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    Flag, Coat of Arms, and Tourist Board

    The U.S. Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas and tiny Water Island. The U.S. Virgin Islands are a group of Caribbean islands geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The total land area of the territory is 134 square miles.

    Saint Croix
    The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint Croix offers a peaceful tropical destination for visitors. Diverse culturally, St. Croix has a fascinating history-rich past.

    Saint Croix offers stunning beaches, exciting recreational activities, world-class dining, casino and golf.  The 22.7 miles long and 8 miles island lets visitors experience incredible history - from Christiansted’s stately 18th and 19th century homes to Frederiksted’s tropical rain forest, Saint Croix offers something for all types of travelers.

    Saint John
    Located about four miles east of Saint Thomas and four miles southwest of Tortola, part of the British Virgin Islands, Saint John is 19 square miles in area with a population of 4,170. There are no airports on Saint John hence the only access to the island is by boat or ferry.

    Saint John is known for its pristine beaches and well-preserved natural beauty.

    Saint Thomas
    The territorial capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the port of Charlotte Amalie are located on Saint Thomas. The population of Saint Thomas is 51,500, approximately half of the total population of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The island is 31 square miles.

    While it retains the distinctive atmosphere of a secluded Caribbean paradise, Saint Thomas is the most cosmopolitan island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    The U.S. Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, about 40 miles east of Puerto Rico and just west of the British Virgin Islands.

    Formerly the Danish West Indies, the island group was sold to the United States by Denmark in the Treaty of the Danish West Indies of 1916. The U.S. Virgin Islands are classified by the UN as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, and are currently an organized, unincorporated United States territory.

    The U.S. Virgin Islands does not see significant seasonal changes therefore temperatures are fairly consistent year around. June, July and August are the hottest months of the year with temperatures in the mid 80s. December through February are the cooler months with temperatures in the high 70s.

    Water temperature is steady with summer water temperature of about 83 degrees and winter water temperature of about 79 degrees.

    Culture and History
    The U.S. Virgin Islands is a paradise with so much more to offer than the traditional beach vacation. Visitors wishing to immerse themselves in a profound cultural experience can enjoy historical tours, culinary encounters, artisan fairs, parades, storytelling and other special presentations.

    Tourism grew in the U.S. Virgin Islands once the United States imposed an embargo on Cuba in 1959.

    The People
    It is documented that the first inhabitants of the U.S. Virgin Islands were the Ciboneys who arrived on the islands during the Pre-Ceramic Culture. The Arawaks were next to arrive, establishing sites on Saint John and Saint Croix around 100 AD. Likely the best-known inhabitants were the fierce Caribs and the more peaceful Tainos.

    The total population is about 106,405.

    Flavorful and diverse food is an important part of U.S. Virgin Island's culture. Local food in the U.S. Virgin Islands includes an assortment of Caribbean dishes like fish soup, Callaloo soup (leaves from a daheen plant mixed with okra, local herbs and often various meats or seafood), stewed oxtail, beef, goat, chicken and saltfish. Side dishes include rice and peas, yams, fried plantains, dasheen, sweet potato, cassava, beans and lentils.

    It is also common to find American food, including fast food in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Music and Dance
    Quelbe is the vocal and instrumental style of the Virgin Islands which traces its ancestry to Africa and Europe.

    Since African dance and music was strictly prohibited by plantation owners, slaves adopted the Europeans' quadrilles, jigs, lancers, mazurkas, schottisches and others giving them their own interpretation. Today’s dancers wear madras costumes and handmade head ties.

    Useful Links
    Visit the U.S. Virgin Islands tourist website for more information about these Caribbean destinations.

    Fast Facts

    Capital: Charlotte Amalie on Saint Thomas.

    Currency:The US dollar is the official currency of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time.

    Language: English

    Motto: “United in Pride and Hope”

    Anthem: “Virgin Islands March”

    Electricity: Electric outlets in the U.S. Virgin Islands take standard North American current, with a 120 volt / 60 cycle.

    Climate: The climate of the U.S. Virgin Islands is perfect, tropical and with constant sunshine. The average temperature is between 69 and 89 degree F.

    Rainfall in the U.S. Virgin Islands averages 54.4 inches annually with summer and spring as the rainy season and fall and winter as the dry season.

    Water: The water is safe to drink at most establishments and restaurants and resorts can tell visitors if they recommend against drinking tap water at their establishments. Bottled water is readily available for drinking.

    Clothing: Dress is casual in the U.S. Virgin Islands but proper attire (shirts and shoes) should be worn in public areas. Bathing suits should be restricted to the beach and pool only. Public Nudity is illegal throughout the islands.

    Driving: Driving is on the left side of the street. All U.S. drivers can drive for up to 90 days with a current driver's license.

    Taxi Cabs: Saint Croix - Taxis do not have meters but charge according to a fixed fee.

    Saint John - Taxis do not have meters but charge according to a fixed fee.

    Saint Thomas - Taxis do not have meters but charge according to a fixed fee.

    Pets: There is no quarantine for dogs or cats from the U.S. mainland to the U.S. Virgin Islands. A health certificate from a veterinarian stating the animal has not been exposed to any communicable diseases and is up to date on vaccinations. Rabies shots should be at least 30 days prior to arrival and no longer than one year.

    Travel Information
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    By Air
    There are two major airports in the Virgin Islands - Cyril E. King Airport on Saint Thomas and Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on Saint Croix.

    The U.S. Virgin Islands has daily, nonstop flights from New York, Newark, Baltimore, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Chicago and Fort Lauderdale. It offers connecting flights from Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Miami and Atlanta via San Juan. There is also connecting service from Canada, Europe, South America and the Far East.

    Entry Documentation
    U.S. citizens are not required to have passports or proof of citizenship when entering the U.S. Virgin Islands from a U.S. airport. All persons leaving the U.S. Virgin Islands, whether U.S. citizens or not, must show proof of citizenship upon leaving the islands to return to the mainland.

    Visas are not required for citizens and residents of North America.

    Customs and Immigration
    All arrivals to the U.S. Virgin Islands from international airports are required to provide proof of citizenship and go through Customs and Immigration.

    Departure Tax
    Visitors leaving the U.S. Virgin Islands by air will incur a $20 USD tax, those leaving by cruise ship will be required to pay $7 USD and those who depart by yacht or other personal watercraft are subject to a $5 USD departure tax.

    By Cruising Ship
    The U.S. Virgin Islands is considered one of the finest cruising destinations in the world. The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of the top cruise ship destinations in the Caribbean and Saint Thomas’ Charlotte Amalie is considered one of the most stunning ports of call.

    By Ferry
    The Royal Miss Belmar travels between Saint Thomas and St. Croix Thursday through Tuesday. The 90-minute service accommodates 300 passengers and offers a scenic ride in relaxed atmosphere. Visit the www.goviseatrans.com details.

    Useful Links
    Visit the U.S. Virgin Islands tourist website for more information about these Caribbean destinations.

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