Virgin Islands National Park

Located in a paradisiacal corner of the Caribbean, the Virgin Islands National Park is a mighty testament to biodiversity and history, offering an incredible blend of towering landscapes, exotic flora and fauna, and captivating cultural heritage. We will embark on a journey through the diverse aspects of this park, from its rich biological diversity and historic sites to the activities you can engage in within it. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of nature.

Introduction to the Virgin Islands National Park

Virgin Islands National Park

Brief History

Established on August 2, 1956, the Virgin Islands National Park spans over half of the Island of San Juan, with an area of 59.64 km² and a high level of visitors (677,289 visits per year), encompassing coastal and underwater terrains. It preserves a unique tropical and marine landscape, as well as several significant archaeological sites.

Location and Geography

The Virgin Islands National Park is located on the Island of San Juan, one of the three main Virgin Islands of the United States, at coordinates: 18°20′17″ N, 64°44′0″ W. The park covers about 60% of the island and encompasses stunning landscapes ranging from white sand beaches to jungle-covered hills.

Park and Regional Climate

The climate in the Virgin Islands is dominated by the trade winds from the east, blowing from east to west across the tropical Atlantic. During the winter, there are stronger winds and less rain, while in summer there is more rain and gentler winds. The region and the park enjoy a tropical climate, with relatively low humidity. Temperatures vary little throughout the year.
In winter, cold fronts from the continent can bring north Christmas winds, generating large waves on the northern beaches. It is important to exercise caution when entering the water during these conditions and to follow park warnings.

In summer, tropical storms or hurricanes from the east and south may approach. It is also common for tropical waves to bring clouds of African dust across the Virgin Islands.

This table displays climate data for Saint Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. It includes information on high and low temperature records, average high and low temperatures, and average precipitation in inches for each month.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
High Temperature Record (°F) 93 (34) 93 (34) 94 (34) 96 (36) 97 (36) 99 (37) 98 (37) 99 (37) 98 (37) 97 (36) 95 (35) 92 (33) 99 (37)
Average High Temperature (°F) 85 (29) 85 (29) 86 (30) 87 (31) 88 (31) 89 (32) 90 (32) 90 (32) 90 (32) 89 (32) 87 (31) 86 (30) 88 (31)
Average Low Temperature (°F) 72 (22) 73 (23) 73 (23) 74 (23) 76 (24) 78 (26) 78 (26) 78 (26) 78 (26) 77 (25) 75 (24) 74 (23) 76 (24)
Low Temperature Record (°F) 63 (17) 62 (17) 56 (13) 62 (17) 66 (19) 67 (19) 57 (14) 59 (15) 64 (18) 66 (19) 52 (11) 62 (17) 52 (11)
Average Precipitation (inches) 2.38 1.48 1.42 2.74 3.06 2.53 2.85 3.74 5.58 5.42 5.23 2.96 39.39

If you wish to explore the capital Charlotte Amalie, typical daily high temperatures hover around 91 °F (32.8 °C) in summer and 86 °F (30 °C) in winter. Typical daily low temperatures are around 78 °F (25.6 °C) in summer and 72 °F (22.2 °C) in winter. Water temperatures are around 83 °F (28.3 °C) in summer and 79 °F (26 °C) in winter. Average precipitation is around 38 inches (965 mm) per year. Rainfall can be quite variable, but the rainiest months on average are from September to November, and the driest months on average are February and March.

The islands are subject to tropical storms and hurricanes, with the hurricane season running from June to November. In recent history, substantial damage has been caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and Hurricane Marilyn in 1995. The islands were also affected by Hurricane Bertha in 1996, Hurricane Georges in 1998, Hurricane Lenny in 1999, Tropical Storm Jeanne in 2004, Hurricane Omar in 2008, Hurricane Earl in 2010, Tropical Storm Otto in 2010, and Tropical Storm Tomas in 2010, but the damage was less severe in those storms.


Endemic Flora

The park is a sanctuary for biodiversity, with a multitude of native and endemic plant species. Subtropical forests, mangroves, and seagrass savannahs make up the park’s landscape, providing a refuge for wildlife.

Local and Marine Fauna

From tropical birds to sea turtles, the Virgin Islands National Park is home to a diversity of wildlife. The blue waters harbor colorful coral reefs, home to a multitude of fish and other marine life forms.

Coral Reefs and Marine Life

The park protects a substantial part of the Caribbean coral reef system. These reefs are critical for marine life, providing habitat for a wide variety of species, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and dolphins.

Activities and Points of Interest in the Virgin Islands National Park

Trunk Bay Beach

Located within the Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay Beach is a tropical gem with crystal-clear waters and white sand. Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, its natural beauty reflects the lushness of the park. Visitors can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and relaxation in this idyllic setting surrounded by lush vegetation and colorful coral reefs. Explore the underwater wonders and tranquility of Trunk Bay Beach in the Virgin Islands National Park.

Hiking and Exploration

The Virgin Islands National Park offers numerous hiking trails that traverse its diverse landscapes. Hiking allows you to explore the park’s rich biodiversity and discover its natural wonders.

Snorkeling and Diving

With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs, the park is an ideal location for snorkeling and diving. Diving into the water, visitors can discover an underwater world teeming with life and color.

Kayaking and Sailing

The park is also known for its excellent opportunities for kayaking and sailing. These activities allow visitors to explore the stunning coastlines of the park and discover hidden coves and deserted beaches.

Guided Tours and Educational Programs

The park offers a variety of guided tours and educational programs that allow visitors to learn about the history, culture, and ecology of the region. These programs are a great way to deepen understanding and appreciation of the park.

Historical and Cultural Sites

Taino Settlements

The park protects several archaeological sites of the Taino people, the first inhabitants of the Virgin Islands. Visitors can explore these areas and learn about the rich history and culture of these indigenous peoples.

Sugar Plantation Ruins

The ruins of 18th and 19th-century sugar plantations are a reminder of the island’s history of slavery. These historical sites offer insight into the colonial past of the Virgin Islands.

Danish and African Cultural Impact

The Danish and African cultural legacy is evident in the island’s architecture and culture. This cultural blend has created a rich tapestry of traditions and customs that visitors can experience during their visit.

Conservation and Park Management

Conservation Efforts

Conservation is a fundamental part of the park’s mission. Conservation efforts include protecting and recovering endangered species, restoring damaged ecosystems, and public education about the importance of conservation.

Conservation Challenges and Threats

The park faces a range of challenges, including climate change, pollution, and unsustainable development. Despite these challenges, the park continues to work towards protecting and preserving its extraordinary biodiversity and cultural heritage.

Public and Volunteer Contributions

The public plays an essential role in park conservation. Visitors and volunteers can contribute in many ways, from following park rules to participating in volunteer programs for ecosystem cleanup and restoration, as well as collaborating on environmental education projects.

Planning Your Visit

How to Get There

The Virgin Islands National Park is accessible by air through the Cyril E. King International Airport on the island of San Juan. You can also reach it by ferry from nearby islands.

Where to Stay

On the island of San Juan, there’s a variety of accommodation options ranging from luxurious hotels and resorts to cozy bed and breakfasts. Camping options are also available for nature enthusiasts.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the park is during the months of December to April, when the weather is drier and temperatures are pleasant. However, keep in mind that these months can also be busier with visitors.

Rules and Recommendations

When visiting the park, it’s important to follow the established rules to protect the natural and cultural environment. This includes carrying out your waste, respecting wildlife, and not damaging historical sites.

Photo Gallery

For a visual glimpse of the beauty of the Virgin Islands National Park, we invite you to explore our photo gallery, where you can appreciate the stunning landscapes, vibrant marine life, and rich cultural history that the park has to offer.

We hope this introduction to the Virgin Islands National Park has piqued your interest and provided you with an overview of the wonders that await you in this unique destination. Enjoy your visit and discover everything that this incredible park has to offer!