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Overview

The United States Virgin Islands, known simply as the USVI, is an unincorporated territory of the USA. Residents are U.S. citizens, but they cannot vote in presidential elections. U.S. postal cars navigate the narrow dusty roads, McDonald's is up the street and big shopping malls stock countless goods. But that's where the similarities diverge. Most Americans here left the mainland for a reason and they're quite happily getting enmeshed in the West Indian culture and way of life. Composed of about 50 islands east of Puerto Rico, the USVI are dominated by three islands: St. Thomas (and its bustling cruise ship port city of Charlotte Amalie); ...

The United States Virgin Islands, known simply as the USVI, is an unincorporated territory of the USA. Residents are U.S. citizens, but they cannot vote in presidential elections. U.S. postal cars navigate the narrow dusty roads, McDonald's is up the street and big shopping malls stock countless goods. But that's where the similarities diverge. Most Americans here left the mainland for a reason and they're quite happily getting enmeshed in the West Indian culture and way of life. Composed of about 50 islands east of Puerto Rico, the USVI are dominated by three islands: St. Thomas (and its bustling cruise ship port city of Charlotte Amalie); nearby St. John (a nature lover's paradise that's two-thirds national park); and, about 40 miles south, St. Croix (deep Dutch colonial history and great diving). The islands are all very different and it's easy to visit all three on a trip, thanks to efficient ferries and seaplanes. To the east of the USVI, the British Virgin Islands are also easily accessible, though visitors must carry passports and go through customs when traveling back and forth.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Virgin Islands of the United States (USVI) are a group of islands in the Caribbean. The main islands are Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, along with the much smaller but historically distinct Water Island.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: United States Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    November to May