St Thomas is the gateway to the US Virgin Islands, and the most populous of the three main islands in this territory with a beautiful harbor that regularly plays host to yachting visitors. It benefits from a lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere, high-end duty free shopping, excellent marina services, golf courses and fine dining, whilst maintaining a quintessentially Caribbean vibe.
Despite being just 32 square miles, St Thomas is rich in history. You can spend days delving into its fascinating past, exploring the Danish and British military forts, sunken naval vessels, colonial architecture, stone-built castles and quaint city streets. Superb views are to be had from the island’s highest points, and a range of secluded islands, national parks and stunning beaches offer you your own slice of paradise, with a huge variety of swimming, snorkeling and diving spots in every direction. Said to have the best nightlife of all the Virgin Islands, the sound of steel drums are at their loudest during St Thomas’ carnival, which is one of the most popular in the Caribbean thanks to its mesmerizing costumes, energetic dance and pageantry. St Thomas is a welcoming and varied base for a Caribbean charter, and you will come away having fallen in love with the island.
Key Cruising Areas: The main island has plenty to offer, but there are many other satellite islands that are perfect to visit by superyacht, each with something to recommend them. For example, Hassel island is a historic gem with a number of ruins to explore, and Thatch Cay is a great diving spot. Find rustic beach bars on the small Water Island, and your own secluded bay and snorkelling spot off Hans Lollick Island and Great St James Island.
Don’t Miss: The diving around St Thomas is world class.The spectacular dive sites in this area include two sunken WWII navy barges which are excellent for night diving, the ‘tunnels of Thatch’ where lava tubes and volcanic rock arches create a series of tunnels for divers to explore, and the ‘Cow and Calf’, two rock formations said to resemble a whale and her calf, where an underwater world of caverns, coral formations and vibrant marine life make for a memorable dive.
Best Spots for Wining and Dining: After a cliffside round of golf at the Mahogany Run course, enjoy an atmospheric meal at the Old Stone Farmhouse, a magnificently restored plantation house. For drinks, at 866ft above sea level the views from Mafolie are some of the best on the island, so visit their bar for a Dark and Stormy cocktail made with homemade ginger beer.
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Local Culture: Carnival is held between mid-April and May on St Thomas, so a visit during this time is sure to be a riot to the senses. Otherwise, a dose of culture can be found by visiting the island’s capital, Charlotte Amalie. Here, climb the ‘99 steps’ built by the Danes in the mid-1700 to enjoy uninterrupted views of the city, or enjoy some French Impressionism by visiting the Camille Pissarro Museum, located in the artist’s childhood home.
Best Beach: The most famous beach in St Thomas is Magen’s Bay, located on the north side of the island. Frequently named as one of the world’s best beaches, this sheltered bay has white sand, calm and clear waters, mountain views and is surrounded by coconut groves, mangroves and rare trees, found in Magen’s Bay arboretum.
IYC recommends: Head to Mountain Top or Drake’s Seat overlook for panoramic views of the island, before heading into Charlotte Amalie to enjoy the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere, indulging in some duty free designer shopping around Yacht Haven Grande. Then, escape the crowds and cruise to Water Island for laid back beach vibes, snorkelling and sunbathing. In the evening, enjoy a fresh fruit cocktail from the deck of your superyacht as you watch the twinkling lights of the main island.
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