Want to get away? A chance to lounge in a beach chair, a frozen drink always in hand. Or to float in the mysterious blue waters of the Caribbean. Or get active with jet skis, catamaran rides, wind surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and hiking.
Explore historic sites, national parks and the depths of the Caribbean Sea. The best part? You can do it all without a passport. Passports are expensive and can be a hassle to get, especially last minute.
So insteand, take advantage of the U.S. Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Try zip lining or surf lessons in Puerto Rico. For an interesting day trip, take a boat to Mona Island, an uninhabited, untouched paradise. The only inhabitants are the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources and the resident biologists who are in charge of scheduling visitors.
Only a hundred visitors are allowed on the island at a time. It’s as close to a private island as you will get, especially without a passport. Go back in time and explore the same ruins Columbus found, such as the Taino inscriptions and pictographs, along with remains of cabins, stone walls, graves and old trails. For the real adventuresome, explore caves created by crashing waves or the 200-foot cliffs. Lounge on the five-mile-long beach, your back cradled by the soft white sand. A four-foot, harmless Mona Iguana, only found on the island, may even race by you. Look out onto the blue horizon during the winter and spot humpback whales swimming through. If a day tour isn’t enough for you, camping is allowed on Sardinera Beach. Wake up to the quiet sounds of crashing waves, not sirens or honking.
The next stop is the U.S. Virgin Islands, which include St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. Relive the Corona commercial- which was filmed in St. Thomas- where a man sitting in a beach chair flies a kite made out of the Financial Journal. The bright blue waters and gentle greens contrast with the fine white sand, great for camera shots. Other beaches, like Sapphire Beach and Magens Bay, make for some unforgettable photos. For those interested in history, the Caribbean genealogy building is there for you to explore or use to find out if you have Caribbean roots. St. Croix is best for diving with the Buck Island Reef National Monument or the Sweet Bottom Dive Center. St. John is the smallest of the three islands and two-thirds of it is dedicated to a national park. Because it is a national park, the beaches are preserved, intensifying their beauty. Hike Watermelon Cay and snorkel among the mini barracudas and stingrays.
No matter which island you choose, the U.S. Caribbean islands make for an easy, last minute getaway to the most desirable, relaxing vacation spots.