Getting there: the closest intercontinental airport to the US Virgin Islands is San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Caledonian Airways has weekly flights from Gatwick, which it operates on behalf of British Airways (0345 222111). The lowest official fare is £685 including taxes, requiring 21 days' advance purchase, but through agents such as Transatlantic Wings (0171-602 4021) it should be easy to find a cheaper and less restrictive deal.

There are plenty of connecting services for the 100-miles from San Juan to St Croix (pronounced to rhyme with "boy"), the largest of the US Virgin Islands the fare for this sector is around £50 each way.

Accommodation: The Buccaneer (001 809 773 2100) is represented in the UK by Unique Hotels (01453 835801). A standard double costs $165 (about £104) per day.

Money: the US dollar is the only recognised currency.

Recommended reading: The 1995 Caribbean Islands Handbook (Trade & Travel, £14.95) and the Northeastern Caribbean (Cadogan Island Guides, £9.99) have useful chapters on the US Virgin Islands

Further information: for details of the Hawksbill Research Program, call 001 809 773 1460.

USVI Division of Tourism, 2 Cinnamon Row, Plantation Wharf, York Place, London SW11 3TW (0171-978 5262).