St. Thomas combines the natural beauty of the islands with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is one of the most beautiful harbors in the world and the most visited port in the Caribbean.
Elegant dining, exciting nightlife, and world-class duty-free shopping are abundant in Charlotte Amalie. The city’s reputation as the shopping mecca of the Caribbean draws visitors from all over the region and around the world. A mountainous island, St. Thomas offers stunning vistas in almost every direction. While Charlotte Amalie is full of energy, St. Thomas also provides natural wonders such as the indescribably beautiful Magens Bay and stunning views of the Caribbean from 1,500 feet above sea level. Drake’s Seat is particularly famous for its vistas. Sports and activities are abundant on St. Thomas. Golf enthusiasts will enjoy the George and Tom Fazio-designed Mahogany Run course. St. Thomas is also well known for its world-class yachting and sportfishing.
St Thomas is relatively easy to get to via single connection flights on Delta, US Airways, American, and United. Another nice benefit of traveling to the Virgin Islands is that no passport is required.
Activities and Attractions
St. Thomas’ reputation as the shopping mecca of the Caribbean draws visitors from all over the region and around the world. The one million cruise ship passengers and overnight guests who visit St. Thomas each year can attest to the island’s prominence as the best shopping spot in the Caribbean. Charlotte Amalie boasts much of the finest duty-free shopping, especially on Waterfront and Main Streets. Restored seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century warehouses along the waterfront, which once held molasses, rum, spices, and other trade goods, now house a variety of unique shops containing modern-day treasures. Shops in the downtown areas are usually closed on Sundays, unless a cruise ship is in port. Shops at the larger hotels are usually open on Sundays. Look for bargains on perfume, liquor, cameras, china, porcelain, crystal, imported clothing, leather goods, watches, jewelry, and gold, as well as crafts made by local artisans. Many of these items can be bought for 40 percent less than in the United States; liquor and cigarettes are often 60 percent less.
Both National Geographic and Conde Nast Traveler have named heart-shaped Magens Bay one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You can judge for yourself. Snorkeling, kayaking, and other water gear is available for rental.
Golf is popular on St. Thomas, in part because of the exquisite Mahogany Run course designed by George and Tom Fazio. The 6,022-yard, par-70 championship course is famous for its “Devil’s Triangle,” where the 13th, 14th, and 15th holes force golfers to overcome a formidable stretch of Caribbean Sea that sprawls between the tee and the green.
Fishing and yachting
Sportfishing and yachting are extraordinarily popular on the island. Fishing tournaments are common, as are record-setting catches (24 at last count from the waters around the U.S. Virgin Islands). Yachts can be rented bare or with a full crew, including gourmet chefs.