US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin islands consist of three big islands (St Thomas, St John and St Croix) and some smaller ones. They used to be Danish, until the US bought them in the 1930’s because they were afraid the Germans would get hold of the strategic islands.
In 2012 I sailed for about two weeks around St Thomas and St John.
St Thomas capital Charlotte Amalie used to be a pirate gathering place, but is now a cruise capital. It is a lovely old city, but on the rare occasions when there are no cruise ships in town, everything is closed and it feels like a ghost city. When there are cruise ships, sometimes as many as 5 or 6, the entire city turns into one big tourist trap. It has the highest number of jewelry stores and souvenir shops I have seen in my entire life! Not my thing, so I quickly moved to French Town, just to the side of the capital. Originally founded by Hugenots, still home to a number of lovely restaurants and cafe’s, not so touristy.
The Danish used to drive on the left and the Americans tried to change this to driving on the right side of the road. However, they had to change back, because the donkeys could not get used to it and kept returning to the left side of the road…
The island of St John is lovely! About 2/3 of the island and the surrounding waters is a well protected national park. No cruise ships, no mass tourism, mostly eco friendly. The snorkeling is incredible, as the fish are not scared, and there are many turtles, who nest on the white sandy beaches of St John. Rays and (friendly) nurse sharks are plentiful. The coral reef is not as damaged as in many other places. Many hiking trails criss cross the island. There are some beautiful resorts, such as the Westin, where I spend a morning using their internet…
This is really an island for nature lovers, with entertainment and fine dining in Cruz Bay and some in tiny Coral bay village.