The Virgin Islands form part of the Caribbean Leeward Islands and comprise the US Virgin islands on the west and the British Virgin Islands on the east. Some of the better-known US Virgin Islands include St Croix, St John and St Thomas. St Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands and has a unique, diverse culture and history with its sugar plantations and rum distilleries. St John appeals to nature lovers and honeymooners with its 7,000 acres of parkland stunning scenery, while St Thomas is renowned for its luxury hotels and super yachts and is also home to US Virgin Islands’ capital of Charlotte Amalie. If you are looking for total seclusion, The British Virgin Islands offer some of the least developed but most exclusive of the islands in Caribbean and visitors can stay in Tortula Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.
Things to see and do in the Virgin Islands
Attractions: Aside from the beautifully unspoilt beaches and secluded bays, there is plenty to do in the Virgin Islands – and the great thing is that, in true Caribbean style, you can see and do everything at your own pace. Of the three main US Virgin Islands (St Croix, St John and St Thomas) St Thomas is the most developed island. Visit the port of Charlotte Amalie with its pastel coloured houses and historic buildings or take a cable car up to Paradise Point for a great vista of the bustling harbour. Also visit the 17th Century Fort Christian, which was once a Dutch stronghold, or simply enjoy the calm waters of the beautiful Magens Bay. Over in St John, you will find the stunning US Virgin Islands National Park which covers about two thirds of the island and is a refuge for wildlife and various species of flowers (don’t forget your camera!) In St Croix, visit Christiansted, a waterfront town with stone arches, restored town houses and plenty of attractions such as Fort Christianvaern, Customs House and the Old Scale House. Also visit St Croix’s other pretty waterfront town of Frederiksted, which has interesting attractions including Fort Frederik, and Emancipation Park to explore. Over in the east of the archipelago, the British Virgin Islands offers a less developed, more exclusive experience with its own unique set of attractions. In Tortula, visit the Mount Sage National Park and in Virgin Gorda, head to the observation tower at Gorda Peak for spectacular views over the whole archipelago.
Events/festivals: The most anticipated event of the year on each of the islands is the Carnival. In the US Virgin Islands, the carnival events take place in St Thomas in April/May, in St Croix in December/January and St John in June/July. Over in the British Virgin Islands, the carnival (or the Emancipation Festival) is the biggest cultural event of the year and takes place in July and August. Events and activities throughout the carnival celebrations include parades, dancing, calypso music and a fabulous party atmosphere!
Sports: Boating and sailing are popular sports in the Virgin Islands, and you take sailing lessons or hire your own boat or yacht to explore the region. The conditions here are also great for other watersports including windsurfing, surfing, diving and snorkelling. Unsurprisingly, the American influence on the US Virgin Islands has transcended into their love of American sports and American football, basketball and baseball are popular among the locals – alongside more ‘traditionally Caribbean’ favourites such as cricket and football.
Nightlife: If partying is your thing, St Thomas boasts the liveliest nightlife of all the Virgin Islands. Here, you will find nightclubs and beach bars aplenty. The other islands – mainly due to their lack of population – are distinctly more laid back and less tourist-orientated, and the bars and restaurants are mainly centred around the hotels and resorts. In the British Virgin Islands, Tortola’s capital Road Town is the place to be after dark.
Eating/Drinking: You will find a whole range of cuisines available in the Virgin Islands, although local specialities include kallaloo (a stew of okra, meat and seafood), fungi (a cornmeal and okra side dish) and plenty of wonderfully fresh fish and seafood such as lobster, grouper, tuna and mahi-mahi. The locals’ favourite tipple is Cruzan Rum (brewed in St Croix) which has a strong and distinctive taste. Bush tea is the islanders’ favourite hot drink which is a generic term for any herbal tea that is made using native plants, such as lemongrass.
Shopping: Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas’ capital port has a good selection of duty free shops which line the Main Street, Back Street and Waterfront (and the alleys in between). There are also a couple of small shopping malls. Here you will find popular brands including Cartier and Fendi and a good selection of unique shops and boutiques. Popular souvenir items include the locally brewed rum, Cruzan, plus other locally handmade items including batik, carved dolls and woven bags.
When to go
The Virgin Islands enjoy a great all-year round climate. The heat is tempered with gentle trade winds that make the temperature pleasant throughout the year, rarely reaching over 90 degrees F or falling below 70 degrees F. Winter is generally considered the ‘dry season’ however, rainfall can occur at any time throughout the year, but is usually confined to a short, sharp tropical shower. As with most Caribbean islands, the official hurricane season runs between June to November but ample advance warning is given.
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We have recently returned from a multi centre holiday in Thailand. Everything went smoothly as planned, the hotels were all lovely. We would definitely recommend eShores and would book through them in the future. Thanks to Laura who organised the trip for us.Posted 4 weeks ago
Been using eshore for several years,always come up with requirements we need.Always happy to rearrange. Staff are very knowledgeable and we always use Leanne as our point of contact. Experts for multi centre holidays.Posted 1 month ago
I booked two holidays in 4 months with Dave at eshores. First one a 16 day trip around Vietnam north to south which included numerous flights and taxis. My second holiday was in October traveling around Vietnam again and Cambodia. Every hotel in both countries was spot on, every transfer went smooth with no problems. I'll Definitely use eshores again and thanks to Dave who arranged everything, a fantastic experience 👍👍Posted 1 month ago
Recently booked a four centre holiday to Asia. The process was straightforward and seamless. Rob, the agent who dealt with our requirements was extremely helpful and not pushy. He was very easy to talk with and seemed genuinely interested in our plans. He managed to put together exactly what we wanted and at a great price.Posted 1 month ago
Andy at eshores has been great, he worked hard to meet all our needs and went the extra mile for us! We're looking forward to a great Honeymoon!Posted 1 month ago
As always Michelle mainly but with some help from Leanne have once again booked an hopefully (as not yet travelled) amazing customised trip to America next September with our family this time.Posted 1 month ago
First time I have used eshores and it won't be the last. Emma was so helpful in booking my 3 centre holiday to Portugal. Really pleased with accommodation selected and the overall cost. Emma was very quick to respond with different options and I'm looking forward to our holiday next year. I highly recommend this companyPosted 1 month ago
We have just booked a trip to the Far East having previously used this company twice, Vietnam/Cambodia and a Road Trip in the USA. Both trips were problem free with all aspects going to plan. Easy to talk to and never pushing for a decision. A lovely company , thank you Dave for your time and assistance.Posted 1 month ago
We booked what appeared to be a busy holiday to South Africa and Mauritius. This consisted of five different fights and hotels with the various transfers included. Rachael organised the holiday for us and every aspect of the trip went well. Took a lot of the stress out and allowed us to have a fantastic holiday. Friendly,Professional service with professional staff. Will use them again.Posted 1 month ago
All went well on our recent NY trip booked through Matt at EShores. Worth noting: -Newark Airport and Train Station great with transfers on the NYP Train (about 1 hour) to and from Penn Station/Airport Terminal (easy!) -Sanctuary Hotel great location and staff! Room and breakfast spot on. -Brooklyn Bridge walk back great, 1 stop over on subway as suggested. -United Airlines great - direct to and from Edinburgh! Recommended -weather spot on, temperatures just like here. Thanks for all your help and advice. Julie and Georgia (21st birthday girl!)Posted 1 month ago
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