On our upcoming cruise, Carnival Liberty doesn't depart the San Juan port until 10:00 at night. This is a first for us as we are used to departing port in the late afternoon. We arrive in our first port stop just the next morning at 7:00 a.m., a hop, skip and a jump from San Juan: the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This will be our first trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of course being a part of the United States, U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere, U.S. visitors usually don’t pay roaming charges for cell-phone use, and English is spoken everywhere. Since we are docked in Charlotte Amalie until 5:00 p.m., we would have enough time for a shore excursion plus shopping time back in town.

One possible shore excursion would take us to the island of St. John and the Trunk Bay Beach.
© www.St.John-USVI-Information.com

© www.stjohnusvi.thebeach.vi
You can see from these photos why Trunk Bay is considered one of the world's most beautiful beaches. 

There is a 225-yard long snorkel trail...
© www.seestjohn.com

with signs with arrows to point you in the right direction...
© www.seestjohn.com
and give information about what the sealife you may see...
© www.seestjohn.com

Since the excursion is only 4½ hours, we'll have time for some duty-free shopping. Remember: U.S. residents enjoy a $1,600 duty-free allowance here...twice the allowance of other islands. Not that I'll be spending even close to that amount of money!!

A frequent cruiser will be familiar with those stores that seem to be in every port: Diamonds International, Del Sol, Little Switzerland, etc. However there are some other places I have read about that I think we'll visit instead:

Within walking distance from the dock are the Shops of Yacht Haven Grande. With upscale retailers such as Louis Vuitton, BCBG Maxazria, Gucci, fun-sounding stores such as How ‘Bout Your Pet, 1 Eyed Jack’s, Flip-Flop Shops and Pirates of Red Hook, clothing stores such as Aqua Beachwear and Bella Vera and eateries named Da Lime in Da Coconut and Fat Turtle, this mall sounds like a great place to visit. Of course there are also gorgeous waterfront views with the magnificent megayachts docked in the harbor.
© www.yachthavengrande.com

© www.shopsatyhg.com)

A 5-minute taxi ride away is downtown Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Here is where you find the usual cruise port shops like Diamonds International. However my research has discovered a store which sells much better, and more delicious, merchandise: The Belgian Chocolate Factory! This is a must-see store!
© www.thebelgianchocolatefactory.com

Now as much as I love Belgian chocolate, one cannot live (realistically) on sweets alone. I have discovered a couple of other restaurants nearby that are possibilities for a late lunch:

Directly across the plaza from The Belgian Chocolate Factory is Greengos Caribbean Cantina:
© www.foodidude.com
They look like they serve up some delicious tacos... 
© www.greengoscantina.com
Directly on the waterfront of Charlotte Amalie is Big Kahuna Rum Shack.
© www.bigkahunausvi.com

Whereas Greengos Caribbean Cantina is a Mexican-style restaurant, Big Kahuna has a variety of burgers, club sandwiches and flatbreads. Check out their menu here

We are really looking forward to our first visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands. After a day at sea, our second port stop is Barbados, an island I have always wanted to visit. I'll talk about our possible plans for our visit in Barbados in my next post. 

Thank you for visiting,

A Great Europe Trip Planner

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