Isla del Agua – A Tropical Paradise
Swaying palm trees. Moonlit nights. Deserted sandy beaches. Life is good on Water Island.
It may be the smallest US Virgin Island at just 491 acres, but you can’t beat Water Island for its “Robinson Crusoe” feel. It is the smallest main island of the US Virgin Islands and is located off the coast of St. Thomas. Inhabited by around 100 full-time residents, you don’t have to worry about rush hour traffic. Or any crowd for that matter.
The small roads, many under repair, are very narrow. You can use a car, but the preferred vehicle is a golf cart. It sure helps with the price of gas these days. When you’re out and about, it’s unusual to see 2 or more golf carts on the road at the same time.
Honeymoon Beach is the top attraction for both the handful of full-time residents and visitors alike. The 1/4 mile stretch of white sand is perfect for laying in the sun, snorkeling, or just floating in the crystal blue water. It is not uncommon to arrive at the beach and be the only ones there. Sitting on the beach and watching the fish jump and the pelicans dive helps to relieve any stress you may have brought with you.
Some of the owners rent out their houses when they are off the island to accommodate visitors. Visitors sometimes call it “The Great Escape.” The beautiful flowers and wildlife, the friendly iguanas and the colorful Bananaquit birds give you that real “Really am in paradise.” It is common for first-time visitors to return year after year.
Although the only commercial establishments on Water Island are a lunch stand that serves lunch on Honeymoon Beach daily and dinner on Saturday nights, a small beach bar with tropical concoctions, and a small restaurant that opens occasionally, no one seems to care. All supplies must be brought in from nearby St. Thomas.
You can get to the island by private boat or by a small regular ferry. If you need to bring a vehicle to the island or construction materials, a barge service is available.
If you’re looking for Water Island real estate, your options are slim, but there are always several homes and plenty of land for sale. When a property comes on the market, it’s usually snapped up pretty quickly.
Honeymoon Beach is maintained and cleaned by members of the Water Island Civic Association (WICA) and resident volunteers. The Virgin Islands government does some roadside cutting and minor road repair.
Water Island was used by the US government in the 1940s when they partially built an underground fort, Fort Segarra, as part of the US defenses during World War II. The site stands abandoned today, but many visitors climb the steps of the lookout to enjoy panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Administrative control of Water Island passed from the federal government to the territorial government on December 12, 1996, making Water Island the “Last Virgin”. In the years that followed, the Department of the Interior began transferring land, for a price, of course, to long-term residential tenants.