It does not take a passport to enjoy the warm, sunny weather of the equatorial region. In spite of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative of 2009, which mandates that all passengers traveling by air to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean must carry passports, Americans can still visit tropical U.S. territories with only a driver's license. In 2020 you will need the enhanced drivers licence to travel by Air if you don't have a U. S. Passport.
Situated two and a half hours from Miami in a pocket of water between the Atlantic and the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is a U.S. island territory. Influences of Africa, Spain, Latin America and the U.S. collide in the culture of this small chain of islands. Visit the mountainous interior, tropical rain forests and southern beaches to stare into the Caribbean waters and forget the mainland.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands, which include St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John, were acquired by the U.S. as territories in 1917 after hundreds of years of Danish rule. The history of the islands includes indigenous Indians, Europeans settlers and African slaves and traders in the islands' complicated past. Enjoy all that the islands have to offer by learning their history as well swimming, diving and enjoying the weather.
Northern Mariana Islands
The Micronesian islands of the Northern Marianas are another group of Pacific territories open to U.S. citizens without passports. Enjoy cultural dance, music and food while relaxing on the tropical beaches. For a bit more adventure, scuba dive for ocean life, coral reefs or World War Two shipwrecks off the coast.
The six Polynesian islands in the heart of the South Pacific that make up American Samoa are another tropical territory of the U.S. Far from the borders of the American mainland, tourists seeking some peace and respite from the more obvious beach getaways will find island life in these tropical islands refreshing. Discover the jungle or just hang out at the beach and leave the working world behind.
The only tropical islands to receive full U.S. statehood, Hawaii has glistening beaches, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, active and dormant volcanoes and warm, sunny days all year round. The Pacific island chain is more than five hours from the U.S. mainland when flying from Los Angeles.
What happens if you mix Texas with Hawaii?
You'd probably get a remote island paradise that looks a lot like Guam: an island with a rich culture, a contentious and diverse colonial history and absolutely stunning vistas. In many ways, Guam seems like a wonderfully unique contradiction. It's a remote island and an international melting pot; it's an American territory, and the gateway to Asia; it's home to an intensely local culture, but it's filled with outsiders. And to top it all off, it's just beautiful.
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