St. Thomas is
one of my favorite islands in the Caribbean. Located in the
Caribbean Sea this island paradise has allot to offer visitors.
The capital of the island is Charlotte Amalie (where the cruise
ships dock) named after the wife of King Christina V of Denmark
(in approx 1672). There are 2 ports within the the city of
Charlotte Amalie, the West Indian Company Cruise dock where most
vessels dock and there is a second port near the submarine basin
on the opposite side of the capital city.
St. Thomas is home to the oldest standing structure in the Caribbean - Fort Christian built in 1672. Designed to originally protect the harbor from the European Armada. Later it served as St. Thomas' first Government House, a church, Government community Center and today is home to the Virgin Islands Museum.
The island has some of the world's most beautiful beaches and I highly recommend visiting Megan's Bay - rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world! It's about a 20 minute Taxi ride from the cruise terminal to Megan's Bay. If the beach is not for you, you can take a tram ride on the Paradise Point Tramway up some 700 feet to a lookout over the harbor, your cruise ship and the city capital. Once on top, there are nature trails, wild birds and a place for a drink or snack.
On St. Thomas, the tropical, green, picturesque, island is ideal for exploring or taking a tour of the city and island. St. Thomas is also know for its duty-shopping and is very popular for the bargain hunters and those buying jewelry, perfume and electronics (it is always advisable to price items before assuming that an island will have the best prices.) Located adjacent to the West Indian Cruise Terminal is the Havensight Mall, where you can purchase a variety of items in addition to main shopping areas which are located in the center of Charlotte Amalie proper. Cruise passengers enjoy a special duty-free shopping status: No custom duties or sales tax are imposed on tourism-related items. The center of town is approximately a 20 minute taxi ride from the cruise terminal (provided there is no traffic).
The island is a great place to just walk around and explore. When it comes to activities at sea, St. Thomas offers snorkeling, scuba diving, glass bottom boat rides, fishing, a visit to Coral World and even a submarine ride below the waves to visit a reef. The island also offers a number of golf courses for those who would like to get in 18 holes. The St. Thomas Mahogany Run course is a George and Tom Fazio design and one of the most beautiful and challenging in the Caribbean.
You can even take a brief ferry ride over to St. John's where you can explore the nature reserve and swim at some of the beautiful beaches the island has to offer. (You will need to take a taxi from Charlotte Amalie to the ferry location on the other side of the island.)
St. Thomas is packed with many things to do and is one of my favorite places. It should be noted that St. Thomas is very popular with the cruise ships and that there are time when up to 7 or 8 ships drop off passengers on the island at the same time. This causes major gridlock to the island's infrastructure and sometimes provides a very crowded experience for visitors. If you are taking a taxi from Charlotte Amalie and there are many ships in port, please leave adequate time to return to the ship. In addition, they drive on the opposite side of the road and the roads tend to be windy and have many blind curves. Whenever possible please use ship organized tours, public transportation or taxis.
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