Postal service in both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands is reliable. The U.S. Virgin Islands are served by the U.S. Postal Service, and the same products and services available in the mainland are available at post offices in the islands, including overnight, registered, and priority mail. Zip codes for the U.S. Virgin Islands are 00801-00809. There is one post office on St. John, five on St. Thomas, and six on St. Croix. Postal rates are the same as in the mainland United States.
While not as sophisticated as the mail service in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the BVI Post Office is just as reliable. You can mail letters and packages, buy stamps, and purchase money orders. There is no overnight or priority mail service, however.
It costs 50 cents to mail a letter from the BVI to the United States, Canada, and Europe, and 35 cents to mail a postcard. It takes 7–10 days (and sometimes longer) for a letter mailed in the BVI to reach the United States or Canada. Many a traveler has had the experience of already being home when their postcards start to turn up in friends’ mailboxes.
In the British Virgin Islands, an alternative to using the local postal service is to send mail through one of the mailbox service companies. These businesses rent post office boxes to residents who want to be able to receive mail at a U.S. address. They also take your letters and packages and mail them at U.S. Virgin Islands post offices. While expensive, this can be the best way to send mail if you are in a hurry or need the added security of insurance or a return receipt.
Try Inland Messenger Service (Lower Main St., 284/494-6440) or Khoy’s Mailing Service (R. G. Hodge Plaza, 284/494-4539), both in Road Town. International couriers FedEx, DHL, and UPS also have offices in both territories.
Neither the U.S. or British Virgin Islands have a system of postal addresses. With the exception of downtown Christiansted in St. Croix, all customers use post office boxes to receive their mail. This is one reason why giving directions is so challenging in both territories.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition