Christopher Colombus is credited with “discovering” Saint Thomas during his second voyage to the New World in 1493. His stay was short-lived, instead sailing on to Puerto Rico. The island was left unguarded by the Spanish and soon its sheltered bays were called on by ships from other nations, captained by men the Spanish would come to consider pirates. Saint Thomas’ existence would continue as home to pirates and small settlements long before a European power decided to pursue a permanent settlement.
Today, the history, climate, white beaches, and natural beauty of Saint Thomas attract visitors fromall over the world. From world-class shopping, fine dining, to a wide variety of active outdoor adventures including kayaking, scuba diving, sailing, sport-fishing and more, the paradise of Saint Thomas offers tourists the finest vacation spot for families, lovers, and individuals alike.
Saint Thomas is home to world-class shopping. Duty free shops line the Charlotte Amalie streets and alleyways.
The best buys on Saint Thomas include jewelry, perfumes, alcohol, china, crystal, art, watches and cameras. If you are in the market for something in particular, primarily jewelry and cameras, it is a good idea to know what the going price is in your home town; some items are better deals than others.
(applies to US residents returning to the US mainland)
If you return directly or indirectly from a U.S. insular possession (which includes the U.S. Virgin Islands), you are allowed a $1,600 duty-free exemption. You may include 1,000 cigarettes as part of this exemption. You may also include five liters of alcoholic beverages in your duty-free exemption, but one of them must be a product of an insular possession. Four may be products of other countries. Duty free allowance on alcoholic beverages applies if you are 21 years old, it is for your own use or as a gift and it does not violate the laws of the state in which you arrive.
Prior to Leaving for Saint Thomas, USVI
The weather in Saint Thomas is extremely consitant. Sun and blue skies dominate the common weather forcast with temperatures ranging from 88 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to 76 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The trade winds almost always provide a pleasant breeze day and night.
We respectfully request our guests to be neatly attired at all times in the public areas of the resort. Cotton or lightweight clothing is suitable for day and evening wear.
US PASSPORTS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO TRAVEL BETWEEN US MAINLAND AND THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS
U.S. citizens are not required to have passports or proof of citizenship when ENTERING the U.S. Virgin Islands from a U.S. airport. All arrivals to the U.S. Virgin Islands from foreign airports are required to show proof of citizenship and pass through customs. All persons leaving the U.S. Virgin Islands, whether American citizens or not, must be prepared to show proof of citizenship upon leaving the islands to return to the mainland. Typically US drivers license is all you will need. However, offical definitions are as follows:
Accepted documents for Proof of Citizenship for Americans:
- A passport issued under competent authority,
- An Alien Registration Card (this applies to U.S. permanent residents only)
- A certified copy of a birth certificate and government issued photo identification
- A Certificate of Naturalization, issued by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Citizens of any country other than the U.S. should follow U.S. travel regulations and requirements for entry into the United States.
There are no health requirements for travel to the US Virgin Islands.
The national language of Saint Thomas is English
Getting around Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands
Cyril E. King Airport is located approximately 30 minutes from Secret Harbour. Your planning should include that you check-in at the airport no later than 2 hours prior to your scheduled departure.
Taxis are readily available at the airport, cruise ship dock, and at popular attractions and beaches. We also offer taxi services at Secret harbour. Taxis charge per person and by destination. There are no metered taxis. Our staff at the front desk will be more than happy to provide you with information pertaining to taxi availability and costs.
VITRAN buses cover popular routes on Saint Thomas. Country buses run every hour from 5:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. between town and Red Hook. City buses travel between Schneider Regional Medical Center and town and run between 6:15 a.m. and 8 p.m. Country bus fare is $1 and City bus fare is $2.
Local Information on Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands
- Saint Thomas uses the U.S. Dollar
- A currency exchange service is available at most banks on the island
- You may also change your money or cash travelers checks at banks
- Remember to bring along your passport to help facilitate exchanges
- The area code in Saint Thomas is 340
- Electric outlets in the Virgin Islands take standard North American current, 120 volt / 60 cycle.
Tourist Information for Saint Thomas
- U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism
- Saint Thomas Tourist Information Office, Charlotte Amalie
Saint Thomas Emergency Phone Numbers
- The local number for emergency services is 911.
Saint Thomas Public Holidays
The U.S. Virgin Islands celebrate all major U.S. holidays. Banks and most stores are closed on these days.
Shopping Hours in Saint Thomas
Most stores in downtown Charlotte Amalie are open both weekdays and weekends.
Tipping in Saint Thomas
Service charges and gratuities are not typically included as part of your bill. It is customary to leave 15 to 20% gratuity on food and beverage services.
Weather Information for Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands
- Summer (June, July, August): High 89°F/31°C; Low 76°F/24°C
- Fall (September, October, November): High 89°F/31°C; Low 76°F/24°C
- Winter (December, January, February): High 85°F/29°C; Low 72°F/22°C
- Spring (March, April, May): High 86°F/30°C; Low 71°F/21°C
Upcoming Events & Activities
Saint Thomas has the liveliest nightlife in the Virgin Islands. It certainly is not Las Vegas, South Beach or New York City but it can be great fun! How about dancing, bar hopping or karaoke? Many bars/clubs play a mixture of American hits and popular Caribbean music. Happy hour at bars and restaurants is popular and is a good way to start a fun evening. Happy hour often includes discounts on food and drinks.
In Havensight you will find several bars and restaurants, often with rock and roll music playing, live bands, TV’s for watching sports, pool tables and good times.The restaurants and bars are in walking distance from each other. It is not a good idea to walk in downtown Charlotte Amalie at night outside of the popular restaurant/bar area.
Frenchtown, just outside of Charlotte Amalie, is another good place to go out at night. There are several great restaurants and a few small bars in that area.
If you are looking for a semi-block party island style, try heading to Red Hook. Start off with some dinner and drinks at one spot and then head over to another bar or restaurant to listen to music or maybe a live band. Red Hook has several fun spots that are all in walking distance which makes bar hopping easy.
For a night on the town combine an early dinner with a live performance. Plays, orchestras, ballets and concerts are performed throughout the year at centers for performing arts and theatres like Reichhold Center, Pistarckle Theatre and Tillett Gardens.
Secret Harbour Saint Thomas is ideally located in the beautiful US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Secret Harbour offers the perfect Caribbean getaway for those guests seeking a spectacular experience, as well as relaxing and exciting day.
Secret Harbour has a brand new “Virgin” concept and plenty of fun filled activities on property such as scuba diving, boating, snorkeling, and tours amongst other great activities. Here you will get an unforgettable experience
The SUNSET GRILL is an upscale, yet approachable American Grill that will feature a menu focusing on diverse and creative American classics highlighted with the “creative spin”. SUNSET GRILLE will feature approximately 120 seats.
The SUNSET GRILLE will pair extremely well with wine and will feature a red lit, glass encased wine room with a private dining table for 12
Coral World Ocean Park
Spend the day at Coral World Ocean Park, one of Saint Thomas’s Greatest Attractions. Get up close and personal with the beauty and magic of Caribbean marine life in a stunning setting. View life on a coral reef from the unique Undersea Observatory. Pet a shark, hand feed a stingray or a rainbow lorikeet! There are several gift shops, cafes and shower facilities. Additional activities include brand new Sea Lion Splash, Sea Trek Helmet Dive, Shark and Turtle Encounters, Nautilus Semi-Sub, Parasailing and Snuba. Located next to Coki Beach. Open 9-5 daily, November – May. Summer schedule may vary.
Virgin Islands Ecotours
Virgin Islands Ecotours offers the only half and full day guided kayak & snorkel tours of St. Thomas Mangrove Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary & Marine Preserve. Explore the Mangroves on two person easy to paddle sit-on-top kayaks. Explore crystal clear lagoons and a deserted tropical island with hermit crabs races and the famous Red Point Blow hole. Snorkel in an underwater paradise. No experience is necessary. If you only do one snorkel tour, this is it! It’s fun. It’s beautiful. And from the Professional guides that lead the tours, it’s also educational. It’s ecotourism at its best. Fun for the entire family! Morning and afternoon tours daily. Reservations required.
Skyride to Paradise Point
The Saint Thomas Skyride to Paradise Point, a modern aerial cable car, is your ride to the best sightseeing in the Virgin Islands. The trip is 7 minutes one-way and takes you 700 feet above sea level. Stay at the top for as long as you want and enjoy unique shops, a neat Bird Show (10:30am, 1:30pm & 3:30pm), a fun bar featuring the famous Bushwacker, a grill for a nice lunch and fabulous panoramic views of cruise ships, Charlotte Amalie harbor and neighboring islands. Open 9am-5pm; Tuesdays 9am-7pm and Wednesdays 9am-9pm . Roundtrip: Adults are $19. Children 6-12 are $9. 5 and under are free!
Bluebeard’s Castle & Frederiksberg
Located on Bluebeards Hill, east of Charlotte Amalie, is Bluebeard’s Castle. Local stories state that the structure was built by the pirate Bluebeard for his love Mercedita, however this is no more than a story. The Danes actually built the stone tower around 1689 as a supplementary watchtower to aid the defenses of Fort Christian. It was called Frederik’s Fort when originally constructed and is actually on the site of a fortification the first colonists to the island had started. Today the tower is incorporated into Bluebeard’s Castle Hotel.
Also incorporated into the hotel is Frederiksberg. In 1818 the colonial government sold the watchtower and surrounding lands to a merchant and in the 1820’s the large residence of Frederiksberg was constructed. While the hotel has changed it somewhat; the columned portico, staircase and parts of the interior retain the original look. Part of the interior is used as the hotel lobby.
Rent a boat and plan your own itinerary; stop at a few snorkeling spots, have a nice picnic on a deserted beach or a fun family trip to a neighboring island. Boat rental operators will provide directions and advice on good locations to visit.
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are made up of about 50 islands and islets. The four largest islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada. Tortola is the largest island with an area of 21 square miles. The other larger islands are Anegada at 15 square miles, Virgin Gorda at 8 square miles and Jost Van Dyke at 3 square miles. Smaller islands include Great Tobago, Peter, Cooper, Norman, Guana, Beef, Great Thatch and Marina Cay. The British Virgin Islands are among the world’s loveliest cruising grounds for charters and yachts. Take a day trip to the BVI and visit some of the top sights like the Baths on Virgin Gorda and picturesque Jost Van Dyke, it will be a vacation highlight!
The waters around Saint Thomas are beautiful, the weather fabulous, the trade winds perfect – perfect for sailing! And not just any sailing, YOU sailing. That’s right, while visiting Saint Thomas you can take sailing classes that give you the know how to sail a 20 foot sailboat and larger boats with more advanced classes. You can even do an excursion where you actively participate on a racing yacht as you and your team head toward a finish line – sounds exhilarating doesn’t it?
Featured Sailing Lessons & Excursions
Island Sol is the place for performance sailing lessons. Our US Sailing Certified Instructors can take you from your first sail to your first championship regatta on virtually any boat! Check out our Junior Sailing Program for kids 7-14 years old who want to experience the thrill of sailing their own boat, the world famous Optimist Pram. For the bigger “kids” we offer lessons on board our fleet of Hobie Waves or IC-24s. Our sailing center is located at The Ritz-Carlton, on the windy East End of St. Thomas.
Fair Wind Sailing School
Fair Wind Sailing School offers sailing lessons and ASA certifications in beginning, bareboat and advanced programs. We teach live-aboard sailing programs from Red Hook, Saint Thomas. Come take lessons and sail with the best, visit our website for more information!
Other St. Thomas Island Activites and Event Resources
There are number of helpful sites that are availabile to find out more about Saint Thomas USVI. We recommend visiting them to get the low-down on everything Saint Thoms.
Saint Thomas Virgin Islands Now
US Department of Tourism, USVI