The U.S. Virgin Islands offers a variety of fun-filled activities for all travelers, many of whom keep coming back year after year. The islands also boast these little-known, fun-filled facts.
1. Charlotte Amalie is the largest historical town in the United States
Charlotte Amalie is the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands and is located in St. Thomas. The city offers rich history with the largest historic district in the U.S. and is also a preferred shopping spot on the island. There has been great debate regarding the correct pronunciation of the town, who’s name was originally Charlotte Amalia (with an “a”). Due to an error in historical documents, the spelling was changed to an e – but the official (and original) pronunciation is Charlotte “Amalya.”
2. The USVI has been a “shopping” destination since 1607
Before arriving in present-day Virginia, in 1607 the Jamestown settlers (who built the first successful English settlement in North America) stopped off in Charlotte Amalie to stock up on supplies. The Historic Preservation Office in St. Thomas will soon install a plaque received from the state of Virginia recognizing this historic visit. The plaque will hang on the Liberty Bell platform in Emancipation Garden.
3. The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only location in the United States where you drive on the left side of the road
Although the islands are considered part of the U.S., there are still a few rules and customs that date back to the days of European rule!
4. Point Udall is the Easternmost Point in the United States
This point was named after Stewart Udall, who was the United States Secretary of Interior under both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. The Millennium Monument, a sundial, was built above the point in 2000.
5. St. Thomas is the birthplace of Camille Pissarro
Pissarro was an impressionist painter who contributed to the Impressionism and Post-Impressionism styles. He was born on July 10, 1830 and died on November 13, 1903. He lived in St. Thomas until he was 12 and returned there in his later years. His birthplace is open to visitors on St. Thomas and his work is currently on display at the Government House in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
6. St. Croix has the oldest Baobab tree in the Caribbean
The tree was brought over from South Africa and planted in the 18th century. It’s known locally as “Guinea Almond” or “Guinea Tamarind.” Baobab trees grow up to 25 meters tall and can live for thousands of years. Every part of the Baobab tree is useful. The bark is used for cloth and rope, the leaves for medicines, and the fruit can be eaten.
7. St. Thomas has the second oldest synagogue with sand floors in the Western Hemisphere
The St. Thomas Synagogue welcomes people from all denominations to visit their historic place of worship. It was declared a National Landmark in 1997 and its menorah dates back to the 11th century.
8. The US Virgin Islands is the only US Territory to be bordered by both the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea
And with all that water, there’s a plethora of water activities to participate in, including diving, sailing, kayaking, sport fishing, snorkeling, windsurfing, parasailing and kite boarding.
9. St. Croix has the largest Agriculture Fair in the Caribbean
The “Agrifest” in St. Croix is a 3-day festival that showcases locally grown produce, locally raised livestock and locally made arts and crafts and cuisine. The festival attracts hundred of visitors from across the region and the world! Due to Covid-19, this year’s event is postponed to February 2022.
10. There’s an Underwater National Park off the coast of St. John
The Underwater trail in Trunk Bay, St. John is considered one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean, and is marked with underwater signs. All levels of swimmers are able to snorkel here making it perfect for the entire family.
11. St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas have nicknames
These islands are also known as Twin City (St. Croix), Love City (St. John), and Rock City (St. Thomas). The combined area of these three islands is about two times the size of Washington, D.C.
For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to VisitUSVI.com. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens. For a Covid-19 update, click HERE.
Go to Visit USVI’s page for travel agents HERE