U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS  |  St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands Travel Guide
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St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

A view of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (cc)
Photo: Anda02
 

St. Thomas

St. Thomas, the second-largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands both in size and in population, draws the largest number of visitors – many of them arriving on the sleek cruise ships that make Charlotte Amalie harbor the busiest port of call in the Caribbean. Many of these visitors return for a longer stay.

The island offers a hybrid vacation. The sun, sea and sand that all Caribbean islands offer are here in abundance, but St. Thomas is also a cosmopolitan and sophisticated oasis boasting a variety of big-city amenities not found elsewhere in the Caribbean.

The island’s sophistication is accurately mirrored in the number and variety of first-class restaurants. Nouvelle American and French, Continental and Italian, steak ‘n salad and seafood eateries vie for your attention. You’ll want to try some West Indian dishes too.


The Hottest Islands in the Caribbean


Charlotte Amalie, the island’s cosmopolitan capital and commercial center, once the favorite playground of pirates and privateers, now stocks booty garnered in all parts of the world and sold at duty-free prices. Fine gold jewelry, leather goods, stereos and cameras, elegant china and linen are the best buys.

Accommodations on the island include posh resort hotels and chic condominiums on lovely beaches, as well as a good number of small picturesque places scattered on the hillsides overlooking the harbor.

Of course, there is a downside to this. Charlotte Amalie’s commercial center is the scene of daily traffic jams and parking can be very tough. Main Street is often crowded with invading tourists from the docked cruise ships, lured from one shop to another by shrill hawkers on the street. The island’s sanitation department is hard put to keep up with the litter.

These drawbacks will affect you only minimally and you can savor the best of both worlds. Five minutes from Charlotte Amalie, the island is flowered and serene. There are quiet, virtually deserted coves where you can unwind, panoramic views to enjoy, and country roads to explore.

Heart-shaped Magens Bay is just one of the 20 or so powder beaches on St. Thomas. Morningstar, Lindbergh and Coki beaches are favorites as well. And the waters that encircle the island offer non-stop action – snorkeling, wind surfing, sailing, and a myriad of other activities. Scuba divers are lured by over 30 superb dive sites in the area and by the well-organized diving programs, while sport fishermen head here because so many record catches were made in local waters.

Terra firma action includes an 18-hole golf course at Mahogany Run, where the 14th hole perches on a cliff jutting over the Atlantic Ocean. Tennis courts sprout like mushrooms everywhere.

The natural aquarium at Coral World is a must, especially if you are not a diver. It allows you to see the coral reef up close with the strange and exotic fish that inhabit it.

Explore the islands nearby – inhabited and uninhabited – by joining a day-sail for snorkeling and good fun.

When the sun sets, and it always seems to set magnificently over the harbor, you can put on your party clothes and head for one of those gourmet restaurants.

St. Thomas offers lots to do and, with near-perfect weather year-round, you have lots of time to do it.

Last updated November 15, 2011
Posted in   U.S. Virgin Islands  |  St. Thomas
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