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ST. THOMAS USVI
We decided to take the family down to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Thanksgiving weekend. We left Detroit on Wednesday afternoon after work and spent Thursday through Sunday in St. Thomas. We cabbed it from the airport to our hotel--Secret Harbour. Our cabbie was a very nice man and a wealth of information. Right off the bat he cautioned us to be careful adding that so far that year (this was in November) there had already been 75 murders on the island. On a per capita basis..thats AWFUL!!!! The cabbie pointed out that most of them had been drug related--either people hopped up on drugs or people in the business of selling them, etc.
Our hotel was very nice but not a 5 star luxury place. We picked Secret Harbour because its one of the few St. Thomas hotels that sits right on the beach. Most are on a cliff or hillside with quite a walk down to the beach. Secret Harbour is basically a time share condo place and you actually stay in the apartment of somebody who owns it.
I was delighted to discover that the little beachfront restaurant at the hotel featured my favorite food in the world---conch! It wasnt the best Ive ever had but anytime I can get my jaws on conch, Im there!
Checking into our room I was surprised to find that each room came with a fifth of Cruzan Rum (the local rum) and some coke.
We toured the island with a cab driver and the views were beautiful with other Virgins clearly visible from the higher points.
One great local restaurant is called Victors Hide Out (now called Victor's New Hide Out) and sits high on a hill above the capital city of Charlotte Amalie. They serve great local food and the view is fabulous, especially at night with all the lights. Dont try to drive your rental car there unless you know the area. Its very confusing getting up to Victors place. A great restaurant in the downtown area is the Chart House. Good prime rib, seafood and a nice salad bar. I'm sure this Chart House is affiliated with this web site but it doesn't list the St. Thomas property nor the Chart Houses in Hawaii for some strange reason. Read our review of the St. Thomas Chart House here.
If you're lookin' for simple, down home Caribbean cookin' try Sandra's Terrace. Our review is here.
We saw plenty of iguanas in and around the hotel. These guys loved to hang out in the trees and were beautiful.
Downtown Charlotte Amalie is a shoppers paradise although we were advised to steer clear after dark because of crime. During the day, though, it has great buys on jewelry, precious stones, watches and other things. And you can bring back a lot more duty free items from the Virgins than elsewhere in the Caribbean. More on that great duty free shopping here.
I guess thats about it on this chapter. In my book, St. Thomas is about the sea, the sand, the sun and the vistas!
Even though St. Thomas and the USVIs are a part of the U.S. youll still need some form of recognized ID to be admitted like a birth certificate with a raised seal or..of course..passport or passport card or an enhanced driver's license. The unit of currency is the good old American Dollar. Driving is insane and on the left side of the road.