St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Once largely occupied by Dutch-owned sugar cane plantations and pirates of the Caribbean, St. Thomas (with excursions to nearby St. John) offers a wide range of recreation suited for relaxation and invigoration. Bask on a white-sand beach, immerse yourself in the warm waters of crystal seas or explore the tropical terrain by bike. Peruse over 450 shops for excellent luxury-item bargains, enjoy over 40 breathtaking beaches, or play golf on lush fairways. A short ride to St. John opens up an incredible underwater world prime for snorkeling and other forms of nautical recreation.
At certain times of the year, you may encounter outdoor performances by dance troupes who keep the traditions of the native Arawak Indians alive. You may also stumble upon arts and crafts fairs where local handicrafts are sold, like pottery, baskets and jewelry. From golfing to snorkeling, shopping and sunbathing, this port boasts so many sites for sport, relaxation and leisure.
Places to Explore
- Charlotte Amalie
Find great bargains in this main shopping area. Discover sparkling jewelry, distinctive European china, elegant and casual clothing and collectible local crafts.
- Blackbeard's Castle
A popular restaurant with breathtaking panoramic views. Originally known as "Skytsborg," its 300+ year-old watchtower was a home to pirates-including the infamous Blackbeard-in the 18th century.
- Fort Christian
Explore the oldest standing structure in the Virgin Islands. This brick fortress, built on the harbor in 1672, is now home to the Virgin Islands Museum, where memorabilia and maps trace St. Thomas' history.
- Seven Arches Museum
Step back in time to glimpse how the island's 18th century Danish ancestors lived. Visit this marvelous museum, once a private home with slaves' quarters, now fully restored in Danish West Indian style.
- Government House
A popular historic site, this stately white structure has represented the center of official life in St. Thomas since the 1860s. The first 2 floors offer fascinating artifacts of local political history.
- Coral World Ocean Park
An undersea observatory where you view a living coral reef 15 feet below the sea without getting wet. Encounter sharks, stingrays, turtles and other fascinating marine animals.
- Butterfly Farm
A tropical garden wonderland where hundreds of beautiful butterflies from around the world fly freely all around you. You can also enjoy a parrot show, a kid's favorite.
- Mahogany Run
Tee up for a relaxing round of golf at this scenic 18-hole, par 70 course designed by world-famous architects, George and Tom Fazio. Try to break par on this competitive course amidst unspoiled island beauty.
- Magens Bay
St. Thomas' premier beach with its half-mile stretch of white sand! Soak up this world-famous Bay where you can swim, soak up the sun on a beach chair or stroll along the picture-perfect shoreline.
English is universally spoken throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.
U.S. currency is accepted all over the U.S. Virgin Islands, though it is recommended that major purchases be made with credit cards. In smaller markets and bazaars, you will want to use cash, and you are also allowed to bargain. All goods are duty/luxury/sales tax free.
- How to Get Around
St. Thomas offers a "dollar bus," which you only need to pay one or two dollars to ride along a route that takes you to the island's most popular destinations with stops every 5-10 minutes. If traveling to neighboring islands, you can take advantage of car ferry services that run regularly out of the island's main marinas. In St. John, cabs are readily available. You can also rent a car if your plans involve touring multiple beaches.