Virgin Islands, U.S. climate
The US Virgin Islands are hot and humid all year long. Most of the rain falls between August and October. The best time for diving and snorkelling is between April and August, when waters are calm and underwater visibility is best.
When to fly to Virgin Islands, U.S.
November through May is peak season. A couple of the events taking place during this time are the carnival on St Thomas and the Crucian Christmas festival - look out for the mocko jumbies, the colourfully-dressed dancers on stilts - on St Croix (mid-December/early-January).
Takes in our summer (up to the end of October). One very special event taking place during off-season is 4 July, which is well celebrated on the islands.
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Getting around Virgin Islands, U.S.
There are airports on St Thomas (Cyril E King Airport, the most popular gateway to the islands) and St Croix (Henry E Rohlsen International Airport), but not on St John.
Airlines flying between St. Thomas and St. Croix include Air St. Thomas; Air Sunshine; American Eagle; Bohlke International Airways; Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT) and Seaborne Airlines. Helicopter service is also available.
Once on the islands, there are several car-rental options with major companies. Remember, drive on the left.
The Virgin Islands Fast Ferry sails between St Thomas and St. Croix. Love City Car Ferries, Inc., a car ferry company, sails from St Thomas to St John.
Virgin Islands, U.S. insider information
- St Croix is the largest island and has two main towns, Christiansted and Frederiksted. Tourist attractions here include Buck Island Reef, which is renowned for its swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling. Estate Mount Washington Plantation, although in ruins, is the best-preserved sugar plantation on the island. Admission is free.
- Charlotte Amalie, capital of St Thomas, is the Caribbean’s busiest port, welcoming about 1.5 million cruise ship visitors per year. St Thomas has some beautiful beaches to bask on including Bluebeard's Beach (for windsurfing), Coki Beach (for scuba diving and snorkelling) and Magens Bay, rated one of the world’s most beautiful beaches by National Geographic magazine. Columbus Landing Beach is where Christopher Columbus landed in 1493. The Whim Plantation and museum chronicles what life was like on a sugar plantation. The Cruzan Rum Distillery dates from 1760 and is open daily for tours. Emancipation Gardens is where many official ceremonies take place. The gardens honour the emancipation of slaves in 1848 by Governor Peter von Scholten, 15 years before the US.
- The 99 Steps (although there are really 103) extend from Government Hill to Lille Tarne Gade (Little Tower Street in Danish). They are one of several step streets that the Danes built to negotiate the town’s terrain. At the top of the steps, are yet more steps that stretch to Blackbeard’s Castle.
- Blackbeard's Castle sits on Government Hill, overlooking Charlotte Amelie. It was originally known as Skytsborg and is said to be the Virgin Islands’ oldest structure. Legend has it that bands of pirates lived here in the 18th century. The most famous resident is believed to be Edward Teach, Blackbeard.
- St John is the smallest island (72,500 sq km / 28 sq mi) and two-thirds of it is the Virgin Islands National Park. Hiking and snorkelling are popular pastimes.