Caribbean editor Gay Nagle Myers revisited St. Thomas and
discovered lots of new stuff. Here is her report:
t. Thomas was the first
Caribbean island I visited on assignment in a real job. That was in
... well, let's just say typewriters, telexes and operator-assisted
telephone calls were the technology then.
So, I've seen a lot of changes on this island.
Ships, shops, sun and sea were the big draw then and still are.
However, St. Thomas these days offers far more than that.
Agents have many reasons and incentives to send clients to
America's Paradise (St. Croix and St. John as well as St. Thomas):
big resorts and boutique inns, heritage and history, museums and
markets, cafes and calypso, catamarans and coral, forts and
fishing, galleries and gourmet restaurants, to name but a few.
Here are my recommendations, and they work well both for repeat
visitors who already know the beaches and bargains as well as
first-timers:Coral World Marine Park. When I last saw this attraction, it
was still rebuilding after hurricane damage.
New this year is the Sea Trekkin' experience, a 30-minute,
underwater walkabout where participants wear a bathing suit,
booties, gloves and a space-age helmet that provides a continuous
stream of air to breathe.
A chain railing runs the entire length of the trail, and a
marine guide and a scuba safety diver take seven people at a time
around the coral beds on the trail.
Coral World's Ruth Butler said that 60% of the park's 500-plus
daily visitors are cruise ship passengers and the rest are
land-based visitors and locals.
Agents who prebook clients receive a commission on the booking.
Their clients get a 15% discount on the park's admission fee.
Seeing all of Coral World takes several hours, and it's a great
outing for families.
Kids love 5-foot-long Harry the Barracuda. Harry, who is 10
years old, is a she despite her name.
Corky, the rescued hawksbill turtle that cannot dive, lives
happily in the turtle pond where he is hand-fed twice a day.
The Predator Tank, the shark exhibit, 6-foot-long green moray
eels, the Caribbean Reef Encounter, Marine Gardens, West Indian
whistling ducks and the fish feedings kept me engrossed for three
hours.Blackbeard's Castle. Legend has it that Edward Teach of
England, d/b/a Blackbeard the Pirate, holed up in this watchtower
sometime around 1679 to scan for other pirates.
While he watched, he sipped rum spiked with gunpowder. He went
into battle drunk, crazed and armed to the teeth.
I climbed to the watchtower, which is at the top of the 99 Steps
(there are actually 103) high above Charlotte Amalie.
I had lunch in the Inn at Blackbeard's Castle, admired the same
view as Blackbeard did and sipped some rum. There the similarity
This small restaurant along with others like it on St. Thomas
offers terrific dining options for visitors who want the flavor of
local food in local settings.
I also can recommend Lulu's on the north side of the island,
which bills itself as an unpretentious neighborhood cafe; Marisol
on Government Hill, serving Med/Carib cuisine, and Cuzzin's in
downtown, which specializes in island food and drink.
Before leaving the restaurant, I checked out the inn itself, a
classic West Indian property of 15 rooms with four-poster and
sleigh beds, crown moldings, air conditioning and charm.
Rates start at $155 per junior suite, per night, double,
including breakfast.Green Iguana Hotel. A few steps down the hill from
Blackbeard's, it opened a couple of years ago and is another of the
boutique hotels that offer charm wrapped around a realistic room
The eight-room Green Iguana pays 10% commission, charges from
$79 to $109 per room, double, during the low season and offers
room-service breakfast for an extra $5 per person.
Guests can use the two pools at Blackbeard's.
Others in this same league include the 12-room Admiral's Inn in
town, the 23-room Mafolie Hotel high in the hills and the 15-room
Island View Guest House.Estate St. Peter Great-house & Botanical Gardens, in bloom
high above the waters surrounding St. Thomas.
I had seen this three-acre estate before, but it has now added
many species of flora and fauna.
The view from the observation deck 1,000 feet above sea level
gives new meaning to panorama.
A free rum or virgin punch comes with the admission and
I did not have time to visit the new American-Caribbean
Historical Museum in downtown, take a sunset ride on the Paradise
Point Tramway, browse the reopened Blue Turtle Gallery on
Government Hill or join the buffet line at Chickie's Place in
I have to return.