The USVI – St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John – known as America’s Caribbean, is one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations. This trio of islands is an easy flight from the U.S. mainland, prices are in American dollars. Oceanfront resorts, small inns, condos, campgrounds or luxury villas – the choice of accommodations will suit any style. Nearly 2.5 million vacationers flock here annually for the powdery beaches, plentiful watersports and fine dining. Like siblings, each of the three major islands has its own personality.

St. Croix (pronounced CROY), the largest of these islands at 84 square miles, known for its culture and rich history features a varied terrain from dry cactus-studded hills out east to lush tropical forests in the west. Hiking, kayaking and paddle boarding are popular pastimes, and the island boasts two 18-hole golf courses. Some scuba buffs claim this is the only place in the Caribbean where you can dive a wall, a reef, a wreck and a pier all in the same day. Chartered powerboats or catamarans will take you to the pristine beach and a marked snorkel trail at uninhabited Buck Island Reef National Monument.

St. Thomas, the most visited of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is the most bustling due to passengers arriving almost daily on cruise ships and mega-yachts that steam into Charlotte Amalie harbour. Imported perfumes, cameras, watches, fine porcelain and crystal abound. U.S. Customs laws allow individuals to bring up to $1,600 worth of merchandise from the U.S. Virgin Islands back to the United States without having to pay duty, and there’s no sales tax. There are plenty of postcard-perfect beaches like popular Magens Bay. There are a plethora of activities to do once on-island such as snorkeling, scuba diving, offshore fishing, or a number of boat excursions. St. Thomas’ only golf course, Mahogany Run, is known for its challenging trio of cliffside holes called the Devil’s Triangle.

St. John, the smallest of the trio at 20 square miles, is a favourite of nature-lovers. Two-thirds of St. John falls within the boundaries of the 9,485 acre Virgin Islands National Park. More than 800 plant species grow in hilly tropical forests that drop down to beaches bordered by coral reefs making St. John a hiker’s paradise. Throughout the island are a number of hiking trails maintained by the National Park Service.. The National Park Service added even more federally owned submerged acres in 2001 to create the underwater Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. Trunk Bay, one of the world’s top ten beaches, has an underwater snorkel tour and is nestled between a number of breathtaking views and beaches on St. John’s scenic north coast. Quieter romantic beaches can also be found on the Southside of the island.

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Airports / Gateways / Flying times

Airports: St. Croix: Henry E. Rohlsen International Airport. St. Thomas:Cyril E. King International Airport.

Gateways/Flying Times:  There are no direct flights from the UK, however, there are connecting flights available from Antigua on LIAT and from Miami on American Airlines. Other airlines fly direct from many other Eastern seaboard cities.

Climate

Average daytime temperature 78 degrees F in winter and 82 degrees F in summer, low humidity. Approximate sunrise 0530-0630. Approximate sunset 1830-1900.

Dining

Restaurants available: Continental. Chinese. French. Scandinavian. Steak houses. Mexican/Tex Mex. Mediterranean. Thai. Vegetarian. Italian. Gratuity is 15% in most restaurants

Language

English. Some Spanish and French.

Nightlife

St. Croix: Jazz, disco, calypso/reggae, Latin and rock ‘n roll nightclubs and karaoke. Cultural entertainment: Steel pan music, limbo dancing, and mini street carnivals “Jump Up”.


St. John: Local bars offer live entertainment and satellite TV.


St. Thomas: Jazz, disco, calypso/reggae, Latin, rock ‘n’roll nightclubs and karaoke. Cultural entertainment: Steel pan music, theatrical/musical arts.

Sightseeing

St. Croix: Old Danish towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted. Walking tours, jeep tours, Buck Island day sails, paddleboarding, Sub-Tropical forest; Heritage Trail, safari tours, hiking tours, Whim Museum,St. Croix Leap, Cruzan Rum Factory and Diageo Rum tour.

St John: Cruz Bay, National Park Visitor Center, Elaine Ione Sprauve Library and Museum, Annaberg Plantation Ruins, Bordeaux Mountain, Snuba and paddleboarding.

St. Thomas:Fort Christian, Emancipation Park, Historic Downtown Charlotte Amalie, Legislature Building and Government House, Frederick Lutheran Church, Jewish Synagogue, Blackbeard’s Castle, Market Square, Tillet Gardens, Magens Bay & Drake’s Seat, “World Famous” Mountain Top, Estate St. Peter Great House & Botanical Gardens, Atlantis Submarine, Coral World, Paradise Point Tramway, V.I. Ecotours (kayak, hike and snorkel tour.

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