Hip Guide to The Virgin Islands
Hip Guide to The Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are jewels of greenery in the Caribbean Sea, east of Puerto Rico. Split in two jurisdictions, with the US owning the majority of the islands, Britain owns the rest. The USVI are comprised of three major islands, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. In the BVI you will find Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Peter Island amongst others. Both areas are surrounded by hundreds of smaller islands to explore, and Sir Francis Drake’s Passage links them. Sailing is spectacular in this corner of the Caribbean, and the Atlantic is north of the island group. The port of St. Thomas is a well-known cruise ship destination, and its freeport status brings many travelers in search of bargains. Fredericksted on St. Croix, and Roadtown on Tortola are also popular ports of call for cruise ships.
Originally inhabited by the peace loving Arawak Indians, the Caribs dominated them before Christopher Columbus discovered the island group. Since 1917 the United States has ruled the USVI, and the residents are US Citizens electing their own governor and senators to run their territory. The BVI is a British Crown Colony, and is run separately by the UK. The US Dollar is valid currency in both areas, and English is the official language. Driving is on the left side of the road in the both the USVI and BVI, so be prepared for some exciting moments as you zip around the ruggedly mountainous roads to get to those dazzling white sandy beaches. The waters are crystal clear, and snorkeling and diving are popular ways to enjoy the day here.
The island of St. John is 75% a US National Park with protected status so you can really enjoy a pristine Caribbean island in all its glory. Regular ferry service connects it to St. Thomas and Tortola.
There are many fabulous resorts to stay at in the Virgin Islands, from Caneel Bay Plantation on St. John to Frenchman’s Reef on St. Thomas. Many guest houses are to be found here, and some are unique gems of old-style Danish Architecture dating back hundreds of years. In the BVI there are also many places to spend an extended vacation exploring rain forests, shopping, eating great local cuisine or just hanging out on the beach.
Whether you come for a quick visit or extended tour, you will find a wealth of information about destinations here. The Hip Guide to The Virgin Islands offers the highlights of these islands, and contains many tips for making your stay here more rewarding.
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Once a thriving establishment in the USVI, now closed.
The Virgin Islands National Park covers about 3/5ths of the island of St. John and also includes 5,650 acres of submerged lands, and most of Hassell Island in the harbor of Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas.
Created in 1956 from lands donated by the philanthropist Rockefeller family, the park continues to dazzle and amaze visitors to this day.
On St. John there are three notable beaches to explore, at Hawksnest, Trunk and Cinnamon Bays.
The Sunset Grille is on the beach at Secret Harbor Resort on the east end of St Thomas. Lunches on the beach, dinners on the front porch, bar open daily.
The Pavilions and Pools Villa Hotel on St. Thomas East End is a quiet, peaceful getaway with just 25 individual villas. In two sizes, each villa features its own private swimming pool overlooking the ocean. Each villa has its own kitchen and separate bedroom area from a living room.
Once a hidden gem on St Thomas, this guesthouse and restaurant on the hill above Savan is now gone. Too bad, Sangria and Gazpacho poolside on Sundays was fun.