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Planning a St Thomas vacation? We’re here to help!
The word ‘Caribbean’ instantly conjures up visions of white-sand beaches and sitting in the shade of a palm tree, rum punch in hand. The island of St Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands, offers this and so much more.
For a tiny island, this place has a long and involved history. The Carib tribe were in control when Christopher Columbus sighted the island in 1493, claiming it for Spain. During the 17th century, many European powers were interested in St Thomas and its neighboring islands, but it was the Danes who established the first European settlement in 1672, and the Danish West India Company set about building plantations across the three islands that now make up the USVI’s. Sugarcane, cotton, and indigo became big business, and St Thomas became a major slave-trading post. In 1848 that slaves on neighboring St Croix revolted and won emancipation – an event that is still celebrated every year in the USVI’s on July 3, Emancipation Day. During the First World War, the United States negotiated the purchase of the islands from Denmark for $25 million, and citizenship was at last granted to Virgin Islanders in 1927. Today the USVI’s are an unincorporated territory of the United States – they elected their first governor in 1970.
There are plenty of places where you can learn more about St Thomas’s history, while those white-sand beaches and a host of activities offer any number of ways to enjoy this beautiful Caribbean island.
Sun and sand
The island of St Thomas is blessed with no fewer than 40 beaches, so how to narrow down which is the right one for you? Let us help. The one-mile stretch of Magens Bay is a public park and a firm favorite – the waters are calm and there are picnic tables as well as loungers to rent and a snack bar for when you fancy a bite. Lindquist, at the island’s eastern end, is the island’s most pristine stretch of sand, and great for snorkeling. If you’re looking for a lively vibe then head to Vessup Beach – there’s a watersports hut that rents out windsurfers and other fun water toys and at weekends locals get together for parties with upbeat music.
Views and thrills
When you’ve had enough of the beach (as if, but maybe drag yourself away for a day or two), venture inland and upwards, for some of the island’s best views and the chance to enjoy one hell of an adrenaline ride. A popular stop on sightseeing tours, the lookout point at Drake’s Seat offers up a wide-open vista of Magens Bay and the United States and the British Virgin Islands strung out to the east. The Skyride to Paradise Point is another way to get an eyeful, as a cable car carries you 700 ft above St Thomas’s capital, Charlotte Amalie with panoramic views along the way. But the hands-down winner has to be the Tree Limin’ Extreme Zipline Tour. ‘Limin’, in local parlance, means hanging out, and up in the rainforest of St Peter Mountain you’ll be strapped in and launched on the ultimate hangout, soaring through the jungle canopy at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Your Luxury Retreats concierge can organize zip lining tours and more.
History and nature
Hassel Island Historic District, a small separate island just off the coast of Charlotte Amalie, offers visitors both historical interest and natural beauty. Part of the Virgin Islands National Park, it is home to heritage structures including Danish military forts from the Napoleonic era, a steam-engine-powered marine railway, and an idyllic snorkeling beach. Join a tour and keep an eye out for the local residents: iguanas, land crabs and tortoises.
Another place to meet the island’s wildlife is Coral World Ocean Park. There you can view life on a coral reef from an underwater observatory; visit the shark pool to ‘pet’ a shark or hand-feed a stingray; hang with the friendly Lorikeets; swim with the sea lions or try a Sea Trek – a guided stroll along the ocean floor wearing a big bubble helmet that allows you to really get up close and personal with a whole host of underwater creatures.
Experience the luxury of our villas in St Thomas
With fantastic properties spread across the island from the East End to Peterborg in the northwest and Estate Bakkeroe in the south, we have just the vacation home you’re looking for. Right by the beach or up in the hills with views of the azure ocean and sleeping anywhere from 4 to 18 people, your villa awaits.
Homes in the East End
Boasting easy access to some of the best beaches on St Thomas, our East End vacation rentals are the ideal choice if you want to spend your days relaxing in the Caribbean sunshine. Our Ritz-Carlton residences offer the privacy of being surrounded by manicured grounds, with private pools and whirlpools, while at the same time giving access to all the amenities of a world-class resort. Or choose the perfect family villa – 8 bedrooms with a pool, sundeck, charcoal grill and wet bar.
Villas in Peterborg
Both beach bums and golfers will both find something to please among our Peterborg rentals. Heart-shaped Magens Bay is laid out below the upscale properties peppering the hillside, while the Mahogany Run golf course is a short drive away. Take a villa with a view or set yourself up on the shore with your own private white-sand beach.
If you’re planning a St Thomas honeymoon, let us help you find a property ripe for romance. Perhaps a 2-bed Ritz-Carlton residence, where you can relax at the beachside restaurant and bar or indulge in massages and other spa treatments during the day, before retreating to your private balcony to watch the sunset with a celebratory glass of champagne.