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Guide to St Thomas

A shopper’s paradise steeped in history

Home to almost half the population of the US Virgin Islands, and the location of the territory’s capital, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas is known for its stunning sandy beaches and for its diving and duty-free shopping opportunities.

St Thomas is a busy and cosmopolitan island, which attracts large numbers of yacht visitors throughout the year, drawn here by the natural beauty of its sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, to enjoy the wide range of outdoor activities on offer and to take advantage of some of the best duty-free shopping in the Caribbean.

The capital, Charlotte Amalie, is often the first port of call for those visiting the US Virgin Islands, and its award-winning, full-service marina can accommodate yachts of up to 200m in length. Founded in 1672, the town is one of the busiest cruise ship ports in the Caribbean, but has retained much of its historic character and is known for its Danish colonial architecture, including the 17th century Fort Christian, which is now a museum, and Blackbeard’s Castle, a watchtower dating from the same period.

Charlotte Amalie is a popular duty-free shopping destination, with high-end boutiques lining the pedestrian streets near the waterfront. Jewellery shops are especially prevalent, while watches, leather goods, alcohol, designer clothes and artworks are also available at tax-free prices. You will find more outlets at the Yacht Haven Grande marina complex. 

If you’re coming ashore for lunch, there are plenty of restaurants in Charlotte Amalie serving Caribbean and American cuisine, as well as some excellent seafood restaurants in Frenchtown, just west of the capital. 

St Thomas is fringed with spectacular sandy beaches if you’re looking to simply relax, enjoy the views and go for a swim in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean. Magens Bay Beach, a picturesque stretch of white sand on the north coast, is among the most celebrated in the whole Virgin Island archipelago, while for a quieter, more secluded spot, try Brewers Bay Beach, on the south coast.

St Thomas is a particularly attractive destination for snorkelers, with a number of interesting sites to explore around the coast. One of the best is Coki Point Beach, in the northeast of the island, where the rich coral reefs provide a habitat for numerous fish species. Nearby is the Undersea Observatory Tower, belonging to Coral World Ocean Park, which allows you to view the reef 4.5m below the surface of the sea without getting wet. 

Novice scuba divers will also enjoy the reefs off Coki Point Beach, at a depth of 15m, while more experienced divers can head across the bay to the north coast of Thatch Cay, to discover deeper coral fields, sponges and dramatic drop-offs. The Cow and Calf Rocks, off the southeast coast of St Thomas, is another popular site for both snorkelling and diving, with a network of coral tunnels, ridges and canyons to explore.

There’s plenty to see inland, too, with a number of hiking trails crossing the island, taking in historical sites such as the ruins of the 17th century Neltjeberg sugar plantation, and for the ultimate adrenalin rush, take a turn on the Zipline through the lush rainforest on St Peter’s Mountain.

If you're looking to visit St Thomas as part of your next Caribbean luxury yacht charter itinerary, you can take a look at all yachts available for Virgin Islands crewed yacht charters

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Reasons to Visit

Historical architecture
Natural beauty

Good For

  • Marine Life
  • Nature
  • Diving
  • Shopping

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