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5000 Estate Coakley Bay

Christiansted, VI 00820-4598


Office Email: 





Living in the VI

Owners and long-term visitors are invited to share tips and ideas about living in the Virgin Islands.....

If you have a tip, or would like to write a section, please send an email to webmaster@coakleybay.org

Part 1 - Catalog and Mail Order Shopping

Want to install a Whirlpool microwave? Need a CD? Sometimes K-Mart just doesn't have it. Some stores and websites will ship to the USVI with no problems -- frequently not charging anything extra.

Other will send things with some limitations, or up to certain sizes....and others simply will not. So here is a list of which companies will, might or won't. (The indented text is directly from the website or catalog of the company.

Remember, in addition to this, if you call a vendor and explain that sending by US Mail is EXACTLY like sending something to Buffalo or San Francisco, they may send it out by priority mail or express mail even if the 'policy' is unclear....The trick is to assure them that there are no customs forms or costs -- or anything else different. And even when a vendor won't ship here (or the item is larger than they usually ship outside of the Continental U.S.) you can utilize the services of a freight forwarder. . . .it is sent to them under your name, and they ship it forward to you for a small fee.)


COMPANIES THAT WILL SHIP - With No "Special" Issues


Comments: They have way more than you'd guess from the name. The prices are usually below local prices if you are getting a number of items, and the deliveries (by USPS) are quick -- and are tracked by number.

Website: www.drugstore.com

Shipping: http://drugstore.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/drugstore.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?


Shipping Surcharges
In order to provide better service, we ship all orders USPS Priority to Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories, and APO/FPO Military addresses (we use more economical shipping methods for all other orders). The delivery time is up to 3 times faster for our customers in these locations. As a result of this increased cost to ship these orders via USPS Priority, these locations require a nominal delivery surcharge. See below for more information.
An additional shipping fee may apply for backordered, preordered, heavy or oversized items.

Our Everyday Free Shipping program and free or discounted shipping promotions apply to shipping fees only. If your order qualifies for free or discounted shipping, the shipping charge will be deducted from your order at checkout but any shipping surcharges will still apply.

U.S. Territories & APO/FPO Military Addresses
In order to provide better service, we ship all orders USPS Priority to U.S. Territories and APO/FPO Military Addresses (we use more economical shipping methods for all other orders). The delivery time is up to 3 times faster for our customers in these locations. As a result of this increased cost to ship these orders via USPS Priority, shipments to U.S. Territories require a $11.99 surcharge. . . . This surcharge is listed at checkout and is in addition to regular delivery charges. If your order qualifies for free shipping, the shipping charge will be deducted from your order at checkout but this surcharge will still apply.



Website: http://www.walmart.com

Shipping: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=538456


Where Can I Have My Order Shipped?

Within the U.S. and major U.S. protectorates: We ship most items to all states, including Alaska and Hawaii, plus the following major protectorates and territories of the United States: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Crate and Barrel

Website: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/

Shipping: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/Assistance/shippingDelivery.aspx


Domestic and International Shipping Delivery to Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. Territories:

Shipped via Standard Delivery (allow 10-15 business days) and 2-Day Express (allow an 3-5 business days). In-Home and Basic Freight Delivery items are shipped at international rates. Please contact us for a quote. You may email us or contact us by telephone at 630-369-4464 or by fax at 630-527-1448.


Restoration Hardware - Some Additional Charge

Website: http://www.restorationhardware.com/rh/index.jsp

Shipping: www.restorationhardware.com/rh/customer_service/shipping_info.jsp


We ship most orders from Restoration Hardware fulfillment center, via UPS standard deliver service to arrive 5-7 business days from the receipt of order. Furniture and other items where noted "Ships from Manufacturer" may take longer and may have additional charges, and if ordered with other items will arrive separately. Delivery information can be found on the product detail pages for these items. Shipping charges are per delivery address, items that require us to ship separately will not incur additional delivery charges. We do not charge your credit card until your order has shipped. Additional freight charges may apply to some large and heavy items. This amount is listed at the item level on the individual item product detail page and will be added to the standard delivery charges. Additional charges will be applied for AK/HI and US Territory orders. Some items cannot ship to PO Boxes due to size/weight restrictions. Please see below for shipping rates, Rush delivery options, Canadian Shipping and Furniture delivery details. Please contact our customer service department with any further questions.

Most orders ship via Priority Mail. Larger items, particularly our lamps must ship via rush delivery. There are additional delivery charges for these items. Please contact customer service with further question. Some oversized or heavy items cannot ship outside of the continental U.S., or may incur additional charges.

To contact us by phone: Web & catalog customer service: (800) 910-9845
Phone orders: (800) 910-9836
Fax catalog order: (615) 325-1398
Store customer service: (877) 747-4671
Wedding & Gift Registry services: (877) 747-4671 (Once connected, please press "4" followed by the "#" sign).
To contact us via postal mail:

Restoration Hardware
Attn: Customer Service
104 Challenger Dr
Portland TN 37148



Website: http://www.bloomingdales.com/index.ognc

Shipping: http://www1.bloomingdales.com/customerservice/shipping.jsp#shipping


Bloomingdales.com only ships to addresses in the United States, APO's, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Marshall Islands, Palau, US Virgin Islands, and Guam. Some restrictions apply. Please check product pages where applicable for more details.

Standard delivery
We deliver via UPS or a comparable delivery service. We use U.S. Postal Service for PO Boxes, APO and FPO addresses. Items ordered at the same time may not always be shipped together; your delivery charge, however, will be based on the total merchandise amount per address.

Pre-tax Order Total Standard Shipping
Under $25.00 $5.95
$25.01 - $50.00 $7.95
$50.01 - $75.00 $9.95
$75.01 - $100.00 $10.95
$100.01 - $150.00 $12.95
$150.01 - $200.00 $15.95
$200.01 - $300.00 $17.95
$300.01 - $500.00 $19.95
$500.01 and over $24.95
2 Day Delivery Additional $7.00
Next Day Delivery Additional $13.00
Shipping to more then one address Additional $5.00

Shipping Surcharges
Based on their size and/or weight, certain items bear a Shipping Surcharge. Shipping Surcharges are shown on product pages before you place an item in your Shopping Bag and will be added into the total shipping costs for your order.

Ballard Designs

Website: www.ballarddesigns.com

Shipping: www.ballarddesigns.com/jump.jsp?itemType=CATEGORY&itemID=522&path=1%2C2%2C509%2C510%2C522


Shipping and Processing Charges
Standard Delivery
(3-5 Business Days)

Orders up to $25.00 - $ 5.95
$25.01 to $45.00 - $ 8.95
$45.01 to $65.00 - $ 11.95
$65.01 to $90.00 - $ 14.95
$90.01 to $125.00 - $ 17.95
$125.01 to $200.00 - $ 20.95
$200.01 to $250.00 - $ 24.95
$250.01 and over - 9%

Ballard Designs' Express Delivery
(for orders under 15 lbs.)

Two business day delivery - $ 7.95 additional
Next business day delivery - $ 17.95 additional
Alaska, Puerto Rico, Hawaii & US Virgin Islands - $ 7.95 additional

Please call for Express Delivery charges for items over 15 lb.

Shipments to HI, AK, PR and the USVI require Express Delivery.

Note: If your purchase requires Oversized Delivery or Truck Delivery, or if you select one of our Express Delivery options, those charges are in addition to the Standard Shipping & Processing charges.


J & R (New York City Store that sells all things computer, electronic, household)

Website: http://www.jr.com/

Shipping: http://www.jr.com/templates/information/general_shopping.tem#G04


International Credit Cards - If you are paying with a credit card that has a billing address outside of the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, U.S. territories, or APO/FPO, you may order from us only if you are shipping to the areas above. If you have any questions during the process, you can call 1-800-806-1115 and someone will assist you with the order process.

Shipping Options and Policies

Areas We Ship To
At the present time, we only ship to the Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. territories, Puerto Rico, and Canada. J&R proudly ships to our Armed Forces APO/FPO customers.

P.O. Box customers - please try to use a regular street address where possible. Except for APO/FPO, all P.O. Box addresses will be shipped via Express Mail, at a higher cost to you than Ground shipping.

Shipping Cost
You will find more accurate shipping charges for your order in the order summary section of your shopping cart. The basic charge for Ground Shipping on any product (excluding Music and Movies) can be found on the product information page. The exact charges will show during the order process after you have entered your Shipping address.

Shipping costs for orders (except Music/Movie and Video Game only orders) are based on weight or dimensional weight (determined by the actual size of the box), whichever is greater. There is a minimum charge per order of $6.95 for Ground Shipping to the 48 Contiguous States. Additional costs for Rush Shipping options (if available) will be displayed within the order process. Ground shipping is not available to AK, HI, VI, or Puerto Rico. All shipments to Canada besides shipments to P.O. boxes use UPS Canada Express. We do not ship to P.O. box addresses in the Pacific Rim U.S. territories (Guam, Marshall Islands, Mariana Islands, Palau, etc.); you must have a street address. Except for orders that consist of only Music or Movie titles, the minimum shipping charge to the U.S. Virgin Islands is $44; the minimum shipping charge to Guam is $48; the minimum shipping charge to Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau is $64.

Shipping Options
For the 48 contiguous United States, J&R offers a variety of shipping options on most electronics-related items: Ground, 2 Day Air, 1 Day Air, and Saturday Delivery. We currently use UPS as our main carrier. US Mail options are used for P.O. boxes and APO/FPO orders. Orders to all domestic P.O. boxes are shipped via Express Mail only. Orders to APO/FPO are shipped via Parcel Post Air. Actual delivery times to APO/FPO addresses may vary. Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico orders are offered the choices of 2 Day Air or 1 Day Air. Some overweight or oversized items may not be available for shipment outside the 48 contiguous U.S. or to Post Office Boxes.

Many items on our site currently feature Free Shipping; you will often see a drawing of a truck with the word "FREE" written on it. These are limited offers and may be withdrawn at any time prior to (but not after) you place an order. Free Shipping applies to orders shipped via Standard Ground shipping (not Rush or Freight) and applies only within the 48 Contiguous States.

Shipping Time
Orders are processed upon receipt. Actual shipping time is contingent upon availability of merchandise and credit verification. Most orders are shipped within 2 business days of receiving your order. No orders are processed or shipped on Saturdays or Sundays. In the event of delays, every effort will be made to contact you by phone, e-mail or mail. If the delay is due to backorder, you will receive notice and be given the choice to remain on backorder, substitute to another item, or cancel your order.


Also....Tools for Wellness.




Main website:www.macys.com

Shipping: http://www1.macys.com/service/shipping/index.jsp?cm_re=37.0-_-FOOTERPOOL1-_-ADVERTISEMENT%20--%2028290%20--%20Footer%20Redesign%20Pool

Currently we're only able to ship to the United States, APO's, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Marshall Islands, Palau, US Virgin Islands and Guam. Some restrictions apply. Please see items with special shipping guidelines or check product pages for more details.

NOTE: Product from Coach, CHANEL and certain other brands cannot be shipped to U.S. Territories or military (APO/FPO) addresses. These products are clearly identified on their product pages.


Pottery Barn

Main website: www.potterybarn.com

Shipping: www.potterybarn.com/cust/shipinfo/cust.cfm?cmtype=fnav

Slight Extra Charge ($10) -- you should call the number below before ordering

Standard Shipping and Processing
Most purchases are shipped from our Distribution Centers, to arrive within five business days of receipt of the order. Note: Items sent directly from our suppliers may take longer, and items ordered together may not arrive in the same box. Orders being shipped to AK or HI will be charged an additional $10 for standard shipping and processing. We are now offering shipment of large furniture and oversized items to Maui, Oahu and the Island of Hawaii (there will be an additional surcharge of $250 per order). For customers wishing to ship orders to US Territories, APO or FPO addresses via Parcel Post, please call our Sales Department @ 888–779–5176. We regret that we cannot ship to foreign countries. 

32 Destination 31 Charge 30 Arrival
15 48 States 28 See Shipping
and Processing
27 5 business days
14 Rush 48 States 25 Add $15 24 2 business days
13 Alaska,
22 Add $10 21 5 business days
12 U.S.
19 Add $10 18 10-15 business days

*The regular shipping and processing charges stated on the Delivery and Processing Charges Chart cover Parcel Post Delivery. These charges do not include Surcharges that may apply to some items or Rush Charges.



Website: http://www.chefscatalog.com/

Shipping: http://www.chefscatalog.com/CustomerService/CustomerService.aspx


CHEFS offers three delivery methods for your order including standard, second-day and next-day delivery.

Delivery within 5-7 business days after your order leaves our warehouse.
Add Additional $5 per address to standard delivery and processing charges for each order shipped to Alaska, Hawaii, or U.S. territories . Shipping charges are calculated for each individual ship to address. Please refer to the shipping and handling chart for charges per shipping address. Weekend and Holiday delivery is not available.

Expected delivery within 2 business days after your order leaves our warehouse for in-stock items. Add $9.95 per address to standard shipping and handling charges.
Shipping charges are calculated for each individual ship to address. Please refer to the shipping and handling chart for charges per shipping address.
Add $15.95 to shipping and handling costs for delivery to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Not available to other US Territories.
Not available for delivery to P.O. boxes or APO/FPO addresses.
Not available for heavy items or items delivered directly from the manufacturer.
Not available for items with additional postage charges.
Weekend and Holiday delivery is not available.

Expected delivery the next business day after your order leaves our warehouse for in-stock items. Add $19.95 per address to standard shipping and handling charges.
Shipping charges are calculated for each individual ship to address. Please refer to the shipping and handling chart for charges per shipping address.
Add $29.95 to shipping and handling costs for delivery to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Not available to other US Territories.
Not available for delivery to P.O. boxes or APO/FPO addresses.
Not available for heavy items or items delivered directly from the manufacturer.
Not available for items with additional postage charges.
Weekend and Holiday delivery is not available.
These specifications do not apply to our Holiday Delivery schedule.
Orders with multiple items shipped to the same address may not ship in the same box.
International Addresses
At this time, when ordering online, it is not possible to specify a shipping address in another country. Only U.S. territories including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Military APO/FPO addresses that are served by the U.S. Postal Service are supported.
Post Office Boxes
Second-day and next-day deliveries are not available to post office boxes. Please select standard delivery during checkout for all orders shipped to P.O. boxes. Items shipped directly from the manufacturer can not be delivered to P.O. Boxes. Orders to P.O. boxes are delivered via parcel post.

Shipping and Handling Charges
Shipping and Handling charges are calculated based upon the total cost of merchandise in your order to each individual shipping address. The following shipping and handling charges apply to products pictured and described on our web site and to online orders from our catalogs. All prices are expressed in U.S. currency.
Merchandise Total* Standard Shipping & Handling Charges*
Up to $10.00 $4.50
$10.01 to $25.00 $6.50
$25.01 to $35.00 $7.50
$35.01 to $45.00 $8.50
$45.01 to $55.00 $10.50
$55.01 to $75.00 $11.50
$75.01 to $95.00 $13.50
$95.01 to $150.00 $16.50
$150.01 and over 11% of Merchandise Total*
*Total value of merchandise before tax or other charges.

Additional Postage
Some items require an additional shipping and handling charge, listed as Additional Shipping on the product page. To determine the total cost for shipping and handling, add this additional charge to the applicable amount from the shipping and handling chart above.
Gift Card Shipping Charges
Gift Cards are mailed priority mail in an attractive red package with a complimentary copy of CHEFS Catalog. Regular shipping and handling charges do not apply to gift cards. Shipping for Gift Cards is $4.50 per card.
Drop-Ship Items
Some merchandise at chefscatalog.com is shipped directly from the manufacturer. These "drop-ship" items have special handling restrictions:

Additional time is needed for order processing, so second-day and next-day shipping are not available. Heavy items, such as furniture, may take up to 4 weeks for delivery.
Drop-ship items can be delivered only to addresses in the 48 contiguous United States.
Drop-ship items cannot be gift wrapped.
Drop-ship items cannot be shipped to a P.O. Box.
CHEFS cannot guarantee delivery date of drop-ship merchandise.
Free Shipping on Select Items
Some merchandise at chefscatalog.com is waived standard shipping charges as calculated by the shipping and handling chart above. Additional postage or heavy weight charges are not waived on these items.

Please contact us if you have any questions about shipping or delivery of your order. Call 1-800-884-2433 , or click here to send an e-mail.
CHEFS allows you to specify a delivery address for each item in your order during checkout. Recipient addresses may be saved for future use under My Account for faster checkout.
CHEFS customers who place an order while logged into My Account may view their order status online. Log in to My Account to track orders shipped via UPS. Tracking for items shipped via parcel post is not available at this time.
CHEFS customers may also view their order history through My Account.
Order Confirmation and Order Shipped Emails: We will send a confirmation of your order, including when your item(s) ship* and any communication relevant to your order, to the e-mail address you provided when ordering.
* Excluding items shipped from the manufacturer


Website: http://www.spiegel.com/customer/delivery.aspx

Shipping: http://www.spiegel.com/customer/delivery.aspx


Standard Delivery. An order that is in stock and placed on-line by 5 p.m. Eastern Time will usually be on its way to you the next business day.
Most items should arrive in 3-7 business days.
Items with a stated shipping charge are delivered separately and may not arrive at the same time as other items ordered.

Express Delivery Options. Order by 5 p.m. Eastern Time.
Express Service provides third business day delivery on orders received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time. The charge for Express Service is $10 per package plus the Standard Delivery Charges.
Express Plus Service provides second business day delivery on orders received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time. The charge for Express Plus Service is $15 per order plus the Standard Delivery Charges.

Express Service and Express Plus are not available on items with a stated delivery charge, some heavy or oversize items, and orders sent to APO, FPO, P.O. Box addresses, outside of the 48 contiguous states, and U.S. possessions.

Lands End

Website: http://www.landsend.com

Shipping: www.landsend.com/cd/fp/help/0,,1_36877_36880_36992___,00.html?sid=0783152534592151070


Thank you for your recent e-mail to Lands' End. We do ship to the U.S. Virgin Islands and shipping is treated as a U.S. delivery.

We hope this information is helpful to you and hope to hear from you soon.


Judith, Internet Customer Service, www.landsend.com, 1-800-288-9091

Priority Mail
• 2-4 business days (plus 1-2 business days for processing) (Monday through Saturday delivery)
• Regular shipping fee plus $5 additional charge (see Shipping Charges)

Specialty Shipping or "Drop-shipped" items
Some Home products (such as furniture, holiday greenery and other items) are shipped directly from the manufacturer and have delivery times longer than our standard 2-3 days, with no shipping upgrade available. For Home products that can only be ordered by phone, or indicate a longer shipping time, please call 1-800-708-4545 Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. CST for detailed shipping information.

Lands' End Custom™ items are shipped separately by UPS directly from the manufacturer. Please allow 3-4 weeks for your garment to be made and shipped.

Custom shipping exceptions:
Orders to PO Boxes, APO/FPO addresses & U.S. Territories will be shipped by USPS Priority Mail
• Orders to Canada will be shipped by Canadian Post


LL Bean

Website: http://www.llbean.com

Shipping: http://www.llbean.com/customerService/FAQs/shipDelivery.html?feat=gn#shippingFAQs


Delivery Information
Please refer to the shipping charts above for estimated delivery times. Monogramming, engraving or alterations may add additional processing time. (This time will be noted in your Shopping Bag and other pages as you check out.) Some items, such as furniture, may take longer for delivery. Regular delivery to Alaska, Hawaii, APO/FPO addresses and US territorial possessions is via Priority Mail and takes approximately 5 to 12 days.


Website: www.williams-sonoma.com

Shipping: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/cust/faq_ecomm/cust.cfm#shipping_info


Shipping and Processing Options
Method Cost Order Arrival
Standard/48 States See Chart Above 5 Business Days
Rush/48 States Add $15.00
to Standard Rates 2 Business Days
*Alaska & Hawaii Add $5.00
to Standard Rates 5 Business Days
*U.S. Territories Add $10.00
to Standard Rates 10 to 15 Calendar Days


Website: http://www.lowes.com

Shipping: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=pg&p=CustServ/intl_orders.html

Lowes.com offers shipping to all United States addresses including Alaska and Hawaii, APO/FPO, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lowes.com cannot currently support international orders to areas other than previously listed. For additional information, e-mail us at international@lowes.com.

Lowes.com currently partners with the United States Postal Service (USPS) and United Parcel Service (UPS). We also offer Lowe's Home Delivery if the item requested is available at a local store, and you are within the delivery area for that store. Note: A surcharge will be added for orders shipped to Alaska and Hawaii and all United States Protectorates.

Prices displayed online in product list pages and product detail pages are for the Continental US. Final price at checkout may be higher for stores outside the Continental US, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Shipping Product

For items shipped to Alaska and Hawaii, we only offer the 2 Business Day and Next Business Day service levels at this time. Note: A $5 surcharge applies to all 2 Business Day and Next Business Day service level shipments to these states.

Lowes.com offers shipping to APO/FPO addresses. To process APO/FPO orders, at checkout please enter APO/FPO in the City field, the applicable state in the State field (AA/AE) and your APO/FPO ZIP Code. For shipping rates, click here.

Lowes.com cannot ensure that orders to APO/FPO addresses or to any United States Protectorate will be delivered within the Standard service window of 3 to 7 business days. Note: A surcharge applies to all orders shipped to Alaska and Hawaii, APO/FPO and all United States Protectorates. If you decide to return your order, shipping/delivery charges are not refundable.

Shipping Restrictions

P.O. Boxes and APO/FPO Addresses are serviced by the United States Postal Service.
Due to postal regulations, any order that weighs more than 150 lbs. or exceeds certain dimensions cannot be delivered to P.O. Boxes or APO/FPO addresses.
Lowes.com cannot ensure that orders to APO/FPO addresses or to any United States Protectorate will be delivered within the Standard service window of 3 to 7 business days.
P.O. Boxes and APO/FPO addresses are offered the Standard service delivery option only.

Orders to all United States Protectorates are offered the Standard service option only and incur a $5 surcharge.

Order Tracking and Delivery - If your order is shipped by UPS or USPS, you can track your package as it makes its way to its final address. When your order has been shipped, you will receive an e-mail shipping confirmation with a tracking or delivery confirmation number. You can check the status of your shipment in the following ways:

Click the link on your shipping confirmation e-mail to track your order via our carriers' Web sites and enter your tracking number.
Contact a Lowe's customer service representative at 1-800-890-5932.
E-mail us at manager@lowes.com for a status update.
Either way you choose, we will provide you with timely, accurate information about the status of your order. If you should misplace your shipping confirmation e-mail, please contact one of our customer service representatives at 1-800-890-5932 for assistance or e-mail us at manager@lowes.com.


COMPANIES THAT WILL SHIP - With reservations or Limitations


Amazon.com (limited to CD's, Books, Software, Videos. etc.)



* J Crew www.jcrew.com
* Nordstrom www.nordstrom.com
* Beach Bliss www.beachbliss.com
* Company Store www.thecompanystore.com
* CVS www.cvs.com
* Dermstore www.dermstore.com
* Lands End www.landsend.com
* JC Penny
* Neiman-Marcus
* Neiman-Marcus Last Call
* Coldwater Creek
* J. Jill
* Magellan's
* Daedalus Books
* Barnes & Noble
* Old Navy
* Gap
* Banana Republic
* Target (not oversized items)
* Petco
* 1-800 Pet Meds
* Victoria's Secret
* Talbot's
* Zappos






Sears does not currently ship or deliver by UPS or home delivery to P.O. Boxes, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam or the US Virgin Islands. We do, however, accept BILLING addresses in these states (as well as other areas, such as Guam, Virgin Islands), as long as the item is being shipped to the Continental United States.







Part 2 - Freight Forwarding

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? NOT AT ALL. Here's the basics. There are two types or forwarders -- those that use the US Mail (USPS) and those that actually ship the goods themselves. Non-Mail forwarders may be cheaper in some instances, and many items are too heavy (over 70 pounds) too large or cannot be sent by the mail.

A. NON US-MAIL FORWARDING. Let's look at non-mail forwarding first (Using VICARGO as an example. Their website is www.vicargo.com)

STEP ONE: Buy something in the continental US.

STEP TWO:Make sure that when you buy, you ask the supplier to include an invoice copy with the shipment, (VICARGO will need it to clear US Customs upon arrival in St. Croix.) The Virgin Islands imposes a 4.2% (invoice value) excise tax on most items when the consignee is a business. Also, whether business or not, If the shipment is foreign made or assembled in a foreign country, a US Customs duty is charged in the amounts ranging from 1% to 6% of the invoice value. The forwarder will handle this for you.

STEP THREE: Give the seller a telephone number that you can be reached at in St. Croix. But tell your seller to ship the item (s) to:

Your Name

c/o V.I. Cargo

9793 N.W. 91 Court

Medley, Florida 33178

STEP FOUR: Pay for the Shipping when it arrives. The formula is simple, and is based on the number of cubic feet (not weight) of the object. An average item costs about $2.45 per cubic foot....dense, heavy items $6.00 per cubic foot. The calculation goes like this:


a. Compute the size. If it is in inches, the calculation is length x width x height / 1728. So a box that wa 24" long, 20" wide and 48" high would be: 24 x 20 x 48 / 1728 which is 23040 cubic inches -- divided by 1728 cubic inches per cubic foot, which equals 13.33 cubic feet. That times $2.45 equals $32.66. (There is also another 55 cents per cubic foot for fuel adjustment -- although this amount can vary a little -- so that would be 13.33 cubic feet time $.55 which equals $7.33. Finally, there is a $15.00 charge for the whole shipment -- no matter how many items (Bill of Lading) and if it is over 20 Cubic Feet total a $40.00 documentation & handling fee. So this one would be:

Ocean Freight $2.45 per cu/ft 13.33 Cu/Ft in box $32.66
Fuel Surcharge $0.55 per cu/ft 13.33 Cu/Ft in Box $ 7.33
Bill of Lading $15 per shipment 1 Shipment $15.00
Documentation $40 if over 20 cu/ft. Not applicable here $ 0.00
Excise 4.2% for businesses Not applicable here $ 0.00
Customs 1% - 6% for foreign Not applicable here $ 0.00
TOTAL (Assuming you pick it up when it gets to St. Croix)   $54.99

STEP Five: Either pick it up, arrange to have it picked up be a local company or ask VICARGO to arrange for a local trucker.

Insurance and Fragile Materials.VI Cargo does not automatically add insurance to your shipment. Insurance must be requested in writing and can only apply to new, invoiced goods from a seller that are properly packaged for export. Insurance charges are 1.75% of invoice value, with a limit of $10,000.00 of invoice value on any one item. They will not insure used items under any circumstances.

They will not insure any shipment of glass, glass windows, and granite or Corian type countertops. Those items are shipped at the customer’s risk. All glass, glass windows, granite and Corian type countertops should be packaged in wood crates in order to withstand the normal rigors of container loading and ocean voyage. Furthermore, in the case of granite countertops, inspection ports should be left open so that when these items are delivered, their receiving department is able to closely inspect for damage.

Conclusion:If this items weighs 120 pounds, you cannot ship it with the US Mail. You could send it by UPS, DHL or Fedex, but they are very expensive and you would be charged customs/excise. You ended up paying 45 cents per pound.

B. US-MAIL or US MAIL FORWARDING. Let's look at US Mail-based forwarding. There are two types. The easiest and most common is to have the seller simply mail it to you. (Or you or family members can mail things to you.) The USPS goes by weight, and the two most popular rates are Priority Mail (First Class Mail) which can provide tracking and takes about 7 days -- or parcel post, which is untracked and takes 3-4 weeks.

The other type is where a forwarder in the States receives your item(s) and forwards them on to you by mail. (Useful when a seller won't ship to the Virgin Islands.) There are commercial reshippers who do this for a small fee -- or if you are going to do it a lot, you can use a "mailbox" service such as The UPS Store. (They charge you for a mailbox and then there is a small fee plus the mailing cost.)

STEP ONE: Buy something in the continental US. To send by USPS, the weight cannot exceed 70 pounds.
Also, the length + girth (distance around the thickest part of the package) cannot exceed 108 inches. (Parcel Post cannot exceed 130 inches.)

STEP TWO:Ask them to send it by Priority Mail. Point out to them that it is exactly the same postage and method as doing so anywhere in the US. There is no Customs duty, and no additional paperwork or fees. Put a stamp on it, drop it in the mail.

STEP THREE: Pay the postage: 70 pounds from New York to St. Croix is $42.74 by Parcel Post, and $76.90 by Priority Mail. There is a nifty Rate Calculator at http://postcalc.usps.gov/ Also, insurance can be purchased which provides coverage against loss or damage up to $5,000.The fee is based on value, and starts at $1.65
For items insured for more than $200, Return Receipt can be added to confirm delivery -- for $2.15 extra.

Conclusion: The heavier (up to 70 pounds) the cheaper per pound. At 70 pounds, this is $0.61 per pound by parcel post and $1.10 per pound by Priority Mail. If you use a forwarder like The UPS Store, add $10 on average.


Part 3 - Solar Electricity....Does it Pay Even at VI Electricity Costs?

Want to escape the WAPA monopoly? Do you dream of moving to a place with unlimited, free solar power? Here are some simple calculations that might be of interest. (At the time of this writing, the cost of one Kilowatt Hour (with all taxes and fees) is now about $.45 (11/2011) but the chart uses the projected amount of $.65.

1. How many panels?

You can purchase a 6' x 3' solar panel that produces .25 Kw per hour for about $500. (that included 18% for the cost of wrinig, install, etc.) In one day that panel (averaging good days and bad together for a year--we will use 6 hours per day of production) will produce 1.50 Kilowatt Hours (called KWh). In a 30 day month, that equals 45 KWh.

So....if you have a really power hungry house and turn up those air conditioners -- we will assume an average monthly use of 1000 KWh per month. (We actually use about 400 in the Winter and 800 in the Summer, but 1000 makes the math easier.)

In addition, you need a controller and batteries. For this analysis, we are using the "whole house" system made by Gaia Power -- which comes with both the system and the batteries....you just plug it into the house system and it manages both the WAPA line and the solar, and uses what you need when you need it. (It also turns on a generator if needed.) It is pricey -- you can do this cheaper...but this is good for an example. (Prices updated November 2012)

# of


cost per  Cost of Panels Cost of Control Unit & Batteries Total Cost Kw per Hour KwH per Day (6 hr day) KWh per Month Avg Monthy Usage in KWh with AC Deficiency or Surplus   Savings per Year @ .65 Years to recover @ .65 assumes 0% cost of money
1 500 500 8000  
0.25 1.5 45 1000 -955    $      351 24.2
2 500 1000 8000
0.5 3 90 1000 -910    $      702 12.8
3 500 1500 8000
0.75 4.5 135 1000 -865    $   1,053 9.0
4 500 2000 8000
1 6 180 1000 -820    $   1,404 7.1
5 500 2500 12000
1.25 7.5 225 1000 -775    $   1,755 8.3
6 500 3000 12000
1.5 9 270 1000 -730    $   2,106 7.1
7 500 3500 12000
1.75 10.5 315 1000 -685    $   2,457 6.3
8 500 4000 12000
  2 12 360 1000 -640      $   2,808   5.7
9 500 4500 12000
2.25 13.5 405 1000 -595    $   3,159 5.2
10 500 5000 12000
2.5 15 450 1000 -550    $   3,510 4.8
11 500 5500 12000
2.75 16.5 495 1000 -505    $   3,861 4.5
12 500 6000 16000
3 18 540 1000 -460    $   4,212 5.2
13 500 6500 16000
3.25 19.5 585 1000 -415    $   4,563 4.9
14 500 7000 16000
3.5 21 630 1000 -370    $   4,914 4.7
15 500 7500 16000
3.75 22.5 675 1000 -325    $   5,265 4.5
16 500 8000 16000
  4 24 720 1000 -280     $ 5,616   4.3
17 500 8500 20000
4.25 25.5 765 1000 -235    $   5,967 4.8
18 500 9000 20000
4.5 27 810 1000 -190    $   6,318 4.6
19 500 9500 20000
4.75 28.5 855 1000 -145    $   6,669 4.4
20 500 10000 20000
5 30 900 1000 -100    $   7,020 4.3
21 500 10500 20000
5.25 31.5 945 1000 -55    $   7,371 4.1
22 500 11000 20000
5.5 33 990 1000 -10    $   7,722 4.0
23 500 11500 22000
5.75 34.5 1035 1000 35    $   8,073 4.1
24 500 12000 22000
  6 36 1080 1000 80      $   8,424   4.0
25 500 12500 22000
6.25 37.5 1125 1000 125    $   8,775 3.9
26 500 13000 22000
6.5 39 1170 1000 170    $   9,126 3.8
27 500 13500 22000
6.75 40.5 1215 1000 215    $   9,477 3.7
28 500 14000 24000
7 42 1260 1000 260    $   9,828 3.9
29 500 14500 24000
7.25 43.5 1305 1000 305    $10,179 3.8
30 500 15000 24000
7.5 45 1350 1000 350    $10,530 3.7
31 500 15500 24000
7.75 46.5 1395 1000 395    $10,881 3.6
32 500 16000 24000
8 48 1440 1000 440    $11,232 3.6
No costs included for cost of shipping, labor or construction of stands.

Thus, a 16 panel system would cost $24,000 plus mountings, wire, installation, etc. and produce 720 KWh per month. It would take 4+ years to recover this cost at $.65 per KWh -- without figuring in the cost of money or the value of tax credits. Those 16 panels would take up a space approximately 16' wide and 28' long....and you might want to think about ground mounting them with something that covers them securely in the case of high winds. For $40,000+ you can move up to the 32 panel system producing 1440 KWh per month.

There are other factors to consider. In the higher USVI heat the batteries (which normally last 8-12 years) will probably have to replaced at about 8 years. On the other hand, no more WAPA blackouts and no loud generator running whenever WAPA dies.

You might want to look at these websites: http://www.vienergy.org/ for info on fighting costs and conserving, and this in the VI Daily News http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/article_home?id=17618543

For VERY small setups, (no more than 10 KWh per month) you also might want to consider net metering (no batteries needed)...as per this article from the USVI Department of Energy:

WAPA Launches Net Metering

With net metering, every Virgin Islands residence and small business is a potential source of renewable energy for the territory,” said Nellon Bowry, Interim Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority.

     Net metering allows consumers to offset the cost of electricity they buy from WAPA by selling the excess power they generate through their individual solar or wind systems back to WAPA.


Here is a discussion of using this in the VI -- with a view of net metering....from the VI Relocation Board (MichaelSTX) from February 2013... http://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,197943,page=2

Dareo, I've wondered. . .why so few people have PV installaions. We have had a full-house PV system since 2008. It's a mixed grid-tie/Emergency back-up Net Metered system, as Ericw desribed. We have solar hot water and produce enough PV power to completely offset our use, with some to spare. We had the house on the market, thinking that in the recent energy crisis it would sell in heartbeat, but after 1.5 years on MLS never got a single offer. Seems people like the "idea" of energy independence, but most can't be bothered beyond that.

I'll do my best to express our experience in regards to the various concerns people have mentioned so far in this thread.

I would highly recommend the battery back-up. Yes, battery technology is not as good as it could be, but it is improving (we're keeping a close eye on flow battery technology). We have sealed no-maintenance batteries that are still working for us after 5 years, but will need replacing in the next couple years. I will probably switch to longer-life batteries, even though they require more attention and maintenance. It's worth it to have continuous power when WAPA has a prolonged outage, or "mistakenly" disconnects you. So far our batteries have not been cumbersome or required a high degree of electrical knowledge, and they cost less than a decent diesel or gas generator.

"no electronic device, no matter how marine-ized, well constructed or warranted, lasts more than 5-6 years" is an unqualified absolute statement. As rhstoo mentioned, some electronics do last. Yes, the climate takes its toll, but WAPA takes a bigger one. Our inverter/charger system is protected and always on and warm, so corrosion and corruption from moisture is minimized. It "cleans" WAPA's inconsistent power, so we no longer have to constantly replace bulbs and equipment destroyed by power fluctuations. Batteries are the only thing I expect to replace in my system in the first 20 years, and they represent a small percentage of the total system.

I re-coated my roof immediately before installing the solar panels. It's getting time to do it again, but not under the panels. The panels themselves have sufficiently protected the roof and coating under them. I can easily pressure-wash, then re-coat the roof around them. They are raised on racks, a couple inches off the roof surface, so no risk of accidentally coating them. Alana, you just can, easily, re-coat around the panels.

We have not had to remove the panels during hurricane season. We have been snug and happy inside, with power, throughout every storm since the system was installed. Our system and mounting is rated to withstand a Category 3 or higher. If another Hugo comes and takes the whole roof, we'll have more to worry about than the PV system. In regards to cleaning, every once in a while I think I need to clean the panels because the cats gone on the roof and walked across them leaving prints or something, but I've never actually done it yet. They always rinse clean in the next rain and our power production hasn't seemed to suffer. We still produce more power than we use.

Re: Net Metering and WAPA buying power. As the Net Metering agreement currently stands, WAPA, hypothetically, credits the customer for excess power produced in a month and debits for any usage more than produced. It's a direct one-for-one exchange, full retail rate, LEAC and all fees. Customer is only obligated to pay the monthly customer fee (currently $6.22). Excess produced power is forfeited to the utility at the end of the year. It may seem unfair, but getting credited the full retail rate is a good deal, better then most net metering agreements around the country. But that may be changing, there is discussion of having a split retail/wholesale rate, with customers getting credited the wholesale for excess, but charged the retail for net usage. And in practice, WAPA still does everything it can to discourage net metering customers, including screwing up their billing, charging for electricity not used, disconnecting you for not paying for electricity that wasn't used, etc. They have also failed, despite initiating net metering in 2005, or 2007, and completely re-designing their billing statements last year, to produce a proper net metering bill that accurately credits customers for excess power, but charges them the monthly customer fee. So despite all the advantages, it can still be a pain dealing with the utility. If I were to do it all over from scratch, I'd seriously consider totally off-grid.