St. Thomas, the second-largest island both in size and in
population, draws the largest number of visitors - many
of them arriving on the sleek cruise ships that make Char-
lotte Amalie harbor the busiest port of call in the Caribbean.
Many of these visitors return for a longer stay.
The island offers a hybrid vacation. The sun, sea and sand
that all Caribbean islands offer are here in abundance, but
St. Thomas is also a cosmopolitan and sophisticated oasis
boasting a variety of big-city amenities not found elsewhere
in the Caribbean.
The island's sophistication is accurately mirrored in the
number and variety of first-class restaurants. Nouvelle
American and French, Continental and Italian, steak 'n
salad and seafood eateries vie for your attention. You'll want
to try some West Indian dishes too.
Charlotte Amalie , the island's cosmopolitan capital and
commercial center, once the favorite playground of pirates
and privateers, now stocks booty garnered in all parts of the
world and sold at duty-free prices. Fine gold jewelry, leather
goods, stereos and cameras, elegant china and linen are the
Accommodations on the island include posh resort hotels
and chic condominiums on lovely beaches, as well as a good
number of small picturesque places scattered on the hill-
sides overlooking the harbor.
Of course, there is a downside to this. Charlotte Amalie's
commercial center is the scene of daily traffic jams and park-
ing can be very tough. Main Street is often crowded with in-
vading tourists from the docked cruise ships, lured from one
shop to another by shrill hawkers on the street. The island's
sanitation department is hard put to keep up with the litter.
These drawbacks will affect you only minimally and you can
savor the best of both worlds. Five minutes from Charlotte