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Explore the Virgin Islands (Sixth Edition) Paperback – November 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Explore the Virgin Islands
  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Manatee Press; 6 edition (November 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893643549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893643543
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,278,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...the most personalized and comprehensive guide I have read. It is a must for anyone visiting St. John." -- Anne Marie Porter, USVI Wedding Minister

"A quality book that covers all aspects...it's all here and well done." -- San Diego Tribune

"Explore The Virgin Islands is an indispensible resource for maximizing one's activity and fun." -- Midwest Book Review, February 2005

"Explore the Virgin Islands is the most complete, easy to read guide to the Virgin Islands I've seen." -- William Todd, Go Caribbean, About.com

"Pariser has updated and expanded listings in all categories... Pack it, read it, use it -- the book won't disappoint." -- Gay Nagle Myers, Travel Weekly, Deember 2004

From the Publisher

Crashing waves on white sand beaches. Dining on baked lobster at a seaside cafe. Hiking trails in one of America1s most special national parks. Diving and snorkeling in pristine waters. Crawling between huge boulders at The Baths on Virgin Gorda. Sailing from island to island. Gourmet meals at fine resorts and camping under palm trees. Touring botanical gardens, restored plantation homes, and shopping for duty-free bargains. These are but a few of the things the Virgin Islands have to offer visitors.

Author Harry Pariser covers every nook and cranny of the United States and British Virgin Islands. He guides you through a wealth of fascinating information -- including history, government, economics, and the island1s myriad flora and fauna -- and provides in-depth coverage of restaurants, accommodations, tours, attractions, entertainment, transportation and more. You1ll find valuable suggestions on how to spend your limited time. It offers nuggets and details found nowhere else!

Customer Reviews

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See all 8 customer reviews
I find that this book has a wealth of practical and interesting information.
J. Blilie
Explore the Virgin Islands takes readers beyond the standard travel guide information and encourages them to become adventurous island explorers.
JoAnna Carey
This book has shown me many things I didn't know, and will definitely be in my suitcase next time.
Marion Gropen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on May 23, 2005
Harry Pariser's Explore the Virgin Islands is a guide book written the way all guide books should be: it's insightful, informative, up-to-date, and has a unique voice. This isn't a watered down guide from a massive multi-national publisher: it is the real skinny on what to see and do in the Virgin Islands from a seasoned traveler and writer with an eye for details and interesting facts and a passion for his subject.  Explore the Virgin Islands covers the U.S. (St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas plus Water and Hassel Islands) and British Virgins (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Anegada and more) in breadth and detail, with a keen eye on the history and ecology of one of the Caribbean's most beautiful areas.

The book's introduction demonstrates Pariser's true interest in the region and its environment. Pariser includes a ton of great background information, as well as anecdotes about the history of the Virgin Islands old (the Carib Indians, Slavery) and new (Senator Adelbert Bryan). There is also an expanded section on the flora and fauna of the Virgin Islands, its animal life, and of course the many coral reefs. He sends his readers on vacation with the knowledge and appreciation to fully enjoy the complexities and beauties of the Virgin Islands.

Explore the Virgin Islands is a handsome, softbound volume with a stunning cover photo. It's filled with numerous detailed maps, color and black and white photographs, and helpful charts and sidebars (more than one hundred) with diverse information ranging from Anegada's pink flamingos to Blackbeard the Pirate. Indeed, it's Pariser's mix of island history and folklore with complete travel nuts and bolts that make this book both interesting and useful.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Blilie on February 16, 2006
Verified Purchase
I think this is an excellent guidebook. It has the flavor of a Lonely Planet book, without such a complete "backpacker" emphasis. I find it enjoyable to just read. It's very well written, without trying so hard to be cute or flashy. (I recently bought a pile of guidebooks for Florida and they were all a waste of money except the Michelin Green Guide! Leave it to Michelin.)

I find that this book has a wealth of practical and interesting information. Every question I have come up with regarding planning our trip, I have quickly and easily been able to come up with an answer to. It's full of good maps and photos. He tells you when a spot has been overrun by tourists or if the surf is dangerous there. He tells you when to be especially careful about being ripped off as a tourist. There are lots of interesting bits about the local flora and fauna and historical sidebars. It has an extensive index, a bibliography organized by subject, and a glossary of creole words and other island-specific expressions. It was updated last year, so I expect the information to be very accurate. He gives lots of specific restaurants, hotels, etc., with phone numbers and addresses and recommends some. He doesn't give reviews of the businesses generally; but often gives the flavor of the clientele or some other indication of what to expect (prices, etc.) I imagine it would be pretty hard to slam some business in a place this small and still be able to do this kind of work.

This is not a backpacker's guide -- aimed exclusively at the cheapest way to do things. It's a general guide, with all kinds of information. He does tell you how to do it cheap (and tells you where that will be a pain in the rear.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By nehiker on January 3, 2006
I ended up buying this particular guidebook (Oct. 05 edition)based on the spectacular reviews and was rather disappointed with it. It is mostly fine if you like to take organized tours and/or money is not a consideration. The only other travel guidebook I have ever used was by Let'sGo (for a different place) and I was far more satisfied with that. Too bad Let'sGo does not have a guidebook for Virgin Islands.

Pariser's description of sites in St. Thomas is rather brief; there are far better descriptions in one of the free travel brochures available at the airport and elsewhere in St. Thomas(neither mentions admission charges though). The description of public transportation on St. Thomas and St. John is pathetic. The LonelyTravel guidebook (from 2001!) listed schedules for public buses on St. Thomas and St. John, which were still correct at least for St. John. While Pariser listed some contact phone numbers instead, try using these to get any information!

On the positive side, Pariser's book does contain general information about the US Virgin Islands in some detail plus the British Virgin Islands, though with less detail.

By the way, if you are interested in doing some hiking on St. John, try getting a map from a NH guy called Trail Bandit (this is all I know about him; sorry). It shows more trails than the NPS map of hiking trails that you can get at the NPS office in Cruz Bay.

Have a great trip! It is a wonderful place to visit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marion Gropen on January 27, 2006
I have visited the Virgin Islands many times, and always with great delight. This book has shown me many things I didn't know, and will definitely be in my suitcase next time.

The discussions of flora and fauna in the beginning are exceptional, but this book has far more to offer. The discussion of places to eat and to stay is much more thorough than that in most other guides, and includes places I wouldn't want to miss. The discussion of activities and sites includes things I haven't seen in any other guide, and approaches I haven't found discussed elsewhere.

The dramatic cover and the charming photographs inside also help to convey the mood and beauty of the islands. Add this to the author's willingness to reveal his opinions and preferences, and you have the kind of unique and charming guide that is a rare find.
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