St. Thomas (USVI) Directory
St. Thomas (USVI) Overview
The busiest of the three US Virgin Islands, St Thomas at first glance appears to be a shopper's paradise, but it is so much more. Whether you want to snorkel, scuba dive, hike, sail, or lay about on the beach (there are 44 individual beaches), this small island (about the size of Manhattan) can accommodate you.
Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas
St Thomas is designed to be a tourist's haven, not only for the overnight visitor, but also for the thousands who pass through the island regularly on the huge cruise ships. Life in St Thomas centres around the harbor in the capital, Charlotte Amalie, where cruise ships, yachts and motor boats dock in armadas.
The passengers of the ships, which dock in the colorful harbour of Charlotte Amalie, find a shopper's paradise, with hundreds of duty-free shops, packed with jewelry, designer clothing, cameras and electronics, alcohol and art work. Their first contact with the island is at Havensight Mall, where many stores found in the capital have a second location. Passengers can complete their shopping here and return to the ship, but others will venture into the town to see Charlotte Amalie's historic charm.
Those visitors not on a cruise ship may want to avoid the town on the days when cruise ships arrive. The streets can be jammed with shoppers and flooded with vendors hawking their wares, competing to woo visitors into their shops. Without the ships, Charlotte Amalie returns to its normal business tempo, making visiting more pleasant.
Charlotte Amalie, with its palm trees, red roofs, steep alleys and Danish warehouses, is extremely pretty. It was here that the infamous pirate Blackbeard found refuge.
Along the waterfront, there are two offshore islands -- Water Island and Hassell Island that can be visited by ferry from the Crown Bay Marina.
A tour around the island will include a stop at Tillett Gardens, a little artist colony outside of town, built around a garden and restaurant. Then there's Red Hook at the east end of the island where beautiful views of the islands of St. John and the British Virgin Islands beyond can be seen. A busy shopping area as well, Red Hook attracts the yachting set with its many marinas, provisioning markets, and more nautical-style eateries. Many beautiful beaches are located on the eastern coast, where most of the finer resort hotels are located.
Heading up into the hills, an essential stop is the Estate St. Peter Greathouse and Botanical Garden, a new facility that was built to look like an old great house. Aside plants (including an orchid jungle), birds and artwork, the site affords stunning views from 1,000 ft. above sea level of 20 offshore islands and atolls.
While up in the hills, another popular vantage point is Drake's Seat, actually a granite seat taking in the same views that supposedly were seen by Sir Francis Drake looking over the US and British Virgin Islands. You won't see the seat from the road, but you will see a gaggle of T-shirts vendors, waiting there for your arrival.
Another place for spectacular views is Mountain Top, which is at 1,500 ft., and known for its banana daiquiris. While in the neighbourhood, a round of golf at the Mahogany Run Golf Course would be on par at the 18-hole course (par 70), designed by Tom and George Fazio.
Back to sea level on the north coast is the popular and lively Magen's Bay, the best-known St Thomas beach and one of the most photographed in the Caribbean. Many bars, shops, restaurants line this beach which is the perfect spot for swimming, sunning, and particularly for people-watching on the island.
|St. Thomas Facts|
Banks are open Monday-Thursday, 9am-2.30pm, and Friday, 9am-2pm and 3.30-5pm. The main banks are Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Bank of Nova Scotia, Barclays, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, First Federal, First VI Federal Savings Bank and the VI Community Bank. Shops are open 9am-5pm every day except Sunday but will open at other times when cruise ships arrive. Payment cards very widely accepted ... more
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St. Thomas Accommodations