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Virgin Islands National Park

The Virgin Islands National Park comprises more than 7,000 acres of the island of St John, along with spectacular underwater sites as well. Perhaps the best place to begin a visit to the park is the Cruz Bay Visitors Center, which provides historical, cultural and geographical exhibits as well as guidebooks, maps and other information. There, rangers can assist visitors in planning their stay at the park. While the Annaberg ruins and Trunk Bay beach remain the most popular destinations, the park also offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Taino people, who inhabited the island before Columbus' arrival. Their remarkably well-preserved petroglyphs can be seen carved along the Reef Bay hiking trail, and a wealth of artefacts, some dating back 500 years, have been uncovered at Cinnamon Bay, where visitors can tour the archaeology lab. Cinnamon Bay is also a popular camping spot, with bare campsites, raised tents and cottages. Its beautiful sandy beach has a rental facility for sailing, windsurfing and kayaking in the large bay. The Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument can be reached by land only at Hurricane Hole. This three-mile belt off the southern end of the island contains 12,708 acres of submerged land, the waters of which support a complex system of coral reefs, as well as shoreline ecosystems of mangrove forests and seagrass beds.

Website: www.nps.gov/viis

Telephone: (340) 776 6201

Opening times: Cruz Bay Visitors Center: daily from 8am to 4.30pm; other site hours vary

Admission: Most sites are free. Trunk Bay: $4 (adults); Free for children aged 16 and under. Overnight anchoring or mooring in park waters: $15. Cinnamon Bay camping/rental costs vary