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The Virgin Islands are small and easy to navigate, so most people opt to visit these islands independently. Tours are not vital to a vacation here, but if you'd like to be taken around on a tour, a limited number of excursions are offered. Note: During the low summer season, these tours may not run regularly unless enough people book, so always call in advance to make arrangements.

Air Tours

It's a pricey option, but well-heeled visitors may want to see the Virgin Islands as the birds do. Helicopter tours are available through Air Center Helicopters, Cyril E. King Airport, in St. Thomas (tel. 340/775-7335; www.aircaenterhelicopters.com). Parties can rent the entire helicopter for a 17-minute tour of St. Thomas and St. John for $385; a 25-minute tour that flies over both of these islands as well as Jost van Dyke in the B.V.I. costs $565. Helicopters seat five passengers and a pilot.

Air Ventures in Paradise (tel. 340/719-5529; www.airventuresinparadise.com), based in St. Croix's Henry Rohlsen Airport, offers "flightseeing" tours of St. Thomas and St. Croix in small private airplanes. They also offer charter flights to nearby islands and private flight lessons.

If you can't afford such a luxury, you can get a panoramic aerial view from Paradise Point on St. Thomas. See Paradise Point St. Thomas Skyride.

Guided Tours

One of the best tour operators in the U.S.V.I. is Adventure Center, in the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Resort, Flamboyant Point, St. Thomas (tel. 340/774-2992; www.adventurecenters.net). They offer a wide variety of tours, on both land and sea, and many tours of both St. Thomas and St. John depart right from the hotel's dock. Their 2 1/2 hour "Scenic Island Drive" tour explores St. Thomas's highlights, including the Botanical Gardens, Drake's Seat, and Charlotte Amalie; this tour costs $49 per person. Their "St. John Land and Snorkel Safari" is a full-day tour that takes visitors through the beaches and national parks in St. John, including a snorkel stop in Trunk Bay, in open-air buses; it costs $95 per person. Adventure Center offers an array of other quality guided tours throughout the Virgin Islands.

Tan Tan Tours (tel. 340/773-7041; www.stxtantantours.com) is a tour operator based in St. Croix that offers off-the-beaten-path jeep tours of the island. A 2 1/2-hour tour of the tide pools costs $70 per person, while a full-day (8-hr.) tour of the island costs $140 per person; custom tours are also available.

B.V.I. Eco-Tours (tel. 284/495-0271; www.bvi-ecotours.com) offers a variety of guided tours, including snorkeling, hiking, bird watching, sightseeing, diving, and general tours of the British Virgin Islands. Virgin Gorda Tours (tel. 284/495-5240; www.virgingordatours.com) offers guided taxi tours of Virgin Gorda, including stops at Savannah Bay, Gorda Peak, the historical Copper Mine ruins, and the famous Baths; tours vary, but a 1-hour tour (for 2 people) costs $55.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.