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Four Paradise Islands in the Caribbean Where Americans Can Travel Without a Passport

US citizens looking for a tropical vacation in the United States can choose from four magnificent Caribbean islands. And although it is mandatory to pack sunscreen, you can leave your passport at home, сообщает afar.

Photo: Shutterstock

If we've learned anything in the past two years, it's that some of the best things are right around the corner. For Americans, this includes Puerto Rico and the three main territories of the US Virgin Islands (St. John, St. Thomas, and Santa Cruz).

While all of these places have great weather and beautiful beaches, each destination has its own entertainment and attractions. Travelers can hit the bars in Puerto Rico, go diving in Santa Cruz, zip-line in St. Thomas, and hike through the vast Virgin Islands National Park in St. John.

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For US citizens, planning a trip to these islands is relatively easy. Domestic travelers flying to Puerto Rico are no longer required to present proof of vaccination or take any tests, and those traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands must show either proof of full vaccination or a negative antigen or PCR test taken at within five days prior to arrival. And because these islands are considered US territory, the United States does not require a COVID test for US citizens to return to the mainland.

1. Puerto Rico

Whether in the city, in the rainforest, or on the beach, visitors to Puerto Rico will find something to do.

  • Things to do

Millions of people visit Puerto Rico every year, and many head straight for San Juan, the island's capital. No wonder: colorful Old San Juan houses a 16th-century Spanish colonial fortress Castillo San Cristobal and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as fantastic restaurants such as Santaella or La Cottage Blanca, where you can't miss tostons and mofongos. As for drinks after hours, San Juan's most popular bar The Factoria is outstanding: the James Beard Award nominee is actually a maze of six different themed bars and dance rooms. You can experience the relaxed atmosphere of El Dive Bar Batey or order cocktails and fine wines Mezzanineserved on cozy balconies overlooking Old San Juan.

There is something to do outside the capital. Rent a car and go to El Yunque, Puerto Rico rainforest, or head to the southwest coast for hot springs Coamo. Rincón, a town on the western side of the island, is a surfer's paradise with small boutique hotels dotted along the coast. Travelers can catch a wave or a magnificent sunset at one of the Rincón beaches. To experience one of Puerto Rico's bioluminescent coves, head to Laguna Grande in Fajardo, about an hour from San Juan.

  • Where to stay

Book Now: hotel Fairmont El San Juan

Знаменитый Fairmont El San Juan has been completely refurbished since its debut in 1958, but still retains many of its original details, including the 7000-piece handmade chandelier in the hotel's ornate lobby. The 388-room beachfront resort is less than 10 minutes from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport and offers four pools.

Book Now: Lazy Parrot

Hotel Lazy Parrot, tucked away on the hillside of Puerto Rico Mountain, is just minutes from Rincon's best beaches. The family run boutique hotel has 21 rooms and is ideal for those who want a relaxing holiday in a less crowded resort. The hotel has a saltwater pool and hot tub. El Nido Poolside Restaurant & Bar serves homemade pizzas and hot burritos for breakfast to keep you full until dinner.

2. Santa Cruz, Virgin Islands

You can get to Santa Cruz, the largest of the US Virgin Islands, with direct flights from several cities on the US mainland.

  • Things to do

Sandy Point is the most attractive white sand beach in the area, but it's only open on weekends. It is also closed from April to August for nesting sea turtles, so count yourself lucky if you get the chance to enjoy this 45km piece of paradise. Other good beaches include Buccaneer's Beach and Rainbow Beach near Frederiksted. Only XNUMX km long and km wide, Santa Cruz can also be explored on horseback or on a quad bike or dune buggy. As for water activities, Island Reef National Monument - a great place for snorkeling and diving, and the bioluminescent Santa Cruz Bay, National Historical Park Salt River Bay, best explored at night in a glass bottom kayak.

Working up an appetite, go to Le Reine Chicken Shack, which serves grilled chicken and delicious cakes, or visit the restaurant Learnedwhere you can enjoy seafood straight from the boat in the privacy of a patio. Santa Cruz is also full of historical sites and has two major cities to explore. Christiansted is a harborside area where visitors can visit st. george village botanical garden. Frederiksted, located in the west of the island, is a cruise port that houses a fort Frederiksted, an 18th-century Danish fort, and Caribbean Museum Center arts.

  • Where to stay

Book Now : The Buccaneer Beach and Golf Resort

resort owned Wyndham, overlooking the harbor of Christiansted, has a golf course, two swimming pools, a water sports center and access to three different beaches. Inside there are 128 rooms with huge canopy beds and high ceilings; Some rooms have balconies with direct ocean views.

Book Now: Fred

Fred, an adults-only waterfront hotel in Frederiksted, has been the first new hotel on the island since 1986. Each of the 22 rooms is decorated in bright colors and the hotel bar Drink with Fred there is a long list of original cocktails.

3. St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

St. Thomas is home to the capital of the US Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie, which is also a popular cruise port. It is the most developed of the three main islands and can also be reached by regular flights from the mainland.

  • Things to do

As for the beaches, you can't go wrong with the turquoise waters of Magens Bay or Sapphire Beach, which overlooks neighboring St. John's. Take advantage of St. Thomas' hilly terrain by climbing up to Drake's Seat Observation Deck for stunning views of the Caribbean Sea or ziplining through the park Tree Limin' Extreme Zipline. Gastronomic options on St. Thomas range from Duffy's Loveshack, a lively eatery in Red Hook, to Old Stone Farmhousee, an elegant restaurant with an extensive wine list.

Things to do in Charlotte Amalie too: visit a brewing company Frenchtownto see the microbrewery with four seasonal beers. Then climb the historic 99-step staircase (technically there are 103) for a fantastic view. Finally, set aside an hour to two for a self-guided tour of the fort Christian. The 300-year-old Red and Green Fort is the oldest structure in the Virgin Islands and has served as a prison, government building and the governor's residence.

  • Where to stay

Book Now: Bolongo Bay Beach Resort

One of the few all inclusive resorts in the US Virgin Islands, beach resort Bolongo Bay Beach with 78 rooms it still seems secluded. Rooms offer views of either the ocean or tropical gardens, and the resort is set on a 30m small beach. Climb aboard the 16m Heavenly Days catamaran for daytime sailing and epic sunsets.

Book Now: Emerald Beach Resort

From the resort Emerald Beach overlooks Lindbergh Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in St. Thomas. All 90 rooms offer ocean views. The resort cooperates with JetskiVI rental of jet skis and kayaks.

4. Saint John, Virgin Islands

Saint John is the smallest and least developed of the three main US Virgin Islands.

  • Things to do

About 60% of the island is national park and travelers flock to Saint John for its lush, rugged landscape. Keep in mind that Saint John does not have an airport. Instead, you'll have to fly into nearby St. Thomas and cross over to the island, which takes about 45 minutes. St. John is also a relatively quiet island, perfect for travelers who really want to get off the grid. Visitors head to Trunk Bay for its powdery white sand, while Cinnamon Bay is great for water sports like windsurfing, snorkeling and kayaking.

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Saint John has a number of restaurants dotted around Cruz Bay, the main shopping and dining area of ​​the island. The Longboard is a bright and airy Caribbean cantina that serves tacos, sushi rolls, poke bowls and half price drinks at happy hour. Skinny Legs Bar and Grill is an old dive bar where you can order a hamburger and cold beer, and one of the best dishes on the island is clam chowder in Lime Inn.

  • Where to stay

Book Now: The Westin St. John Resort Villas

One of the largest resorts on the island, The Westin St. John Resort Villas rises above the Great Cruz. The 252-room family resort, huge pool and private beach, and ferry service from St. Thomas are included in your stay.

Book Now: Gallows Point

resort hotel Gallows Point with 60 newly refurbished villas is within walking distance of all the restaurants and shops of Cruz Bay. At the hotel restaurant Ocean 362 serves fresh produce from the gardens, and the bar on the third floor overlooks the sunset.

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