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  • The U.S. Virgin Islands are situated in the Caribbean,

  • just a three-hour flight from Miami.

  • Located southwest of the British Virgin Islands,

  • the U.S. Virgins are made up of three main islands,

  • and surrounded by around fifty smaller cays and islets.

  • The islands are lush with vegetation and caressed by sparkling waters.

  • Though celebrated for their sandy beaches and idyllic scenery,

  • things haven't always been so peaceful here.

  • The island group was occupied by many European countries throughout their history,

  • until the United States purchased them from Denmark in 1917.

  • Over 100 years later, the islands remain a U.S. territory,

  • popular with American sun-worshippers and cruise passengers

  • as they require no passport and the main currency is the U.S. dollar.

  • The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands,

  • St. Croix was first named Santa Cruz by Christopher Columbus in 1493.

  • The quickest way to taste the historical flavors of the island is at the Cruzan Rum Distillery.

  • Let the enticing aromas of fermenting molasses lure you to this enduring establishment,

  • where the spirit of St Croix has been lovingly bottled for over 200 years.

  • The island's fertile soils were once coveted for the farming of

  • sugar, tobacco, cotton, and indigo.

  • Estate Whim Museum was one of the most successful sugar plantations in the region,

  • and today it remains a popular stop for history lovers.

  • Wander through the sprawling colonial residence and slave quarters,

  • which evoke the island's often heartbreaking past as well as its uplifting tales of liberation.

  • To the leeward side of the island is Frederiksted,

  • the island's main port town.

  • Plagued by pirates,

  • the Dutch built Fort Frederik here in the 1750s.

  • It was from this fort in 1848,

  • that the Danish governor freed the island's slaves at the eleventh hour

  • to quell a violent uprising.

  • On the eastern side of St Croix,

  • admire the island's colorful European influence in Christiansted.

  • Once the capital of the Danish West Indies,

  • this town is a postcard-worthy example of Danish architecture and style.

  • Just a 20-minute flight north of St Croix is St. Thomas,

  • the second largest island in the territory.

  • St. Thomas is home to the U.S. Virgin Island's capital, Charlotte Amalie,

  • a bustling port town which is often dominated by enormous luxury liners.

  • Catch the St. Thomas Skyride up the mountain to get commanding views of the vibrant port,

  • or climb the stairs to Blackbeard's Castle,

  • a pirate watchtower built by the Danes in the 17th century.

  • Sharing this harbor view are grand manor houses which date back to the late 1600s.

  • Gaze out from their intricate balconies,

  • you never know, you might just spot a pirate ship.

  • Just a 15-minute drive to the east is Frydendal,

  • a settlement that entices honeymooners and romantics with its beachside resorts and restaurants.

  • Make your way to this side of the island to indulge in a little R&R with someone special,

  • and perhaps even a cocktail or two.

  • The east coast is blessed with abundant sandy beaches and calm,

  • clear waters, and chances are you'll find a sheltered cove all to yourself.

  • Once you've explored St. Thomas,

  • take the short ferry ride to St. John.

  • Step ashore at Cruz Bay,

  • the largest of the island's towns,

  • and chow down on some traditional Caribbean fare.

  • Like its sister islands, St John was colonized by the Danes,

  • whose once lucrative sugar plantations now lie in ruin across the island.

  • The most famous of these is the Annaberg Plantation,

  • whose mills fell silent when slavery was abolished.

  • Wander through the old slave quarters and crumbling windmill,

  • which overlook Leinster Bay.

  • Explore more plantation ruins just off the shoreline at Cinnamon Bay,

  • where Mother Nature reclaims the time-worn stone structures with each passing year.

  • Step out from the forest's shadows onto the sunlit sands of Cinnamon Beach.

  • From here, follow the coast back to Cruz Bay,

  • where you'll find one secluded beach after another.

  • Despite past ravages of slavery and piracy,

  • The U.S. Virgin Islands have become known for their pristine natural beauty and welcoming people.

  • They have healed and grown stronger with each passing generation,

  • and are now the perfect port of call for relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are situated in the Caribbean,

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(U.S. Virgin Islands Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia)

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    Eric Wang posted on 2020/05/03
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