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Become One with Nature When Exploring US Virgin Islands National Park

The residents and government officials of the US Virgin Islands put a lot of effort into protecting the natural ecosystems in order to keep them healthy and beautiful, and they are happy to be able to show off their hard work to tourists.

The United States Virgin Islands, also known as the U.S. Virgin Islands, is an organized but unincorporated island territory of the United States. 

They are located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, at the easternmost tip of the Greater Antilles, approximately 64 kilometers (40 miles) east of Puerto Rico.

The residents and government officials of the US Virgin Islands put a lot of effort into protecting the natural ecosystems in order to keep them healthy and beautiful, and they are happy to be able to show off their hard work to tourists. At the Buck Island Reef National Monument on St. Croix, you may let your imagination run wild as you take in the vibrant colors and intricate formations of the barrier and coral reefs.

At the Christiansted National Historic Site in St. Croix, you can even go through the seven-acre waterfront property rich with the preserved architectural and political legacy of European colonialization in the Caribbean. The site is located on Christiansted Bay.

At the Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve in St. Croix, you can investigate the history of the Caribbean, beginning with the culture of the indigenous peoples and continuing up to the current day. St. John is home to the Virgin Islands National Park, which is the largest national park in the territory and can be explored on foot or by horseback. You can even go to the Virgin Islands Coral Reef Monument to learn more about the stunning and varied ecosystems that are located in the region surrounding St. John.

US Virgin Island

About The US Virgin Islands National Park

Table of Contents

The Virgin Islands National Park is a national park in the United States that protects approximately sixty percent of the land area of Saint John in the United States Virgin Islands

The park also protects more than five thousand acres (2,226 hectares; nine square miles) of adjacent ocean and almost the entire island of Hassel, which is located just off the harbor of Charlotte Amalie in Saint Thomas.

The park is popular for scuba diving and snorkeling, and it also features miles of hiking paths that wind through a tropical rainforest. The park’s visitor center may be found in Cruz Bay, which is also the port of entry to the national park. Ferries depart Red Hook, St. Thomas, once every hour; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and West End, Tortola; thrice daily; Jost Van Dyke; and Virgin Gorda; twice daily; and Virgin Gorda; twice weekly.

Irma and Maria, both hurricanes of category 5 strength, made landfall in the Virgin Islands in September of 2017. In 2018, the park had 112,287 visitors, compared to 304,408 visitors in 2017, and an average of more than 450,000 visitors per year in the prior ten years, from 2007 to 2016. In 2018, the park had an increase in visitors from 2017 to 2018, with 112,287 visitors. The park was restored to the public in December of 2017, and it was announced that all roads, trails, and beaches were open to tourists. 

Outstanding scenic features, Caribbean tropical marine and terrestrial ecosystems in their natural conditions, and cultural heritage from pre-Columbian times all the way up until the time of Danish colonial rule are some of the things that the Virgin Islands National Park aims to preserve and protect for the public benefit and inspiration. The park’s most popular points of interest include its beaches, coral reefs, hiking paths, and natural sights.

Historical Colonial Fort, US Virgin Islands

Near the park on St. John, there are a number of resorts, hotels, and vacation villas that guests can stay in while they are there. Caneel Bay Resort on the north coast, which stands on Rockefeller’s former personal estate, is located inside the park, as is Cinnamon Bay Campground, which is also located inside the park. 

Mooring balls, both for overnight and day use, are made accessible to boaters. The total land and water area that is protected by the Virgin Islands National Park is 14,737 acres (5,964 ha), or 23 square miles. The park encompasses close to sixty percent of St. John Island in addition to the ocean that surrounds it and nearly all of Hassel Island.

The coral reefs, which almost entirely encircle the park, the ocean waters, the tropical forests, and the beaches are the primary elements of the park’s landscape. The park is home to a variety of wild animals, including donkeys, deer, mongoose, pigs, goats, birds, iguanas, skinks, turtles, frogs, and crabs. The only native land mammal that can be found in the park is the bat. 

The park is home to populations of bridled quail-doves, green-throated caribs, Antillean crested hummingbirds, brown pelicans, Caribbean elaenias, Puerto Rican flycatchers, pearly-eyed thrashers, and Lesser Antillean bullfinches, BirdLife International has designated the park as an Important Bird Area (IBA).

US virgin island

Things to Pack Before Visiting The US Virgin Islands National Park

• Sunscreen is a must people!!!

A reef-friendly sunscreen is a must-keep as the high UV rays of the sun can be extremely unforgiving, especially in tropical areas. Carrying a broad-spectrum sunscreen that does not contain reef-damaging ingredients is an absolute must! I remember back when the Kanana team and I went for a trip to the US Virgin Islands, we forgot to take sunscreen with us and came back sunburnt, so never ever ever forget your sunscreen!

• You can’t go wrong with sandals!

It is absolutely essential to pack sandals or beach/sand-friendly shoes/boots in order to keep yourself safe; the tropical US Virgin Islands is home to a vast species of insects especially as you move closer to water bodies so making sure you protect yourself against insect bites and infections is important.

• Snorkeling gear is a yes!

If you are a fan of snorkeling then you will be glad to hear that the US Virgin Islands National Park features an underwater trail! In order to take full advantage of this and live out your snorkeling dreams make sure to pack your snorkeling gear.

Attractions And Places: Things To Do In US Virgin Islands

• Insect repellant all the way!

This is another must for when you are visiting the US Virgin Islands national park and other surrounding areas as the entirety of this region is lush green and home to lots of different insect species. It is better to take precaution and use an insect repellant spray or lotion instead of getting an allergic reaction to an insect bite.

Explore the Beauty of US Virgin Islands National Park – Main Attractions

• The Beaches at the US Virgin Islands National Park sites

The beaches that may be found inside Virgin Islands National Park are consistently ranked among the very best in the entire world. 

On the island of Saint John, Trunk Bay is both a body of water and a neighboring beach. A coral reef at Trunk Bay features an underwater route that visitors can follow while snorkeling. The major beach and swimming area can be found at Trunk Bay, while Burgesman Cove can be found on the western end of Trunk Bay, close to Jumbie Bay. The beach area is divided into these two sections for your convenience. 

A lengthy and expansive expanse of sand may be found at Cinnamon Bay beach, which is located on the north side of St. John. Sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling are just few of the activities that bring people to the beach. The Cinnamon Bay Campground and Cinnamon Bay Water Sports Rental are both located within the bay.

What to Wear to US Virgin Islands Beach Trip

Honeymoon Beach is located on the north shore of St. John, and it is possible to get there from either Caneel Bay Resort or Cruz Bay by trekking the mile-and-a-half-long (1.6-kilometer-long) Lind Point Trail. The beach is known for its powdery white sand and its towering palm trees. Kayaks and snorkel equipment are available for rent.

The sand in Maho Bay is very soft, and the water in the bay is usually very tranquil. It is possible to observe sea turtles and stingrays here due to the sandy and seagrass bottom of the ocean.

Salt Pond Cove is a sheltered bay and beach that may be found on the southeastern coast of St. John. A short track can be reached by foot from Route 107, which is about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) south of Coral Bay. This trail leads to the beach. 

The bay is a favorite destination for people who enjoy snorkeling since it features bordering reefs on both sides of the bay, seagrass in the middle, and a deep coral reef that is located far out in the middle of the bay. Mooring balls, both for overnight stays and day use, are made accessible to boaters. Hikers can reach Drunk Bay and the Ram Head Trail by getting to Salt Pond Bay first.

99 Steps, St. Thomas US Virgin Islands

• Hiking at the US Virgin Islands National Park

The Bordeaux Mountain Trail will take you to the highest point on the island, which is 1,277 feet (389 meters) above sea level. The Cinnamon Bay Nature Trail will take you past the ruins of a sugar plantation.

In addition to providing views of forests and the ruins of sugar mills, the Reef Bay Trail also features historical Taino petroglyph rock carvings, a spring-fed waterfall, and a reflection pool at Genti Bay, as well as the opportunity to snorkel over the coral reef there. The trail is difficult to navigate, and the total distance back to Centerline Road is greater than 6 miles (9.7 km). A hike with a ranger as your guide is available, and it includes a boat trip back to Cruz Bay from Reef Bay.

The Bordeaux Mountain Trail is a strenuous and rocky path that ascends from Little Lameshur Bay all the way up to the peak of the island. The trail is not maintained, and despite the fact that there are multiple lookouts along the way, there is no view to be had from the summit of this mountain due to its dense forest cover. In a little over half a mile, the path climbs over 1,300 feet (396 m) (1.6 km).

KEY TAKEAWAYS ...🛪

A trip to the US Virgin National Park is an all-inclusive package and you can live out all your tropical dreams by visiting!

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