Caribbean Service: Virgin Islands

teen summer community service, snorkle, 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
  • July 14 - July 25
  • July 29 - August 9

Trip Highlights

  • Help the local animal shelter move into a new community facility
  • Work with The Nature Conservancy to build trails and gather turtle nesting data
  • Snorkel at world-famous Buck’s Island National Monument
  • Assist baby leatherback turtles making their way to the ocean for the first time
  • 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 as you collaborate with The Nature Conservancy, work with a local sea turtle rescue organization, and provide needed assistance to the local animal shelter. 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’s Island, and experience 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, Day Hikes, and Bioluminescent Kayaking: Getting Oriented to St. Croix's Natural Beauty

Conservation Work, Day Hikes, and Bioluminescent Kayaking: Getting Oriented to St. Croix's Natural Beauty

After meeting outside of St. Croix’s open-air airport, we will travel west to our primary accommodation for the duration of the trip. Throughout our trip, we will partner with three different organizations and spend multiple days with each in an effort to start and finish a project. To begin the service aspect of our trip, we will work with The Nature Conservancy, dedicating our first round of efforts to coastal trail work. In the afternoon, we will embark on day hikes, including one to the island’s highest peak, Mt. Eagle, offering panoramic views of the St. Croix island and the Caribbean Sea.

Bioluminescence & the Animal Welfare Center

Bioluminescence & the Animal Welfare Center

On one of our first evenings together, we will climb into our kayaks just after sunset to witness a spectacular natural phenomenon: bioluminescence. With professional guides, we will paddle through glowing waters in a truly special bay. In the days after, we will work with St. Croix Animal Welfare Center. While there, we will take animals out for their daily walks, help paint their brand new facility, and help socialize newly arrived puppies and kittens.

Turtle Nesting, Buck Island Snorkeling, and Final Dinner

Turtle Nesting, Buck Island Snorkeling, and Final Dinner

With the puppies well cared for, we will “dive” into a rest day and climb aboard our snorkel tour boat to journey out to Buck’s Island National Monument. There, we will witness the pristine white sand beaches where we will spend time getting comfortable with our snorkels and masks, before snorkeling along the vibrant underwater world of the protected reef. And in our final service project, we will meet up with local researchers to help protect leatherback turtle nesting areas, and make sure 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 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, a surf lesson, 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 tuition costs are meant to be all-inclusive and include all meal, accommodation, and activity fees. The most significant additional expenses on our Caribbean Service: Virgin Islands trip will include travel to and from Christiansted, a sleeping bag, a day pack (most school backpacks will work fine), and hiking boots or shoes.

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 4-5 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 rustic, camp-like settings and in more finished hostel-like settings; students will sleep in beds, using their sleeping bags or sleeping bag liners. Student 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.