Living in United States Virgin Islands: Things to Do and See in United States Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands—America’s Paradise in the Eastern Caribbean
Situated in the eastern Caribbean, just 1,100 miles southeast of Miami, the US Virgin Islands (USVI) is the perfect location for a discreet, low-key, and luxurious paradise. The unspoiled landscapes, scenic views, and white sandy beaches accompanied by crystal clear waters are the perfect escape from typically commercially driven societies and offer a haven for relaxation, adventure, high-end luxury, and nature exploration.
The USVI has been coined “America’s Paradise.” The islands became a part of the United States in 1917 and today no passport is required for US citizens to visit. The islands are recommended for international travelers interested in investing in a charm-jeweled Caribbean region established on US soil.
Four main islands—St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, and the smaller but historically distinct Water Island—comprise the US Virgin Islands, along with approximately 50 uninhabited and inhabited neighboring isles. The islands have absorbed a foundation immersed in historical culture. Seven nations have governed the USVI since the arrival of Christopher Columbus, leaving a rich tapestry of diverse culture, cuisine, architecture, customs, and music. Buildings in St. Thomas and St. Croix dating to the 17th and 18th Centuries reflect the architectural styles of the nations that colonized the islands during these periods. There is even miraculous evidence dating to 100 A.D of the Arawaks, Ciboney, Carib, and Taino Indians’ settlements, at the “Petrogyphs” which are rock carvings visible on St. John Reef Bay Trail.
Recognized for its natural beauty and year-round pleasant climate, the USVI offers unmatched recreational opportunities including scenic trails, hiking, snorkeling, sailing, and for the more adventurous, deep sea diving, and jet pack areal. For avid golfers, St. Thomas and St. Croix both offer first-rate 18-hole courses. Those that want to lay back and observe can enjoy an enchanting tramway ride overlooking a breathtaking birds-eye view of the Charlotte Amalie Harbor and landing at the The Skyride Mall in St. Thomas. A 10-minute ferry ride allows transport from St. Thomas to St. John, which is awash with incredible cuisine, scenic coastal beauty, and historical museums. Highlights of St. John include the St. John National Park for those who wish to walk in nature and explore cultural history and Coral World, an underwater zoo filled with aquariums, a stingray pool, shark pool, and an option to swim with the sea lions. The largest of the four islands, St. Croix is a tranquil tropical destination with spectacular beaches, fine dining, and a casino. The USVI’s crown jewel, Water Island serves an essential purpose as a beautiful location for mesmerizing homes and secluded beaches, creating complete “fantasy-island” paradise. Incredible water sports and activities are seemingly endless, as the USVI harbors two of the most popular beaches in the world.
The USVI plays host to three annual carnival celebrations—one each on the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix—affording visitors and residents alike a chance to celebrate Virgin Islands culture with dance, music, and food. The St. Croix Carnival starts in December culminating with the Three Kings Day children’s and adult's parades. St. Thomas's Carnival is a two-week celebration in late April ending with its children’s and adult parades and fireworks. St. John’s celebration is held during the 4th July week with festivities celebrating Independence Day and Virgin Islands Emancipation Day.
A shopping retreat with a wealth of upscale brands, designer clothing, accessories, and unique jewelry, the USVI is a duty-free shopping zone. Options for shopping are plentiful, with popular locations for excellent retail residing mainly on St. Thomas.
THE MOST POPULAR HARBOR: ST. THOMAS
St. Thomas is a small island yet has the personality of several different cities and neighborhoods. Visitors can catch a beautiful view of the harbor while driving alongside Water Front, which trails throughout most of the downtown area, called Charlotte Amalie. Downtown, the visually distitive Main Street has a collection of retail stores offering fine jewelry, clothing, collectibles, and more, and is notable for its carefully preserved artichecture epitomizing European colonization in the early 20th Century.
Yacht Haven Grande is an exquisite outside shopping mall and marina where you will be charmed by upscale and casual dining, while splurging at upscale international fashion stores. A beautiful parade of yachts can be seen docking at the adjacent harbor.
Located on the east side, Red Hook is designed for leisure and fun, peppered with independent retail stores, bars, and restaurants representing diversified cultural cuisine. Characteristic of the area’s relaxed atmosphere, Duffy’s Love Shack is one of the most popular bar and restaurants in the picturesque Red Hook region.
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