St. Thomas, USVI Guide

Know Before You Go...®

With its busy ports, hundreds of shops and eateries, and numerous activities, it’s no wonder that St. Thomas is the most visited of the USVI. If you don’t mind crowds, this is a great place to rent a villa and explore another aspect of Caribbean life. Before planning your trip to St. Thomas, use the information on this page and others to learn more about the island and some of the things to see and do there.

Why St. Thomas, USVI?

  • St. Thomas is home to the second oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.
  • St. Thomas is a popular destination for cruise ships, with over one million cruise passengers visiting the island annually.
  • St. Thomas is home to the second oldest continuously operating legislative assembly in the Western Hemisphere.
  • St. Thomas is the most populous of the U.S. Virgin Islands, with over 51,000 inhabitants.
  • St. Thomas is a duty-free port, making it an ideal shopping destination for visitors.

St. Thomas, USVI Weather/Climate

Average Temperatures

January
84° F
73° F
February
84° F
73° F
March
85° F
74° F
April
86° F
76° F
May
87° F
78° F
June
88° F
79° F
July
89° F
80° F
August
89° F
79° F
September
89° F
79° F
October
88° F
78° F
November
87° F
76° F
December
85° F
74° F

Average Rainfall

January
1.8 inches
February
1.4 inches
March
1.5 inches
April
2.5 inches
May
3.4 inches
June
2.6 inches
July
2.4 inches
August
3.5 inches
September
4.8 inches
October
5.5 inches
November
5.3 inches
December
2.8 inches

Overview

Guests who want to be on the move will appreciate St. Thomas. Blessed with a rich city life and natural beauty, St. Thomas is the most metropolitan of all of the US Virgin Islands- spanning 32 sq. miles of tropical paradise. Diversions include everything from sightseeing and shopping to horseback riding, tennis, and rock-climbing. Vacationers are never far from a beach and the best of city life, including tons of shopping, art galleries, museums and the finest restaurants. Though a bit crowded, Charlotte Amalie’s Main Street is a “must” for serious shoppers- (4 blocks of pure shopping.) All said and done, St. Thomas is definitely the liveliest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands but luckily, unwinding is still a possibility. The island’s beaches, major hotels, restaurants, and entertainment facilities are, for the most part, set off from all the crowds and excitement.

History

St. Thomas is a beautiful island located in the Caribbean Sea and is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century, when it was first discovered by European explorers.

The island was originally inhabited by the Ciboney, Carib, and Arawak tribes, but they were eventually displaced by the arrival of the Europeans in the 1600s. The first European to discover St. Thomas was Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. However, it was not until 1672 that the Danish West India Company established a settlement on the island.

St. Thomas quickly became an important trading center due to its strategic location in the Caribbean. The island’s deep harbor and natural resources, such as sugar, cotton, and indigo, attracted many European powers, including the Dutch, French, and British. The Danish West India Company was able to maintain control of the island, despite several attempts by other nations to take over.

In the 18th century, St. Thomas became a hub for the transatlantic slave trade, with thousands of enslaved Africans passing through the island’s port. The island’s economy grew as a result, with sugar plantations and rum distilleries becoming the main industries. However, the harsh treatment of enslaved people led to several rebellions, including the famous “Fireburn” revolt in 1878.

In 1917, the United States purchased the U.S. Virgin Islands, including St. Thomas, from Denmark for $25 million. This marked a significant shift in the island’s history, as it went from being a Danish colony to a U.S. territory. The U.S. government invested in infrastructure and development on the island, including a deepwater port and an international airport.

St. Thomas played a crucial role in World War II, serving as a naval base for the U.S. military. The island’s deepwater harbor was used as a refueling station for ships and a training site for soldiers. After the war, St. Thomas experienced an economic boom, with the tourism industry becoming a major source of income.

Today, St. Thomas is a popular tourist destination, known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant culture. The island is also a popular port of call for cruise ships, bringing in millions of visitors each year. Its rich history and unique blend of Danish, African, and American influences make St. Thomas a fascinating place to visit.

99 Steps

The steps lead high to a hill above Charlotte Amalie and the stone remains of an old fort, now part of the Inn at Blackbeard's Castle complex. Its a bit of a treck up the hill, but well worth it for the views.

These steps were built in the 1700s, by the Danes. Historians believe these steps, along with many others that rise from the Charlotte Amalie harbor, were actually a result of bad planning on the part of Danish engineers who had never been to St. Thomas. The bricks used to build the steps were brought from Denmark in the hulls of sailing ships. (The 99 steps are in truth 103 steps.) At the top of the steps sits an old Fort (now part of the Inn at Blackbeard's). The view is the reason it was built there, so Danish soldiers could keep an eye out for enemy ships and protect Fort Christian from attacks. It is a National Historic Site and considered to be one of the oldest buildings on St. Thomas. The name Blackbeard refers to Edward Teach, a pirate who is said to have frequented the islands and spent quite a bit of time around the tower.

Duffys Love Shack

Thursday night at Duffy's is so much fun! Maine lobsters are flown in the night before & cooked to order.

Duffy's Love Shack originated in the alleyways of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas in 1995. A small thatch roof lean-to in Drakes Passage was the birthplace of the first Volcano! In September of 1995 it became the unwilling home to a 40' sailboat when Hurricane Marilyn barreled across the island. It was rebuilt in its current location in Red Hook, on the east end of St. Thomas and is dubbed the coolest parking lot bar in the Caribbean.Nothing beats a Saturday night at Duffy's. After the shops in Red Hook close and the car park empties, the whole place turns into a Caribbean block party.

Duffys Love Shack

Thursday night at Duffy's is so much fun! Maine lobsters are flown in the night before & cooked to order.

Duffy's Love Shack originated in the alleyways of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas in 1995. A small thatch roof lean-to in Drakes Passage was the birthplace of the first Volcano! In September of 1995 it became the unwilling home to a 40' sailboat when Hurricane Marilyn barreled across the island. It was rebuilt in its current location in Red Hook, on the east end of St. Thomas and is dubbed the coolest parking lot bar in the Caribbean.Nothing beats a Saturday night at Duffy's. After the shops in Red Hook close and the car park empties, the whole place turns into a Caribbean block party.

Transportation on St. Thomas, USVI

Getting to St. Thomas, USVI and getting around. Our transportation tips will help make your trip smoother. More good sand advice.

Entry Documents

• If you are a U.S. citizen a passport is not required, but it still serves as the best identification when traveling. Otherwise, you must be prepared to show evidence of citizenship when departing the islands, such as a government-issued ID or a raised-seal birth certificate.
• If you are not a U.S. citizen, then a passport issued by your country of origin is required.
• If you are not sure of your status, please contact the U.S. Customs & Border Protection agency (www.cbp.gov).
• If you are planning on a day trip to the BVI, be sure to bring your passport. 

Airlines Flying Here

American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta, United, US Airways
Regional airline, Cape Air

Airport

Cyril E. King Airport; flights from the U.S. are direct to St. Thomas. Transfers to St. Croix are via air or boat and St. John via ferry.

Departure Tax

None.

Driving

On the left.

Local Transportation

2021

1. Taxis: Taxis are readily available in St. Thomas and are a popular mode of transportation for tourists. They can be found at the airport, cruise port, and major tourist areas. It is recommended to negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi.

2. Public Buses: The public bus system in St. Thomas is known as the “Safari” and consists of open-air buses with bench seating. They operate on set routes and are an affordable option for getting around the island. However, they can be crowded and not always reliable.

3. Rental Cars: Renting a car is a great option for those who want to explore the island on their own schedule. There are several car rental companies available at the airport and in major tourist areas. It is important to note that driving is on the left side of the road in St. Thomas.

4. Scooters or Motorcycles: Another popular option for getting around the island is renting a scooter or motorcycle. This is a great way to explore the island and its scenic routes. However, it is important to follow safety precautions and wear a helmet.

5. Water Taxis: Water taxis are a fun and convenient way to travel between the islands in the USVI. They operate on regular schedules and can be found at the main ports and marinas. They are also a great way to see the beautiful coastline of St. Thomas.

6. Ferries: Ferries are another option for island hopping and can be used to travel between St. Thomas and the neighboring islands of St. John and Water Island. They are also a popular mode of transportation for day trips to nearby islands.

7. Walking: St. Thomas is a small island and many of its major attractions are within walking distance of each other. Walking is a great way to explore the island and soak in its natural beauty.

8. Bicycles: Bicycles can be rented in St. Thomas and are a fun and eco-friendly way to get around the island. There are also guided bike tours available for those who want to explore the island with a knowledgeable guide.

Know Before You Go...® - St. Thomas, USVI Travel Tips

Before making their way to St. Thomas, USVI , vacationers like to know a little bit of helpful information to make them feel more at home during their stay. Take a look at our travel tips to make your time in villas in St. Thomas, USVI even more relaxing.

Capital: Charlotte Amalie
Population: 51181 (Census 2000)
Size: 31 square miles
Electric Current: 110
Time: zone:-4 (GMT/UTC )
Official Language: English.
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Tipping and Taxes: Tipping and taxes in St. Thomas, USVI are an important aspect of the local economy and should be considered when planning a trip to the island. Here is a summary of tipping and taxes in St. Thomas: 1. Tipping Culture: Tipping is expected in St. Thomas, especially in the tourism and hospitality industry. It is customary to leave a 15-20% tip for good service at restaurants, bars, and hotels. Tip in cash, as some establishments may not accept tips on credit cards. 2. Service Charge: Some restaurants and hotels may include a service charge of 15-20% in the bill. This is not a tip and does not go directly to the staff. You can still leave an additional tip for exceptional service. 3. Hotel Taxes: Visitors to St. Thomas will be subject to a 12.5% hotel tax on their accommodation. This tax is usually included in the price of the room. 4. Sales Tax: The sales tax in St. Thomas is 5%, which is added to the cost of goods and services. This tax is not included in the displayed price
Dress Code: The dress code in St. Thomas, USVI is typically casual and relaxed, with light and comfortable clothing suitable for the warm, tropical climate.
Topography: St. Thomas, USVI is a hilly island with a central mountain range, surrounded by low-lying areas and a coastline dotted with coves and beaches.
Telephone: Local area code is 340.

St. Thomas, USVI Weddings and Honeymoons

Vacationers don’t just stay in St. Thomas, USVI villas - they come to paradise to get married and celebrate their honeymoons! Apply for a marriage license by writing to:
Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands
Box 70, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00804 or call and request an application at (340) 774-6680.

Applicants must appear before a notary public and have the application notarized. If either or both applicants have been divorced, it is required that a certified copy of the divorce decree be filed along with the application.

Applicants should also attach a letter to the court detailing the following:
- The date of arrival to the island
- The length of their stay
- Desired date of the ceremony
- Posting the Application

Upon receipt of the notarized application at the Territorial Court, an eight-day waiting period is required. During this time, the couple’s application is posted for public inspection.

Before a marriage license can be issued, applicants are required to personally appear before the Clerk of the Court, or her designee, to be examined under oath. Some form of identification is required. Note: No physical examination or blood test is required.

All fees must be paid by certified check, money order, or by cash, when paying in person.  Marriage Application: $25 Nonrefundable fee.  Marriage License: $25

Ceremony performed by a judge, $200 fee, ceremonies done only on Wednesdays.

Court Office Hours:  8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, except holidays and on Saturdays from 10 am to noon, except on Carnival Saturday. Additionally, by pre-arrangement and $150 per couple surcharge, the court will be available on Sundays and holidays between 9:30 am and 10:30 am.

See our favorite St. Thomas, USVI villas for weddings.