US Virgin Islands Tourism Facts and Information

Tourism in the US Virgin Islands

St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas

The U.S. Virgin Islands consists of three major islands - St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. However, there are 50 islands in all, some merely rocks or islets jutting out on the shimmering turquoise waters. St. Croix (map), the largest of the islands - 28 miles long and seven miles at its widest point - lies entirely in the Caribbean Sea. St. John (map) and St. Thomas (map), 35 miles east of St. Croix, lie between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Year-Round Warm Temperatures The average tempartures range from 77F in the winter to 82F in the summer. St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are in the Atlantic Stardard Time zone, one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time (except during daylight savings time).

American Territory

The United States Virgin Islands is an official American territory governed by U.S. laws, The USVI has one non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives. All persons born on the islands are citizens of the United States. The currency is the U.S. dollar and mail is delivered via U.S. mail services with the same postage rates. English is the native language spoken by Virgin Islands residents, enhanced with a charming lilt called "calypso."

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus discovered the islands in 1493, first landing on the northern shore of St. Croix, which he named Santa Cruz (Holy Cross). Before the United States purchased the islands for $25 million in 1917, six other flags - Spanish, Dutch, British, French, Knights of Malta and Danish - flew over St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas.

Duty-Free Shopping

With no customs duties or sales tax on tourism related items, the United States Virgin Islands is a shopping lover's paradise. U.S. citizens are allowed a duty-free shopping quota of $1,200.00 - twice that of any other island in the Caribbean and three times that of European countries. The USVI offers great bargains on items such as watches, cameras, fine jewelry, china and leather goods.

Sports

Fun and adventure are abundant in the USVI because of the islands' endless array of activities. St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas offer a variety of sports including tennis, golf, horseback riding, biking, sport fishing and hiking. Numerous watersports are also available on each island including scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, parasailing and "snuba," a unique sport that combines snorkeling and scuba diving.

Tourism

The USVI is a world leader in the development of "sustainable tourism," which protects the beauty of the natural environment while allowing visitors to enjoy it in its pristine wonder. Environmentally-conscious travelers can enjoy numerous activities in the territory such as: hiking, horseback riding, bike tours, scuba diving and snorkeling. St. John leads the world in ecotourism resorts which allow visitors to experience intimate encounters with the natural beauty of the Caribbean outdoors, in addition to comfort and convenience at an affordable cost. St. Thomas offers a guided kayak tour through its marine sanctuary and mangrove lagoon, led by experienced naturalists and biologists. Off the shores of St. Croix, Buck Island offers visitors an unparalled great snorkeling experience at the only underwater national monument in the U.S.