Planning Your Time
You can see St. Thomas’s major sights in a few days, but plan to stay longer if you want to have time to sample all the restaurants, attractions, and duty-free shopping. History buffs will want one or two days to soak up all that St. Thomas has to offer.
Most visitors to St. Thomas stay at the large chain resorts along the beaches of the east and southern coast. But St. Thomas’s unique appeal is in historic Charlotte Amalie, where travelers will find an increasing number of small, independent hotels, many with excellent views of Charlotte Amalie Harbor. The old world ambience of these hostelries cannot be beat. You will want a rental car to explore the island, go to the beach, and get around town at night, when street crime can be a problem.
St. Thomas is one of the most popular cruise ship stops in the Caribbean—recent years have seen upwards of 1.6 million cruise ship passengers passing through, or 35 times the population of the island itself. From Thanksgiving to Easter, the island is marked by traffic jams, and many sights are swamped by caravans of slow-moving taxis, weighted down with visitors off the ship. Plan your days to avoid popular sights like Magen’s Bay, Drake’s Seat, and the shops of Charlotte Amalie between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the height of the cruise ship day.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition