Eco Friendly Travel to the US Virgin Islands
The celebration of Earth Day 2022 is soon approaching and, with that, a friendly reminder of the importance of being good custodians of our planet. Many tourists prefer destinations that take initiatives to protect and preserve the environment, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) in the forefront of the Caribbean.
Residents and tourists of the USVI can participate in a variety of sustainability initiatives that preserve the islands’ natural resources, culture, and beauty. There are several initiatives that promote eco-friendly living including eco-accommodations, parks, and restaurants that serve locally sourced foods.
Sustainable tourism initiatives include:
- Use of Approved Sunscreen.
- The U.S. Virgin Islands has enacted laws to help preserve the glorious beaches and stunning underwater world. Sunscreens that contain the “Toxic 3 Os” oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene have been banned from the destination. Guests are encouraged to wear rash guards and hats and use only non-nano mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the only sunscreen ingredients deemed safe and effective by the FDA.
- Eco Accommodations.
- Lovango Resort + Beach Club’s core values are a commitment to sustainability and conservation of USVI’s landscape. Lovango is fully sustainable; the resort is powered by wind and solar energy and employs a desalination system to convert seawater to potable water for drinking, bathing, cooking and more. The resort is also partnering with the University of the Virgin Islands to restore the coral around Lovango Cay, with snorkeling opportunities and educational programming available for guests, day visitors and U.S.V.I. residents.
- Locally Sourced foods.
The U.S. Virgin Islands offer dozens of options of eco-friendly restaurants and bars that grow their ingredients and pick them right before serving them to you. Restaurants like Ciboné in St. Croix and Caribbean Fish Market in St. Thomas focus on farm-to-table produce and off-the-boat seafood for a fresh and unforgettable dining experience. St. Croix is also home to the largest agricultural festival in the territory, AgriFest, a colorful display of local agricultural products, livestock, arts and crafts, and native cuisine.
- Connect with Nature.
If you are into hiking, St. John alone has more than 11,500 acres of protected land and dozens of trails for you to explore and feel in harmony with nature. Two-thirds of the island is a reserve, and most of the top attractions lie within its confines, such as Annaberg Plantation and Trunk Bay Beach.
- Multiple Parks.
There are six national parks throughout the three islands, some featuring amazingly biodiverse reefs, like the Buck Island Reef National Monument located in St. Croix.
- All About Glamping.
For travelers who want to mix daytime adventure and rustic overnights, Water Island is home to the Virgin Islands Campground, an eco-sensitive, glamping-style property with eight self-contained cottages and a suite with a panoramic view. This site is very popular during Easter Week.
- The hardcore geotourist will also enjoy voluntourism projects such as beach cleanups, learning to grow your own food at a Green Globe-certified farm and several other hands-on educational activities.
- The Office of Sustainability & Innovation (OSI), is a newly created subdivision of the Office of the Commissioner. OSI is charged with oversight of sustainable policy, development, and implementation in the Department and throughout the Government Enterprise. The department focuses on the four dimensions of sustainability, including effective governance, environmental sustainability, economic prosperity, and social equity.
From volunteering to visiting a nature preserve, eating a farm-to-table meal, and using non-nano mineral sunscreen, there are many sustainable activities in which to partake while visiting the USVI.