typically asthma requires Dr review. We use Red Hook Dive Center in Red Hook, google them and on their website they have a copy of the medical questionare. IMO diving is much easier than snorkeling and you would be amazed at what you see compared to snorkeling the same area.

Hope that helps.

Mike in Tulsa

4. Re: Christmas vacation to USVI - where for first-timers?

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