St Thomas - Abbey Travel, Ireland

St Thomas

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Welcome to St Thomas

St Thomas

St Thomas is the second largest and most sophisticated of the Virgin Islands with a strong Danish influence especially evident in Charlotte Amalie, the main town and capital. Being the most accessible of the islands also means it is the most heavily developed and visited, with visitors from around the world attracted by the town's reputation as an international shopping Mecca.

It is also scenically beautiful, with numerous headlands and coves, forested hills providing stunning vistas over the Caribbean, and some of the best white-sand beaches in the Caribbean. Magens Bay beach on the north coast is acclaimed as one of the finest in the world and the sparkling waters and coral reef of Coki Bay are superb for snorkelling. Fabulous panoramas can be viewed from Drake's Seat, a high point in the centre of the island from where Sir Francis Drake used to watch for enemy ships.

Sports and activities are abundant on St Thomas. There are snorkelling and dive sites, excellent greens for golf enthusiasts, sport fishing and yachting opportunities. The educational Coral World Marine Park and Observatory provides a unique look at the goings-on of Caribbean marine life, and the nearby resort town of Red Hook is a smaller version of Charlotte Amalie, with dining and shopping. It is the jumping off point to other Caribbean islands and the upmarket beach resorts nearby.

Combining natural beauty with first-rate amenities, St Thomas offers numerous activities on and off the water, fine hotels and international cuisine.

Information & Facts


Perfect holiday weather is the order of the day every day in St Thomas, where the tropical sun shines all year and warm breezes caress the shore. The tropical climate shows little variation in temperature between seasons, though there is slightly less humidity in the summer months (August and September). Inland temperatures drop slightly because of the altitude. There is no particular rainy season, and when it does rain showers are brief. Water is therefore scarce on the island.

Getting Around

Taxis are common throughout St. Thomas. Air-conditioned city and country buses run regularly, but renting a car is one of the best ways to see the island.

English is the official language. Spanish, Creole and some French are also spoken.

The official currency is the US Dollar (USD) divided into 100 cents. Most credit cards are accepted, including American Express, Diners Club Mastercard and Visa, and are useful for withdrawing cash at ATMs. Travellers cheques are widely accepted in hotels, shops and restaurants provided they are in US Dollars. Foreign exchange bureaux are available to exchange other currencies, but it is best to arrive with US Dollars as many banks and hotels will not exchange foreign currency.

GMT -4.

Charlotte Amalie, named in honour of the wife of King Christian V, is the Danish-flavoured capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands, a busy port and important merchant centre since the 18th century. The beautiful harbour is ringed with whitewashed houses and painted villas, their red roofs a splash of colour against the green hillside. Cobbled, Danish-signposted streets and alleyways lead down to the waterfront, lined with shops, boutiques and colonial architecture. The old Danish merchant warehouses form a world-famous shopping district, selling imported goods from around the globe. The harbour is usually filled with cruise ships, ferries, yachts and fishing vessels, and is the most visited port in the Caribbean, creating a town that is vibrant and multinational, but often overcrowded. For those weary of duty-free shopping, Charlotte Amalie offers numerous other attractions, as well as elegant restaurants and an exciting nightlife. Blackbeard's Castle on top of Government Hill offers superb views over the harbour, and is said to have been the lookout tower for the legendary pirate, Captain Blackbeard. The red brick Fort Christian is the oldest standing building on the island, where Danish soldiers stood guard against pirates and invaders, and has since served as a jail, church, government house, community hall and today houses the Virgin Islands Museum.

Coral World Ocean Park is arguably the island of St Thomas' premier tourist attraction - and has been enormously popular with visitors of all ages for almost 40 years. The marine park is built on two levels: an over-water floor, with interesting exhibitions, a touch pool, restaurants, and a gift shop; and an underwater observatory, located 15 feet below the surface, where visitors can gape at exotic marine life in its natural surrounds. Coral World also boasts Sea Trek technology - that is, 'helmet diving technology' - allowing you to walk along the ocean floor for up to half an hour with no need for an oxygen tank or a snorkel. This technology was successfully used to stage the first-ever underwater wedding, which took place at Coral World in January 2001.

The best way to appreciate the stunning beauty of Charlotte Amalie and the St Thomas Harbour is from above. The idea for the tramway, which carries visitors over Flag Hill to Paradise Point, 700 feet (213m) up, began in the 1980s, when two ambitious businessmen bought more than 30 acres of Flag Hill from the Queen of Denmark. After a few setbacks, including Hurricane Hugo, the tramway opened in 1994 and has been a favourite activity ever since. If visitors are fortunate enough to catch one of the last trams of the day, they will witness a magical vista of twinkling lights against the soft Caribbean twilight. At the top, there is a collection of unique shops as well as a casual restaurant perfect for watching sunsets while sipping a cocktail and listening to a local band. Paradise Point has been voted the best live entertainment venue and the best tourist attraction multiple times.

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