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February 15, 2024

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Marketplace Suites

Top 6 Budget-Friendly Places in the USVI

Everyone deserves to have a fantastic vacation, even if they can’t afford all the bells and whistles. Fortunately, a trip to the USVI doesn’t have to break the bank. The truth is that if you do your trip to the USVI correctly, it can actually be a relatively cheap travel destination. What to know how? Read on to discover all the tricks that will allow you to have a budget-friendly vacation!  

USVI Budget-Friendly Overview

Getting to the USVI can be expensive, but only if you don’t keep an eye out for cheaper flights. It can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,200 to fly there, so set up a fare watcher and be ready to move as soon as affordable tickets are released. Once you’re there, you can find plenty of ways to keep your expenses down such as: 


Taking a taxi everywhere can add up very fast. The good news is that USVI also offers public transportation. It may not be exactly on time, but it will allow you to travel on your chosen island for approximately $2 to $5 per ticket. If you arrange your itinerary to hit every desired spot in a certain area per day, you can really keep your expenses down. 

Food & Drinks 

You can find an array of different food and drink options. Each meal should cost around $10 to $30 per person. Stick to our budget travel tips, and you should be able to eat three meals a day for around $30-$40. Alternatively, if seafood isn’t your thing, you can save even more money by packing peanut butter and jelly supplies. It’s not fancy, but it’s definitely cheap food! 


Next up is lodging, and there is a whole world of different choices available. If you take the time to look around, you’ll find hotels available from $119 to $500 per night. Of course, we have to assume you’re going to want to stay in a nice budget-friendly hotel, which will put your room closer to $180 per night. For example, Marketplace Suites can put you in a boutique suite that will keep your expenses in line while still allowing you to have an immensely comfortable experience. 

Sightseeing Activities 

Most places you travel to have put a premium price on all the best sightseeing activities. Fortunately, this isn’t the way it works in the USVI. Most of the beaches are either free or accessible for a small fee. Virgin Islands National Park doesn’t have an entrance fee, although if you go to Trunk Bay, there is a nominal $4 fee. Once you add in sightseeing, lodging, food, drinks, and transportation, it’s entirely possible to spend only around $200-$225 per day. 

6 Places for Budget Friendly Travelers

Now that you’re feeling more confident in your ability to see the USVI on a budget, let’s look at some of the best places to go without spending an arm and a leg. Once you’ve decided which island to go to, you can begin making plans. For the purposes of this article, we’ve selected St. John budget friendly places. It may not be the cheapest Virgin Island, but it’s solidly in the middle. Besides which, once you’ve arrived on St. John, you’ll be able to cut down on your expenses much more effectively than on St Thomas or St Croix. 

1. Best Budget-Friendly Sightseeing – Maho Bay Beach

Since you’re headed to the USVI, it’s probably safe to assume you’re interested in visiting at least one of their world-class beaches. Choose Maho Bay Beach, and you’ll be able to enjoy everything—including the sea turtles—for free! 

Plus, if you get hungry while you’re there, you can grab some quick, cheap food from the food truck. Another option is to use the grills on the covered picnic pavilion. As an added bonus, Maho Bay Beach has restrooms! 

2. Best Budget-Friendly Shopping – Wharfside Village Shopping Center 

Are you looking for a way to be a budget traveler who still brings home souvenirs for your close family and friends? Head to the Wharfside Village Shopping Center! It’s one of the first things you’ll encounter when you first arrive on St. John.  

This area offers clothing, jewelry, home accents, beach gear, and much more! Some of the most notable shops include Fantasia Gift Shop, Turquoise Turtle, Pink Papaya, and Beach Gurl Design. This is also a great place to grab a beverage, too. Just head to Joe’s Rum Hut or The Beach Bar to settle in nicely to island life.  

3. Best Budget-Friendly Accommodations – Marketplace Suites 

Staying at a hotel that’s budget-friendly and extremely nice can be a bit difficult, but Marketplace Suites is up to the challenge! There are several things to love about this specific location, including easy access to the inter-island ferry dock. 

You’ll also be close to dining, shopping, and entertainment options. In fact, nearby are several notable spots such as the Starfish Market, Papaya Café, Kimblery Boulon Fine Art Gallery, Shaibu’s Gourmet Grab & Go, and Grapevine Salon. Marketplace Suites is truly the best of the budget places to stay on St. John.    

4. Best Budget-Friendly Dining – Skinny Legs Bar and Grill 

This hotspot is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and they feature a diverse list of dining choices. Whether you grab a hamburger, a specialty sandwich, a hot dog, chili, or a salad, you’ll be able to get full on great food starting at only $7! 

Skinny Legs Bar and Grill has been a staple of St. John life since 1991. At that time, St. John wasn’t nearly as attractive to travelers as it only had a few homes among the hills of Coral Bay, along with a small collection of boats in the harbor. As St. John has grown, Skinny Legs Bar and Grill has grown too! They also sell unique clothing items for men, women, children, and dogs. 

5. Best Budget Friendly Dessert – Our Market Smoothies 

Our Market Smoothies currently has a 5-star average out of more than 200 Facebook reviews, so you know it must be special! At the same time, they don’t overcharge for their fresh smoothies, ice cream, milk shakes, and much more. You can also grab certain seasonal items here, including teddy bears for Valentine’s Day. Additionally, they make fantastic edible arrangements that will make you or your date smile.  

6. Best Budget-Friendly Attraction – Reef Bay Trail 

Reef Bay Trail is arguably the best attraction on the island, and it’s completely free! Part of the Virgin Islands National Park, this 2.2-mile hiking trail is considered to be one of the best options on St. John for people who enjoy getting out in nature. It’s much more than just a nature trail, however. 

When you choose to hike here, you’ll go through part of a shady, moist forest, which will change to a dry forest. You’ll also get to see visible remains of four different sugar mills, plus pre-Columbian petroglyphs! As if that wasn’t good enough, the trail takes you to an absolutely pristine beach. All in all, there’s really no other place quite like it in the USVI. 

Honorable Mentions 

You’ve just found out the six absolute best spots to go sightseeing, shopping, lodging, dining, along with where you can go to grab a delicious dessert and a budget-friendly tourist attraction. But where else can you go to find cheap things to do on St. John? 


  • Trunk Bay Beach -- $4 for adults 
  • Cinnamon Bay Beach 
  • Hansen Bay Beach 
  • Honeymoon Beach 
  • Hawksnest Beach 
  • Salomon Beach
  • Scott Bay Beach 
  • Turtle Bay Beach
  • Jumbie Beach 

It may seem a bit odd to plan your vacation around different beaches, but if you don’t move around to at least a few of them, you’ll miss out on their unique features! 


  • Ram Head Trail 

If you didn’t get your fill of hiking at the Reef Bay Trail, you’ll want to check out Ram Head Trail.


  • Annaberg Sugar Plantation 
  • Bajo El Sol Gallery 

Want to see a bit of history? Either of these attractions will suit you. 

Bodies of Water

  • Watermelon Cay
  • Salt Pond Bay
  • Francis Bay 
  • Coral Harbor 

Finally, have you ever wanted to simply sit and stare at some of the world’s most beautiful water? Each place listed above provides amazing views! 

Head to the USVI and Save!

As you can see, there are several things you can do for cheap—or absolutely free! Begin planning your trip to the USVI by booking a room at Marketplace Suites. From there, you can select your top attractions, and don’t forget to add in some dining and shopping opportunities. Before you know it, you’ll have a full trip planned, and it’ll be much less expensive than you thought. 

Marketplace Suites is a boutique hotel located in St. John’s Cruz Bay. We invite you to relax and unwind, yet we’re also a great hopping off spot for all the fantastic adventures you can have, too! Why not select your ideal suite or villa today?