Here is some important information on your travel to St. Thomas:
If you are coming for the food, don’t.
A cheeseburger can cost you around $16 and up. The food isn’t extraordinary. It is average at best.
The island is very accommodating to kids, couples, singles, and retirees.
If you don’t like the beach, humidity, or heat, it’s not the place for you.
Locals have a love/hate relationship with the tourists.
They love them because they support the local economy (tourism is 90% of the economy).
They hate them because of their rushed attitude, crudeness, and for over exploitation of their beloved island and resources.
There’s a lot of news you don’t hear about. However, here’s the basics.
WAPA (water and power authority) has some ancient equipment. A few months ago, businesses suffered tremendously. They had to shut down many shops in the tourist center because of no water. It hurt the local economy tremendously and they are really doing nothing to fix the problem.
There are constant power outages, so don’t be surprised if the lights go out whether you are staying in a villa or hotel. A lot of local resident’s electronic equipment need to be replaced almost on a yearly basis costing thousands of dollars for these outages (and they even use surge protectors). So keep nothing plugged in (ie, computers) if you don’t want them to possibly fry.
A lot of the hotels and villas use cisterns. It’s basically a storage of rain water, usually filtered and used for their water supplies. Most are safe, however, some can actually be a bad harbor for bacteria and do not get filtered out in these systems. Basically, what you want to do is drink bottled water to be safe than sorry (you don’t want to risk the slightest chance of getting sick on vacation).
Another thing, be conscience if using a villa’s water supply, not to use too much. Otherwise, you may wind up out of water and they would have to ship water to you in a big truck and since you are on island time, could be a few days.
There was a recent massive layoff in St. Croix at an oil refinery. It is going to hurt the local economy in the upcoming months due to rising gas prices (since the refinery was a main supplier of the islands). Gas prices, food, and basic goods are going to increase in price.
Make sure you turn off your AC and electric while leaving the premises. It puts a strain on the island’s electric supply and it’s also 4x the cost of what it is here in the states. Villa owners will stress this and also to protect their electronic equipment in their homes (you don’t want to be responsible for any unnecessary damage).
That’s pretty much it. It isn’t cheap to live in the islands cost of living is a whole different ball game. Make sure if you are planning to move here you do your due diligence. Remember, EVERYTHING will need to be shipped. Your car, belongings, etc. and can cost a tremendous amount of money. Jobs are scarce and hard to come by. Food, gas, and electric costs are dramatically more here than in the States.
I just wanted to point out a few facts because a lot of tourists are oblivious to the island way of life. At least this gives you a more general understanding to what it is actually like.
Have a great vacation, you won’t be disappointed.