Charlotte Amalie Travel Guide
Today, many cruise passengers believe that booty still abounds in Charlotte Amalie's bustling duty-free shops. Besides being one of the Caribbean's top shopping meccas, the island sports an interesting history and another treasure, its friendly natives.
When ships pull into port, holidaymakers are awed by the island's undulating landscape and silky, sand beaches. From terra firma, they view stunning panoramas and clear, crystal seascapes. Its watery boundaries are very popular with divers, snorkellers, fisherman and yachties.
The US Virgin Islands was once a top-notch lusting and looting destination for pirates and a place to conceal treasure.
Beyond St Thomas's shops and vendors is one of the Caribbean's most interesting islands. Learn about its history at Emancipation Gardens (a memorial to freed slaves), the 17th-century Fort Christian which houses the Virgin Islands Museum, and climb 99 Steps up to Government Hill (really 103 steps but the Danes who laid out this hilly island miscalculated). Leave the city's bustle and spend time on the beach or enjoy some watersports.
• Bluebeard's Tower, the 19th-century pirate's one-time abode
• St. Croix
• St. John
• Coral World Ocean Park
• Paradise Point Tramway
• Mountain Top / St. Peter's Greathouse
United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism
78-123 Estate Contant, St Thomas, Charlotte Amalie, US Virgin Islands
Tel: +340 774 8874.
Cruise passengers love the shopping in St Thomas. There is no sales tax, just duty-free shops that offer good buys on jewellery, liquor, china, crystal and linens. For local handicrafts such as carved calabash bowls, shell jewellery, West Indian dolls and straw brooms, try the Caribbean Marketplace in Havensight Mall. Many shops are near the cruise ship dock.
The island offers everything from high-end cuisine to cheap eats. Local specialities include fungi (a polenta-like dish that usually accompanies a fish entrée), and goat water (a spicy stew).
The weather is subtropical, hot and humid, with little variation year round. The September through November is often rainy and hurricane season is late May - early November.