About the U.S. Virgin Islands

People, History & More

Sea Grapes

This section contains information about the people, history and environment of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is provided in hope that it will help you better identify and appreciate some of the islands’ historical, natural and cultural resources.

The USVI is located in the Caribbean, approximately 1,100 miles from Miami, Florida. It consists of 4 larger islands; St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island. For 150 years the islands were maintained as colonies of Denmark and other European entities. During that time sugar plantations and a free port of trade drove the islands’ economy. The islands were purchased by the United States in 1917. In the mid-1900s the USVI began to develop a tourism trade and today it is the islands’ primary industry.

Culture

Steel Pan Band

Some features of USVI culture are maintained on a wide basis such as steel pan bands which are available through schools and community groups. Other aspects such as traditional dress, dance and music are maintained by smaller groups that work to keep these important traditions alive.

Events and holidays are an excellent reflection of the Caribbean-American culture. There are local holidays and all American holidays are recognized. Events include Carnival, Chili Cook Offs, Fishing Tournaments, Caribbean Food Fairs and Concerts featuring Calypso, Reggae, Blues, Jazz and Classical.

Culture in the USVI is uniquely Caribbean-American. Christmas is celebrated with Santa Claus and Guavaberry Rum.  A BBQ might include burgers and potato chips as well as chicken and Johnny cakes. Radio stations play top American tunes and oldies in addition to Caribbean hits.

History

The first residents of the present United States Virgin Islands (USVI) were the Ciboney, Caribs, and Arawaks. In 1493, Christopher Columbus visited these islands. He had been searching for a route to India and consequently he called the people he encountered Indians. Columbus named the beautiful islands 'The Virgins' in reference to the legendary beauty of St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgins. Read More →

Fauna, Birds, Insects

Iguana

Most people picture pristine white sand beaches and coral reefs teaming with marine life when reflecting about vacationing in the USVI. These are important parts of the natural environment in the Virgin Islands and related to them are additional habitats such as Forests, Mangroves, Seagrass and Salt Ponds. Each is home to a variety of plant and animal life. Parks, preserves, local laws and environmental groups aim to protect these and other natural resources in the USVI. They are of vital importance to the islands, offer recreational activities and provide a way of life.

During your vacation to the USVI plan to visit a historic site, attend a local event, sample some local dishes and fruits and participate in activities such as bird watching and snorkeling.

News & Stories

The Natural Sounds of St. John, USVI

If you have ever lived or vacationed in the Virgin Islands and sat outside in the late evening you will certainly remember the pleasant sounds of island nights. The crickets, tree frogs, bats, birds and other nocturnal creatures; together perform a magical symphony. Part time residents of St. John Ed and Laurie Boakes found the […]

Lindquist Beach & Smith Bay Park

Edward O’Neil wrote in a book about the U.S. Virgin Islands that: “Lindquist’s Beach on St. Thomas’s north shore, a favorite spot with the island-born for group picnics, is what residents say the Virgin Islands were like twenty years ago. You reach it by a sandy track that runs about 300 yards off Red Hook […]

Photo Galleries



St. John Feet Fins 4 Wheel Drive

VITraders

$13.95

This is a complete, easy-to-use, fun, travel guide to exploring the trails, beaches and roads on St. John, Virgin Islands. It tells you exactly where to go, how to get there and what to do and see when you arrive.

Places to Explore

Cruise Ships

Cruise Ship Dock

1 Ship In Port Today

Crown Bay Dock

SeaDreams II
Guest Capacity: n/a

Month Schedule →

Newest Forum Topics

TopicPosted
Casa Blanca or Blue Marlin
03/26/15
boat excursions
03/23/15
Car Ferry Service
03/15/15
Harley Davidson
03/10/15
Friend's of VI Park Seminar Series
03/09/15
First visit to St. Croix
03/02/15
RentAMotion - Hexspeed, how did your jeep pickup go?
03/02/15
Salomon Bay Beach
02/27/15
Sapphire
02/24/15
More Topics →

Event Calendar

Saturday March 28th, 2015

Art St. Croix
| St. Croix, Top Hat Gallery

Sunday March 29th, 2015

Art St. Croix
| St. Croix

Event Calendar →

West Indian Company Dock

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West Indian Company Dock

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Crown Bay Dock

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Crown Bay Dock

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Anchorage

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Anchorage

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St. John

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St. John

S = St. John

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