With as many as seven cruise ships a day docking in Saint Thomas, this member of the U.S. Virgin Islands is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean.
Saint Thomas is one of the last few places you can still find real shopping bargains in the Caribbean. And as much as you may have heard about the shopping, there are many other attractions to be seen, some of which are off the beaten path and an excellent place to avoid the crowds.
There was a time when it was a given that you would dock at the Havensight Cruise Ship Dock, just across the bay from downtown Charlotte Amalie or moored in the harbor and tendered directly into the town.
This is no longer the case. Beginning with Oasis of the Seas and other large ships, many now dock in the Crown Bay Cruise Ship Dock. Havensight is by far more preferable. For one, Havensight mall has all the shopping most people want without going to town, and the city is a short walk or a cheap taxi ride.
Crown Bay, on the other hand, has almost no shopping and you have to pass through two miles of an industrial area to get to Charlotte Amalie.
Havensight also offers two popular destinations, one of which is quiet, peaceful and very close to the ships. This is the Butterfly Farm, just past the rowdy and huge Senor Frog’s Bar. Also at the port is the famous Skyride to Paradise Point.
And if that scenery isn’t enough for you, Saint Thomas offers one of the best zip lining courses in the Caribbean. Also, most island tours will provide a stop at Mountaintop, where you can sip Banana Daiquiris and look down on Magens Bay.
Speaking of beaches, Saint Thomas offers several, including the world famous Magens Bay. Because of its popularity, Magens Bay can get very crowded, so less well-known beaches such as Bluebeard’s Beach and Coki Beach are alternatives.
Coki Beach is on the east end of the island near Coral World and offers some of the best snorkeling on the island. While out on that end of the island, the truly adventurous can take a ferry over to Saint John and leave the beaten path for a few hours.
And while on the subject of the famous pirate Bluebeard, his compatriot Blackbeard left a castle behind that is worth a visit.
Whether you want to dive in elbow to elbow with hardcore shoppers, take in the crystal clear water for some of the world’s best snorkeling, or just take in nature and the lovely views, Saint Thomas has something for everyone.