Now the home to a rich yachting crowd rather than a hangout for pirates, the Virgin Islands are both a Crown Colony of the United Kingdom and an unincorporated territory of the USA but have a calypso and reggae rhythm that marks them out as defiantly Caribbean.
Popular with yachtsmen and people looking to escape, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are less touristy and more traditional than their more commercial US counterparts. A stringent environmental policy has meant that the archipelago hasn't been overly affected or damaged by visitors and wild, unspoilt beaches are everywhere.
Tortola is the main centre; Virgin Gorda is glitzy and full of superstars but also has some good national parks whilst Jost Van Dyke is so laidback that the inhabitants are virtually horizontal. Life on Anegada atoll, adrift in a reef is even slower though.