St Thomas – Caribbean’s Gateway
It may be only 32 sq. mi., but the massive appeal of Saint Thomas’ beautiful beaches, stunning turquoise blue waters and friendly residents make this island one of Caribbean’s top destinations for beach enthusiasts, scuba divers, snorkelers and history buffs.
St. Thomas is home to nearly 52,000 full-time residents. The official language of the island is English, and a large number of people speak a dialect of Creole – named, appropriately Virgin Island Creole.
Tourism drives the economy of this Caribbean getaway, as over 1.5 million people flock to the island annually. Ecotourism, duty-free shopping opportunities (brands like Tiffany, Breitling and Rolex are duty-free here) and colonial Danish architecture are among the top draws. The port city is one of the busiest in the world, with cruise ships making port daily during the bustling tourist season.
St. Thomas is only the first of many potential stops in the Caribbean. People often continue onto Tortola, St. John and St. Croix. For those who seek adventure, St. Thomas is the gem.
The capital city, named after a beloved of the King of Norway, was initially called Taphus and founded in 1666. Overlooking the port is Ft. Christian, named after Danish royalty. Danish cemeteries, castles, forts, churches, sugar mills (once the biggest trade in the world), townhouses and plantation houses dot the island. Tourists enjoy traversing the steps along streets, navigating the cobblestone alleys and open air markets, and exploring historic homes. A watchtower known as Blackbeard’s Castle can be found near the capital. The site is one of five National Historic Landmarks in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The capital city itself dates back to 1681 and has buildings dating to its colonial period. It falls on the Danish National Registry of Historic Places. The city is divided into three separate sections: Crown Price’s, Kronpindsens Quarter; Queen’s, Dronnigen’s Quarter; King’s, Kongen’s Quarter. Each section has step streets and a unique character to itself with structures of historical value. King’s has the best examples of the colonial architecture, followed by the commercial areas of Main Street inside Queen’s.
Nicknamed Downtown or just Town, the city is now a mixture of old and new – the classical trading post to the duty-free shopping mecca.
The East End has Red Hook, featuring a marina, boating and fishing opportunities, island shops, ferries, bars and restaurants. The boats and their daily catches are something to behold. The ‘A’ dock has a true angler’s trophy – the IGFA ‘All-Tackle’ record Blue Marlin, hoisted on board by Ann Dallimore. Be sure to stop for a picture with the replica.
Beaches of St. Thomas
● Bolongo Bay – This south beach area lies on Bolongo Beach Resort. The hurricanes of 2017 still leave their scars behind, but the ocean still commands those who crave it, and the views have not changed.
● Brewer’s Bay – Go past the University of the Virgin Islands west on Rt. 30. Families fill this beach on the weekends with gatherings and beachside picnics. Taking in the sun or the shallows is a favorite. The weekends bustle with activity and plenty of loud music.
● Coki Beach – Find Coki Point before you arrive at Coral World Ocean Park. These beaches are pearl white and beckon the snorkel and scuba gear. Food is standard picnic fare: hamburgers, sandwiches and local favorites.
The Caribbean Coral Reef
Second only to the Great Barrier Reef, the coral reefs surrounding the island are a top attraction. These are sanctuaries for some of the most vibrant and unique marine species. The crystal clear waters offer a view directly to the coral reefs below. It is a sight to behold from the surface, but the sub-surface view is the one that offers the sights to see.
Best Snorkeling Available
A dive or snorkel through these waters is an experience that will last a lifetime, and many come back for more, year after year. Get an up close glimpse of rays, sea turtles, multiple species of colorful Parrotfish, yellow/black Sergeant Majors, and Blue Tangs as they dine on the algae along the reef.
Experience Christmas Cove, and swim alongside sea turtles Stingrays often come out of hiding in Sapphire Beach, gliding through waters beside swimmers before resting on the ocean floor.
If this sounds like an adventure that you or your family would enjoy, contact Ocean Safari, call (340)227-5448 or check HERE. We are booking for the Reef Surfari. It is the finest snorkeling in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and you could be among the first to experience this opportunity.