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kippy6 Apr 15th, 2007 06:29 PM

This summer - adventure in U.S. Virgin Islands w/4 children (3-14) - no passports - where would you go?
We were initially set on going to Costa Rica this summer, but we waited around too long to apply for our children's passports. We were excited about the potential of seeing monkeys, going waterfall rappelling, and exploring in Costa Rica... now we are having to start over in planning our summer vacation.

We are thinking of going to U.S. Virgin Islands, but have no idea where to go. Do you really need passports to visit all of the close islands?

Plan A: rental place on beach, and still close enough to the city for groceries, restaurants. Would be nice to be able to drive to a jungle (is that possible?)...Also, we are a little nervous about renting a place, not knowing what we would get.

Plan B: All inclusive similar to Paradise Island. My husband likes the idea of not having to rent a car...

We are open to other ideas. What would be the BEST vacation experience in this area (w/children)? Your comments would be greatly appreciated!

LoveToLeave Apr 15th, 2007 07:44 PM

Sorry you missed out on CR. You'll have to plan it for another time.
Check out Gallows Point and Lavender hills on St John. A stones throw to town lets the older kids be a little independent.

virginia Apr 16th, 2007 02:49 AM

hi kippy6, in that you have 1/2 of april, all of may and most of june, i think you should still be able to get passports for your children. for extra $ you can have them in 2 weeks or less.
yes, you do have to have passports to visit all those close islands - i assume you mean the british virgin islands here!
no rainforest, monkeys or rappelling in usvi at all. if you are looking for a lot of activity i don't think st. john is a good choice. extremely laid back, small island. mostly about the views and dive/snorkeling. st. thomas has more to do - kids might like coki world which is a cool marine-eco water park. think snuba vs slides. wyndham sugar bay is ai, and has tennis, good pool/beach area with jet skies and parasailing etc.
considering your criteria i would suggest puerto rico. no passport,has el yunque rainforest.
regarding plan b. i'm guessing by paradise island you mean atlantis. to my knowledge there is really nothing else in the carib quite like it. there are nice all-inclusives on every island though.
you could mention to dh that while driving is on left side most people find it very easy - i personally like it better and think US should change.

Tuxedocat Apr 16th, 2007 08:49 AM

Kippy6: If you stay within the USVI, you don't really need passports, but in this day and age, not having a passport can be inconvenient. If you want to go to any of the British Virgin Islands, you'll definitely need them. IMO, it may be a bit of a hassle, but in the long run, it's worth it and you and your kids will have the extra form of identification. You can have your passports expedited in as short a time as 2 weeks. I did that for my daughter. Just go to the U.S. passports/visas website (can't recall exact site but it's easy to google). I don't believe you're too late to get your passports. Expediting costs a bit more, but it will open up many more travel opportunities and choices for you.

Tuxedocat Apr 16th, 2007 08:51 AM

Another thought, if you do still want to visit the USVI, the only AI's exist on St. Thomas and St. Croix. There are lots of rental choices on all three major islands. If you do a little research and see some possibilities that look interesting, you can probably get feedback from this forum and others to help you make a choice.

Julia_E Apr 16th, 2007 05:14 PM

Go ahead and get your passports. If you pay for the expedited service, it will only take about 2 weeks - a client of mine got hers in 10 business days last month. They have increased hours and added personnel to serve the increased demand.

Have you considered doing a yacht charter? You could visit many of the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

Have a great day!

marymarra Apr 16th, 2007 05:30 PM

not to beat a dead horse here, but I just got passports with no expedited service in 4 weeks which is plenty of time for you.

kippy6 Apr 17th, 2007 06:49 AM

Thanks for the ideas guys. We didn't realize how EXPENSIVE getting passports is. It will cost over $700 for our family. How much does it cost to rush a passport? We'd rather not spend a ton of extra money to rush 6 passports. It would be different if it was just 2 of us going... So it looks like we will be applying for our passports soon, but won't be rushing them.... I already have the 6 forms filled out w/Birth Certificates and pictures attached...

kippy6 Apr 17th, 2007 06:59 AM

Marrymara - Wow! That is very quick, and very encouraging! We assumed that now we are in the Spring months/summer vacation planning period that receiving passports would take even longer...

We are just very leary of booking a vacation now (booking airfares, lodging, etc...) which all hinges on getting those passports in time.

Is that what you all did -- Book your vacation while waiting on your passport to arrive?

tamaralea Apr 19th, 2007 04:28 AM

If you don't have passports, I'd recommend a 3 bedroom villa at the Westin. Gallows Point isn't set up for families. Do some looking on the internet and you can find deals by renting directly from the owner. You do not need passports to visit the baths at Vigin Gorda. We just did it earlier this month. It was a great side-trip.

Brutforce Apr 19th, 2007 05:21 AM

We have two small children + my wife & I recently had to renew our passports - we rec'vd them in 3-4 weeks. Don't pay the extra for the expedited service, it is a rip-off. As far as locales - Puerto Rico is a great place for first-timers w/kids + you have the rain forest there, not to mention the Forts, etc. You will need a car but you will also feel comfortable. Check out We've rented from them over 50 times & never been disappointed.

virginia Apr 19th, 2007 07:35 AM

tamaralea. you broke the law and should not be advising others to do the same. virgin gorda is a british island. period. all americans MUST have a passport to return to the US from any foreign soil!!!

tamaralea Apr 19th, 2007 08:20 AM

Look at which is the state dept.'s official web site before you make a comment like that! DO NOT PASS UP A TRIP TO THE BVI BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU NEED A PASSPORT. READ THIS FOR YOOURSELF! And yes, I'm screaming :O

tamaralea Apr 19th, 2007 08:22 AM

Make that

tamaralea Apr 19th, 2007 08:25 AM

Look under new travel initiatives and you will see that if traveling by sea, passports are not needed until 2008.

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