- The Online Guide to Travel Uncover the Rich History of US Virgin Islands in The Caribbean

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Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI
Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI by Josh Duncan on Unsplash.

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US Virgin Islands Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Explore vibrant history and culture in the US Virgin Islands. Its historic sites and museums offer a glimpse into the fascinating past of a Caribbean paradise.

About The US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands are a popular travel destination and offer a wide range of attractions and activities for tourists.

The islands are generally considered safe for visitors, although it is important to take precautions in certain areas.

Travel Map Mapping US Virgin Islands

Map of the US Virgin Islands

Map of the US Virgin Islands

The easternmost outpost of the United States, the US Virgin Islands consists of three islands and about 50 islets, most of which are uninhabited.

The capital of the Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie, is located on the island of St. Thomas.

US Virgin Islands Overview

The U.S. Virgin Islands is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the Caribbean Sea.

It consists of three main islands: Saint Thomas, Saint John, and Saint Croix, along with numerous smaller islands.


The culture of the U.S. Virgin Islands is a blend of African, European, and Caribbean influences.

This is reflected in its cuisine, music, and festivals.

Carnival, a vibrant celebration with music, parades, and costumes, is a highlight of the cultural calendar.


Tourism is the primary driver of the economy in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The islands boast beautiful beaches, coral reefs for snorkelling and diving, historical sites, and duty-free shopping.

Additionally, rum production is a significant industry, with several distilleries producing world-renowned rum brands.


The U.S. Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean, south-east of Florida and east of Puerto Rico.

Saint Thomas is the most populous island and home to the capital, Charlotte Amalie.

Saint Croix is the largest of the islands, and Saint John is known for its stunning beaches and national parks.


The U.S. Virgin Islands is an unincorporated territory of the United States, meaning it is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal government but has a certain degree of autonomy.

Residents are U.S. citizens but do not have voting representation in Congress.

The islands are governed by a locally elected governor and legislature.


The islands were originally inhabited by the Ciboney, Carib, and Arawaks peoples before being claimed by various European powers.

The Danish West India Company settled the islands in the 17th century.

In 1917, the United States purchased the islands from Denmark for $25 million in gold; primarily as a strategic move during World War I.


Like many Caribbean islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands are susceptible to hurricanes.

The islands have experienced significant damage from hurricanes in the past, most notably Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, which caused widespread destruction to infrastructure and homes.


Tourism is a major industry in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with visitors attracted to the islands' natural beauty, warm climate, and rich history.

Popular activities for tourists include snorkelling, diving, sailing, hiking, and exploring historical sites such as colonial forts and sugar plantations.

Visiting US Virgin Islands

With beautiful landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, the U.S. Virgin Islands offer a unique blend of Caribbean charm and American convenience; making them a popular destination for travellers seeking sun, sand, and cultural experiences.

Whether you're seeking relaxation on the beach, adventure in the great outdoors, or immersion in rich cultural experiences, the US Virgin Islands is sure to offer something for everyone.

Beaches and Water Activities

The US Virgin Islands are renowned for their pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Enjoy activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, and swimming.

Historical Sites

Explore the rich history of the islands by visiting landmarks such as Fort Christiansvaern on St. Croix, Blackbeard's Castle on St. Thomas, and the Annaberg Sugar Plantation on St. John.

Island Hopping

The US Virgin Islands consist of three main islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, each offering its own unique charm.

Consider exploring more than one island during your visit to experience the diversity of the region.

Local Cuisine

Indulge in the local cuisine, which is a blend of Caribbean, African, and European influences.

Don't miss trying dishes like conch fritters, fish tacos, and traditional Caribbean roti.

National Parks

St. John is home to the Virgin Islands National Park, which covers over 60% of the island and offers hiking trails, historic sites, and stunning beaches like Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay.


Experience the vibrant nightlife on the islands, with beach bars, live music, and cultural events happening regularly, especially in popular areas like Cruz Bay on St. John and Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas.

Outdoor Adventures

In addition to water activities, the US Virgin Islands offer opportunities for hiking, zip-lining, horseback riding, and exploring the lush tropical landscapes.

Respect the Environment

As you enjoy the natural beauty of the US Virgin Islands, remember to respect the environment by practicing responsible tourism and following any guidelines or regulations in place to protect the fragile ecosystems.


Shop for locally made crafts, artwork, and souvenirs at the various markets and shops on the islands.

St. Thomas, in particular, is known for its duty-free shopping.

Travel Requirements

Make sure to check the latest travel requirements before visiting the US Virgin Islands, including passport and visa requirements.

Brief Virgin Island History

The Caribs were stronger than the original Arawak Indians and had overran them by the 15th century.

Christopher Columbus visited the islands on his second voyage, in 1493, and named them after St Ursula and the virgin martyrs associated with her.

Denmark colonised St. Thomas in 1666, and The Danish West Indies Company controlled the group until Frederick V, King of Denmark, bought the islands in 1755.

Great Britain blockaded St. Thomas during the Napoleonic Wars, but the island was soon returned to Denmark.

The sugar cane economy nose-dived after the abolition of slavery in 1848, and in 1917 the United States finally bought the Danish West Indies for $25 million; twenty times that was spent by tourists in 1986.

The Lesser Antilles

Located in the Lesser Antilles chain of the West Indies, east of Puerto Rico, the three main islands of USVI are St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix; each with a unique character of its own.

If you are a US citizen and wish to travel to the US Virgin Islands no passport is required as it is a US Territory.

Airlines and Airports.

The two major airports in the US Virgin Islands are Cyril E. King Airport (STT) on St. Thomas and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) on St. Croix.

The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) owns and manages the two airports in the United States Virgin Islands.

Things to Do in the US Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands Activities and Tours.

Fun things to do in the US Virgin Islands range from a few hours kayaking through the mangroves and snorkelling around historic Hassel Island in the Virgin Islands National Park, to a full-day tour of the beautiful island of St. Thomas aboard an open safari truck.

Where to Stay in the US Virgin Islands

From world-class hotels and resorts to cosy inns, charming bed & breakfasts and stylish villa rentals there's bound to be an ideal accommodation to suit your budget and taste in the US Virgin Islands.

Whether you’re looking to explore the culture and history of St. Croix, kick back on St. John, or discover the cosmopolitan island of St. Thomas, the perfect U.S. Virgin Islands hotel awaits you.

St Thomas

Boasting one of the best natural, deepwater harbours in the Caribbean, St. Thomas also offers stunning views of the Caribbean from Crown Mountain.

AAs one of the most visited ports in the Caribbean, Charlotte Amalie has its fair share of elegant dining options, exciting nightlife, and duty-free shopping.

Map of Charlotte Amalie

Map of Charlotte Amalie

Where to Stay in St. Thomas

The Westin Beach Resort at Frenchman's Reef

Westin Beach Resort at Frenchman's Reef

The Westin Beach Resort at Frenchman's Reef: 5 Estate Bakkeroe, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

An award-winning Caribbean resort, Frenchman's Reef Marriott Resort in St.Thomas, USVI offers guests an affordable luxury experience in an incredible location; complete with infinity pool and some of the best dining in St Thomas.

Guests at the The Westin Beach Resort at Frenchman's Reef liked the tasty breakfast and wonderful staff; when they weren't out shopping.

Hotels in Charlotte Amalie.

St Thomas Tourism

St. Thomas is the most cosmopolitan of the US Virgin Islands, yet it still retains the distinctive atmosphere of a Caribbean paradise.

For families or couples, St. Thomas is packed with opportunities for smiles and surprise.

St Croix

St. Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Iislands, is a lovely, relaxed Caribbean vacation destination.

St. Croix's Danish influence can be felt in the historic towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted; with their quaint shops and pastel-coloured buildings a fine sight for tourist eyes.

St. Croix Beaches

Sunny beaches abound on this wonderful Caribbean paradise; of which all are accessible to the public, including the ones at resorts.

They may charge a fee for use of some beach facilities and on private property there may be certain restrictions but St. Croix Beaches are all for public enjoyment according to St. Croix law.

St. Croix beaches USVI are considered some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and there’s a good reason why. You can find fine soft white sand to sink your toes into, warm crystal-clear turquoise waters, and intimate, secluded coves surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

St Croix Dive Sites

St. Croix dive sites are amongst the best in the Caribbean for both amateur and professional divers alike.

It might just be the greatest variety of diving on offer. After all, where else can you dive a reef, shipwreck, pier, and wall; all in the same day?

Where to Stay in St. Croix

With so many gorgeous places to stay in St Croix, you'll never want to leave.

Tamarind Reef Resort

Tamarind Reef Resort, St Croix

Tamarind Reef Resort: 5001 Tamarind Reef, Christiansted, US Virgin Islands.

Located on a spectacular snorkelling beach, the Tamarind Reef Resort is a 40-acre property with seaside swimming pool, four tennis courts, a lovely 154-slip marina and an indulgent spa.

Guests at the Tamarind Reef Hotel enjoyed the stunning pool, fantastic bar and superb dining.

Villa Margarita

Paradise Views in St Croix

Villa Margarita: 22 Salt River Rd, Christiansted, US Virgin Islands.

If you're looking to escape the crowded resorts and overdeveloped islands, staying at a private beachfront villa might be the right choice for you.

Beachfront villa vacation rental with fabulous sea views, privacy, tranquillity and romance with a 10% discount if you mention Travel Notes.

Hotels in St Croix.

St Croix Tourism

Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, the Knights of Malta, Denmark and the United States all played a role in shaping St. Croix.

Rich in cultural diversity, St. Croix has a past filled with a fascinating history; a tranquil tropical destination for vacationers, honeymooners, meeting attendees and adventure-seeking scuba divers.

Experience the unique culture of St. Croix through its arts, crafts, music and more during a variety of festivals and cultural events throughout the year.

St Croix Tourist Information

Kent and Dawn Vreeland liked St. Croix so much that after a rum-filled evening looking at the beautiful views they decided to buy a property on St. Croix.

They now try to help tourists discover St.Croix through their website.

St John

On the smallest of the Virgin Islands, nature takes care of itself.

Virgin Islands National Park is comprised of 7,259 acres of terrestrial habitat. The park also includes 5,650 acres of adjacent submerged lands.

Go beyond Virgin Islands National Park's stunning white-sand beaches.

Hike to historic plantation sites to learn about a challenging past when sugar and enslaved labor dominated life on the island.

Visit the Indigenous Taino's ancient petroglyphs.

Snorkel coral reefs to discover hidden marine life.

Even if you can only visit the island for a day, its stunning views and beaches (Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Salt Pond Bay) will make the effort rewarding.

Visitor Center

Just a short walk from the public ferry dock, heading north a couple of blocks on route 20, the Cruz Bay Visitor Center is open daily from 8:00 to 16:30.

Where to Stay in St. John

Gallows Point Resort

Gallows Point Resort, Saint John

Gallows Point Resort: 3 AAA Gallows Point Road, Saint John, US Virgin Islands.

Nestled on a beautifully landscaped tropical peninsula and surrounded by the blue, pristine waters of the Caribbean, Gallows Point Resort is the ideal blend of luxurious living in perfect harmony with St. John's spectacular natural beauty.

Guests at the Gallows Point Resort liked the good-sized beds and its great location; good for shopping.

Hotels in Cruz Bay.

St John Tourism

Though it is the smallest of the three U.S Virgin Islands, the unspoiled beauty of St. John is perhaps the greatest found anywhere in the Caribbean.

With two-thirds of the island designated as a national park, St. John has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, like the much-beloved Trunk Bay; renowned for its crystal sands and underwater nature trail.

St John Updates

Established in 1972, the St John Tradewinds is dedicated to providing community-focused news for St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Visiting The Virgin Islands

Although the U.S. Virgin Islands is a year-round destination, the best deals on hotels and attractions may be found during the summer months.

Avoid sunscreens that contain the 'Toxic 3 Os' of oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene – they are prohibited in the United States Virgin Islands.

Wear rashguards, hats and use only non-nano mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the only sunscreen ingredients deemed safe and effective by the FDA.

Cruise Ships Port of Call

Cruise ships visiting the US Virgin Islands dock at the West Indian Company and Crown Bay facilities in St. Thomas, and at the Fredriksted Pier in St. Croix.

In St. Thomas ships also drop anchor in the outer or inner harbour, sending tenders to shuttle passengers to and from Charlotte Amalie (Waterfront) Pier.

Ships also drop anchor in Cruz Bay, St. John and tender passengers to the Pier.

Virgin Islands Carnival

Carnival in St Thomas pulsates during the month of April. First staged in 1912, during the final years of Danish occupation,  Carnival was revived in 1952; after lapsing during World War I.

US Virgin Islands Travel Guides

Fodor's U.S. & British Virgin Islands (Fodor's Full-Color Gold Guides) Frommer's Virgin Islands

US Virgin Islands - Virgin Islands Maps.

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