The Virgin Islands are located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. They extend from west to east about 60 miles, at the top of the arc of Caribbean islands. They are 40 to 50 miles east of Puerto Rico. The arc of Caribbean islands begins off the coast of Florida and extends all the way to South America and includes hundreds of islands and cays.
The Virgin Islands consist of two groups of islands, the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and the British Virgin Islands. The USVI consist of 4 larger islands and some 50 smaller islets and cays. The total area of the USVI is 133 square miles. The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are made up of 4 larger islands and 32 smaller islands. The total area of the BVI is 59 square miles. The British Virgin Islands lie to the north east of the United States Virgin Islands and is closest to St. John.
The Virgin Islands are the easternmost extension of the Greater Antilles. The islands are the peaks of submerged mountains that rise from the ocean floor. Most of the islands rise only to a few hundred feet above sea level. The highest point is Mount Sage on Tortola in the BVI, which is 1,710 feet high.
The USVI includes four larger islands; St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island. The geography of the islands consists of seaside cliffs, mountains with lush forest, tiny streams, arid lands and beautiful white sand beaches. Each island has it's own unique physical characteristics.
St. Croix is 84 square miles in size, 22 miles long and the widest point is a little more than 6 miles. The terrain on the east end of the island is rocky and arid with short grassy hillsides and many cactus clusters. The west end of the island is lush with large fruit trees and ferns gracing the mountains. In the middle of the island are miles of beautiful beaches, rolling pasturelands and beautiful land. St. Croix's highest peak, Mount Eagle, is 1,088 feet high. The land slopes to flatlands on the southern side of the island. There are two main towns Frederiksted and Christiansted. There are a few natural harbors and protected bays. St. Croix is about 40 miles away from St. Thomas. St. Croix →
St. Thomas is known for having one long ridge of hills running east and west through the center of the island with smaller ridges branching off from the center. St. Thomas, thirteen miles long by four miles wide, encompasses a little over 31 square miles. The highest point is Crown Mountain at 1,556 feet. St. Thomas has a beautiful natural harbor and many protected bays. There are relatively no flat areas on St. Thomas. St. Thomas →
St. John is located about 4 miles from St. Thomas' east end. It has hills and valleys and relatively few flat areas. St. John encompasses 20 square miles of beautiful scenery. The island is 7 miles long by 3 miles wide. The highest point is Bordeaux Mountain at 1,277 feet. The island's coastal areas have many fine protected bays. A natural harbor is found in Coral Bay, however Cruz Bay is the main town and 'harbor'. More than two thirds of the island is protected by the National Park Service. St. John →
Water Island is the smallest populated island of USVI group. It is only 491.5 acres in size. Water Island is 2½ miles long and ½ to 1 mile wide. The island has an irregular shape with many bays and peninsulas. The highest Point is 300 feet above sea level. It is located just half a mile from St. Thomas' south side. Water Island →
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