Picture yourself sipping a mojito as you lounge on a white sand beach overlooking clear turquoise waters. The sound of the waves crashing to shore serving as the soundtrack to the sun setting over sweeping mountain views. Sounds amazing right? Of course it does, so what’s stopping you from booking your exotic getaway- aside from a lack of disposable income? If it’s because you don’t have a passport then you’re in luck! No passport, no problem!
There are several US territories that offer you the aforementioned scenario and then some. Since they are all US territories, traveling to these islands is the same as flying state-to-state. No currency exchanges. No customs. No immigration. No passport. If the flight you’re on doesn’t have a layover in a foreign land, you don’t need a passport. So be sure to pay attention when booking a flight to ensure any layover you may have is in the United States. Another bonus of traveling within the US territories is that English is the official language of all the islands with the exception of Puerto Rico, where Spanish is still the dominant language. This makes communicating with the locals and finding your way in an unfamiliar place much easier.
American Samoa is composed of 7 South Pacific islands and atolls. It is located about 4,700 miles southwest of California in the south Pacific Ocean. The culture has heavy US influences, but they still maintain a deep connection with their Polynesian heritage.
Thing to do and see:
Afu Aau Waterfall– Located in south-eastern Savaii, this spectacular waterfall spills over from the above rainforest deep into a fresh-water swimming pool.
Ofu Beach– Beautiful white sand beach where you’re able see tropical fish from the shore through the clear, warm turquoise water.
Old Apia Market– A large street market where you’ll find fresh local produce, Samoan handicrafts and clothing
Tutuila– The National Museum, National Marine Life Sanctuary and numerous beaches are located here. There are also stunning views of Mount Alava and great trails for a day hike to its summit.
Piula Cave Pool- A natural freshwater pool by the sea on the north coast of Upolu island.
Guam, an island located about 1,500 miles east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean. The culture is a mix of Filipino, Spanish, Mexican and American cuisines and traditions.
Things to do and see:
Gab Gab Beach– Known for snorkeling and scuba diving
Chamorro Village Market– An outdoor shopping area that features weekly cultural events where tourists and locals gather.
Puntan Dos Amantes (Two Lovers Point)- A 368ft lookout point offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and sea.
Ritidian Point- A national wildlife refuge
Mount Lamlam– Guam’s highest peak. The mountain overlooks lush green hills on one side and panoramic ocean views on the other.
Puerto Rico, an island located between the Dominican Republic and the US Virgin Islands. It is approximately 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. The culture of Puerto Rico is a blend of Taino Indian, Spanish and African culture.
Things to do and see:
Old San Juan- A historical area featuring beautiful, brightly colored colonial architecture. There are also several monuments and historical sites. Take a walking tour, then go souvenir shopping at one of the local shops or browse one of the many art galleries.
El Yunque- A 29,000sq ft tropical rain forest packed with lush foliage, waterfalls, and rivers throughout.
Cueva del Indio (The Indian Cave)- Surrounded by extraordinary views of the Atlantic Ocean, this cave features prehistoric rock art and limestone caves. It’s also a popular spot for cliff diving and snorkeling.
Islote Beach– An undeveloped, hidden cove with calm, crystalline waters and several natural pools formed by coral rocks. You can reach the beach from Cueva del Indio by walking down a long winding path through coastal vegetation.
Barcardi Rum Factory- Located in Catano, just a short ferry ride or drive from Old San Juan. They offer historical and rum tasting tours as well as a mixology class. You’re even able to bottle your own rum straight from the barrel!
US Virgin Islands. A group of Caribbean islands and islets. The USVI are composed of St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John and the lesser known Water Island. All the islands are known for white sand beaches, diving, kayaking and snorkeling.
Things to do and see:
St. Croix– Buck Island Reef, Split Cove, St. George Village Botanical Garden, Tamarind Reef Beach
St. John– Trunk Bay, Hawksnest Beach, Bordeaux Mountain, Salt Pond Bay
St. Thomas– Magens Bay, Coki Beach, Drake’s Seat, Lindquist Beach, take the sky tram to Paradise Point
Water Island– A small residential island. The main attractions are Honeymoon Beach and Limestone Bay