Cacti along the coastline of Shark Bay National Park on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Off the Water: Forests and Parks in the Virgin Islands

Away from the water, the Virgin Islands are a fascinating and richly diverse landscape: rocky bluffs and wide plains; mountain peaks and dry seaside forests; salt ponds and rainforest. Pack a pair of walking shoes, a water bottle, and a sense of adventure to get up close to the natural world away from the ocean.

Boats moored in the shallow waters of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

The Virgin Islands’ Best Snorkeling

Good snorkeling is in the eye of the beholder, and though most people gravitate to reefs, sea grass and mangrove habitats are also fun to explore. With that in mind, here are the best places to snorkel in both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

The Customs House dates back to 1751. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Explore Christiansted National Historic Site

Comprising five historic structures dating to the earliest days of Danish colonization, Christiansted National Historic Site is the natural starting point for any exploration of historic Christiansted. Take a moment to enjoy the view outside on the expansive lawns, then delve into the site’s history by exploring inside.

Lobster lunch. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Seafood in the Virgin Islands

No food group is as traditional in the Virgin Islands as seafood. Expert author Susanna Henighan Potter takes a look at local favorites from pot fish to traditional pungent saltfish to specialty whelk and conch, the islands’ preferred shellfish.

A woman snorkels amid boulders under Virgin Gorda's blue skies.

Snorkeling 101: Tips and Tricks

Everyone should try their hand at snorkeling. It is a simple, low-tech, and easy way to explore the wonderland of reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove forests, and sandy bottoms that exist around the coasts of many popular vacation destinations. These tips will help you enjoy a successful and safe snorkel experience.

Cruz Bay in St. John. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Discover St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

For outdoors enthusiasts, there is no better place to explore a tropical wilderness. Discover the natural beauty and laid-back hamlets of St. John, plus where to stay on the island, day trip ideas, and tips on planning your time.

Colonial architecture as seen on a Havana street. Photo © Gareth Williams, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Cuban Colonial Architecture

Cuba boasts the New World’s finest assemblage of colonial buildings. Spanning four centuries, these palaces, mansions, churches, castles, and more simple structures catalog a progression of styles. Learn how to identify the earmarks of each style in your travels throughout Cuba.