US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands is a great destination for the entire family
to enjoy. A wonderful place to kickback and relax, this tiny US
territory is also well-known for its excellent duty-free shopping
on the island of Saint Thomas, which also plays host to the capital,
Charlotte Amalie. Covering just 352 sq km in total land area, the
US Virgin Islands is made up of some 50 islands, of which the three
most important islands are St. John, Saint Thomas and Saint Croix.
Located roughly 1770 km southeast of Miami and 64 km east of Puerto
Rico, the US Virgin Islands are the northernmost islands in
the Lesser Antilles encircling the Caribbean Basin. Discovered by
Christopher Columbus in 1493 on his second trip to the Caribbean,
this territory is known for its pristine islands, sheltered bays,
lush hillsides, gorgeous offshore reefs and schools of vibrant tropical
Both the islands of Saint John and
Saint Croix boast an incredible wealth of natural beauty with
pretty beaches and fertile lands to explore, However, Saint Thomas
is another story. This tiny island is just 19 km long, but it is home
to more than half of the country’s population. Tax-free and
duty-free shopping makes this island a shopper’s paradise, with
people from all over coming here looking for some great buys to be
The best time to visit the US Virgin Islands is in the winter,
when the weather is tropical and balmy. Avoid traveling here between
July and October as it is peak rainy season. With its warm weather
conditions most of the year, there are plenty of outdoor activities
to enjoy. Swimming, diving and snorkeling here are superb with beautiful
beaches, warm water temperatures and great underwater visibility.
Fishing and sailing are also popular
with plenty of opportunities in the clam bays located out here.
Windsurfing and surfing are also top notch, but mostly in the winter
months when the waves are big and fast.
An unincorporated US Territory, today US Virgin Islanders have
much of the same rights and privileges as US citizens, except that
they are not allowed to vote in US presidential elections. And though
much of the territory at times seems Americanized, West African culture
has strong influences and roots here, which can be noted in the reggae
and calypso tunes that can be heard throughout the islands.