Caribbean Service: Virgin Islands

teen summer community service, snorkel, sea-kayaking & hiking

Trip Details

  • Start: Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
  • End: Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
  • Age Range: 14-16
  • Challenge Level (1-10): 3
  • Tuition: $4399 (airfare not included)

Trip Dates

  • June 29 - July 10 (Waitlist)
  • July 14 - July 25 (Waitlist)
  • July 29 - August 9 (Waitlist)

Trip Highlights

  • Volunteer with local researchers to help protect leatherback turtle nesting areas
  • Work with The Nature Conservancy to help build and maintain trails
  • Snorkel around the coral reefs off of Buck Island National Monument
  • Hike and explore St. Croix’s vast network of trails and beaches
  • Kayak in a bioluminescent bay

Trip Overview

Embark with us on an enriching journey that blends meaningful community engagement projects with St. Croix’s gorgeous tropical landscape and vibrant culture. Over the course of twelve action-packed days on the least visited, but arguably most-beautiful U.S. Virgin Island, you will engage in substantive service projects ranging from coastal trail maintenance to the conservation and protection of leatherback sea turtles on nesting beaches. In addition, you will be able to experience the essence of St. Croix as you explore the island’s small towns, kayak under the night sky in a bioluminescent bay, embark on a snorkeling excursion around Buck Island, and experience the island’s varied tropical beauty on day hikes along coastal and rainforest trails. Witness the impact of your efforts as you forge connections with the community and create lasting change.

Conservation Work and Getting Oriented to St. Croix's Natural Beauty

Conservation Work and Getting Oriented to St. Croix's Natural Beauty

After meeting outside of St. Croix’s open-air airport, we will travel west into the foothills of the mountains to get settled at our primary accommodation for the duration of the trip. To begin the service portion of our trip, we will work with The Nature Conservancy, dedicating our efforts to coastal trail work. In the afternoon, we will explore the natural beauty of the island, checking out the numerous beaches and hiking through the mountains. We’ll even hike to the island’s highest peak, Mt. Eagle, offering panoramic views of the St. Croix island and the Caribbean Sea.
Bioluminescent Kayaking and Buck Island Snorkeling

Bioluminescent Kayaking and Buck Island Snorkeling

Midway through the trip, we will “dive” into a rest day and climb aboard our snorkel tour boat to journey out to Buck Island National Monument. We’ll learn the best snorkeling techniques from our professional guides before diving in to see the vibrant underwater world of the renowned coral reef just off of Buck Island. A few days later, just when we feel the island can’t get any more beautiful, we’ll take an evening to climb into our kayaks just after sunset and witness a spectacular natural phenomenon: bioluminescence. With professional guides giving us instruction and historical context, we will paddle through the glowing waters in Salt River Cove – quite the magical experience!

Turtle Nesting Service and Final Dinner

Turtle Nesting Service and Final Dinner

As the trip winds down, we’ll tackle our final service project, meeting up with local researchers to help protect leatherback turtle nesting areas, allowing recently-hatched turtles safely make their way to the ocean for their first swim. To conclude our trip and commemorate our hard work, we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner in the historic town of Frederiksted before bidding farewell to our newfound friends and the beguiling island of St. Croix.

Trip FAQs

Please see our General FAQ page for many more frequently asked questions and answers!

How physically challenging is CSVI?

Given a rating of Challenge Level 3 (out of a maximum of 10), we consider CSVI to be a beginner service trip that any moderately fit, motivated student can successfully complete. While CSVI is not extremely demanding physically, many of our projects involve physical labor such as trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, or tree planting. Afternoon activities may include moderate hikes, kayaking, and snorkeling. Please note that all of Apogee’s Challenge Levels are not scientific and are subjectively calculated by the Apogee staff.

How many hours of service will I earn on CSVI?

When performing service, students will spend anywhere between 4-5 hours of the day on projects. This amounts to a total of 20 to 30 hours over the course of the trip — students will receive a letter verifying the service at the summer’s end.

How will I communicate with my child while they are on this trip?

We are a technology-free program, meaning that your child won’t have access to their phones or other electronic devices over the course of their trip. Since physical mail to St. Croix is frustratingly slow, we have an email stop as a part of the program instead of a physical mail stop. Parents, relatives, and friends are welcome to use this to send an email to a student that they know (the trip leader will share the emails with the student). If you have an urgent message to get to your child, please call our office and we’ll work to get you connected with your child.

Aside from the trip cost, what are the additional expenses for this trip?

Apogee’s tuition costs are meant to be all-inclusive and include all meals, accommodation, and activity fees. The most significant additional expenses on our Caribbean Service: Virgin Islands trip will include travel to and from St. Croix, hiking shoes, and personal gear. We suggest that you review the packing list (downloadable on this webpage) to determine what personal gear you already own and what you might need to acquire for this program. Please also check out our Gear Recommendations blog post for links to our personal recommendations.

What does a typical day on CSVI look like?

Every day in the Caribbean is different, as schedules are somewhat dependent on “Island Time.” Generally speaking, however, students should plan to be up early, ready to start the day with 4 hours of service. The afternoons will be spent hiking, taking in the local culture, or exploring some of the most beautiful beaches the Caribbean has to offer.

Where will my child be sleeping at night?

Our groups will be staying indoors every night – in a rustic, camp-like setting. Students will sleep in beds in cabins, using their sleeping bags or sleeping bag liners along with sheets provided by the accommodations. Students will be split into rooms by gender. Students can expect to have access to clean water and showers every night.

My child will be flying to this trip start. How will they connect with their leaders?

Please note that Apogee staff members do not travel with students; our trip leaders will already be in St. Croix on arrival day and will stay there after the trip ends. Apogee staff and trip leaders will have a detailed flight itinerary for each student who is flying to the trip start and will be at the airport to greet them on arrival. Once students are with their leaders, they will call home to let their parents know they have arrived and are with their group. Please see our blog post for specifics regarding students traveling as Unaccompanied Minors. Further, we encourage you to coordinate travel with other attendees; we’re happy to put you in touch with other enrolled families from your region. We will provide enrolled families with a Travel Information document covering details specific to traveling to and from St. Croix, including airport information and arrival and departure time windows. Please contact Apogee with any specific questions or concerns regarding drop-offs and/or pick-ups.

What is the maximum number of students I can expect on my child’s Apogee trip?

There are never more than twelve students on an individual session of this trip. Additionally, we limit enrollment by gender to two-thirds/one-third. Groups are always led by two qualified leaders.

To check trip availability, please call 207.725.7025, or email for more information.