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



National Geographic Trails Illustrated St. John Map

VITraders

$10.95

This is a National Geographic map for the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. On side 1 is a full map of St. John. Other islands are also included such as Great Thatch, Lovango Cay, Durloe Cays, Leduck Island and the west end of Tortola.

Places to Explore

Cruise Ships

Cruise Ship Dock

1 Ship In Port Today

West Indian Co. Dock

Freedom of the Seas
Guest Capacity: 3,634

Month Schedule →

Newest Forum Topics

TopicPosted
STT car rental...which company?
06/25/15
Rental in STT versus STJ.
06/21/15
Verizon texting
06/16/15
Is there plenty of room on the ferries or do I need reservation for st. Thomas to Tortola
06/12/15
transportation from STT to Jost Van Dyke
06/02/15
Fishing Charters in July
05/19/15
1936 "IN THE WAKE OF THE BUCKANEERS"
05/14/15
Pest Update
05/13/15
Need to do an exchange with Interval Intl in St. Thomas 11/7-11/14/15
05/12/15
More Topics →

Event Calendar

Friday July 3rd, 2015

St. John Festival
10:00am | St. John, Franklin Powell Park

Saturday July 4th, 2015

St. John Festival
4:00am | St. John, St. John National Park
Tel: (340) 690-1725
Event Calendar →

West Indian Company Dock

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West Indian Company Dock

W = West Indian Company Dock

Crown Bay Dock

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Crown Bay Dock

C = Crown Bay Dock

Anchorage

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Anchorage

A = Anchorage

St. John

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St. John

S = St. John

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