It’s always an exciting time to visit the U. S. Virgin Islands, but 2023 is set to be an incredibly popular bucket list destination for visitors. Not only can U. S. citizens visit this stunning Caribbean destination without a passport, but the islands offer incredible experiences across the three main islands of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, including new developments and a host of events and festivals.
7 Reasons to Visit the U. S. Virgin Islands:
The Return of Frenchman’s Reef
Five years following the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Frenchman’s Reef will welcome two new properties, The Westin Beach Resort and Spa at Frenchman’s Reef and The Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef, an Autograph Collection following more than a $350 million dollar investment.
The Westin Beach Resort and Spa at Frenchman’s Reef
Slated Opening: Winter 2022/2023
The Westin Beach Resort and Spa at Frenchman’s Reef will finally open its doors to guests in St. Thomas. Perched above the glistening Caribbean Sea, this new location from the highly regarded hotel chain brings all of the class, sophistication and service that the Westin has come to be known for with a distinct USVI flair. The property offers stunning venues, custom catering, high-tech audiovisual, and a team of event experts. Outside, 60,000 square feet of tropical outdoor space await, paired with 25,000 square feet of flexible indoor space.
The Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef, an Autograph Collection
Slated Opening: Winter 2022/2023
Located high above the Caribbean Sea and offering breathtaking views at nearly every turn, the all-new Frenchman’s Beach Resort and Spa is a beacon of the U. S. Virgin Islands. The new accommodations feature a world-class experience for the whole family, reimagined with an elevated sense of style inspired by the islands, including 384 guest rooms, six restaurants and lounge areas, three oceanfront pools, 72,000 square feet of event space and 2,000 square feet of private dock area.
There is much to enjoy for adventurers and leisure seekers alike, with world-class dining options, a full-service spa, island excursions, and authentic experiences available only in this destination.
The Buccaneer’s 75th Anniversary
The famed Buccaneer Beach and Golf Resort in St. Croix is the epitome of luxury and indulgence in the USVI. Set on a 340-acre property on a breathtaking beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea, this property is tranquil and serene with lots to see and do thanks to an 18-hole golf course, eight tennis courts, three peaches, two pools, a water sports center, a full-service spa and salon, and a 24-hour fitness center. Three restaurants and a shopping center also make a stay at the Buccaneer feel like entering your own little world.
December will mark the 75th anniversary of the hotel after the Armstrong family officially opened the doors of the famous property to guests in 1947.
Upcoming Events and Exhibits
St. Croix Crucian Festival
December 11-January 7
Every year, Christmas in the U. S. Virgin Islands is celebrated in a big way on its biggest island with St. Croix Crucian Festival, the last of three events in the region (St. Thomas Carnival kicks things off in April, followed by St. John Carnival in July).
This iconic event lineup is an absolute way of life in the Caribbean, with various islands having their own traditions and celebrations, however USVI is proud to be the only destination to host three carnivals every year. St. Croix Crucian Christmas Festival will take place throughout the “Twin City” of Christiansted and Frederiksted.
Visitors can party with the locals and let the rhythms of calypso and Soca music take them away, dance with Moko Jumbies, indulge in local delicacies and experience the grandest display of USVI culture. This year’s festival will run from December 11-January 7, with the iconic Village Nights from December 30-January 7, meaning it will not only wrap up a festive 2022, but kick off what is sure to be a phenomenal 2023 of carnivals.
Ahoy Sailors! The Caribbean Charter Yacht Show Is Docking This Winter
Island Global Yachting (IGY Marinas), in partnership with the International Yacht Brokers’ Association (IYBA), will host the Caribbean Charter Yacht Show from December 8-11 at IGY Marinas’ flagship marina, Yacht Haven Grande in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands. Registered yachts and vessels will join in on the festivities of local culture, cuisine, nightly entertainment and more.
Exhibiting yachts will have access to a variety of benefits, including promotion via YachtBroker.com, exclusive yacht profiles with Superyacht Stories and much more. This will mark the second edition of the show and is sure to be bigger and better than last year.
Get Ready To Dance at Sea Aboard UberSoca
2023 routes: April, November
Set sail with the sweet rhythms and sounds of Soca music in the air with the 2023 UberSoca Cruise. Combining the energy and vibe of a classic Caribbean Carnival with the extravagance of a luxury cruise, UberSoca is the largest Caribbean Music Festival at sea and a bucket list experience for those who love Soca music, who love a little decadence, or who simply love to let their hair down and have a good time. Beginning next year, the US Virgin Islands will be the official destination sponsor of the UberSoca 2023 routes.
The five-night all-inclusive cruise features non-stop Soca fetes and over 80 Soca artists and DJs from around the world. The program also includes over 55 events, both on board and in the destinations, including pre-party events, live concerts, themed parties, Mas, a J’ouvert sports competitions, comedy shows, pool parties, panel discussions and more. For the first time in its history, UberSoca will offer three cruises (one April 2023 and two in November 2023), making stops throughout the region, with a particular focus on USVI, where guests will get to immerse themselves in the culture and the islands. Making its grand return since the pandemic, the team promises “An Experience Beyond the Music.”
YES U. S. Virgin Classic Is Back for More
December 29-January 3
Calling all basketball fans! Young Entrepreneurz Solutions (YES) will host the annual YES U.S. Virgin Classic from December 29-January 3. The YES organization’s mission is to teach youth from grades 6 through 12 from the US and the Caribbean the foundation of entrepreneurship and economic development and was founded by former Rutgers University award winning Adjunct Professor Ernest Ruffin, Jr. Games will be played at The Antilles School in St. Thomas.
Tickets are $15 for adults per day ($20 for all three days) and $7 for youth per day ($10 for all three days).
Visit the U. S. Virgin Islands in 2023
The U. S. Virgin Islands enjoys warm sunny weather year-round.
If you are a U.S. citizen a passport is not required, but it still serves as the best identification when traveling. Otherwise, you must be prepared to show evidence of citizenship when departing the islands, such as a raised-seal birth certificate and government-issued photo ID.
If you are not a U. S. citizen, then a passport issued by your country of origin is required.
2023 will definitely be a great year to visit! I hope these 7 reasons have added the U. S. Virgin Islands to your list of must see destinations. Whether you visit alone, with friends, for a second honeymoon or with the entire family in tow – you’ll be sure to have a great time!