US Virgin Islands Holidays Guide
The U.S. Virgin Islands,part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. They consist of the islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, as well as the much smaller Water Island and many additional minor islands, with a total land massof346.4 km2.The islands are located about 64 km. east of Puerto Rico and just west of the British Virgin Islands. These hilly, volcanic islands are best known for white sand beaches and strategic harbors, including Charlotte Amalie and Christiansted.Formerly called the Danish West Indies, the islands were sold to the United States in the early 1900s.Although part of the Americas, the residents hold their West Indian culture close, and Calypso and reggae music can be heard everywhere, and curried meats, callaloo soup, and mango-sweetened microbrew beers fill the tables.
US Virgin Islands Holidays Planner
The U.S. Virgin Islands,part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. They consist of the islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, as well as the much smaller Water Island and many additional minor islands, with a total land massof 346.4 km2.The islands are located about 64 km. east of Puerto Rico and just west of the British Virgin Islands. These hilly, volcanic islands are best known for white sand beaches and strategic harbors, including Charlotte Amalie and Christiansted.Formerly called the Danish West Indies, the islands were sold to the United States in the early 1900s.Although part of the Americas, the residents hold their West Indian culture close, and Calypso and reggae music can be heard everywhere, and curried meats, callaloo soup, and mango-sweetened microbrew beers fill the tables.
The largest Island, St. Croix (pronounced "Kroy")is the easternmost location in the United States, and the least commercial of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It offers a variety of unique distractions, from pristine Caribbean beaches to awe-inspiring diving and fishing, to fascinating historical sites. The island is 207 km² however it is not the territory's capital; that distinction is held byCharlotte Amalie, a major port town located on Saint ThomasIsland. The largest towns on the island are Christiansted and Frederiksted.Each town has its own distinctive style; Frederiksted has lots of shops forshopping, a romantic tropical rain forest, and a fascinating plantation called Whim Greathouse, that's been restored to its original 1700s glory.The historic interestand architectural excellence of the former capital has made part of Christiansted (founded in 1734) a National Historic Site.
St. Croix has a selection of fine accommodations, from small but luxurious full-service resorts to cozy B&Bs and everything in between, plus what is said to be one of the oldest hotels in the Caribbean, The Buccaneer, just east of Christiansted. You'll find excellent dining, many interesting sights to see, and all manner of sandy beaches to lounge on. Visit Buck Island, one of the world's finest dive spots, and see scenic coral reefs, clear water, abundant tropical fish, and migrating sea turtles.
The west side of the island is Caribbean-tropical, with towering palm trees and lush foliage, and supports multiple ecosystems in a very small area. The east end of the island looks like you accidentally drove into another part of the world – it is dry desert with rocky formations and cactus. Cane Bay, another popular diving spot, has a deep underwater trench that is home to an amazing assortment of fish and other creatures of the deep. The reef also serves as a natural barrier against the hammerhead and tiger sharks, as well as jellyfish that live in the area. And for you anglers, the Virgin Islands can honestly boast a total of twenty-four sport-fishing world records, for fish ranging from blue marlin to swift wahoo. The hotspot for blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish is the famous North Drop. Closer to shore you'll reel inmackerel, bonefish, kingfish, amberjack, tarpon, snapper, and all year long.
St. Thomas, the best known of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and bustling with cruise-ship traffic and big resorts, is the most cosmopolitanisland, boasting a wealth of choice when it comes to accommodations, dining, and activities. Passengers arrive almost daily toCharlotte Amalie harboron cruise ships and supersize-yachts. Trade is a St. Thomas specialty, dating back to the pirate days and still an important part of the socio-economic culture. Imported perfumes, cameras, watches, fine porcelain and crystal are plentiful. Movie-set-perfect beaches beckon you to relax, and a world-renowned golf course called Mahogany Run, known for its challenging cliff-side holes called the Devil's Triangle, is hard to resist. The Skyride will take you 700 feet above the city, where you can see everything for miles, or you can take an animal encounter tour, where you can swim with turtles, pet sharks, or feed an iguana.
Don't miss the chance to climb Charlotte Amalie's famous 99 Steps for another incomparable view of the Caribbean. Snorkel, scuba dive, fish offshore, or take a boat excursion. Or just relax and enjoy the tropical beauty and weather.St. Thomas is known as one of the more 'green' islands, in every sense of the word. The landscape is made up of green hills, and about 60 percent of the island and most of St. John make up the Virgin Islands National Park, a protected area.
St. John is the smallest and least busy of the three main U.S. Virgin Islands.At just 50.8 km², it is as far from civilization you can get while still being within shouting distance of upscale jewelry stores and fashion boutiques.It's a nature-lovers dream;two-thirds of the islandis within the boundaries of Virgin Islands National Park, where you can wander the trails, follow a mongoose, and video the fabulous turquoise waters from one of the many sky-high plateaus. More than 800 distinct species of plants grow in the hilly tropical forests,and the beaches are all bordered by coral reefs. The Travel Channel call is "A treasure trove of tropical jungle and enticing enclaves that was once the playpen of gazillionaire Lawrence Rockefeller, who fell in love with this lush land in the 1920s. Facilities here include 166 elegantly understated rooms, 3 restaurants, a 20,000-square-foot spa and a state-of-the-art tennis facility." Travel Channel named Caneel Bay resort on St. John one of the Top 10 Caribbean Resorts.
US Virgin Islands Travel Info
The Henry E. Rohlsen International Airport serves St. Croix, and the Cyril E. King International Airport serves St. Thomas and St. John. Regular flights come and go from the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico, and the Eastern Caribbean. Inter-island flights are available and The Virgin Islands also offers something not available in most destinations around the world, Seaplane service to get from island to island!You can hire a car here, but be aware that theseislands are the only place in the United States where people drive on the left; a bit of inherited history left over from the Danish at the time of annexation, that was done to limit livestock loss. But, because most cars are imported from the U.S. mainland and so are left-hand drive, the driver sits to the outside of the road; most visitor drivers are considered road hazards.
In addition to taxis and buses, the islands all haveshared taxis, called "taxi buses," full-size vans that follow a pre-defined route from Frederiksted to Christiansted. They are privately owned and operated, do not follow any sort of schedule, and have no set stops. Simply wait at the side of the road until one comes along, flag the driver down by waving, and climb aboard. The drives will be happy to drop you anywhere along their route, and charge a flat rate regardless of where a rider gets on and off. It's actually cheaper than hiring a car or taxi, and offers you a unique feel for island life.