St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Honeymoon Vacations
|A bay in St. Thomas (Charlotte Amalie/Digital Vision)|
One of the Caribbean's original holiday playgrounds, St. Thomas is the hub of the U.S. Virgin Islands, a ménage à trois of tropical outposts situated just east of Puerto Rico. The long-standing success St. Thomas has enjoyed catering to visitors means couples have a wide array of activities to choose from, all set against a handsome backdrop of muscular mountains that descend to comely coves trimmed with glistening white sand.
St. Thomas possesses one of the loveliest harbors in the Caribbean, a naturally protected deep-water port. Look closer at the bones of USVI capital Charlotte Amalie and you'll find romantic cobblestone alleyways and timeworn steps climbing the steep hillsides, architecture that speaks to the influence of the Danish—the town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Three centuries ago, island business was centered on plantations and slave trading, but St. Thomas was declared a free port in 1766 and Charlotte Amalie blossomed into one of the Caribbean's most prosperous trading centers. Deals on jewelry—engagement rings, anyone?—remain attractive, especially for those who love to bargain.
Today, St. Thomas is the busiest of the Virgins, and the mercantile tradition helps make the island one of the region's top cruise-ship ports—as many as ten of the behemoth vessels can be found at dock on a busy winter day. But most of these day visitors attain only a cursory overview of the island, overlooking hidden beaches and an array of fine-dining establishments. Stay longer and you'll uncover the best shopping deals, bypassing the cruisers to bargain in Charlotte Amalie on a slow afternoon (Thursday through Sunday is less busy). And day trips over to beautiful St. John are a breeze if you are lodging here. Even more off the beaten track, Water Island is just a 10-minute ferry hop and rewards with a beach called Honeymoon—how perfect is that? And although St. Thomas is heavily developed, natural beauty is still part of the show, easily discovered at places like Lindquist Beach. About 500 white-tailed deer live on the eastern tip, and the offshore reefs are healthy and vibrant, a treat for divers and snorkelers.
Lodging options are as varied as the fish circuiting those offshore reefs. From intimate hillside inns like Bellavista Bed & Breakfast to bells-and-whistles beach resorts like The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, there's a hotel that fits your style and budget. Add in plentiful air links to the mainland, and almost any style of vacation can be accommodated in St. Thomas.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication