With its white-sand beaches, range of water sports, bargains-on-bijoux shopping, and many restaurants and bars, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a great spot for a romantic vacation or honeymoon.
The liveliest of the USVI, St. Thomas offers plenty to do. While it’s also a super spot for lying on the beach with a tropical drink in hand, enjoying the clear turquoise water, and soaking up the Caribbean sun, honeymoon couples may want to rouse themselves for these fun activities.
To get oriented, start your St. Thomas honeymoon with a trip to Paradise Point via tramway. The St. Thomas Skyride takes you 700 feet up for amazing views of Charlotte Amalie Harbor. You’ll also find a restaurant, bar, shops, and a short trail. Every Wednesday night there’s a party with live music. And the sunset is spectacular seven nights a week.
Petting a shark or feeding a stingray at Coral World Ocean Park could be a highlight of a St. Thomas honeymoon. The Underwater Observatory takes you 15 feet under the water’s surface, while the Deep Reef Tank puts you nose to nose with sharks, moray eels, and other terrifying predators. If you’re adventurous, try “Sea Trekkin’,” wearing a special underwater helmet to walk under the sea. There’s also a natural trail, a turtle pool, and Iguana Alley.
Stroll through St. Peter Great House Estate and Gardens, a lush, 4-acre botanical garden located on a former sugar plantation. The grounds feature a nature trail that winds past waterfalls and tropical flowers, an orchid jungle, and, at 1,000 feet above sea level, great views of other Caribbean islands.
Get into that glorious turquoise water! Virgin Island Ecotours at the entrance to the Inner Mangrove Lagoon Sanctuary offers boat, kayak, snorkeling, and hiking tours. Couples on a St. Thomas honeymoon who are experienced scuba divers can explore the coral reefs on an excursion arranged by Aqua Action Dive Center
, which dives 40 different locations.
Plan a day trip to St. John, only a 20-minute ferry ride away, as part of your St. Thomas honeymoon. Two thirds of the 20-square-mile island is part of Virgin Islands National Park, making it perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving, hiking, strolling around the ruins at Annaberg Plantation, or just enjoying the picture-postcard beaches.
Another fabulous activity on a St. Thomas honeymoon is a sunset cruise. Atlantis Adventures hosts a three-hour sunset catamaran sail and beach barbecue on Water Island, which recently became the fourth Virgin Island. Jester Sailing Adventures
also offers sunset sails, as well as half-day and full-day trips to neighboring islands.
The charming Caribbean harbor town of Charlotte Amalie is widely considered the best shopping area in the Caribbean. Duty-free items reign, and you’ll be hard pressed to find better prices for liquor, jewelry, perfume, linens, china, and crystal. There’s a $1,200 duty-free allowance per person and no sales tax.
For china, crystal, and jewelry, check out Little Switzerland. Other top jewelry stores include Cardow, H. Stern, and Diamonds International.
8. Check out the Local CraftsCharlotte Amalie also has places that sell local crafts, spices and hot sauces, and resort wear. And if you truly love to shop, you’ll have fun poking around the colorful Vendor’s Plaza, where merchants hawk faux designer handbags and other fabulous fakes, inexpensive jewelry, and various fun souvenirs. This is a popular port for cruises, so be prepared to find the shops teeming with tourists when a ship is docked.
9. Ascend the 99 Steps and Visit Blackbeard's CastleBuilt with bricks carried on ships from Denmark in the 1700s, the 99 Steps provide a bird's eye view of the harbor. Near the top, 17th-century Fort Skytsborg, known as Blackbeard's Castle, is a National Historic Landmark.
Some of St. Thomas' earliest settlers were Danish Jews, and they built one of the oldest temples in the Caribbean in 1796. The original building was destroyed by fire, and the current structure dates to 1833. In keeping with tradition, the temple floor is covered with sand. While some believe it relates to the Caribbean-beach location, it actually symbolizes the flight of Jews out of Egypt and across the desert in ancient times.