United States Virgin Islands (2023)

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: North American Geography

United States Virgin Islands
Image:AVI.png
( In detail) ( In detail)
National motto: "United in Pride and Hope"
Official language English
Capital Charlotte Amalie
Head of State George W. Bush
Governor Charles Wesley Turnbull
Area
- Land
- % water
Ranked 202nd
346.36 km²
1%
Population
- Total ( 2005)
- Density
Ranked 191st
112,000 (July 2005 est.)
354/km²
Independence none (territory of the U.S.), Revised Organic Act of 22 July 1954
Currency U.S. dollar (USD)
Time zone UTC-4 (no DST)
National anthem Virgin Islands March
Internet TLD .vi
Calling Code +1 (340)

The United States Virgin Islands are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The U.S. Virgin Islands consist of the four main islands of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, and Water Island, and many smaller islands. It is the only part of the United States where traffic drives on the left. The total land area of the territory is 346.36 km² (133.73 sq mi). As of the 2000 census the population was 108,612 .

In Denmark, they are also referred to as The Former Danish West Indian Islands (De tidligere Dansk Vestindiske Øer).

History

The Virgin Islands were originally settled by the Ciboney, Carib, and Arawaks. The islands were named by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493 for Saint Ursula and her virgin followers. Over the next three hundred years, the islands were held by many European powers, including Spain, Britain, the Netherlands, France, the Knights of Malta, and Denmark.

The Danish West India Company settled on Saint Thomas in 1672, on Saint John in 1694, and purchased Saint Croix from France in 1733. The islands became royal Danish colonies in 1754, their name in Danish translating as Jomfruøerne. Sugarcane, produced by slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries, until the abolition of slavery by Governor Peter von Scholten on July 3, 1848.

For the remainder of the Danish time, the islands were not economically viable and significant transfers were made from the Danish state budgets to the authorities in the islands. An attempt to sell the islands to the United States was made early in the 20th century, but a deal proved elusive. A number of reforms in the hope of reviving the islands' economy were attempted, but none having great success. The onset of World War I brought the reforms to a close, and again left the islands isolated and exposed.

During the submarine warfare phases of the First World War, the United States, fearing that the islands might be seized by Germany as a submarine base, once again approached Denmark to sell the islands to the United States. After a few months of negotiations a selling sum of $25 million was agreed. The Danish Crown may have felt some pressure to accept the sale, thinking that the United States would seize the islands if Denmark was invaded by Germany. However, at the same time the economics of continued possession weighed heavily on the minds of Danish decision makers, and a bipartisan consensus in favour of selling emerged in the Danish parliament. A subsequent referendum held in late 1916 confirmed the decision to sell by a wide margin. The deal was thus ratified and finalized on January 17, 1917, when the United States and Denmark exchanged their respective treaty ratifications. The U.S. took possession of the islands on March 31, 1917, when the territory was renamed the U.S. Virgin Islands.

U.S. citizenship was granted to the inhabitants of the islands in 1927.

(Video) Everything You NEED TO KNOW Visiting US Virgin Islands 2022

Administrative divisions

The U.S. Virgin Islands is administratively divided into 2 districts and subdivided into 20 sub-districts.

The districts include: St. Croix, and St. Thomas - St. John.

The sub-districts include: Anna's Hope Village, Central, Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted, Coral Bay, Cruz Bay, East End (St. Croix), East End (St. John), East End (St. Thomas), Frederiksted, Northcentral, Northside, Northwest, Sion Farm, Southcentral, Southside, Southwest, Tutu, Water Island, and West End.

Geography

Trunk Bay

(Video) U.S. Virgin Islands Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

The U.S. Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, about 50 miles east of Puerto Rico. The territory consists of four main islands: Saint Thomas, Saint John, Saint Croix, and Water Island, as well as several dozen smaller islands. The combined land area of the islands is roughly twice the size of Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are known for their white sand beaches, including Magens Bay and Trunk Bay, and strategic harbors, including Charlotte Amalie and Christiansted. Most of the islands, including Saint Thomas, are volcanic in origin and hilly. The highest point is Crown Mountain, Saint Thomas (474m). Saint Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, lies to the south and has a flatter terrain. The National Park Service owns more than half of Saint John, nearly all of Hassel Island, and many acres of coral reef. (See also Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, Buck Island Reef National Monument, Christiansted National Historic Site, and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve.)

The Virgin Islands lie on the boundary of the North American plate and the Caribbean Plate. Natural hazards include earthquakes, tropical cyclones, and tsunamis.

Politics

Map of the U.S. Virgin Islands

(Video) What we've learned living in the Virgin Islands for 3 years (moving to St. Thomas USVI)

The U.S. Virgin Islands are an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States. Even though they are U.S. citizens, Virgin Islanders cannot vote in U.S. Presidential elections.

The main political parties in the U.S. Virgin Islands are the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands, the Independent Citizens Movement (ICM), and the Republican Party of the Virgin Islands. Additional candidates run as independents.

At the national level, the U.S. Virgin Islands elects a delegate to Congress from its at large congressional district. However, the elected delegate while able to vote in committee cannot participate in floor votes.

At the territorial level, fifteen senators—seven from the district of Saint Croix, seven from the district of Saint Thomas and Saint John, and one senator at-large who must be a resident of Saint John—are elected for two-year terms to the unicameral Virgin Islands Legislature.

The U.S. Virgin Islands has elected a territorial governor every four years since 1970. Previous governors were appointed by the President of the United States.

(Video) ST. THOMAS TOP 9 things to do US VIRGIN ISLANDS 2022

The U.S. Virgin Islands has both a District Court and a Superior Court. Judges are appointed by the President and the governor respectively.

The United States Congress has organized several local referenda to aid in the islands' self-determination. As with Puerto Rico, the residents have been given the choice of independence, status quo, or statehood; however, these measures have failed to attract sufficient civic interest or voter turn-out to produce even a noteworthy plurality, much less a majority, and thus the islands will retain their current territorial status for the foreseeable future. It is theorized that Puerto Rican requests for political self-determination might serve as a catalyst for political interest in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as in other American territories.

With much controversy, these efforts by the federal government to normalize the unincorporated territory's status are completely discounted by the United Nations Committee on Decolonization, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are currently in the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Economy

Tourism is the primary economic activity. The islands normally host 2 million visitors a year, many of whom visit on cruise ships. The manufacturing sector consists of petroleum refining, textile, electronics, rum distilling, pharmaceutical, and watch assembly plants. The agricultural sector is small, with most food being imported. International business and financial services are a small but growing component of the economy. Hovensa, one of the world's largest petroleum refineries, is located on Saint Croix.

The islands are subject to tropical storms and hurricanes. In recent history, substantial damage was caused by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and Hurricane Marilyn in 1995. The islands were also struck by Hurricane Bertha in 1996, Hurricane Georges in 1998 and Hurricane Lenny in 1999, but damage was not as severe in those hurricanes.

Trivia

  • Three of the four U.S. Virgin Islands have nicknames often used by locals. St. Thomas - "Rock City", St. John - "Love City", and St. Croix - "Twin City"
  • Though traffic drives on the left side of the road in the U.S. Virgin Islands, almost all vehicles are left hand drive (as they are imported from the United States). See Right Hand Driving: Caribbean
  • Public access to beaches is considered a civil right. Public access over land however, is not.
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands are permanently on Atlantic Standard Time and do not participate in Daylight Saving Time. When the U.S. is on Standard Time, the U.S. Virgin Islands are one hour ahead of the U.S. Eastern Time Zone. When the U.S. is on Daylight Saving Time, the U.S. Virgin Islands follow the same clock as Eastern Time.

Retrieved from "

(Video) Affordable Caribbean Home St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands Fixer Upper Great Deal 38 South Slob

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Virgin_Islands"

FAQs

Are the U.S. Virgin Islands worth visiting? ›

St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands is worth visiting! With plenty of things to do, including hiking trails, cultural events, and some of the best beaches in the world, you won't run out of places to enjoy during your visit.

How many days do I need in the U.S. Virgin Islands? ›

How many days do I need in the US Virgin Islands? If you would like to visit all three US Virgin Islands we recommend visiting for a minimum of 5 days to get a good experience of each island. In reality you could easily spend 2 to 3 days on each island to fully explore what it has to offer.

Do you need passport for Virgin Islands 2022? ›

Do I need a passport to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands? If you are a U.S. citizen a passport is not required, but it still serves as the best identification when traveling.

Which one is better St Thomas or St. Croix? ›

Thomas is more popular with travelers who like history, who want nightlife, or who want a lot of options for their dining and activities. What is this? St. Croix is more popular with those who are interested in tranquility, relaxing on secluded beaches, and natural activities like hiking.

Which is the safest US Virgin Island? ›

St John has the lowest violent crime rate in the US Virgin Islands. Many villas on St John have a safe or places for valuables.

What month is best to visit US Virgin Islands? ›

The best time to visit the US Virgin Islands is April through June when you can expect mild weather, thin crowds, and no threat of hurricanes. This time of year avoids peak tourist season while still providing plenty of sunny weather and very little rainfall.

What is the cheapest month to go to the Virgin Islands? ›

High season is considered to be May, June and July. The cheapest month to fly from the United States is January.

Is US Virgin Island cheap? ›

The US Virgin Islands is one of the most expensive Caribbean destinations for travelers. It is difficult to travel on a budget but read this full guide for helpful ways to save money. Traveling to the US Virgin Islands isn't cheap, but with these budget tips you should be able to save you some money!

Do you have to test for US Virgin Islands? ›

Travelers are required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test result taken within five days of commencement of travel to the Territory. Persons who have been fully vaccinated in the U.S. Virgin Islands may submit evidence of their vaccination status instead of a negative COVID-19 test result.

What documents do I need to travel to US Virgin Islands? ›

PROOF OF IDENTITY
  • Previous U.S. passport (mutilated, altered, or damaged passports are not acceptable as proof of identity.)
  • Naturalization Certificate.
  • Current, valid. Driver's license. Government ID: city, state or federal. Military ID: military and dependents.

What are the requirements to travel to the US Virgin Islands? ›

You must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to travel to the United States by plane. Only limited exceptions apply. For more information, see Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers.

What is the most affordable US Virgin Island to live on? ›

St. Croix tends to be the most affordable of the three spots, although timeshares in St. John are available for under $150,000—depending on how long and where you'd like to stay.

Which US Virgin Island has clearest water? ›

Magen's Bay

Located on the north side of the island, a sugary mile of white sand lines a heart shaped bay with crystal clear waters. Magen's Bay is part of the U.S.V.I. national park system and the government charges a small entry fee of $5 per person to maintain the area.

How long is the ferry ride from St Thomas to St. Croix? ›

The ferry operates on Wednesday,Friday and Sundays. The crossing takes just 90 minutes to get to Christiansted on the northern side of St. Croix.

Do they speak English in St Thomas? ›

The official and most widely spoken language in the Virgin Islands is English. The literacy rate in the Virgin Islands is around 90-95%. It is common to hear French Creole and Spanish spoken, particularly on St. Thomas and St.

Which US Virgin Island is easiest to fly to? ›

The easiest of the U.S. Virgin Islands to reach, St. Thomas is both the gateway to St. John and St. Croix and a beloved vacation destination in its own right.

Is there a lot of crime in the US Virgin Islands? ›

Croix, one of the two major islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has, at 92.1 per 100,000, a higher homicide rate than any nation in the world; and.
...
Coincidence or cause-and-effect on St. Croix?
U.S. Mainland5.3
Antigua & Barbuda10.3
British Virgin Islands8.4
6 more rows
28 May 2021

Can you swim in US Virgin Islands? ›

The ocean is calm, crystal clear, and warm. It is the perfect place to swim! Hit up a beach (or a few) and get out there into the Caribbean water. Just be sure to watch yourself.

What do I need to know before going to St Thomas? ›

Extra tips to know before you go:
  • It's the US but it's also “not”. ...
  • Put your phone in airplane mode on the east end of the island and on St John. ...
  • Bring Cash! ...
  • Use TripAdvisor. ...
  • Use Reef Safe Sunscreen. ...
  • Bring towels or use Kmart for everything you forgot! ...
  • Don't overpack you won't wear much. ...
  • Check the cruise schedule.
6 Feb 2020

How do people dress in the U.S. Virgin Islands? ›

For men, shorts or pants and a polo are always appropriate, and for women, anything from shorts or pants and a blouse to a dress is perfect for a nice dinner. Unless you are going for a run or a walking tour, tennis shoes are not necessary, and sandals and flip-flops are the ideal island footwear.

Is the water warm in U.S. Virgin Islands? ›

Water temperatures in the Virgin Islands do not change greatly from summer to winter, however the 4 or 5 degree change is noticeable to those acclimated to consistently warm tropical weather. In the summer months the water temperature is about 83 degrees and in the winter about 79 degrees.

What is the cheapest time to go to St. Thomas Virgin Islands? ›

High season is considered to be June and July. The cheapest month to fly from United States is January.

How much money do you need for Virgin Islands? ›

You should plan to spend around $199 per day on your vacation in the US Virgin Islands, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, $41 on meals for one day and $28 on local transportation.

Where do you fly to for the US Virgin Islands? ›

No matter where you're headed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, travelers must fly into either St. Thomas or St. Croix, both of which have airports.

What airlines fly into the US Virgin Islands? ›

Which airlines offer direct flights to US Virgin Islands? American Airlines, Delta, Qatar Airways, jetBlue, Spirit Airlines, United, ITA Airways and British Airways all fly non-stop to US Virgin Islands.

Are the US Virgin Islands Beautiful? ›

The USVI is known for its white-sand beaches and clear water which you can see right down to the seafloor! The rest of the Caribbean has some gorgeous beaches as well, but most of them don't hold a candle to the pristine beauty of those found in the USVI (read more about the best time to visit the USVI here).

How much is a gallon of milk in the Virgin Islands? ›

Cost of Living in Us Virgin Islands
RestaurantsEdit
Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle)2.54$
Water (12 oz small bottle)1.68$
MarketsEdit
Milk (regular), (1 gallon)7.00$
62 more rows

Is US Virgin Islands cheaper than Hawaii? ›

When it comes to accommodation, Hawaii is generally a little more expensive than the US Virgin Islands. Hawaii has always been a costly travel destination, and it has recently become even more so as a result of the influx of tourists following Covid-19.

Do I need a Covid test to enter the US? ›

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Order on January 12, 2021 requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the US.

Do you need a PCR test for St Thomas Virgin Islands? ›

Are COVID-19 tests required to travel to the US Virgin Islands? Anyone wishing to travel to the USVI must present one of the following negative RT-PCR test or negative antigen test results, no older than 1 day.

Can I travel to St Thomas with my driver's license? ›

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the following documents will be accepted: Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) U.S. passport. U.S. passport card.

Is U.S. Virgin Islands visa free? ›

A visa is not required for this destination. Sounds good! What else do I need to know while planning a trip to US Virgin Islands? First, check the current validity of your passport.

Which U.S. Virgin Islands do not require a passport? ›

The USVI (U.S. Virgin Islands) are a U.S. territory, so U.S. citizens do not need a passport to visit, and this applies to every island in the territory (St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.)

Is travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands considered international? ›

There aren't any significant travel restrictions to the USVI because it is considered domestic travel.

Do I need a real ID to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands? ›

Required Travel Documents for Travel to St. Croix. Passports for U.S. Citizens are NOT required for the U.S. Virgin Islands, but you must be prepared to show evidence of citizenship upon leaving the territory (such as a government issued photo ID or your passport).

Do I need a Covid test to fly domestic? ›

Testing. Consider getting tested with a viral test as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days) before travel. Make sure you know your test results before travel. Don't travel if your test result is positive.

What is the average price of a house in the Virgin Islands? ›

Saint Thomas, VI Housing Market

The median listing home price in Saint Thomas, VI was $559K in October 2022. The median listing home price per square foot was $433.

Can you just move to the US Virgin Islands? ›

If you are an American citizen, you need NO EXTRA paperwork to visit, live in or work in the US Virgin Islands!

How many days do I need in the US Virgin Islands? ›

How many days do I need in the US Virgin Islands? If you would like to visit all three US Virgin Islands we recommend visiting for a minimum of 5 days to get a good experience of each island. In reality you could easily spend 2 to 3 days on each island to fully explore what it has to offer.

What is the most visited Virgin Island? ›

St. Thomas is the most visited of the islands and the gateway to the archipelago. Its main town, Charlotte Amalie, is the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands and a major cruise ship port, with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

What is better St. Thomas or St. Croix? ›

Thomas is more popular with travelers who like history, who want nightlife, or who want a lot of options for their dining and activities. What is this? St. Croix is more popular with those who are interested in tranquility, relaxing on secluded beaches, and natural activities like hiking.

Which of the three U.S. Virgin Islands is best? ›

Keep reading to find out which U.S. Virgin Island is best for you
  • Thomas is Best for: Shopping, upscale dining, and nightlife.
  • John is Best for: Hiking, nature watching, and solitude. You won't find crowds on St. John. ...
  • Croix is Best for: Culture, history, and food. Although it's the largest of the three islands, St.
18 Jul 2022

What is the prettiest part of the Virgin Islands? ›

Thomas. Perhaps the most popular of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas is a tropical paradise. It offers the sparkling waters, bountiful coral reefs, and pristine beaches of other neighboring islands, making it a perfect place for impressive vacation snapshots.

Which US Virgin Island is best to live on? ›

8 Best Towns and Resorts in the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas.
  • Christiansted, St Croix.
  • Cruz Bay, St John.
  • Frederiksted, St Croix.
  • Red Hook, St Thomas.
  • Smith Bay, St Thomas.
  • Peterborg, St Thomas.
  • Punnett Bay, St Croix.

What is so special about the US Virgin Islands? ›

The secluded, pearly white beaches of the USVI contrast starkly with the turquoise waters. It's one of the biggest draws to these Caribbean islands. Cinnamon Bay, within the Virgin Islands National Park, is home to one of the longest beaches on St John.

Why should I go to the US Virgin Islands? ›

It's considered one of the best regions for sustainability in the Caribbean, with national parks that preserve local wildlife both on land and at sea. Experienced and newbie divers will love exploring the shipwrecks and coral reefs off the island, which are home to over 500 species of fish and over 40 types of coral.

Which island is the prettiest in US Virgin Islands? ›

1. Water Island, St Thomas – one of the most stunning places to explore in the US Virgin Islands. Just south of Charlotte Amalie harbor on the main island of St Thomas is Water Island. Known locally as the “Last Virgin” because it was the last island to become part the Virgin Islands of the United States in 1996.

Why do people go to Virgin Islands? ›

The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) is more than just an ideal destination in the Caribbean for tourists with its pristine beaches, wonderful sunshine, great duty-free shopping and intriguing historic monuments; it is also the ideal location for doing business and maximizing your company's profits.

Which US Virgin island is the cheapest? ›

The cheapest Virgin Island to stay at is St. Thomas as it has the largest airport, most conveniences, public transit, and many options for stay. See our guide to where to stay on St. Thomas.

What language do they speak in U.S. Virgin Islands? ›

English is currently the dominant language. English has been the predominant language since 1917, when the islands were transferred from Denmark to the United States. Spanish is spoken by about 17% of the population.

What to Know Before Traveling to U.S. Virgin Islands? ›

10 Things To Know Before Traveling to the US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands
  • Take day one REALLY slow and easy. ...
  • The St Thomas airport can give you a heart attack. ...
  • Pack less than you think you need. ...
  • Verizon does not work. ...
  • NEVER buy your rum at a tourist shop. ...
  • Always say good morning/hello. ...
  • Direct flights do exist.
25 Jun 2016

What is the easiest US Virgin Island to get to? ›

The easiest of the U.S. Virgin Islands to reach, St. Thomas is both the gateway to St. John and St. Croix and a beloved vacation destination in its own right.

Is there a lot of crime in the U.S. Virgin Islands? ›

Croix, one of the two major islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has, at 92.1 per 100,000, a higher homicide rate than any nation in the world; and.
...
Coincidence or cause-and-effect on St. Croix?
U.S. Mainland5.3
Antigua & Barbuda10.3
British Virgin Islands8.4
6 more rows
28 May 2021

What is the best month to go to the Virgin Islands? ›

The best time to visit the US Virgin Islands is April through June when you can expect mild weather, thin crowds, and no threat of hurricanes. This time of year avoids peak tourist season while still providing plenty of sunny weather and very little rainfall.

What is the coldest month in the Virgin Islands? ›

During this time the average daily high temperature is below 84°F. The “coldest” month of the year tends to be January, with January 26th usually being the coolest day of the year.

What percentage of the Virgin Islands is black? ›

The Virgin Islands has a landmass of 346 square kilometers. The capital, Charlotte Amalie, is located on the island of Saint Thomas. The total estimated population is 105,870 (CIA, 2021). 76% of the population is African-American/Black, 15.6% is white, 1.4% is Asian, 4.9% is other, and 2.1% is mixed.

Is US Virgin island rich? ›

Bermuda, Cayman and British virgin islands are the top richest and wealthiest islands in the caribbean.
...
GDP per Capita Income (USD)
CaribbeanGDP per capita (PPP) in USD
Bermuda85,748
Cayman Islands64,103
US Virgin Islands34,899
British Virgin Islands (BVI)34,200
18 more rows
29 May 2019

Which are the better Virgin Islands? ›

The British Virgin Islands are known for being laid back and relaxed, whereas the U.S. Virgin Islands are generally considered more family friendly.

Videos

1. United States Virgin Islands - Overview -Territory of the USA
(Geography Nuts)
2. Top 10 Destinations in the US Virgin Islands
(Travel Global)
3. Ask a Local: US Virgin Islands
(Visit The USA)
4. Past, Present and Future of the U.S. Virgin Islands
(Visit The USA)
5. St John US Virgin Islands Travel Guide
(Island Hopper TV)
6. St Thomas US Virgin Islands Travel Guide 4K
(Island Hopper TV)
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