Volunteer in the Virgin Islands!
The beautiful Virgin Islands National Park needs your volunteer help for some important conservation projects. The project activities on our volunteer trip include trail maintenance and preservation and maintenance of internationally important cultural and natural landscapes. Come and join our group of like-minded volunteers to enjoy and help this amazing paradise. Make a difference while “giving back” to this remarkable Park!
Virgin Islands Volunteer Trip Details
Look through the tabs below or click on these links to learn more about the project, the itinerary, the price and safety or to read trip reviews and prior trip reports.
Help Virgin Islands National Park improve and maintain trails and restore fragile natural resources, while enjoying vistas of the beautiful Caribbean.
No prior trail maintenance or restoration experience is required. The volunteers are teamed with experienced leaders who will provide training in all aspects of the work. As always, your education and safety are priorities.
What follows is a general description of activities you can expect on the Virgin Islands Volunteer Trip. Please note, however, that every trip is unique. Because local conditions and the Park’s needs continually evolve, detailed plans are often finalized or revised after the group arrives and the trip leaders review the conditions at the site in light of the capabilities and special interests of the volunteers. Tasks may include:
- rehabilitating unauthorized trails
- improving trails to better shed water
- clipping or removing vegetation and removing rocks from the trail tread to improve trail safety
- clearing vegetation from historic structures in the backcountry of St. John to preserve the structures for future generations
To carry out the project work, you should be able to hike up to three miles a day on uneven trails which may be steep.
The Virgin Islands National Park is a wonderful place to volunteer. Conservation Volunteers International Program is pleased to offer this exciting opportunity to protect a national and international treasure.
Day 1: We meet for orientation at 5 p.m. at Cinnamon Bay Campground, St. John Island, U.S. Virgin Islands. The passenger ferry runs from St. Thomas Redhook Ferry Terminal on St. Thomas Island to the Island of St. John. ConservationVIP Trip Leaders will meet you at the St. John Ferry Terminal to transport you and your gear to the Campground located inside Cinnamon Bay on the North Shore Road, Virgin Islands National Park.
In the Park we will stay in large stand-up tents, set on raised wooden platforms. All tents are shared, with a maximum of four people per tent. If you arrive earlier in the day, you can enjoy a short hike, hit the beach located a 5-minute walk from our camp, or just relax until the 5 p.m. orientation. Dinner and lodging included.
Days 2 – 6: This period is a combination of project work days with one rest day where you can choose your own activities. The exact schedule depends on the project locations, weather, and the time needed to move from one location to another. We get to experience the joys and excitement of Island Travel!
On the rest day, you are free to rest at the campground or explore the area. Activities available to volunteers on rest days include hiking in the Park, enjoying a remote beach or snorkeling or scuba diving day trips offered by local dive shops. Experienced leaders will offer suggestions that will guide you to follow your dreams. Breakfast in camp, packed out lunch and dinner will be provided each day. Each volunteer makes their own box lunch which is enjoyed at the project site.
Day 7: Following breakfast, ConservationVIP Trip Leaders will transport you to the St. John Ferry Terminal, where the trip ends. Passenger Ferry Services from St. John to St. Thomas Redhook Ferry Terminal run hourly, starting at 7:00 a.m. You should plan on the entire trip to the airport in St. Thomas taking 2 hours to arrive .
Note: Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions. Project locations may vary with each volunteer trip according to the needs of park rangers at the time the trip takes place.
To see what is included in the price, click on “03 PRICE & PAYMENT” on the left.
$1,050 for seven days
(Note: Your trip expense may be tax-deductible. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page and consult your tax advisor for details.)
- all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 7
- lodging at the campground
- all van transportation noted
- gratuities for services provided to the group
- project leadership and support staff
- group tools
- orientation and training
- park entrance fees
Price does not include:
- airfare to/from Charlotte Amalie
- local transport to/from St. John islands
- cost of medical immunizations
- insurance (emergency medical and evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip)
- excess baggage charges
- airport taxes
- alcoholic beverages or soft drinks
- personal items
A deposit of $400 per person is required at the time of signup; final payment is due at 90 days prior to departure. The payment and refund policy can be found here.
Group Size: 8 – 12 plus trip leaders
Submit your review
It was a wonderful experience. The islands are always nice to visit, especially in the winter, but the company and activities enhanced the trip greatly. The accommodations were more than comfortable since we all had tents by ourselves. Our trail work was gratifying especially after viewing our accomplishments each afternoon. Thanks to our leaders for all the hard work accommodating the various diets. As with most volunteer trips, our group was a joy to be with.
My wife Susan sent in a review that takes up the main features of the Virgin Islands project. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the group cruised through the week sociably, but with room for alone time as well. Leaders Mark and Susan were organized, friendly and kept things moving. Their years of experience with local personnel showed in the welcome receptions and camaraderie. The volunteer work and camping were a pleasant and sociable alternative to the usual hotel stay and our group got along really well. My old back didn’t give me any trouble ! Q
We did the November ‘22 Galapagos trip and the group of people was similarly pleasant, everyone contributing, good leadership.
I’m looking ahead to more of these trips.
We came in to St Thomas a day ahead of meeting the group. We also stayed 3 more days afterward in Cruz Bay with more time to explore the island. I recommend this. We stayed at SeaGrape Vista.
The Conservation VIP trip was incredible. My whole world has opened up to a new way of vacationing & giving back. The Trip Leaders, Mark & Susan were phenomenal, so well organized and kept our entire team well fed, and in happy spirits. The fellow volunteers on this team were wonderful, kind, intelligent people. It was inspiring to work side-by-side with them on a daily basis. Waking up everyday on the beautiful Cinnamon Bay campgrounds, eating a nice hearty breakfast and then hiking the break-taking hillside trails of the island was rewarding. Our team worked on trail maintenance and cleaning up the old sugar plantation ruins in paradise. St. John's national park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. We spent our afternoons beach side, swimming and snorkelling with sea turtles and schools of fishes amongst the coral. Nights were spent under the stars by the campfire, with hearty meals and great company. I highly recommend that you do a trip with Conservation VIP. They have a special program.
This was a great way to visit and experience Virgin Island National Park. This wouldn’t have been my first choice, but trip leader Mark convinced my husband and I that this is a “must do” trip. It certainly is a “first class” volunteer trip.
The trip was culturally interesting as we learned about sugar, plantations, rum, and the human cost of trying to grow sugar in a dry environment that was not really suited to sugar agriculture. The interaction with the natural world from vegetation, both native and invasive was educational and fascinating. The natural world spanned from native to invasive pests. There were beautiful flowers and trees that are invasive and need to be controlled. The same can be said for donkeys and goats and other small flora and fauna. The guides were ready to answer the gamut of questions that were asked.
Camp Volunteer was the best deal on the Islands. We had tents that are on platforms and covered with a rain fly. There was some rain but we were dry and comfortable. The tents are equipped with “army cots” that were made more comfortable with a camping pad and pillow. I brought a light weight stuffable Rumpl blanket for the middle of the night chill. Be prepared to use the well equipped bathrooms (running water, flush toilets and a shower, no hot water) that are on the edge of camp. Our group leaders, Mark and Susan were organized, kept the group moving forward, cooked a tasty nutritious variety of food and were all around great people.
This trip worked well with campers/volunteers who had never met each other, had a variety of skill/fitness levels, and differing levels of “camping.”
There is a beautiful beach to relax and play on a very short walk from camp. Mark and Susan arranged a variety of activities from snorkeling, sailing, and a trip to town. I can’t say enough good things about this trip, Just Do It!
The title I gave this trip is an inside joke for participants who played Susan's game, "Code Names", one evening. They'll get it. For everyone else, "spot on" still holds true: this expedition was a perfect combination of doing meaningful work in a treasured location, together w/ down time for fun in the sun (snorkeling, beachcombing, scuba if you chose, capped w/ a scheduled catamaran cruise on the last afternoon.) Kudos to leaders Susan and Mark for embracing each and every individual, for creating an energized group dynamic, and for tending to every detail. They're great cooks too - wow, did we eat well! I am forever humbled by the opportunity of choosing to work on plantation and sugar mill grounds tended to once by those who had no such choice. Thank you, Conservation VIP. This was my 2nd trip w/ you, and will most certainly not be my last. 🙂
The December 2022 USVI working “adventure” was a wonderful and memorable experience! The group leaders (Mark, Susan and Norman) are adept professionals that know how to make this experience fun and rewarding! Our group of volunteers were assisted by a group of Friends of The Park and accomplished trail clearing and sugar cane plantation maintenance. Some of our daily “fun” activities included beach time, a sunset catamaran ride and local expert informative talks. We would highly recommend this adventure that met or exceeded all of our expectations!
An absolutely marvelous trip. While the USVI trip is a working vacation, it was a perfect mix of work for the National Park with free time and fun activities. The work varied by location, from trail maintenance (cutting back brush overgrowth) to removing plants invading the historic buildings. No experience necessary - there was enough variety in the work for every capability! Beyond beach time at the end of the work day, we enjoyed a sunset catamaran trip, a tour of the historic sugarcane processing buildings, a birdwatching hike, and a night ranger led constellation talk - basically all the ingredients of a true vacation! The National Park established tent area was comfortable and secluded for our group. The leaders were completely knowledgable and extremely helpful. And the volunteer team was cohesive, companionable, and new friends! Definitely recommend this trip!
This was my second trip to USVI with Conservation VIP. While the accommodations were the same, and the beaches white as snow and water shades of turquoise and the work was similar it was still an entirely different experience! More amazing and like minded people with different dynamics and fun. The leaders were amazing and food delish. 😁
Volunteers wrote a lot of great five-star reviews about our earlier volunteer trips to Virgin Islands National Park. Unfortunately, all those positive reviews were stored on REI Adventures’ website, because we had partnered with REI to recruit volunteers. When we had to cancel the trip because of the damage from the hurricane in 2017, the reviews disappeared from their site and we did not have the foresight to keep copies! So to hear what volunteers thought about our previous trips to the Virgin Islands, look at these videos on our YouTube channel:
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. The gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. View the Gear List.
Please click to view Trip Report PDFs.
Also, visit the Impact Summary page and see the difference you make!
ConservationVIP has always focused on our volunteers’ safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened that focus. Traveling with COVID-19 safety concerns requires some extra planning and flexibility both for trip leaders and trip participants!
Because of continuing COVID concerns, we are restricting participation on this trip to people who have received their COVID-19 vaccinations. Participants will also have to comply with the regulations established by the National Park Service in the Virgin Islands at the time of travel. While it is possible that the restrictions may change between now and the time of travel, we cannot predict what those changes will be.
While on the trip, participants will also have to follow procedures such as mask wearing and social distancing. More specific COVID related safety instructions will be provided to those registered for the trip.
About Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands National Park is one of the crown jewels of the U.S. National Park system. The remarkable landscapes in the Virgin Islands include pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. The mountains rise above the natural beauty of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean on the Islands of St. John, St. Thomas and Hassel Island. These special features, along with the beautiful bays, underwater coral gardens and rich history compose the Virgin Islands natural and cultural resources. The Virgin Islands are spectacular by any measure.
Virgin Islands National Park covers roughly 60% of St. John Island in the United States Virgin Islands. Often thought of primarily as a place of natural beauty, the park also preserves the history and tells the stories of the rich cultural mix of peoples in the Caribbean–Native Americans from South America, enslaved Africans, European colonists, and, after 1917 when the Virgin Islands became part of the United States, Americans. Today, visitors to St. John can marvel at the beauty of the island, enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational activities, and learn more about the Native Americans and European colonization in the Caribbean. Come explore America’s Paradise, and dive into 3,000 years of human history.