A popular Caribbean getaway and the welcome mat for the rest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas is a 32-square-mile oasis of lush tropical paradise. St. Thomas’ largest city and the capital of the USVI, Charlotte Amalie, is the most visited cruise port in the Caribbean. Packed with jewelry stores, restaurants, cafes and bars, this downtown area is where the island receives the bulk of its tourism. In addition to the myriad of jewelry stores, some of which are only open when there are cruise ships docked, there are several open-air bazaars selling everything from handmade crafts and island artwork to fresh produce and an endless selection of duty-free products.
Largely mountainous, St. Thomas boasts beautiful panoramic roadside views of the ocean and surrounding island landscape. Peppered throughout the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie are historic Danish-era buildings that blend with the natural scenery to make this island nation a favorite Caribbean getaway. Visitors can take a tram 700 feet above sea level to Paradise Point and have lunch or browse the many quaint shops while taking in the magnificent views. Spend the day at Coral World Ocean Park and get up close and personal with marine life which includes an inside look at a coral reef and a shark petting zoo. Some of the islands’ best snorkeling can be found on Coki Beach, where underwater visibility is over 100 feet. Red Hook, also referred to as the East End, has an active nightlife with a strip of restaurants, bars and clubs and ferry service to the island of St. John. Whatever you decide to do here, let the pleasant malaise of the St. Thomas island lifestyle saturate your soul as your enjoy life at a slower pace.
Between fresh fruit and fresh seafood, the Caribbean flavors of the islands can be found in nearly every beachside restaurant and café on St. Thomas. Agave Terrace in the East End serves up some of the finest island-inspired cuisine with specialties like conch fritters, jerk chicken and Coral Bay crab cakes. For a romantic dining experience in Charlotte Amalie, the Banana Tree Grille offers internationally inspired choices like sugarcane tuna, orange pepper lobster and wine-braised lamb shank. To satisfy the pasta-loving locals and tourists, Romano’s Restaurant, located near Coral World on the North, is owned by New Jersey chef Tony Romano, and specializes in house favorites like four-cheese lasagna, osso buco and house-made desserts.
Cyril E. King Airport (STT) is the international airport of St. Thomas, located in Red Point on the southwest coast. Many travelers reach the island by way of cruise ship, as it’s a popular destination for major cruise lines. Most ships dock at the West Indian Company Dock, two miles from downtown Charlotte Amalie. While on the island, both ferries and taxis are popular means of transportation, but can become very expensive as both services tend to charge per person. For an extended stay, renting a car is a recommended option if you’re looking to explore various parts of the island.
St. Thomas’ tropical climate makes every time of year sun soaked and enjoyable. There is little variation in seasons with average summertime highs of around 90° F (32.2° C) and a little less humidity. Winter average temperatures range from 86° F (30° C) as a high and a low of 72° F (22.2° C). The rainy season tends to occur in mid-late autumn and average over five inches of rainfall per month. Inland temperatures will drop slightly due to an increase in elevation, but the overall climate remains closely the same throughout the entire island.