The US Virgin Islands, or the USVI for short, is a beautiful archipelago of tropical islands located in the Caribbean Sea. From its stunning white sand beaches to its vibrant culture and history, it’s no wonder why this destination has become so popular with travelers from all over the world.
The population of these three main islands (St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John) is made up of diverse cultures that have contributed to making this destination unique and special in many ways—from cuisine to music to art and much more!
In this article, we’ll explore who makes up the USVI population and look at some of their favorite activities, museums and landmarks they often visit, culinary influences on local cooking styles, cultural importance placed on tourism here and much more! So if you’re looking for a truly incredible vacation experience, read on for an overview of what makes the US Virgin Islands such a fantastic place to visit!
Who Makes Up the USVI Population?
The population of the US Virgin Islands is a diverse mix of many cultures. However, the majority are African-American or Afro-Caribbean, and most speak English as their first language. Other small populations include Hispanic and Native American peoples as well. The population is relatively small, with around 104,000 people in total across the three islands (Source: Datareportal, 2022).
For information on the population of the US Virgin Islands and its history, there are a number of places to visit. St. Croix has the oldest Christian church in the Caribbean, plus many other historical sites, while St. Thomas boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the world! On St. John, visitors can explore the local culture at Cruz Bay and Coral Bay, which have a variety of amazing beaches, restaurants, shops and galleries to explore.
Arts and culture abound in the USVI. These venues host weekly events like live music, traditional dances and more. In the spirit of exploring USVI culture, these events are sure to get your feet moving and inspire you.
Jazz in the Park Block Party: This venue is the epitome of Virgin Islands culture. Every Saturday in St. Thomas, local artists gather to play jazz and Caribbean music on the street while locals dance and enjoy food from nearby vendors.
Cane Roots Art Gallery: Located in St. Croix, The Cane Roots Art Gallery is a modern space that showcases artworks by local and regional contemporary artists.
Yacht Haven Grande: Found in St. Thomas, this is the island’s main port for boats and yachts, with various shops, restaurants and art galleries.
The Petroglyphs: Located in St. John and created by the first inhabitants of the islands, these ancient rock carvings are an interesting piece of local history.
Annual carnival celebration: Every year, the islands celebrate carnival with music, costumes and parades. The three carnivals take place one each on St. John, St. Thomas and St Croix.
The Reichold Center of the Arts: Located in St. Croix, this center features a variety of art classes and workshops for those interested in the creative arts.
St. Croix churches: You’ll enjoy learning about the religions of the USVI in St. Croix. Known as the “land of churches,” the island boasts 150 churches that serve its residents.
What Do Locals Do for Fun?
The locals have plenty of activities to enjoy here in the USVI! Whether you’re looking for adventure and excitement or prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, there’s something for everyone. Popular activities include swimming and snorkeling in crystal clear waters, exploring the islands, or hiking through the tropical rainforest, and enjoying a nightlife filled with music and dancing.
The beaches are also popular hangout spots for locals and visitors alike. From the world-renowned Magens Bay in St. Thomas to the wilder, more remote beaches on the East end of St John, you’ll experience an array of stunning natural beauty while also enjoying a variety of watersport activities such as sailing, kayaking and windsurfing.
In addition to the many lovely beaches in the USVI, there are also plenty of recreational activities and water sports available, including:
- Frederiksted Pier: Located in St. Croix, this pier offers a variety of activities, including diving, fishing and sailing.
Deep sea fishing: Visitors and locals alike can take part in deep sea fishing adventures, which offer a unique experience of the USVI’s marine life.
Ferry rides: Ferry rides are available between St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island, providing a scenic way to explore multiple islands at once.
Wild donkey viewing: The herds of wild donkeys on Coral Bay in St. John are remnants of an old time when these animals were used for riding and pulling carts. Feeding and petting them are discouraged, but you can offer them water from your canteen or water bottle if you’d like.
Eco Tours: VI Ecotours offers tours from Mangrove Lagoon on St. Thomas island. Through them, visitors can explore hidden coves, mangroves and natural beauty on kayak or boat tours.
Ziplining: Zip lines are available in St. Thomas, providing an adrenaline-filled adventure for those brave enough to try.
Sail and snorkel: In the USVI, visitors can go on sailing and snorkeling tours to explore nearby cays, coral reefs, shipwrecks and some of the most gorgeous spots for swimming. One to try out is Tripadvisor’s 2022 pick for “Best of the Best,” Virgin Islands Sailing.
Museums and Historical Landmarks
The US Virgin Islands boast some of the most remarkable historical landmarks in all of the Caribbean! From historic forts to beautiful botanical gardens, museums and other attractions, you can easily find something to learn and explore here.
Virgin Islands history landmarks you’ll want to visit include:
Fort Christiansvaern: This yellow and white building is a massive stone fortress built in the 17th century. It is located in Christiansted, St. Croix.
Estate Whim Museum: Located on the west end of the island of St. Croix, The Estate Whim Museum showcases artifacts from the Caribbean’s colonial period, including furniture and artwork.
Elaine Ione Sprauve Library and Museum: This library and museum in St. John honors Virgin Islands’ culture, literature, art and history.
Blackbeard’s Castle Ruins: Built in 1679 by the Danes, this site in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, is believed to have served as a lookout post for the infamous pirate Blackbeard. You can take walking tours of the ruins for an immersive experience of USVI history.
Magen’s Bay Arboretum: Founded in 1975, this arboretum in St. Thomas features native and exotic plants from around the world. It is a great spot to take a leisurely stroll since it contains some of nature’s most beautiful work.
Annaberg Sugar Plantation: This plantation was built in the 1700s and is now a national park on the island of St. John.
The Cruzan Rum Factory: Learn about the history of Cruzan Rum, and enjoy a rum tasting at their distillery on St. Croix.
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve: This historic park is located in the northeastern part of St. Croix and offers guided tours, hiking trails, beaches and more.
Culinary Influences of USVI Cooking
The cuisine of the US Virgin Islands is a delectable mix of flavors from many cultures, including African, American and Caribbean influences. Fresh seafood dishes such as grilled fish and conch chowder are popular here, as well as traditional soul food like jerk chicken and curried goat. Spicy sides like plantains and yams are also popular, as well as desserts like Tres Leches cake and coconut sorbet.
In a nutshell, restaurants around the islands offer an array of local dishes and international cuisines to cater to all tastes. Some must-try restaurants are:
Amalia Café in St. Thomas: Known for its Spanish flavors and fresh seafood dishes, this open-air restaurant is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
The Longboard in St. John: This restaurant is home to the world-famous frozen painkiller. Their “longboard” of fresh sushi is some of the best in the USVI!
La Reine Chicken Shack in St. Croix: This popular spot is the perfect place to experience the flavors of St. Croix. Sample favorites such as BBQ chicken and ribs. Foods with a Caribbean influence at La Reine include pot fish, fried plantains, johnny cakes and conch.
Extra Virgin Bistro in St. John: This Mediterranean restaurant serves three-course tasting menus with sumptuous local flavors and house-crafted cocktails.
Cultural Importance of Tourism in USVI
Tourism accounts for 60 percent of the US Virgin Island’s GDP. Moreover, the revival of the cruise industry is expected to buoy the growth of the tourism industry through 2023. Tourism has long been an essential part of the economy of the US Virgin Islands, and it continues to provide much-needed jobs and revenue for the local economy.
Additionally, it is believed that tourism helps generate community pride and a sense of place. Whether it’s tourists visiting to relax on the beach or explore historical sites, they all add to the vibrant culture of this special corner of paradise.
By visiting the islands, tourists have an opportunity to learn more about their history and culture, as well as support local businesses. This not only benefits the economy, but also helps keep alive traditions like music, dance, and culinary influences.
The US Virgin Islands is an amazing place filled with beauty, culture, and fun activities! From exploring its diverse population and its favorite activities to discovering the unique culinary influences of USVI cooking, there’s something here for everyone. So if you’re looking for a truly special vacation experience, then consider visiting this magical corner of paradise!
Book a Stay at Vacation VI Today!
Now that you know more about the US Virgin Islands, it’s time to book your stay at Vacation VI. We offer a variety of luxury vacation rentals with accommodations to meet every traveler’s needs. Get ready to explore the USVI and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Start planning your trip today by visiting our website or contacting our friendly staff for more information at 1-800-727-6610. We look forward to helping you plan an unforgettable vacation!