Part of the general area known as the Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands are those which are included in the United States today. Actually a U.S. territory, the islands are a part of the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles and include the main islands of St Croix, St John and St. Thomas and other smaller islands which together include a total territory of just over 133 square miles.
Formerly part of the Danish West Indies, the U.S. purchased the islands from Denmark in 1916. Today, they are considered a non-self governing territory and are an organized and unincorporated U.S. territory.
Historically, the USVI were originally inhabited by 3 main Native tribes including the Caribs, Arawaks and the Ciboney. Discovered by Columbus in 1493, the islands switched hands many times within the major European powers and the local native tribes became slaves to these new visitors until the abolition of slavery in 1848.
Despite its past history and its many major economic endeavors, today, tourism is the number one economic activity and the islands host over 2 million visitors a year. Top area attractions and destinations include beaches and bays such as Annaly Bay and Columbus Landing/Salt River Bay National Historic Park are a great way to explore. In addition island tours by local guides can offer you historical looks into the island’s past, air tours, water tours and much more, all from the perspective of someone who knows.
What makes this island group so popular today for U.S. travelers is the ability to enjoy a luxury tropical Caribbean retreat without the hassle of international travel or other considerations including passports and visas. In addition, the Virgin Islands also comply with the ADA making travel for the disabled travelers more accommodating as well. Take into account stunning natural beauty, some of the worlds most beautiful beaches, warm blue waters, world class activities and luxury resorts and more, and you have a recipe for vacation success year round.
Whether traveling to relax, learn, or just have some fun, find out more about what the USVI have to offer you as one of 2012’s top destinations for travel today.