Situated in the Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands are about a 3-hour flight from Miami. It is surrounded by up to 50 smaller islets and cays made up of 3 main islands. These islands are caressed by sparkling waters and lush with vegetation. Although widely known for this idyllic scenery and sandy beaches, things haven’t been this peaceful in the past. Until its purchase by the United States from Denmark in 1917, these islands were once occupied by different European countries. In recent years, aragonite has made it’s way into the islands through high tourist traffic.
The islands are still the US territory and popular with American cruise passengers and sun-worshippers as the US dollars are their main currency and they don’t require a passport. Some people I know that work for an Edmonton roofing company recently took a vacation to the islands and had an amazing time on their first stop in St. Croix. St. Croix is the largest of the islands and it was named Santa Cruz by Christopher Columbus. Here are the top must-see attractions in the US Virgin Islands.
Cruzan Rum Distillery
If you would like to taste the historical flavors of this island, this is the quickest place to do that. The inviting aromas if fermenting molasses will lure you to this distillery which has existed over 200 years.
Estate Whim Museum
The fertile soils of the US Virgin Islands were once used to farm indigo, cotton, tobacco, and sugar. Estate Whim Museum was one of the region’s most successful sugar plantations and it is now very popular with history lovers. Wander through the slave quarters and sprawling colonial residence which evokes the heartbreaking past and the uplifting tales of the liberation of the island.
Frederiksted is the main port of the island and it is located on the leeward side of the island. In the 1750s, the Dutch built Fort Frederik, and pirates plagued it. The Danish governor in 1848, freed the slaves on the island from this fort to avoid a violent uprising.
Admire the colorful influence on St. Croix eastern side. Christiansted was once the Danish West Indies Capital so you will find lots of Danish style and architecture here.
This is the second largest island in this territory and home to the capital of Charlotte Amalie. It is a bustling port town where you will often find enormous luxury liners. For a commanding view of this vibrant port, go on the sky ride to the top of the mountains. You can also climb the Blackbeard Castle’s stairs. It was built by the Danes in the seventeenth century as a pirate watchtower. On the harbor, you will also get to see grand manor houses dating back to the late 1600s.
Frydendal is a delight of many romantics and honeymooners with its restaurants and beachside resorts. Indulge in some R&R or even a cocktail with someone special on the side of the island. The east coast is blessed with clear, calm waters, and many sandy beaches and there is a great chance you will find a sheltered cove here.
St. John is just a short ferry from St. Thomas. Step ashore at the island’s largest town Cruz Bay and have a taste of some traditional Caribbean fare. Like the other islands, the Danes colonized St. John and its sugar plantations are now in ruins. The Annaberg Plantation is the most famous of these. Wander through the crumbling windmill and the old space quarters. There are even more plantation ruins you can explore at Cinnamon Bay.
Despite its history of piracy and slavery, the US Virgin Islands are known for their welcoming people and pristine natural beauty. With each passing generation, they have grown stronger and healed and are today the ideal port of call for rejuvenation, recreation, and relaxation.