ABOUT The islands have more hotels per square mile than anywhere in the Caribbean. Costs vary according to standard, but are generally quite high compared to other Caribbean islands. The islands' hotel association has a counter at the airport to assist with reservations. A variety of guest houses, condominiums and villas are also available on St John and St Thomas. There are two main campsites, both on the island of St John. One of the main sites, Cinnamon Bay Camp, is located inside the 11,560-acre St John National Park. Inexpensive bare plots, plots with tents already set up and cottages are available for a maximum stay of two weeks. The site is very popular, so reservations should be made well in advance. The other campsite is at Maho Bay near a beautiful beach. So-called 'eco-tents', which are part of the tourist authorities' wish to encourage 'sustainable tourism' and rustic cabins are also available. The Virgin Islands were first inhabited by Carib and Arawak Indians but, in common with the rest of the Caribbean, they endured various waves of European invasion and settlement from the 1490s onwards, finally becoming part of the Danish West Indies. The US government purchased the islands in 1917 and they are now an unincorporated territory of the USA. The US Virgin Islanders are overwhelmingly friendly and helpful and the pace of life is very relaxed. Shaking hands is the normal form of greeting and the appropriate time of day greeting is usually uttered at every encounter. Politeness and courtesy is expected.

CLIMATE The Virgin Islands does not have a rainy season, however there are month to month differences. The rainiest months in the Virgin Islands are November, October, September, August and May. The best months are June, July and August which tend to be the hottest with temperatures around 33 C and December through February cooler months with high 26 C degree temperatures.

BEWARE Most visits to the US Virgin Islands are trouble-free but visitors should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.