Visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands

You want to visit an exotic location. However, you’ve never traveled outside of the United States before and you’re a little wary about trying your hand at international travel. A nice happy medium for many people is to take a vacation to the United States Virgin Islands. These islands are located in the Caribbean and provide all of the wonder of traveling to a strange new land but are an insular area of the United States so they don’t require the traveler to know the ins and outs of international travel.

Basics of the U.S. Virgin Islands

These islands are located in the Caribbean in an area of the world that’s known for being particularly beautiful. Made of volcanic activity (like Hawaii) the U.S. Virgin Islands are hilly areas which lead down to stunning white sand beaches. The temperature of the area is moderate all year round although there is a rainy season (August to November) that you may want to avoid as a tourist. This is also the time during which the area is at most risk of natural disaster from hurricanes.

The islands of the U.S. Virgin Islands

There are many small islands that make up the United States Virgin Islands. However, there are only four main islands that most people consider to be destination spots for traveling to in the area. Those islands are as follows:

Saint Croix – Known to locals as “Twin City”, this is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are two main cities on this island where you would be likely to stay if you were visiting the Virgin Islands. Christiansted stands out because of its cobblestone streets and historic European architecture. Frederiksted is a port town with a more modern style.
Saint John – Known to locals as “Love City”, this is the smallest of the three main islands. (Water Island is smaller but is considered distinct from the three “Saint” islands). Despite its small size, it is home to Charlotte Amalie, the capital and largest city of the islands. People who are interested in also visiting the British Virgin Islands usually come here and then ferry over.
Saint Thomas – Known to locals as “Rock City”, this island is popular with tourists particularly because it is home to Magens Bay, the most famous white-sand beach in the islands. It has often been called the most beautiful beach in the world.
Water Island – This island is considerably smaller than the other three main islands but it is often a destination point for travelers because it is a historic district. Additionally, it is considered one of the most romantic areas of the islands and is favored by couples enjoying honeymoons and anniversaries in the area.

Beaches of the U.S. Virgin Islands

You really go to the Virgin Islands to enjoy time on the beach. There’s not a bad part of the beach to go to in this beautiful part of the world. However, there are different beaches that are best for different activities. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular beaches in the islands:

boat-heydrienne975Creative Commons License Photo credit: heydrienne

boat docked at Virgin Islands

Bluebeards Beach. If you’ve ever wanted to go windsurfing there is no better place to do it than on Saint Thomas. Other activities can be enjoyed here as well or you can just relax under the palm trees and soak up the sun.
Cinnamon Bay. Many people who are at the Virgin Islands find that all of that relaxation makes them restless. That restlessness is easily cured with trail hiking and water sports like kayaking. These can easily be found at the National Campground located at Cinnamon Bay on Saint John.
Coki Beach. One of the things that you’ll find yourself saying over and over again in the Virgin Islands is “the water is so clear”. You’ll think it can’t get any clearer and then you’ll go to Coki Beach on Saint Thomas and you’ll be surprised enough to say it yet again.
Colony Cove Beach. Some people head to this part of the world looking for reefs. This one on Saint Croix is one of the best to be found.
Columbus Landing Beach. If you’re seeking a little bit of history with your beach then you might want to check out this section of Saint Croix where Christopher Columbus reportedly landed.
Hawksnest Bay. This is the beach on Saint John where you’ll want to go if you’re looking for a combination of activity and privacy. It’s possible to go swimming and snorkeling at this beach but it’s not overrun with other tourists.
Hull Bay. People who are looking for a beach where they can do some fishing will want to check out this quiet part of Saint Thomas.
Limetree Beach. If your idea of a great vacation is getting to see some local wildlife you’ll want to plop yourself down on a beach towel at this Saint Thomas beach and wait for the iguanas to start coming around.
Magens Bay. This beach is known as one of the most beautiful in the world. It is the stereotypical beach that you would imagine if you drew what a Hollywood spot of relaxation might look like. Palm trees, white sand, perfect water temperatures … it’s all here and it’s the main reason that people choose to spend time at Saint Thomas.
Morningstar Beach. Are you the type of person who finds the tourist beach where you can rent anything and everything you might want to use while you’re in the area? This Saint Thomas island beach is for you then.
Shoy’s Beach. This Saint Croix beach is popular with tourists because it offers all of the basics and a little bit more. A beautiful stretch of land with snorkeling opportunities and great sunshine makes it stand out from its neighboring beaches.
Trunk Bay. Located on Saint John, this beach is famous for its underwater snorkeling trail. There are other water activities here as well but people go primarily to look at the creatures under the water. There’s also intense foliage surrounding the area so it’s a good place to go get some shade while enjoying the beach.

The Languages of the U.S. Virgin Islands

You will be happy as a traveler to know that English is widely spoken throughout the United States Virgin Islands. It is the primary language of most of the residents of the area. However, you are also likely to hear other languages being spoken while you are in the area. There is a large Latin population (primarily from the Dominican Republic) so you shouldn’t be surprised to hear Spanish. You may also hear a language that has some familiarity but sounds foreign; that would be the French Creole that is still spoken in many parts of the islands. A twist on this called Virgin Island Creole may also be heard.

Planning a Visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands

This is such a tourist destination that you really can’t go wrong when visiting here. There are different types of accommodations to choose from ranging from camping to luxury resorts. There are all types of dining from seafood-on-the-beach to fine dining in the cities. The style of trip that you’ll have here is really up to you. Take the time to do some planning in advance so that you make sure to stay in the places that are right for you and see the beaches that will offer you the best experience of the area. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to travel the world!

By: Rennett StoweCreative Commons License