St. Thomas is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean. I have been there several times and never tire of it. The United States Virgin Islands, or USVI, is made up of three islands: St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. Charlotte Amalie is the capital of St. Thomas and it is lined with beautiful beaches and azure waters. St. Thomas is a shopper’s paradise, littered with dozens of trendy boutiques and shopping arcades. It is also regarded as one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. Their tourist season is December through May.
St. Thomas’s Exceptional Charlotte Amalie
Downtown, the 118-year-old mint green Italian renaissance structure is the House of Legislature for USVI. Fort Christian, with its clock tower on top, is a famous landmark from the 17th century, and was named after King Christian V. This building has been the Governor’s house, a church, prison, and police station in the past. Today it is a National Historic Site under renovation. Charlotte Amalie was first inhibited by migrating Indian tribes from South America, 3000 years before Columbus discovered it in 1493. St. Thomas was a haven for buccaneers though today tourists have replaced pirates.
The Dutch West India Company founded the first settlement in St. Thomas, circa 1672. By the 17th century, the islands were divided into two units, one English and one Dutch speaking. In 1917, the United States purchased the Dutch half.
The History of Charlotte Amalie
At the turn of the 18th century, St. Thomas had become the base for Caribbean legendary pirates, such as Black Beard and Captain Kidd. One can visit Blackbeard’s Castle for a small fee. The United States first realized the Virgin Islands’ strategic and important location during the Civil War, and wanted to purchase it, but no deal was struck until WWI, when they paid $25 million dollars for ownership. St. Thomas is 13 miles long, 4 miles wide, and maintains a 73-89 degree temperature year round.
Magen’s Bay is stunning and its white sand beaches are often photographed. You can get a great photograph of these beaches from the top of Flag Hill. To get there, take the sky ride to Paradise Point, which is a seven minute ride. It has a lovely view of the harbor. Magen’s Bay is continually voted one of the top ten beaches in the world by National Geographic Magazine.
Conveniently enough, the main street for shopping is ‘Main Street’. Long stretches of arcade style shopping are the backdrop for the amazing jewelry stores in USVI and nice shopping locations lie on the waterfront, as well. St. Thomas is known for its expensive perfumes and diamonds. My favorite exquisite jewelry store is Little Switzerland, with other locations in Barbados, St. John, and Key West.
FYI: The local cuisine of St. Thomas is Johnnycakes, beans, rice, grouper, red snapper, passion fruit, and guava.
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