Full of uncertainty over what I might find, I traveled all the way across the country to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands, a beautiful region that only 6 months prior had been absolutely decimated by two different Category 5 Hurricanes.
Pulling up to the terminal at the Cyril E. King airport on the island of St. Thomas, I immediately took note of two things: that half of the airport terminal roof was missing and that despite that, the airport was running at full steam ahead. This is, unfortunately, the cultural reality of post-Hurricane life in a tourism-dependent location: that even though nature has made life as difficult as possible, the show must go on.
Unlike the slow, balanced pace I noted in American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands are best characterized by their chaotic energy: the roads are bustling with fast-driving trucks, the towns are packed with vendors, and the restaurants and bars stay open until late into the night.
The National Park itself is located (primarily) on the island of St. John, which is a short ferry ride away from St. Thomas. Full of beautiful beaches and a seemingly endless number of coral reefs, the Park serves as a nice reprieve from the chaotic lifestyle of the main towns.
Overall, while the effects of the Hurricanes are clearly present, the Virgin Islands maintain the core thing that made them popular: they are stunningly beautiful.
Here are my photos from my recent trip:
Categories: US National Parks