A Guide to Etiquette in the USVI

In the USVI, everything is easy breezy…unless you make the mistake of doing one of these 5 things, which offend the locals (and distinguish you as a tourist).

If you’re looking for a carefree destination, the U.S. Virgin Islands are an ideal pick. Everything here operates on true island time – running late is no big deal, stress is nearly nonexistent, and no one gives traffic a second thought. But even though the area is known for its low-key vibe, there are a few things that will rub even the most laidback of locals the wrong way…

1. Cover Up

While the U.S. Virgin Islands can be very hot, try to resist the temptation to wear only your bathing suit in public. Traditionally, Islanders are fairly conservative, and if you’re walking around town, getting a bite to eat, or anywhere other than the beach or pool, you’ll likely offend someone if you’re sporting only a bikini.

2. Meet and Greet

Being polite goes a long way. Whether you’re catching up with someone you know or simply passing a person on the street, be prepared to say “good morning,” “good afternoon,” or “good night.” (Here, “good night” is interpreted as “hello” verses “goodbye.”) Ignoring such niceties is generally thought extremely rude.

3. Learn the Gift of Gab

Beyond the initial greeting, there is an art to conversation in this part of the world. Unless something is truly urgent, never hurry a conversation. Instead, ease into it with a weather-related comment or ask about someone’s day. Here, you’re on island time and everything – even a discussion – follows a slower pace.

4. Know the Tourist Attractions

There are plenty of things to do and see on the islands – and the natives aren’t one of them. Treating the native Virgin Islanders like tourist attractions is very disrespectful. Don’t be condescending or patronizing – neither will be well-received.

5. Don’t Drive Like You’re at Home

Chances are good that you’re not used to this kind of traffic – and not because Islanders drive on the left. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, people aren’t in a rush to get from point A to point B and if they see someone they know, it’s perfectly acceptable to stop the car and have a little chat…even if it’s in the middle of the road. Try not to get annoyed, refrain from honking, and absolutely do not yell. Just go around them.

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