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Island Hopping Through the USVI

Most visitors to the U.S. Virgin Islands don't stray beyond St. Thomas - the nexus of the islands' vibrant culture. However, there are a variety of daytime excursions that offer activities for any type of tourist on St. Thomas' sister islands. From the extensive colonial history of St. Croix to the wide-open spaces of St. John and Water Island, there is plenty to experience throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. Furthermore, moving between the islands is a breeze as ferries visit each of the U.S. Virgin Islands every day.

Of the three major U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John is the least developed destination. As two-thirds of the island is designated as the Virgin Islands National Park, you are guaranteed plenty of undeveloped Caribbean beauty. The island's interior is lined with hiking trails offering challenges for experienced hikers and families alike. Though the island measures just 28 square miles, you will be able to feel like you have escaped from the hustle and bustle.

St. John is also a great spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. The coral reefs surrounding the island are teeming with colorful fish and sea creatures. Though St. John is a quiet island, you will easily be able to find tour guides and dive instructors. Such dive tours and ferry service from St. Thomas can be arranged directly through your resort. St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is a great destination for historical sightseers. Prior to European colonization of the Caribbean, the island was inhabited by native Arawaks and Caribs. In 1493,

Christopher Columbus landed on the island and claimed it for the Spanish Crown. Named Santa Cruz (Holy Cross), the island was the site of many battles between the native populations and the Spaniards for more than a century. In the 17th Century, Dutch and English settlers came to the St. Croix. The island continued changing European hands as the Spanish ousted both the Dutch and English, only to have their settlements overtaken by the French. After serving as a profitable agricultural settlement for a number of European companies - including the Dutch West India and Guinea Company, St. Croix was eventually sold to the United States by Denmark during World War I to prevent German acquisition. When all was said and done, St. Croix had flown seven different flags during 500 years of colonial history.

The remains of this colonial history can be found throughout St. Croix, especially in Christiansted and Frederiksted - the island's largest settlements. Beyond the unique ruins of European colonies, the 82 square-mile island is full of the natural beauty the Caribbean is known for. From the rainforests at the interior of the island to the wide beaches at the shore, St. Croix has everything you expect of an island paradise. St. Croix can easily be reached by direct ferry or flight from St. Thomas.

So when planning your trip to St. Thomas, consider a day trip to one of the other islands to enjoy everything that the USVI has to offer.



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