US Virgin Islands

Just a 20-minute ferry ride away from the British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands include three main islands, St. Thomas, St. Johns, and St. Croix, and more than 50 other islands floating serenely offshore. For more than 3000 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493, these tropical islands were occupied by island tribes known as the Ciboney, Caribs, and Arawaks. Even after his arrival, they remained free from European settlement until the Dutch arrived in the 17th century. The US Virgin Islands changed hands for the final time in 1917 (a 50-year process starting in 1870) when the US bought the three islands from the Danish for $25 million (valued at nearly $600M in today’s value) and established them as an official US territory.

When visiting the US Virgin Islands, be sure to:
1. Kick off your flip flops and seep your toes into the sunbaked sands shimmering with every step towards the rich blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the northern shores and the Caribbean Sea to the south.
2. Visit top beaches like Sandy Point Beach on St. Croix, Magens Bay Beach on St. Thomas, Maho Bay Beach on St. John, or even hire a water taxi to the remote cays and stake your temporary claim on their untouched shores.
3. Explore historical ruins like the Annaberg Sugar Plantation and Cinnamon Bay Plantation ruins to learn about the massive sugarcane industry that once reigned supreme in the Virgin Islands, and its dark history of employing enslaved Africans.
4. Watch your pedometer as you climb the 99 Steps to the top of Blackbeard’s Watchtower, then bask in the glory of the sweeping island views from the top.
5. Admire Blackbeard’s Castle, a National Historic Landmark, standing as opulent as it did when it was built in the 17th century, or discover artifacts of the St. Thomas Museum preserved behind the weathered red walls of fort Christian.
6. Finally, visit the Cruzan Rum Distillery, and let the spirits flow from its aged barrels into your body to awaken your inner islander during its rum-tasting tours.


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