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US Virgin Islands Travel & Holiday Tips


The result of the US Virgin Islands’ history and location is a unique blend of Danish heritage and American modernity combined with a relaxed and friendly attitude typical of the Caribbean. Add to this miles of glistening beaches, first-class diving facilities and verdant tropical vegetation, and there is more than enough to seduce any visitor.

The Danes’ legacy is evident in Christiansted, on the largest island, St Croix, whose historic sites include Fort Christiansværn and the Old Custom House. St Thomas too retains much of its Danish influence; in the capital, Charlotte Amalie, converted warehouses now house stylish boutiques. Those seeking unspoilt natural beauty should head to St John. With no airport, and two-thirds of the island’s deep valleys set aside as a national park, this is an ideal Caribbean retreat.

St Croix

St Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands. Christiansted is one of the two major towns showing early Danish influence. Fort Christiansværn (dating from 1774), Government House, the Old Custom House and Art Gallery and the wharf area are among its historic sites. Outside of Christiansted, on West Airport Road, is the Cruz Rum Distillery where visitors can taste the islands’ rum and watch it being made. On the way to Frederiksted is Whim Greathouse, portraying plantation life in the 18th century. Frederiksted is also of Danish origin and has a 15 acre tropical rainforest nearby. The St George Village Botanical Gardens and Croix Aquarium are both worth a visit.

The much smaller Buck Island Underwater National Park can easily be reached by sailing the 10 km (6 mile) channel that separates it from Christiansted. Offshore is one of the world’s most impressive marine gardens, maintained by the National Park Service as an underwater protected reef.

St Thomas

St Thomas is the second-largest and the most cosmopolitan of this chain of islands. Like St Croix, it has many associations with the Danes and retains much Danish influence. The main town, Charlotte Amalie, is the group’s capital. Imported goods from all over the world make it a marvellous shopping centre and stores tucked into remodeled Danish warehouses line each side of the picturesque Main Street.

Cobblestoned alleys with numerous boutiques lead down to the waterfront. Blackbeard’s Castle is the earliest fortification in the US Virgin Islands. Other attractions include Fort Christian, built in 1672; the Coral World Observatory; the Frederick Lutheran Church of 1850; Government House on Government Hill (1866); Venus Pillar on Magnolia Hill; Bluebeard’s Tower, the 19th-century pirate’s one-time abode; and the Synagogue on Crystal Gade, one of the oldest in the western hemisphere. On the northern coast is Magens Bay, claimed to be one of the world’s top 10 beaches.

St John

St John is the most ‘unspoilt’ of the islands. It has no airport, and two-thirds of the island’s deep valleys and most of its shoreline have been set aside as the Virgin Islands National Park. Cruz Bay is a small town offering excellent gift shops and dive centres. Trunk Bay is a beautiful beach, and the diving is very good. Accommodation on the island is limited. Caneel Bay is a luxurious resort. Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay have camp sites. Cottages can also be rented.





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