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St. Thomas Airport
Gateway to the USVI

St. Thomas. As the major interconnecting point to the United States Virgin Islands, and a alternate route to the British Virgin Islands, St. Thomas is itself an attractive vacation destination, especially its capital, Charlotte Amalie, a major cruise ship port and shopper's paradise well worth at least a few hours planned layover.

Airport. The Cyril E. King international airport (STT) (340-776-6282) (current weather conditions) has a 7000' runway for large jets, extending that of the old airport into the adjacent waters (see takeoff video). The airport is 3 miles (15 minutes) from Charlotte Amalie, easily reached by taxi, public bus or rental car.

Connections and Airlines Served. Large intercontinental jets fly directly from such cities as New York (4 1/2 hours), Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and London, England. St. Thomas is served by such airlines as American Airlines, Delta, US Airways, United, JetBlue Airlines, Air Canada and British Airways. See arrivals live here.

Caribbean Carriers. Within the Caribbean, travel is usually on regional jets, turboprops, and smaller planes. The major intra-Caribbean carriers are AA's American Eagle Airlines/Executive Airlines, LIAT and Cape Air. American Airlines uses San Juan Airport (SJU) as its Caribbean hub for American Eagle/Executive Airlines flights to various small Caribbean island nations.

   

 

     
Taxis and Rental Cars. Taxi vans are plentiful with affordable set rates, especially when carrying more than one person. See Charlotte Amalie below. Limos are also available. Rental cars are available at the airport.  
 
     

Charters and Local Airlines. Local airlines include Cape Air, Caribbean Wings, Air Sunshine, Air St. Thomas, Del Air, Fly BVI, Virgin Gorda Air Charters and Island Birds.

Local airlines offer intra-Caribbean flights from San Juan and St. Thomas to St. Croix, Tortola (Beef Island), Virgin Gorda, Anegada, St. Thomas, St. Maarten/St. Martin and other Caribbean islands as well as sightseeing flights and charters, although charters are usually more expensive, except for groups of five or more, or via shared charter flights.

Shared charters, not on the usual computer reservation systems, are regular flights by charter airlines, such as Air Sunshine, that can be booked individually.

Private jet charters are available, although on an expensive hourly basis, for flights directly to St. Thomas, Tortola and other Caribbean destinations from US and international points of origin.

 

 

     

British Virgin Islands Service.
Charter service is available to Virgin Gorda and Anegada as well as Tortola's Beef Island. Normally a small group is necessary to make a charter flight competitive in price.

 

     
  Waterfront Stroll. The waterfront connects the ferry dock to downtown Charlotte Amalie. An enjoyable stroll along Charlotte Amalie's waterfront takes in this huge and beautiful harbour. Magnificent yachts (some owned or chartered by celebrities) line the waterfront, moored "stern-to"  in the Mediterranean fashion. Immense, gleaming cruise ships fill the far side. An occasional seaplane comes in for a water landing on the busy ferry dock side.  

Accommodations
Charlotte Amalie
Cruise Port

Ferry Dock
Jewelers
Restaurants

Charlotte Amalie Ferry Dock. St. Thomas also has ferry service from its downtown Charlotte Amalie dock near the airport (see ferry schedules). The ferries ($40/22 round trip/one way for adults, $28/17 for children 3-11 years old) go to St. John, the  West End (Soper's Hole) and Road Town on Tortola and "The Valley" on Virgin Gorda. In addition, the new Fast Ferry goes directly between Charlotte Amalie dock and Road Town. For late flights into St. Thomas, Dolphin Water Taxi offers after hours service (up to 11:30 PM) to Tortola's West End.


Charlotte Amalie Ferry Dock

Given its small size, assistance with luggage (despite offers) is generally not needed to walk the few steps to the ticket counters inside and adjoining departure areas for the ferries (photo: VI Port Authority). Next door to the right is a seaplane port for the adventuresome traveler, linking St. Croix and San Juan.  
     

Red Hook Ferry Dock. At Red Hook on the BVI (east) side of St. Thomas, ferry service is available to Jost Van Dyke and St. John (car barges also) (photo: Dreamstime).

 
       
 

St. Thomas Cruise Port

Pictured is the beautiful crescent-shaped St. Thomas Bay with the Havensight Cruise Piers in the foreground and downtown Charlotte Amalie in the background (photo: Cape Air).
Charlotte Amalie.
Cradled by small green mountains, the pastel walls and red-tiled roofs of this tropical city spill down to the azure sea. Yes, this is ground zero for "shop 'til you drop,"
especially for jewelry. A famous shopping destination, Charlotte Amalie is one of  the busiest stops on the Eastern Caribbean cruise ship itinerary, sometimes with a number of cruise ships in port at one time. Rental cars are available at the cruise ship piers.

See St. Thomas Cruise Port.

When the cruise ships are in, a fleet of taxis springs into action and the streets will quickly be filled with shoppers. Literally dozens of jewelry shops line many blocks of stores in colonial Danish brick warehouses extending back from Waterfront Street on the port to Main Street via numerous alleys. And further back is Back Street (see map).

 
 

 

Jewelers.
Jewelers include Majesty Jewelers with the perfectly cut Hearts on Fire diamond, Effy Jewelers with its Pave Rose brilliant white diamonds hand-set into rose gold and DiVersa diamond and gemstone changeable earrings, Bernard K Passman Gallery with its black coral jewelry, Little Switzerland with Tiffany and Co. pieces, fine Italian Roberto Coin gold jewelry and stunning Tahiti pearls by Yvel as well as Diamonds International with MarahLago Larimar.

 

Quaint Alleys

  Hidden patios and cafes and other great eateries as well as numerous shops are found in the exposed brick alleys. The best to shop in are Riise Alley, Palm Passage,  and Royal Dane Mall (photo: About).
The island's diverse history is seen in Dutch doors, Danish red-tile roofs, French ironwork and Spanish patios.

MarahLago

Larimar & White
Topaz Marina Earrings
in Sterling Silver
by MarahLago, the first name in Larimar jewelry

 

Sparkle like the Caribbean Sea!

 
  Marah Lago tries to showcase the rare beauty of Larimar to infuse a sense of
uniqueness and rarity into each piece, and imbue each woman with a natural sense of style and elegance.

In St. Thomas, MarahLago is carried by Royal Caribbean Daswani  and Diamonds International (3 Drakes Passage).

Restaurants.
Downtown Charlotte Amalie has many interesting restaurants, including cafes with Spanish patios and convenient rum bars for fruit drinks, tucked down tropical alleys.
     

Bar in St. Thomas Alley

Or nestled in stone-walled passages, such as Cafe Amica on Riise Alley with its pan-seared Ahi Tuna and creative pastas like Homemade Cheese Ravioli Tossed in Pink Vodka Sauce (photo: DailyVI Blog).
 

Butterfly Sipping Drink

Even butterflies like rum fruit drinks, here sipping some off a finger at the Butterfly Farm in St. Martin (photo: Travel Pod).
     

Zarzuela de Pescado

  On Palm Passage, Cafe Amalie has excellent tapas, such as Gambas Santa Fe Café (large shrimp with crabmeat dipped in herb batter).
Authentic Spanish dishes include traditional Catalan Zarzuela de Pescado (snapper, shrimp and mussels in a tomato based stew) and Pepito de Lomo, a traditional pork loin bocadillo (sandwich) with steak fries (photo: Trip Advisor)
 

On the Waterfront

Big Kahuna Rum Shack, with its nice patio on Waterfront Street, is known for its fruit drinks, including the World Famous Love Juice, as well as dishes like Jerk Chicken Pizza.
       
 
The background song is "Paradise" by Quito Rymer.
Quito can be seen at his Quito's Gazebo at Cane Garden Bay in the BVI.
See this video at YouTube:  My Paradise: Trip to the Virgin Islands
  Accommodations. Charlotte Amalie has a great variety of accommodations in all price ranges (see info and rates).
 

Best Western Plus Emerald Beach Resort

Near the airport is Best Western Plus Emerald Beach Resort (see rates-low price guarantee).
 

Villa Marbella Suites

Highly recommended is Villa Marbella Suites (see rates-low price guarantee).

Alternative Routes. An alternative route to the British Virgin Islands growing in popularity includes direct jet flights from the US or Europe to St. Maarten and a intra-Caribbean flight on a local carrier, including American Eagle, to Tortola's Beef Island airport (EIS). This alternative offers the intriguing possibility of a day trip or side excursion to the St.Maarten/St. Martin mulit-national archipelago that includes Anguilla, Saba and St. Barths--all within local ferry/flight distances.

Another alternative is Puerto Rico's San Juan Airport (SJU) and an intra-Caribbean flight on a local carrier, usually American Eagle to Tortola's Beef Island airport (EIS).

US Non-Stop/Connecting Airports. The major US airports for non-stop flights to the Caribbean as well connecting service include Miami (American), New York (American, JetBlue, Delta), Atlanta (Delta with the world's largest hub), Chicago (United and American,) Los Angeles (United and American), Philadelphia (US Airlines), Houston (Continental) and Dallas Fort Worth (American, the most important Caribbean carrier, with its main US hub).

   
       
  Delays and Overnight Stays. Luggage and flights may be delayed so carry on an overnight bag with a day's necessities, including medicines, clothing and a bathing suit as well as reading material and snacks if desired.  
 

San Juan Airport | San Juan Cruise Port | Old San Juan | Tortola Airport
St. Maarten Airport | St. Maarten Cruise Port | St. Barths Airport | Anguilla Airport
St. Thomas Airport | St. Thomas Cruise Port | St. John | Saba Airport
Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port | Atlanta Airport | Dallas/Ft Worth Airport

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