Saint Thomas City Guide
About Saint Thomas
St Thomas is the second largest and the most developed of the US Virgin Islands. These islands, which were originally a part of the Danish West Indies, were sold to the US by Denmark, by way of the Treaty of the Danish West Indies of 1916. The islands, especially St Thomas, continue to have a strong Danish influence which is largely evident in Charlotte Amalie, the main town and capital of St Thomas.
St Thomas is the main access point to the US Virgin Islands and as a result it is a choice vacation destination visited by scores of holidaymakers each year. St Thomas like the other US Virgin Islands is renowned for its stunning landscape and features wooded hills and headlands and numerous white sand beaches like Magens Bay and Coki Bay, that offer ample opportunities for water-based recreational activities like swimming, snorkeling, diving, sailing, yachting and sport fishing. In fact, the island annually hosts the famous Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament that draws top anglers to the island from around the world.
Aside from these recreational activities, St Thomas is also known to be a shopping Mecca that offers a whole host of duty-free shopping opportunities. It is no wonder then that holiday makers often book vacations to St Thomas to partake of its many delights like fantastic beach side resorts, exquisite international dining options and numerous recreational activities.
Where to stay in Saint Thomas
Your choice of accommodation in St Thomas is largely determined by your budget. Another factor that influences is whether you wish to be based near an urban center or on a beach side property for your holiday since each beach on St Thomas offers a variety of accommodation options.
Charlotte Amalie Hotels
Charlotte Amalie is the main urban development on St Thomas. If the objective of your St Thomas vacation is duty-free shopping and sampling good restaurants, then a moderately priced hotel/inn in Charlotte Amalie may be ideal for your St Thomas getaway. The disadvantage of staying within Charlotte Amalie is that the nearest beach can only be reached via a 10-15 minute bus ride from most of the hotel choices available here.
West and East of Charlotte Amalie
Frenchtown, which lies to the west of Charlotte Amalie, is yet another urban development offering good restaurants and hopping bars. Frenchtown is equipped with a few mid-range hotel properties that are popular with vacationers who don’t want to shell out the sky high rates often charged by beach side hotels on the East End and southern coast of St Thomas. Frenchtown is also not located ‘on the beach’ and you will have to take public transportation to get to the sands if you choose to stay at a hotel located here.
You will also face this problem if you elect to stay at a quiet hotel resort located on the east of Charlotte Amalie. Most attractions of St Thomas’ main city will be within easy reach from both these neighborhoods.
The South Coast
Charlotte Amalie is often overrun with cruise ship passengers. Many folk who book vacations to St Thomas like to escape the hustle and bustle of the main city in St Thomas, by electing to stay at a luxury hotel resort on the island’s south side.
This southern coast of the island offers stunning beaches and accordingly hosts the island’s most expensive hotel resorts highly coveted by holidaymakers wishing to kick back and relax on their St Thomas vacations.
The East End
The St Thomas neighborhood of the East End is even more isolated and tranquil than the St Thomas’ southern coast. Located here are some of St Thomas’ best beaches, Sapphire Beach and Lindquist Beach. The East End hosts several high end luxury hotels along with smaller boutique hotels which are immensely popular with visitors to the island.
Places to see in Saint Thomas
The original Danish settlement of Charlotte Amalie, which was named after the wife of King Christian V, continues to have a strong Danish influence. This port city, which is a popular cruise ship pit-stop is littered with white washed homes and villas, cobbled streets which bear Danish street signs, shops, boutiques and much colonial architecture. In fact the Old Danish merchant warehouses today house most of the duty free shops of Charlotte Amalie, which are renowned the world over for their well priced luxurious wares. Other attractions in Charlotte Amalie include Blackbeard’s Castle, which is located atop Government Hill and affords gorgeous vistas of the harbor packed with ferries, gigantic cruise liners, yachts and fishing boats. Also of interest is the red brick Fort Christian which is the oldest building on the island which houses the Virgin Islands Museum.
Coral World Ocean Park is the most prominent attraction on St Thomas, which has been wowing visitors for decades. This unique marine park extends over two levels and has something for tourists of all ages.
The marine park features restaurants, a gift shop and a touch pool on the ground level and 15 feet below the ground, it hosts an underwater observatory where visitors can marvel at the exotic marine creatures housed in their natural habitats.
The park also offers Sea Trek technology, which enables visitors to use helmet diving to walk along the ocean floor for half an hour without the aid of an oxygen tank or a snorkel.
St Thomas Skyride
The St Thomas Skyride consists of an elevated tramway that transports visitors over Flag hill to Paradise Point, which is located at a height of 213 meters. Paradise Point is equipped with a few restaurants and stores and offers gorgeous views of the island and the St Thomas harbor.
Best time to visit Saint Thomas
St Thomas, like the other US Virgin islands, enjoys a year round subtropical climate that is characterized by much heat and humidity. The island also experiences a rainy season that lasts from September to November.
Most visitors who book vacations to St Thomas tend to visit between the months of December to May, which is the peak tourist season on the island. Hotel rates are their highest during these times. However if you choose to make your travel bookings with Fare Buzz you are assured of cheap hotel rates for St Thomas all throughout the year, much thanks to our extensive networking and investments in relationship building.
Getting around in Saint Thomas
St Thomas is accessed via its Cyril E King Airport that lies to the west of Charlotte Amalie. This airport receives most of the domestic full service carriers, which make it easy to access the island from the US mainland. In fact ever so often Fare Buzz announces flight deals for St Thomas and if you feel the need to take a St Thomas vacation, you should probably connect with Fare Buzz on Facebook and Twitter to be in the know of these cheap air flights.
St Thomas is equipped with a limited public transport system that is made up of taxis and public buses called Vitrans. Most visitors however tend to hire a car for the duration of their stay on the island. Driving rules on St Thomas require that you drive on the left while driving on the island.
If you are comfortable with driving on the left and are desirous of renting a car for your St Thomas vacation, you would do well as to contact Fare Buzz with your needs, for we offer a wide array of affordable car rentals for St Thomas, which can be booked via our regular travel booking platforms.
Where to shop in Saint Thomas
The island of St Thomas is world renowned for its abundant duty-free shopping opportunities. The best buys on St Thomas according to frequent visitors, are items like jewelry, alcohol, china, crystal, fragrances, apparel, watches, cameras and clothing. However, you should perhaps check the prices of these products in your local stores before splashing out in St Thomas as sometimes prices closer to home are cheaper.
The area of Charlotte Amalie is one of the main shopping hubs on St Thomas. Dronningens Gade or Main Street is the main stretch for shopping in Charlotte Amalie and located here are many stores and boutiques offering a wide array of duty-free desirables. Additional shopping options can be found on streets like Back Street and Waterfront Street and the area’s narrow alleyways, like Palm Passage, Royal Dane Mall and Riise Alley.
Shopping in Charlotte Amalie is truly a charming experience for the area is littered with many quaint historic buildings which in addition to shops and boutiques also host various restaurants, cafes and bars, prefect for taking a breather on busy shopping expedition. Stores in Charlotte Amalie generally stay open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Also located within the Charlotte Amalie area, is an expansive local market called Vendor’s Plaza. This open-air market features several vendors of touristy finds like silver jewelry, t-shirts and other apparel, handbags, watches and other knick-knacks. The Vendor’s Plaza sports a perennial carnival air for it also hosts various food and games stalls. This plaza is usually open from Monday through Saturday from 7.30 am to 5pm. The plaza only opens for business on some Sundays, when several cruise shops visit the island together.
The area of Havensight located next to the main cruise ship dock area is another prominent shopping area of St Thomas for located here are various malls and shopping centers like Buccanner Mall, Port of Sale and Havensight Shopping Center which try to cater to every shopping need of cruise passengers. Shops in Havensight tend to stay open throughout the week from 9am until 7pm.
Where to eat in Saint Thomas
St Thomas is home to a vibrant dining scene featuring a wide range of restaurants. Pizza joints, beach bars, fine-dining spots, Caribbean eateries, the culinary landscape on St Thomas features them all.
The list of the best restaurants in St Thomas currently includes dining hotspots like Bella Blu (Mediterranean fare), Pie Whole (Pizza and beer), The Old Stone Farmhouse (upscale restaurant offering farm to table cuisine), Havana Blue (serving Latin American and Cuban cuisine), Iggie’s Beach Bar and Grill (West Indian food), The Shipwreck Tavern (casual dining spot), Fish Tales Bar and Grill (fresh seafood) and the Loonie Bien (serving Mexican cuisine).
Nightlife in Saint Thomas
St. Thomas hosts a vibrant nightlife scene, thanks to the abundance of beach bars, clubs and lounges located on the island. Favored nightlife haunts on the island currently include hotspots like Duffy’s Love Shack, Molly Malone’s, Offshore Bar, Fat Boys, Caribbean Saloon, Mojo’s Rum and Surf Shack, Dog House Pub, Herve Restaurant and Wine Bar, Room with a View and XO Bistro.