Travellers Guide for St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

st_thomas_virgin_islands_travellers_guideChristopher Columbus is credited with “discovering” St. Thomas during his second voyage to the New World in 1493. His stay was short-lived, instead sailing on to Puerto Rico. The island was left unguarded by the Spanish and soon its sheltered bays were called on by ships from other nations, captained by men the Spanish would come to consider pirates. St. Thomas’ existence would continue as home to pirates and small settlements long before a European power decided to pursue a permanent settlement.

Today, the history, climate, white beaches, and natural beauty of St. Thomas attract visitors from all over the world. From world-class shopping, fine dining, to a wide variety of active outdoor adventures including kayaking, scuba diving, sailing, sport-fishing and more, the paradise of Saint Thomas offers tourists the finest holiday spot for families, lovers, and individuals alike.

Duty-Free Shopping

Saint Thomas is home to world-class shopping. Duty free shops line the Charlotte Amalie streets and alleyways. The best buys on St. Thomas include jewellery, perfumes, alcohol, china, crystal, art, watches and cameras. If you are in the market for something in particular, primarily jewellery and cameras, it is a good idea to know what the going price is in your home town; some items are better deals than others.

$1,600 Exemption (applies to US residents returning to the US mainland)

If you return directly or indirectly from a U.S. insular possession (which includes the U.S. Virgin Islands), you are allowed a $1,600 duty-free exemption. You may include 1,000 cigarettes as part of this exemption. You may also include five litres of alcoholic beverages in your duty-free exemption, but one of them must be a product of an insular possession.  Four may be products of other countries.  Duty free allowance on alcoholic beverages applies if you are 21 years old, it is for your own use or as a gift and it does not violate the laws of the state in which you arrive.

TOURIST INFORMATION

Climate

The weather in St. Thomas is extremely consistent. Sun and blue skies dominate the common weather forecast with temperatures ranging from 28 degrees Celsius during the day to 21 degrees Celsius at night. The trade winds almost always provide a pleasant breeze day and night.

Clothing

We respectfully request our guests to be neatly attired at all times in the public areas of the resort. Cotton or lightweight clothing is suitable for day and evening wear.

Passports

UK and European passport holders require a visa to travel to St. Thomas

US PASSPORTS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO TRAVEL BETWEEN US MAINLAND AND THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS

U.S. citizens are not required to have passports or proof of citizenship when ENTERING the U.S. Virgin Islands from a U.S. airport. All arrivals to the U.S. Virgin Islands from foreign airports are required to show proof of citizenship and pass through customs. All persons leaving the U.S. Virgin Islands, whether American citizens or not, must be prepared to show proof of citizenship upon leaving the islands to return to the mainland. Typically US drivers license is all you will need. However, official definitions are as follows:

Accepted documents for Proof of Citizenship for Americans:

1. A passport issued under competent authority,
2. An Alien Registration Card (this applies to U.S. permanent residents only)
3. A certified copy of a birth certificate and government issued photo identification
4. A Certificate of Naturalization, issued by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Citizens of any country other than the U.S. should follow U.S. travel regulations and requirements for entry into the United States.

Health Requirements

There are no health requirements for travel to the US Virgin Islands.

Language

The national language of St. Thomas is English

GETTING AROUND SAINT THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS

Airports

Cyril E. King Airport is located approximately 30 minutes from everywhere. Your planning should include that you check-in at the airport no later than 2 hours prior to your scheduled departure. Airport transfers can be booked in advance here.

Taxis

Taxis are readily available at the airport, cruise ship dock, and at popular attractions and beaches. Taxis charge per person and by destination. There are no metered taxis. Hotel staff at the front desk will usually be more than happy to provide you with information pertaining to taxi availability and costs.

Buses

VITRAN buses cover popular routes on Saint Thomas. Country buses run every hour from 5:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. between town and Red Hook. City buses travel between Schneider Regional Medical Center and town and run between 6:15 a.m. and 8 p.m. Country bus fare is $1 and City bus fare is $2.

LOCAL INFORMATION

Currency

* St. Thomas uses the U.S. Dollar
* A currency exchange service is available at most banks on the island
* You may also change your money or cash travellers checks at banks
* Remember to bring along your passport to help facilitate exchanges

Phone

* The area code in St. Thomas is 340

Electricity

* Electric outlets in the Virgin Islands take standard North American current, 120 volt / 60 cycles.

TOURIST INFORMATION

* U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism (800) 372-USVI
* St. Thomas Tourist Information Office, Charlotte Amalie (340) 774-8784

St. Thomas Emergency Phone Numbers

* The local number for emergency services is 911.

St. Thomas Public Holidays

The U.S. Virgin Islands celebrate all major U.S. holidays. Banks and most stores are closed on these days.

Shopping Hours in St. Thomas

Most stores in downtown Charlotte Amalie are open both weekdays and weekends.

Tipping in St. Thomas

Service charges and gratuities are not typically included as part of your bill. It is customary to leave 15 to 20% gratuity on food and beverage services.

WEATHER INFORMATION

Seasonal Temperatures

Summer (June, July, August): High 89°F/31°C; Low 76°F/24°C
Fall (September, October, November): High 89°F/31°C; Low 76°F/24°C
Winter (December, January, February): High 85°F/29°C; Low 72°F/22°C
Spring (March, April, May): High 86°F/30°C; Low 71°F/21°C



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