7 Reasons to Love St. Thomas, USVI

Posted by Brette in Travel

StThomas 3-19-2014 12-11-43 PMMy daughter and I recently enjoyed a girls’ getaway to St. Thomas and after years of traveling to the Caribbean for spring breaks, it wins my favorite island award. Here are 7 reasons why you should consider St. Thomas for your next spring getaway.

1. Comfortably Foreign. While I love the Caribbean, you usually are traveling to another country where there is some kind of language barrier. But St. Thomas is part of the USVI, so everyone you meet speaks English. You pay with the US dollar. You will also find some shops, like Walgreens and KMart, that are American chains. This comfort factor is balanced against the indubitably Caribbean landscape of lush beaches, many hills, tropical vegetation, pictureaque half-rundown architecture, lilting accents, hot sun, and fusion cuisine. All the thrills of a foreign country within a US territory.

2. Beaches. We’ve been to countless Caribbean beaches, but St. Thomas might have the very best. While the beach at Frenchman’s Reef at our hotel was nice, Magens Bay was

Magens Bay Beach

Magens Bay Beach

stunning. The water was crystal clear, yet appeared turquoise from a distance. The sand was soft. There was shade. The beach was long enough to walk. Chairs, kayaks, and paddle boards are available for rent. The only downside was the sheer volume of cruise ship visitors. To avoid the cruise crowds, try Honeymoon Beach which has no amenities,

but is just as nice.

3. Shopping. St. Thomas is often described as having the best shopping in the Caribbean and I have to agree. My perspective is slightly different however. The island is often lauded for shopping because of the overwhelming number of jewelry stores. I’m not in the Caribbean to buy a diamond I could buy at home (assuming a diamond was in my budget!). I’m constantly on the hunt for beautiful, unique, artisan-made, locally-created items and St. Thomas was a treasure trove. Don’t miss the St. Thomas Native Arts and

My best find: a basket made of St. Thomas beach refuse

My best find: a basket made of St. Thomas beach refuse

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Takati at Revelry

Crafts Cooperative, located on corner directly across from the Vendor’s Plaza (your typical Caribbean grouping of tents selling knock-off goods and made in Malaysia trinkets). You will also find a lovely pocket of shops not to miss in Palm Passage, one of the alleys that runs between Main Street and the waterfront. There are many artisans and artists in the USVI that sell their work on St. Thomas and there is a lot to choose from.

4. Attitude. One quirk of the Caribbean is that every island has its own personality, and each group of islanders is different. Some people are known for being unfriendly or haughty. Other islands are welcoming. St. Thomas is the friendliest island we’ve visited to date. We were never treated rudely and everyone we spoke to wore a smile and took the time to really talk to

The view from our table

The view from our table

us. People are still on island time here, so expect everyone to move slowly.

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Sea lion experience at Coral World

5. Food. While I still would rate Grand Case, St. Martin as the best Caribbean town for dining, St. Thomas had excellent dining across the island. Havana Blue topped our list of favorites and for fun and funky you can’t beat Duffy’s Love Shack. I also give high marks due to the prevalence of beachfront dining. This can be hard to come by on some islands, but in St. Thomas we dined at tables a few feet the beach three different nights.

6. Coral World. This tiny little aquarium doesn’t rival the dolphin experiences you can have at Paradise Island in the Bahamas, but it offers some fun and different sea life experiences: swimming with sea turtles, swimming with sharks, swimming or interacting with sea lions, swimming with sting rays, and SNUBA.

7. Beautiful Views. While driving up and over the hills in St. Thomas can take some getting used to (particularly since you are driving on the left side of the road), those same hills offer stupendous views, with specific lookout points. We took some stunning photos from Paradise Point, and there are also great views to be had Mountain Top. Drive to either or take the tramway to Paradise Point.

The view from Paradise Point

The view from Paradise Point

 

 

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