The US Virgin Islands, commonly known as USVI, are an island territory belonging to the United States of America. The US Virgin Islands consist of 3 main islands, namely St Thomas, St Croix and St John. The territory includes the numerous cays and smaller islands surrounding the main islands, and these are especially plentiful between the islands of St Thomas and St John.
Tourism is the main economy in the US Virgin Islands, with scuba diving playing a large part of this economy. The next largest economic driver is that of rum production, with the largest distillery being the Cruzan Rum Distillery on the island of St Croix. Visitors also travel to the US Virgin Islands to explore the scenic nature reserves and fantastic golf courses on the islands.
The US Virgin Islands is blessed with consistently pleasant weather throughout the year. June through August are the warmest months for these islands, where temperatures will remain around 85°F and never get unbearably hot. During the cooler months, air temperatures generally stay around 75°F, with the lowest ever recorded temperature being a manageable 52°F back in 1999.
The US Virgin Islands are located east of Puerto Rico and sit on top of the same shelf that the British Virgin Islands do. Being part of the US the official language is English and the official currency is US dollars. Also as part of the US the islands provide world class resorts, restaurants, shopping, nightlife as well as splendid sandy beaches and good year round weather.
There are three main islands of interest, St Croix, St Thomas and St Johns. For diving these islands can be considered as two separate destinations, St Croix as one and St Thomas and St Johns (dive sites can be reached from either island) as the other.
St Thomas is renowned for night life and features calypso jazz and steel bands. Also on St Thomas is Coral World, a there floor underwater observation tower where you can get a 360 degree view of local coral reefs and marine life without getting wet. St Johns can only be reached by ferry from St Thomas, but this tranquil island has two thirds of its land area preserved as national park. Many bush and trail walks are available as shore time activities on St Johns. St Johns also offers fabulous snorkelling from many of its beaches.
How to get to the USVI
US citizens do not require a passport to visit the US Virgin Islands, but people travelling from the Americas and Mexico will need to show a passport before entering.
The majority of visitors will make use of the airports on St Thomas to gain access to the US Virgin Islands, choosing between Cyril E King Airport, St Croix or Henry E Rohlsen Airport. Direct flights are available from a number of cities in the US as well as San Juan in Puerto Rico. To travel between the islands of St Thomas and St Croix, simply take a hop flight that is in the air for less than 20 minutes. These hop flights are often booked last minute, but can be booked in advanced for organized travellers. Cruise ships are a popular way to visit the US Virgin Islands for a short period of time, yet dive operators will assist cruise ship passengers to arrange a dive so as to make the most of their visit.