Information for traveling in the US Virgin Islands
Area: 1,910 km² (land: 346 km², water: 1564 km²)
Population: 109,666 (July 2011 estimate, CIA)
Population density: 57 people per km²
Population growth: -0.08% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: Charlotte Amalie (10,420 residents, 2006)
Highest point: Crown Mountain, 475 m
Lowest point: Caribbean Sea, 0 m
Form of government: The American Virgin Islands are an outer area of the USA with a lower degree of self-government than Puerto Rico. The parliament (senate) consists of 15 members who are elected every two years.
Head of Government: Governor John de Jongh, since January 1, 2007
Head of State: Barack Obama, since January 20, 2009
Language: The official language is English. In addition, Spanish and Creole are spoken in large parts of the population.
Religion: predominantly Christians: Baptists (42%), Roman Catholic (34%), Episcopalian (17%). Other 7%.
Local time: CET -5 h There is no summer or winter time change on the US Virgin Islands. The time difference to Central Europe is -5 hours in winter and -6 hours in summer.
Telephone code: +1 (340)
Mains voltage: 120 V, 60 Hz.
US Virgin Islands geography and map
The approximately 50 American Virgin Islands are located about 60 km to the east of Puerto Rico. They represent the first link in the Leeward Island chain.
A very good deep sea port is on one of the three main islands, St. Thomas. This island is long and narrow, the ridge rises here with Crown Mountain to 475 m to the highest point of the American Virgin Islands. The island of St. John is largely covered by rainforest, the coast is covered by sandy beaches. St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands. Its landscape is hilly, in the past plantations were found here.
The islands are located on the shipping route to the Panama Canal, the Anegada Passage.
Several tropical storms have hit the US Virgin Islands in recent years. Both periods of drought and floods can occur, and earthquakes are also possible. Fresh water is scarce on the islands.
How to get to the US Virgin Islands
Airplane: several European airlines (including Lufthansa, Swiss International and Austrian) offer daily connections to the USA from Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
American Airlines flies direct from Miami to St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Continental Airlines and American Airlines fly direct to St. Thomas from New York.
From Atlanta connections to St. Thomas are offered by Delta.
US Airways flies direct from Philadelphia to St. Thomas.
American Airlines, US Airways and Continental Airlines also offer flights to the American Virgin Islands with a stopover in San Juan (Puerto Rico).
American Eagle / American Airlines, Air Sunshine, Cape Air, Caribbean Sun Airlines and LIAT fly to the American Virgin Islands from San Juan in Puerto Rico.
Airports: St. Thomas Cyril E. King Airport (STT) is the main airport in the US Virgin Islands. It is located about 3 km to the west of Charlotte Amalie.
Henry E. Rohlsen Airport at St. Croix (STX) is 18 km southwest of Christiansted.
Taxis and buses go to both cities.
Ship: The main passenger ports of the US Virgin Islands are Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas) and Frederiksted (St. Croix). Large cruise ships often call at the US Virgin Islands from New York, Miami, Fort Lauderale and San Juan in Puerto Rico, including ships from Celebrity, Carnival, Holland America, Cunard, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Radisson Seven Seas.
The US Virgin Islands are the most popular cruise ship destination in the Caribbean, with St. Thomas receiving around 1,000 cruise ship arrivals per year.
Ferries run regularly between the ports of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands and St. John and St. Thomas (including those from Road Town Fast Ferry, Smith`s Ferry Service, Speddy`s and Inter-Island Ferry Services).
The high-speed ferry Caribe Cay from Transportation Services connected St. Thomas with Fajardo (Puerto Rico) once a week. This connection is currently suspended, but it may be re-established in the future.
American Virgin Islands climate
According to Bridgat, the climate of the American Virgin Islands is subtropical, typically Caribbean mild, with daily maximum temperatures between 25 ° C in winter and 28 ° C in summer. A pleasant climatic aspect of these islands is the combination of easterly winds, which keep the humidity low, and Caribbean currents, which keep the water warm. During the wettest months, from July to October, there are short, heavy rains, which have a particularly cooling effect.
Best time to travel to the US Virgin Islands
The peak of the tourist season is between December and May, but this has more to do with the weather in North America and Europe than with the mild weather in the US Virgin Islands. Visiting the islands should be planned outside of this period when room rates are only around two-thirds of the high season. An additional point is that the calmer weather between April and August means better visibility conditions when diving.