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Archive for U.S. virgin islands

Park Country

By Linda Tancs

Chances are, if you’ve visited St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, then you’ve encountered Virgin Islands National Park. That’s because two-thirds of the island is parkland, with key attractions like Annaberg Plantation and Trunk Bay in its borders. With so much area to explore, you needn’t fear going it alone. Ranger-guided tours abound in the park, covering hikes, shore walks, bird walks and even snorkel tours. The Reef Bay Trail is a year round hiking tour, where the island’s oldest and tallest trees are found amidst sugar plantation ruins, stone walls from cattle grazing and ancient rock carvings left behind by the pre-Colombian Taino. The L’Esperance Hike (available November thru April) follows an old Danish road that leads to a scenic transition from shady tropical forest to a desert-like landscape. Along the way you’ll find the island’s only baobab, a sacred tree species that was brought to the Caribbean by enslaved Africans. Both hikes end with a 40-minute boat ride back to the Cruz Bay Visitor Center.

A Community Under the Sea

By Linda Tancs

Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument includes federal submerged lands off the island of St. John supporting a diverse and complex system of coral reefs and other ecosystems such as shoreline mangrove forests and seagrass beds. In fact, an area within the monument known as Hurricane Hole includes some of the least disturbed mangrove ecosystems remaining in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mangroves act as nurseries for grunts and other fish like queen angelfish and gray snappers. St. John is accessible via ferry service from St. Thomas. Once on St. John, the only part of the monument accessible by land is in Hurricane Hole. To get there, follow route 10 from Cruz Bay to Estate Hermitage. The majority of the monument extends eastward from Borck Creek to Haulover Bay along the southern shoreline of the island.

Cool Deals Sizzle Caribbean

By Linda Tancs

Perhaps it isn’t cold enough to think of island getaways, but it pays to plan ahead. The U.S. Virgin Islands “Winter Escape” promotion provides hot savings on vacations in St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.

Book now at a participating hotel through October 31, 2008, for travel between January 1 and March 31, 2009, and receive a complimentary 5th night based on a five-night minimum stay, plus $300 in traveler’s checks and a coupon book with savings on activities and attractions. Participating hotels in St. Croix include The Palms at Pelican Cove, Chenay Bay Beach Resort, Carambola Beach Resort & Spa, Divi Carina Bay Resort, Hibiscus Beach Resort, Sand Castle on the Beach, The Buccaneer, Holger Danske Hotel, Club St. Croix, Colony Cove and Hotel Caravelle. Weekly events on the island include crab races, live jazz and a West Indian BBQ. In St. Thomas, stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Best Western Carib Beach, Best Western Emerald Beach, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, Holiday Inn Windward Passage, Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, Sapphire Beach Resort, Point Pleasant, Sapphire Village and the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa (check out the Big Screen on the Green. Even the Estate Concordia Campground in St. John is in on the deal. Book now. Play later.

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