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A Geographical look at the Virgin Islands

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Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the Virgin Islands are about 40 to 50 miles east of Puerto Rico. There are 4 larger islands and over 50 smaller ones covering over 133 square miles that make up the United States Virgin Islands. The British Virgin Islands consist of 4 main islands and about 32 smaller ones for a total of 59 square miles. The British Virgin Islands are to the north east of the US Virgin Islands and closest to St. John.

The islands are made up of rugged mountains, beautiful coral reefs, and thick rainforests. The islands were made almost 100 millions years ago as a result of volcanoes erupting. Each island is a mountain peak off the ocean’s floor creating amazing seaside cliffs, mountains with lush forests. The highest point is on Britain’s Tortola’s Mount Sage at 1,710 feet above sea level. There are also plenty of white sandy beaches.

The island is very careful to take care of the beauty of the island but still allowing travelers to fully take in the beauty. For example, the residents implemented Reef Ranger Project, a programmed aimed at educating the people, as well as restoring and protecting the islands’ coral reefs, coastal grasslands, and wildlife.

St. Thomas island, at 13 miles long and four miles wide, is just a little over 31 square miles. Crown Mountain is the island’s highest point at 1,556 feet although it should be noted that little of the St. Thomas island is flat. St. Thomas touts the best natural deepwater harbors in the Caribbean, making it home to many exotic creatures of the water. Coral reefs are world-renowned, especially Buck Island off of St. Croix where the water is crystal clear.

St. Croix is 22 miles long and 6 miles wide at the broadest point on the island. The east end is composed of cactus plants among the short grassy hillsides. On the west end, the lush mountains are dotted with ferns and large fruit trees. The center of St. Croix is mostly beaches and rolling pastures. At 1,088 feet, Mount Eagle is St. Croix’s highest peak.

A bit smaller is the island of St. John-- only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide for a total of 20 square miles. Bordeaux Mountain is 1,277 feet tall although the whole island is known for being hilly. Well over two thirds of St. John is protected by the National Park Service.

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