Flag of US Virgin Islands

US Virgin Islands

The United States Virgin Islands are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.

The islands are situated 64 km (40 miles) east of Puerto Rico and comprise the four main islands of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, and Water Island, and some 50 smaller islands covered with lush tropical vegetation and fringed by iridescent shores. St Thomas is long and narrow, rising abruptly to a ridge with an excellent deep-water harbour. St John is covered partly in bay forests. St Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Islands, consists of 215 sq km (83 sq miles) of rolling ex-plantation land. Christiansted is one of the two major towns showing early-Danish influence. St Thomas is the second-largest and the most cosmopolitan of this chain of islands. Like St Croix, it has many associations with the Danes and retains much Danish influence. The main town, Charlotte Amalie, is the group's capital. Cobblestone alleys with numerous boutiques lead down to the waterfront. St John is the most 'unspoilt' of the islands. It has no airport, and two-thirds of the island's deep valleys and most of its shoreline have been set aside as a National Park. Island specialities include fresh fish and lobster. Steel bands, folk singing, calypso and limbo dancing are popular.

Map of US Virgin Islands