Saint Thomas Travel Guide

Explore the cultural and natural attractions of Saint Thomas, discover must-try dishes and local products, and learn about local customs and safety tips in this ultimate travel guide.

Introduction to Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas is a beautiful island nestled in the Caribbean Sea and is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is a territory of the United States. Saint Thomas is known for its breathtaking landscapes, crystal-clear blue waters, and rich cultural heritage. The island has a rich history that is best explored through its museums and historical sites.

List of Places to Visit in Saint Thomas

Here are some of the must-visit places in Saint Thomas:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Fort Christian: This fort was constructed in the 17th century and served as a prison before being converted into a museum. Fort Christian is the oldest building in the U.S. Virgin Islands and features artifacts from the island’s colonial past.
  • Blackbeard’s Castle: This historical attraction is a tower that was used to protect the island from pirates and was later used as a lookout point during World War I. The castle now houses a hotel and a museum that features exhibits on piracy and the island’s history.
  • St. Thomas Synagogue: This is the second oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and dates back to 1796. The synagogue features a sand floor to represent the fleeing of Jews from Egypt and has a rich collection of Jewish artifacts.

Natural Attractions of Saint Thomas: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Magens Bay Beach: This beach is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The bay is a mile-long, soft-sand beach that offers breathtaking views of the coastline and the surrounding hills.
  • Coral World Ocean Park: This attraction is a marine park that enables visitors to experience and interact with marine life. Visitors can swim with sea lions, feed sharks, and go on a guided tour of the underwater observatory.
  • Mountain Top: This is the highest point on the island and offers panoramic views of Magens Bay and the British Virgin Islands. The observation deck at the top is also a great place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy a tropical cocktail.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas is known for its rugged terrain and scenic beauty, making it a great destination for hikers and bikers. Here are some of the best routes to explore:

  • Hassel Island: This is a popular destination for hikers and bird watchers. The island contains a historic fort, plantation ruins, and a lighthouse.
  • Bordeaux Mountain Trail: This is the highest peak in the U.S. Virgin Islands and is a popular destination for serious hikers. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding islands.
  • St. Thomas Bike and Hike Tours: This tour company offers guided tours of the island’s natural attractions, including beaches, forests, and historical sites.

Best Things to Do in Saint Thomas: Activities and Tours

Saint Thomas offers a wide variety of activities and tours to cater to all interests and preferences. Here are some of the best things to do on the island:

  • Snorkeling and Diving: Saint Thomas is surrounded by crystal-clear waters that are home to a diverse range of marine life. Visitors can snorkel or dive to experience the island’s underwater wonders.
  • Sailing Tours: Visitors can take a sailing tour around the island and explore secluded coves and beaches that are inaccessible by land.
  • Shopping: The island is home to a vibrant shopping scene, with a variety of local markets, artisanal shops, and luxury boutiques.

Week-Long Itinerary for Saint Thomas

Here is a suggested week-long itinerary for visitors to Saint Thomas:

Day Activities
1 Visit Fort Christian and explore the town of Charlotte Amalie
2 Go on a snorkeling tour and visit Magens Bay
3 Hike to Hassel Island and visit the fort and plantation ruins
4 Rent a car and explore the island’s scenic routes
5 Take a sailing tour and explore the island’s secluded beaches
6 Visit Coral World Ocean Park and go on a guided tour of the underwater observatory
7 Relax on the beach and enjoy a sunset cocktail at Mountain Top

Food and Drink Scene of Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas has a rich culinary scene that reflects its diverse cultural influences. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Conch Fritters: Made with locally harvested conch, these fritters are a popular local delicacy.
  • Saltfish and Dumplings: This is a traditional Caribbean dish made with salted cod and dumplings.
  • Stewed Goat: This is a hearty and spicy stew made with tender goat meat and a variety of aromatic spices.

Local Beverages

  • Cruzan Rum: Cruzan Rum is a popular local rum that is made on the island and is available in a variety of flavors.
  • Bush Tea: This tea is made from local herbs and is known for its healing properties.
  • Virgin Islands Punch: This cocktail is made with rum, guava, and passionfruit, and is a refreshing drink that is perfect for hot days.

Where to Stay in Saint Thomas: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Saint Thomas offers a range of accommodation options catering to all budgets and preferences. Here are some of the best places to stay:

  • The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas: This luxury hotel is set on its private beach and offers breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.
  • Island View Guesthouse: This guesthouse offers affordable accommodation options and is located in the heart of Charlotte Amalie.
  • St. Thomas Hostel: This hostel offers budget-friendly accommodation and is a great option for solo travelers and backpackers.

What to Buy in Saint Thomas: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Saint Thomas is known for its local crafts, artisanal products, and souvenirs. Here are some of the best things to buy on the island:

  • Island Spices: Saint Thomas is home to a variety of locally produced spices, including hot pepper sauces, jerk seasoning, and cinnamon.
  • Hook Bracelets: These iconic bracelets are a symbol of Virgin Islands culture and are made with gold and sterling silver.
  • Local Art: The island is home to a vibrant art scene, and visitors can find a variety of local artwork, including paintings and sculptures.

Local Culture and Customs of Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas has a rich cultural heritage that is reflected in its music, food, and lifestyle. The island is home to a diverse population that includes Africans, Carib Indians, Europeans, and Americans. Visitors are encouraged to respect local customs and traditions, including dress codes and etiquette in places of worship.

Best Time to Visit Saint Thomas

The best time to visit Saint Thomas is between December and April when the weather is dry and sunny. The island experiences a rainy season from May to November, and hurricanes are a risk in September and October.

Do’s and Don’ts of Saint Thomas


  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Wear appropriate clothing in public places.
  • Try local cuisine and beverages.


  • Wear swimwear in public places outside of the beach.
  • Take photographs of people without their consent.
  • Touch or remove artifacts from historical sites or museums.

Safety and Health

Safety in Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas is a safe destination for travelers. However, visitors should take precautions to avoid petty crime, such as pickpocketing and theft. It is also advised to avoid walking alone at night in secluded areas.

Health in Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas has a high standard of healthcare, and visitors can access medical services in case of an emergency. However, it is advised to purchase travel insurance before traveling to cover any medical expenses.

Getting to Saint Thomas: Transportation Options and Logistics

Saint Thomas is easily accessible by air and sea. Here are some transportation options available:

Airports Near Saint Thomas

  • Cyril E. King International Airport: This is the main airport on the island and is served by major airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines.

Bus Stations Near Saint Thomas

  • The Virgin Island’s Department of Transportation operates a comprehensive bus service on the island.

Other Options

  • Ferry: Visitors can take a ferry from neighboring islands, including St. John and Tortola.

How to Get Around in Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas has an extensive public transportation system, including taxis and buses. Visitors can also rent cars, bikes, and mopeds to explore the island at their leisure.

Where to Go Next from Saint Thomas: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Saint Thomas is well-connected to neighboring islands and destinations. Here are some suggestions for nearby destinations:

  • St. John: This neighboring island is home to lush forests, beautiful beaches, and stunning hiking trails.
  • Tortola: This island is part of the British Virgin Islands and offers visitors a taste of British culture and heritage.
  • Virgin Gorda: This island is famous for its natural attractions, including The Baths, a series of unique rock formations created by volcanic activity.


Saint Thomas is a vibrant destination that offers visitors a mix of natural attractions, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures. Visitors can enjoy the island at their own pace, exploring its hidden gems and embracing local traditions and customs. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a repeat traveler, Saint Thomas is a destination that is sure to captivate you with its beauty and charm.