Iguana baby

Bird Watching: There are over 160 species of resident and migratory birds in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The largest variety can be seen from November through February. Purchase a birding book and go out on your own; or join a tour. The Virgin Islands Audubon Society is based on St. John. Options On: St. Thomas

Dolphins & Whales: Whales, primarily humpback whales, come to the Caribbean in winter to mate and raise calves. EAST, an environmental group on St. Thomas offers educational whale watching boat trips in February and March. Some day charters offer trips as well. Dolphins can sometimes be seen at beaches or while boating. It’s a gift to see dolphins or whales, rather than a guarantee.

Farms & Farmers Markets: Farm visits and stays are possible on St. Croix. Classes are sometimes offered. A few organic farms exists, some are open for visits. Stop by a farmer’s market for fruits and veggies. There is an annual agriculture fair on St. Croix; and two on St. Thomas.

Gardens: Enjoy a stroll through native and exotic trees, bushes and flowers, tropical fruit trees and medicinal herbs. There are botanical gardens on St. Croix and St. Thomas.

Hiking: St. John is home to the Virgin Islands National Park and its 20+ hiking trails varying in length and difficulty. Pick up a hiking map and head out to explore. On St. Thomas there is one maintained hiking trail. On St. Croix there are a few. The St. Croix Environmental Association often organizes group hikes.

Horse Riding: On St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John it is possible to go horseback riding along trails, roads, in the forest and sometimes along beaches.

National Parks: There are five national parks in the Virgin Islands: the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John and Hassel Island; the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument off of St. John; the Buck Island Reef National Monument off of St. Croix; the Christiansted Historic Site and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, both on St. Croix.

Stargazing: Watching the stars is great and relaxing fun. Download an astronomy app and easily locate constellations. There is low light pollution in the islands; this means great night sky watching. Meteor showers are a fantastic treat for stargazers.

Turtles: Hawksbill and green sea turtles can be seen while snorkeling and swimming at beaches in the Virgin Islands. There are boat trips in St. Thomas that specialized in going to bays frequented by turtles. On St. Croix the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge is closed part of the year to allow leatherbacks to nest. Educational nesting and hatching watches are offered. Options On: St. Thomas

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