In St. Thomas with Tom Hoffman
The Caribbean has a wealth of superb vacation locations with the U.S. Virgin Islands leading the way in visitor numbers. Our On Location partner, Thomas Hoffman, is on hand with some great information on the islands. Be sure to get in touch with us so we can work with Thomas and his team to create your perfect getaway. Thomas also specializes in arranging for groups so why not bring your extended family along for a reunion in these glorious islands where there's so much to enjoy.
Thomas Hoffman in St. ThomasPhoto: Thomas Hoffman
Visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands
"Beautiful beaches, warm weather and crystal-clear waters along with a culturally diverse and vibrant society make the U.S. Virgin Islands the Caribbean's most popular tourist destination. Here you'll find everything you could want for a wonderful island getaway from secluded beaches to duty free shopping; kayaking and hiking to island art and fine dining."
"Each island has its own personality and flavor. All have great water, beaches and stunning views. Here's a description of each in a nutshell:
"This is a year-round tropical destination where the weather is always beautiful. August and September do have more rain and humidity than other months. Trade winds help to keep the rest of the year very comfortable."
- St. Thomas - Faster paced, duty free shopping, more tourism related activities, major cruise ship port.
- St. Croix - Slower pace, more historical sites, some cruise ships visit.
- St. John - Most laid back, two thirds National Park."
"These airlines fly into the U.S. Virgin Islands, some seasonally: American Airlines, Delta, Continental, United, Spirit, US Air, Jet Blue, Air Canada and Cape Air. At the airport, pick up a shared taxi, car rental or pre-arranged service (car, limo, sedan, van) where you'll be met by your driver and escorted to your hotel."
Megan's Bay, St. ThomasPhoto: Wikipedia
Where to Stay
"There are many excellent resorts on St. Thomas including Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort which is just completing a $48 million dollar refurbishing. It has a fabulous location at the entrance to the harbor. Other outstanding hotels on St. Thomas are the Sugar Bay, Ritz-Carlton, Best Western Emerald Beach, Windward Passage (formerly the Holiday Inn) and the casual beach resort of Bolongo Bay."
"There is a limited number of Bed & Breakfasts and Guest Houses and we have a camp ground on St. John. For longer stays and a different type of vacation from staying at a resort, the tiny residential island of Water Island has vacation homes, apartments and a campground with eco-cabins."
"It is easy to stay on St. Thomas and have day trips to the other islands."
What to See and Do
Trunk Bay, St. JohnPhoto: Wikipedia
"There are fabulous beaches on all the islands the best being Magens Bay on St. Thomas, Trunk Bay (underwater snorkel trail) on St. John and Sandy Point, Jack's Bay & Isaac's Bay beaches, the beach at Carambola and Shoys Beach on St. Croix."
"Water sports are great on all the islands: Sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking and swimming. Stand up paddle boarding is expanding rapidly in the islands."
"Top attractions are:
- St. Thomas - Fort Christian, the historic town of Charlotte Amalie, Drakes Seat where Sir Francis Drake watched ships entering the channels, Magens Bay with its beautiful, long beach, duty free shopping, hiking, golf, Coral World Ocean Park with an undersea observatory and sealife encounters, visit the Western hemisphere's second-oldest synagogue.
- St. John - Trunk Bay - breathtaking beach and underwater snorkel trail. Virgin Islands National Park - hiking trails and Plantation Era Sugar Mill Ruins. You can kayak and hike the entire perimeter of the Park.
- St. Croix - Ft. Christiansvaern, Horseback Riding, Point Udall, eastern most point under the US Flag. Whim Plantation Museum, Cruzan Rum Distillery."
"My personal favorite places "off the beaten track" are Hull Bay on the north shore of St. Thomas; a couple of great eateries on St. John - Woody's Seafood Saloon and Skinny Legs Bar & Grill; Point Udall, the eastern most point under the US Flag and the Annaly Tide Pools on St. Croix."
The clock tower, Fredericksted, St. CroixPhoto: St. Croix Tourism
"There are many options for casual to fine dining. I recommend these restaurants which are my favorites:
- St. Thomas
- Grand Cru at Yacht Haven Grande. Mediterranean.
- Mim's Seaside Bistro at Watergate Villas. Seafood.
- Old Stone Farmhouse, Mahogany Run. Steak and Seafood House.
- Oceana, on the water in Frenchtown. Innovative global cuisine with seafood emphasis.
- Mojo's, Havensight. Rum & Surf Shack. Wings and dogs.
- Duffy's Love Shack, Red Hook. Bar/restaurant in parking lot. Local hangout. Cash only. Fun.
- St. John
- Zozo's, Gallows Point. Italian.
- Waterfront Bistro, Cruz bay. French cuisine with Caribbean Flare.
- Skinny Legs, Coral Bay. Best burgers on the island!
- La Tapa, Cruz Bay. Spanish cuisine, Tapas, Mediterranean.
- St. Croix
- "Galangal", Christiansted. Southeast Asian cuisine, focusing on Thai.
- Bacchus, Christiansted. Fine dining. Steak & Seafood.
- The Pickled Greek, Christiansted. Greek.
- Eat at Cane Bay. Cane Bay. American."
The U.S. Virgin Islands are an ideal spot for a fabulous vacation. Thanks to Thomas for providing this practical and helpful information to get you started on your vacation planning.
By Susan Milne