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.
To read details about the Itinerary, click on “02 ITINERARY” on the left.
To read about the projects on earlier trips, click on “05 TRIP REPORTS” on the left.
Day 1: We meet for orientation at 4 p.m. at Cinnamon Bay Campground, St. John Island, U.S. Virgin Islands. The passenger ferry runs every hour 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 4 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.
$990 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 $400 deposit is required to reserve a spot on the trip
- See the application for details on payment requirements for the remainder of the trip price and for cancellation provisions
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.
Average rating: 2 reviews
Mar 7, 2020
This was an excellent trip with a wonderful group of committed volunteers doing meaningful work in the National Park. Although it’s part of the US, it feels like a foreign country with lush green vegetation, tropical plants and driving on the left! Mark and Susan were excellent leaders and provided detailed instructions and all the necessary tools. Everyone worked at their own pace and the views from the worksites were amazing. Our accommodations were basic but not too rustic with tents on platforms and cots provided. And our camp was adjacent to a gorgeous beach so always had time for a swim at the end of the day. Plus some extra unexpected activities like a medicinal plant talk by an island native and a chance to enjoy a local festival with local cooking. A very memorable week and lots of new friends!
Mar 5, 2020
A Jewel in our Park System
This park is a jewel in our National Park system and the work here is rebuilding an incredible park. The local population really supported us and were very positive about the work being done.
There are so many heritage sites to be cleared, beaches rebuilt and facilities to be repaired. The hurricane damage was incredible. But, the park and the people of St. Johns are resilient.
Our trip leaders, Mark and Susan, were remarkable! Mark knew so many people on the island who love him and supported us. Susan was our dynamo manager, cook, leader and first aid guru (when the "Catch & Keep" vines decided to have their way with us😳). The team was so inclusive and fun to work with. So many hard workers and we got so much accomplished. I loved my teammates on this trip! We camped out, cooked out and listened to music around a campfire each night. We even had blueberry pancakes ala David on a Coleman camp stove! Great stuff!
The Virgin Islands National Park is a magical place to visit. The opportunity to work and serve here was incredible.
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 the best way for you to hear what volunteers thought about our previous trips to the Virgin Islands is to take a look at these videos on our YouTube channel:
About Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands National Park was declared an International Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1976 and 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.