Exploring a beach in the US Virgin Islands is an exciting experience, but it's essential to know what type of food and drinks to bring. Disabled travelers should be aware that the accessibility of hotels and restaurants in the US Virgin Islands is still far behind the progress achieved on the continent. John remains the most difficult island for wheelchair visitors to maneuver due to its mountainous terrain, while St. Croix is flatter and is an easier place to get around.
At present, about a third of the major resorts in St. Croix have the facilities to accommodate vacationers with disabilities. Many inns, guesthouses and villas located in the Charlotte Amalie hills can pose challenges for people with mobility issues; some have steep steps and no elevators. St.
Thomas is the most hospitable for people with disabilities, as it maintains “accessible rooms”, rooms that can be reached without having to climb stairs in all price categories. The Ritz also offers beach wheelchairs (supported on balloon tires).Doctors should have no problem finding a good doctor in the Virgin Islands. See Basic Facts in the individual chapters of each island for information on doctors. Driving rules are similar to those in the US and the British Virgin Islands.
See “How to Move” at the beginning of this chapter for more information. There are no embassies or consulates in the Virgin Islands, so if you have a problem with your passport, go to the local police station, which on every island is located at the center of government agencies. The Virgin Islands are generally safe for families, although the British Virgin Islands have fewer attractions aimed specifically at children. See the “Getting Around” section at the beginning of this chapter for more information on gasoline. Apart from the health problems typical of the tropical environment, such as exposure to the sun and seasickness, there are no major health problems in the Virgin Islands.
Thomas has the best hospital in the US Virgin Islands (Schneider Regional Medical Center), while St. Croix also has good hospital facilities (St. Croix Regional Medical Center). There is only one health clinic in St.
John; the most serious cases are transferred to St. Thomas. In very serious cases, patients in the US Virgin Islands may need to be transferred to a hospital in the United States or contact a pharmacy in the United States or their doctor who prescribed their medication in the first place. To avoid potential problems and delays, it's best to arrive with enough medication for your entire vacation. Mosquitoes exist in the Virgin Islands, but they are not malaria-carrying mosquitoes that can be found elsewhere in the Caribbean. Sandflies, which appear mainly at night, are a major nuisance and screens can't keep these creatures away, so use insect repellent. If you have diarrhea, moderate your eating habits and drink only bottled water until you recover.
Much of the fresh water in the Virgin Islands is stored in tanks and filtered before being served; delicate stomachs can opt for bottled water. The Sun in the Virgin Islands can be brutal, so it's important to protect yourself by wearing sunglasses and a hat and using sunscreen (SPF 15 and higher) generously. Limit your time at the beach for the first few days and if sunburn is followed by fever, chills, headache, nausea or dizziness, see a doctor. Internet access is increasingly available throughout the Virgin Islands, but may still be spotty on some of the more remote islands. Most hotels and resorts are increasing their Internet capabilities; many bars and cafés also have free Wi-Fi. English is the official language of the US Virgin Islands; however Spanish is also widely spoken on St.