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Holiday, Vacation & Tour

 

Finding Your Inner Tourist In St Thomas

As you plan your trip to St. Thomas, you will probably find that one of the favorite activities for St. Thomas Holiday, Vacation & Tours is duty-free shopping in Charlotte Amalie. While shopping and walking the streets of this colonial capital might be a great start to a St. Thomas Holiday, Vacation & Tour, St. Thomas tourism certainly has more to offer than simple shopping and dining. From the historic colonial sites scattered throughout the island to the natural beauty of the Caribbean, St. Thomas has som...

st. thomas, us virgin islands, caribbean tourist

As you plan your trip to St. Thomas, you will probably find that one of the favorite activities for St. Thomas Holiday, Vacation & Tours is duty-free shopping in Charlotte Amalie. While shopping and walking the streets of this colonial capital might be a great start to a St. Thomas Holiday, Vacation & Tour, St. Thomas tourism certainly has more to offer than simple shopping and dining. From the historic colonial sites scattered throughout the island to the natural beauty of the Caribbean, St. Thomas has something to offer any type of tourist. You and your family can embark on exotic underwater adventures, or ride a cable car to the top of a Caribbean peak. The possibilities are endless in St. Thomas.

A favorite of families, the Coral World Ocean Park features over five acres of aquariums, pools, hiking trails and observatories. Feeding shows and snorkeling expeditions allow children to interact with some of the Caribbean’s most interesting sea creatures. For the daring tourist, the site even offers parasailing and a swim-with-sharks program. Also for lovers of marine life, the high-tech submarine tour – Atlantis XV – allows tourists to coast through coral reefs and observe numerous types of fish, turtles and other Caribbean creatures. Your tour guide will point out interesting and rare species along the way.

Just east of the capital city of Charlotte Amalie is another tourist favorite, Bluebeard’s Castle. Though local legend states that the structure was built by the famous pirate to commemorate his love of Mercedita, the stone tower was actually constructed by Danish colonists in 1689 as a watchtower for nearby Fort Christian. Connected to this site is the complex know as Frederiksberg, a residence erected after the colonial government sold the land in 1818. Today, the buildings serve as one of the most unique architectural sites in the Caribbean.

The highest point in St. Thomas, the 1,542 foot peak of St. Peter Mountain, was once used by the U.S. government as a communications station. Today, this scenic overlook features shops and restaurants that look down upon Drake’s passage – the legendary site believed to have been a lookout for Sir Francis Drake spying on the Spanish Armada – and the surrounding Virgin Islands. Another great location for that perfect Caribbean view is The St. Thomas Skyride to Paradise Point. The aerial cable car at the site takes you up 700 feet in less than 7 minutes with stunning scenery along the way. At the top you will find a number of fun shops and restaurants, all of which feature amazing views of Charlotte Amalie harbor.

The Tillet Gardens are the home of St. Thomas’ vibrant local art scene. Formerly a Danish farm, English artist Jim Tillet converted the property into a center for visual arts and performance after arriving in St. Thomas in 1959. Besides being one of the few colonial farms open to the public, Tillet Gardens are brimming with local paintings, silkscreen prints, jewelry and other crafts all created by the local community. After enjoying a cool drink and a snack, check the event schedule as you may have the pleasure of hearing a classical music performance. The charming fishing outpost known as Frenchtown is another great area to visit and relax while in St. Thomas. Settled in the late 1800s by fishermen from the nearby French-Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy, Frenchtown still features an active fish market. Early in the morning, you can observe fishermen approaching the shore in their small boats and preparing their catch for sale. Resting on a hilltop in the middle of town is St. Ann’s Catholic Church, a great place to catch a view of town and the vast Caribbean. Frenchtown also has the beautiful French Heritage Museum with artifacts documenting the French colonial experience in the Caribbean region. A little further off the beaten path is the town of Red Hook, a departure point for many Caribbean ferries and other vessels. Supporting the local marinas are several excellent restaurants and bars, each with unique offerings. Experiencing small towns such as Red Hook, in addition to the capital of Charlotte Amalie and the surrounding countryside, will certainly offer some understanding of the rich culture and history of this beautiful Caribbean island.

 

Planning A Destination Wedding In St. Thomas

As couples have become more mobile in recent years, destination weddings have greatly increased in popularity. Most Caribbean weddings come as customizable Holiday, Vacation & Tour packages with all details accounted for by the resort or planning service. As a result, you and your guests can spend time relaxing on the beach rather than scrambling through last-minute preparations. Though it would seem far more difficult to plan a wedding from thousands of miles away, the reality is that a wed...

caribbean weddings, st. thomas weddings, wedding on the beach

As couples have become more mobile in recent years, destination weddings have greatly increased in popularity. Most Caribbean weddings come as customizable Holiday, Vacation & Tour packages with all details accounted for by the resort or planning service. As a result, you and your guests can spend time relaxing on the beach rather than scrambling through last-minute preparations. Though it would seem far more difficult to plan a wedding from thousands of miles away, the reality is that a wedding in St. Thomas or any other Caribbean locale is far less work (and oftentimes, cheaper!) than a traditional wedding. Follow these simple steps to plan the perfect St. Thomas wedding.

Your first step in planning a destination wedding in St. Thomas should be contacting a wedding planner, resort or concierge on the island. Once you find a reliable wedding planner, make them aware of your budget and specific requests. Your budget should be determined by the number of guests you hope to have in attendance. As the planner scouts vendors and locations, ask as many questions as possible to ensure you get exactly what you are looking for. Later in the process, you will want to visit St. Thomas to make sure everything is going as planned and make any final event decisions.

After determining the date and location of your destination wedding, you will want to notify your guests. It is best to inform your friends and family at least five to six months beforehand to ensure that lodging and airfare are properly arranged. As your wedding planner takes care of most of the on-site details, you will want to focus are arranging blocks of hotel rooms and discounted group airfare. The etiquette of destination weddings typically calls for invited guests to pay their own airfare, while the bride and groom cover the cost of the weekend.

When arranging details with your guests, you may also want to determine what types of activities everyone would like to do outside of the ceremony. Then, your planner can help you construct an itinerary with everything from scuba diving to dancing. Also, consider having a wedding website where your guests can view updated details about your St. Thomas wedding.

If you are working with a strict budget, shop around to find less expensive destinations and more inclusive wedding packages. You should also consider holding your ceremony in the tourism off-season and staging some of your events, like dinners and rehearsals, outside of high-priced tourist areas. Not only will this save some money, it will also allow you and your guests to experience your destination’s indigenous culture.

Lastly, when getting married in St. Thomas or any other Caribbean location, you will need to obtain a local marriage license and a passport. The passport is now standard procedure for Caribbean travel; just make sure your guests are aware. Securing a marriage license can sometimes be more difficult. It is best to contact the local government and follow their instructions for permission. While your planner may be able to help with some of these details, some international locations require blood tests, immunization certificates or doctor's certificates in order to legally marry. However, most Caribbean islands simply require a three-day residency prior to the ceremony, proof of citizenship, the completion of documentation and a small license fee. Your best sources of information on all these requirements are the U.S. State Department and the government office where your wedding is being held.

After you add everything up, you will probably be surprised to find out that a luxurious destination wedding can actually be far less expensive than a traditional stateside wedding. Though you will have fewer guests, the all-inclusive packages mentioned here will allow your closest friends and family to spend an intimate weekend in a picturesque locale, all without breaking the bank.

 

Setting Sail In St. Thomas

For several years, one of the most popular activities for visitors to St. Thomas hasn’t taken place on the island. Instead, tourists cruise the crystal-clear waters surrounding this unique island, soaking up the sun and finding adventure in the water. With numerous charters and rental organizations catering to the tourists of the island – each with unique water sport activities and boating options – there are plenty of ways to set sail in St. Thomas.

As conditions for sail...

st thomas, st thomas travel

For several years, one of the most popular activities for visitors to St. Thomas hasn’t taken place on the island. Instead, tourists cruise the crystal-clear waters surrounding this unique island, soaking up the sun and finding adventure in the water. With numerous charters and rental organizations catering to the tourists of the island – each with unique water sport activities and boating options – there are plenty of ways to set sail in St. Thomas.

As conditions for sailing and water sports are nearly perfect year-round in St. Thomas, it is no wonder that tourists regularly cite the weather as one of the most memorable details of their Holiday, Vacation & Tours. In addition to the persistent sunshine and mild temperatures, the waters surrounding St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands are typically calm year-round, but light tropical breezes provide more than enough strength for the sails. Regardless of where your boat travels around St. Thomas, you will also experience incredible underwater visibility, allowing you to see the colorful diversity of the Caribbean Sea.

The easiest way to experience the Caribbean Sea while on St. Thomas is to charter either a sailboat or powerboat. St. Thomas currently has at least 100 different charter boats, each offering different activities and boating options. While day trips are the most popular option with tourists, many charter services in St. Thomas also offer week long boating tours. In most cases, both single day and week long charters are staffed with a complete crew, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the ride. However, experienced sailors can also find boat rentals without crews, allowing tourists to take the helm and coast through the calm Caribbean waters. In most cases, charter boats are limited to groups of 6-8, meaning your family will be able to enjoy not only the weather but also the precious privacy afforded by luxurious Caribbean destinations like St. Thomas.

Boating in the Caribbean also allows adventurous tourists a chance to explore what lies beneath the water. Most boating charters come complete with snorkeling equipment and visit many of the island’s best sites for observing underwater life. If you charter a powerboat, you can also take advantage of equipment such as water skis and inflatable toys. Even if you want to stay dry, you can try your hand at deep sea fishing and reel in some of the Caribbean’s most spectacular fish. If you have a particular activity in mind, check the listings for individual charters as most will detail the types of water sport equipment available. You can also ask the concierge at your resort for recommendations based on your family’s interests and budget.

If you have never attempted any of these sports before, don’t be discouraged from hopping aboard a boat. Many of the charter boats operating in St. Thomas are staffed by knowledgeable personnel that take pride in serving not only as tour guides, but also as teachers. While out at sea, you can receive lessons on snorkeling or scuba diving and gain valuable insight about how to reel in the perfect catch. Some charter companies even offer sailing lessons, allowing first-timers a chance to man the sails.

One of the best ways to find a charter boat or sailing tour is directly through your resort with the help of the concierge or front desk staff. In many cases, charter companies will offer substantial discounts or free add-ons to your rental through your resort. If you are still having trouble finding the right charter for your family, check local publications for detailed listings featuring the types of activities offered by each company. When you have found the right tour or boat rental, you can also make the necessary reservations directly through your resort and devote your free time to enjoying everything else St. Thomas has to offer.




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