The island of St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands (U.S.V.I.), is a haven for turquoise waters, pristine beaches, and water sports of all kinds. The weather borders on perfect with mild temps year round, and an ocean breeze that keeps you cool at night. St. Thomas is also a hot spot for travel nurses! It’s the most heavily populated island of the U.S.V.I. and provides an unmatched travel nursing adventure!
Where to Live- Best Neighborhoods
The island of St. Thomas is only 13 miles long and about 4 miles wide. It would only take about 35-40 minutes to drive across the whole island. The hospital is located mid-island on the south shore. Travel nurse agencies will provide fully furnished housing in lieu of a housing stipend, but many travel nurses prefer to take stipend and find their own housing.
Living downtown in the capital of Charlotte Amalie can be a bit overwhelming. The apartments are packed in and it is the most densely populated area of the island. Plus, when cruise ships roll into the port, the town can be overwhelmed with tourists. Branching out from the center in your housing choice may provide a more peaceful island lifestyle while you are working as a travel nurse.
Red Hook, at the most eastern end of the island can get a bit rowdier and is a hub of activity. This is a great area if you are looking to be in the middle of the hustle and bustle, but if you prefer a quieter environment I would look elsewhere.
Cost of Living on St. Thomas
There are pockets of luxury, and pockets of poverty, scattered throughout St. Thomas. Finding housing on the island can be tricky without some handy resources. Travel nurses can always check Airbnb for housing on St. Thomas, but this will most likely be the most expensive option.
The U.S.V.I. moving center is a great place to start your search for travel nursing housing on St. Thomas. There are also some popular Facebook groups where locals post their homes or apartments for rent:
What’s Going on St. Thomas? , What’s REALLY going on St. Thomas? , and Wah Go On (St. Thomas USVI) (Also great resources for local and current things to do, as well as advice on specific areas for accommodations!)
Single rooms start around $900 per month, and one bedroom apartments range from $1000-$2000 per month. Two bedroom apartments are $1700-$4000 per month.
Since St. Thomas is so popular with travel nurses, it could be fun to link up with another nurse and split an awesome island home!
Travel Nursing Hospitals on St. Thomas
The central hospital, Schneider Regional Medical Center, is located in the capital. This 107 bed facility usually employs a fair amount of travel nurses and serves the entire island as an acute care facility.
The RN licensure process can run on ‘island time’- meaning it may take a bit longer than usual. Check out the U.S.V.I. board of nursing application for information on how to obtain a license for travel nursing in St. Thomas. Of note- the application requires two letters of reference verifying your scope of practice.
Travel Nurse Pay Rates on St. Thomas
NurseFly is offering travel nurse jobs in St. Thomas starting at $1380 per week. That is a gross income of $5520 per month, and you will be living it up in paradise.
On Island Attractions
St. Thomas has numerous gorgeous beaches that highlight the island’s coast with white sands and crystal clear blue water. Magen’s Bay is the quintessential beach of St. Thomas, but don’t miss out on some local favorites that will soothe your soul. No matter which beaches you visit, you are guaranteed a perfect Caribbean vacation beach made from your dreams. Many of the beaches are only accessible by hike or boat, so there is tons to explore! You can rent a boat on your own, or hire a guide to take you to some unforgettable spots!
You can soar high above the jungle canopy on a truly unique zipline experience. See St. Thomas from above and enjoy the views! The jungle inland from the coast has tons of fun hikes and outdoor adventure activities.
If you’re looking to get underwater for some up close and personal sea life experiences, St. Thomas has tons to offer! You can take a guided walk of the ocean floor without SCUBA experience, or take advantage of the one of the several SCUBA centers on the island. Coki Dive Center is the most well known and offers dives for all levels (including those that have never dove before!).
Tanya is living her best travel nurse life in St. Thomas and soaking up that sun!
Island life is means slowing down and appreciating the beauty around you, and travel nursing offers such an amazing opportunity for you to have this in your life!
Vinny’s Foodcart and Catering– this food truck is always parked on the road to Coki Beach. They serve take-away Caribbean food that will have you wishing for leftovers.
The Twisted Cork Cafe– fresh and local food perfectly paired with a variety of global wines. This gem sources their herbs from the on-site garden and the chef’s pride themselves on flavorful, vibrant recipes.
Some places like the iconic Iggie’s Beach Bar and Grill were closed after Hurricane Irma destroyed much of the island in 2017. These spots are rebuilding and working towards re-opening, so keep your radar up for new or reopened restaurants.
Bars and Nightlife
The main clubs, like Starz and The Rum Hut are located just east of the capital in Havensight. The east end of the island in Red Hook is home to dive-y dance bars like Duffy’s Love Shack and Bernie’s Bar & Grill. St. Thomas has many varieties of clubs, whether you like live music, dancing, karaoke, or just hanging out a people watching!
Day Trips and Exploring the U.S. Virgin Islands
The best part about living in the U.S.V.I. is being able to hop over to another island and explore the Caribbean. Travel to other islands is available via ferry or commuter plane, depending on the location.
St. John– Home to the Virgin Islands National Park, this largely unspoiled island does not have an airport, making it only accessible by boat. A short 20 minute ferry ride brings you to this sanctuary. A visit to a sugar plantation or one of it’s immaculate beaches makes a visit to this island a priority.
St. Croix– This island can be reached by plane or boat. It is the largest of the U.S.V.I. at 82 square miles. Just off the coast of St. Croix is the nation’s only underwater National Monument, Buck Island. In addition to that this island’s rolling hills and rainforest backdrop against the sparkling sea is incredible. The boat ride from St. Thomas is approximately 2.5 hours.
Water Island– A quick 10 minute boat ride from St. Thomas, this island is the newest addition to the U.S.V.I.. There are no large properties or food establishments on the island, only stunning scenery and winding roads to explore. Honeymoon Beach, one of the most beautiful in the U.S.V.I., is located on Water Island.
British Virgin Islands– The British Virgin Islands are renowned for their alluring beaches and laid back vibes. Currently, the borders are still closed for nonessential travel. BUT! As of December 1, 2020, they are reportedly re-opening to visitors. Of course, you will need a valid, non-expired passport to visit these islands. The British Virgin Islands can be reached by plane or a 40 minute- 2 hour ferry ride, depending on the destination.
There are various methods for getting around St. Thomas, but walking isn’t one of them. Aside from downtown, the terrain and roads of the islands aren’t very pedestrian friendly, and hitch-hiking is NOT recommended.
Car Rental– Renting a car is probably the most convenient and consistent way to explore St. Thomas. Price will depend on the size of the vehicle and time of year. Travel nursing agencies may provide a rental car or stipend in for one. Travel nurses should ask for a long term rental discount if they are arranging the car without the help of their agency.
Taxis– Rates are regulated by the Virgin Island Taxicab Division. There are locals who run ‘gypsy’ taxis with their own vehicles and are not subject to the rules and regulations of the registered cabs. Travel at your own risk of being ripped off in these vehicles. Always agree to a rate with your driver (gypsy or non-gyspy cab) that includes group and luggage fees, before boarding the vehicle. There are also “dollar rides” or “dollar taxis”, that are open air vehicles with bench seats in the back that travel shorter distances. This is a good option for travel within downtown. They are also available for longer distance rides for $2.
Scooter and Bike Rentals– Due to the mountainous nature of the island, biking more than a short distance will be a tremendous feat for anyone who is not an avid cyclist. Scooter rentals are popular, but can become costly, unless you can negotiate a long term rental deal. But, remember, if it rains, a scooter does not have a roof.
Public Transportation– There are country buses that run from Red Hook (East end of the island) to downtown for $1, starting at 5:15AM, and ending in Red Hook at 8:00PM. City buses are $0.75, and run between town and Schneider Regional Medical Center between 6:15AM and 8:00PM. There is also a bus between the airport and town during the same hours as city buses.
Weather and Best Time to Take a Travel Nurse Job in St. Thomas
The weather on this tropical island is delightful year round. Hurricane season peaks at the beginning of August through the middle to end of October. December through March is ultra pleasant with daytime temperatures in the mid 70s to 80s, followed by beachy breezy nights to cool down.
Travel nurses have a special chance to work on this magical island and make a living! There is no place with the lower 48 states that can offer an opportunity like this!