The Beauty of Magens Bay in St. Thomas, USVI

Magens Bay is a popular place for visitors and residents to visit on the island of St. Thomas. It is a public park that is on the north side of the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The beach and everything around it are very beautiful and definitely a worthwhile visit while on your vacation.

There is nice white sand and very clear water that is calm. There is also a beautiful forest past the white sand that contains many animals.

On December 28, 1946, the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John was given Magens Bay beach as well as 50 acres around the Magens Bay beach. The gift was given by Arthur S. Fairchild and he wanted Magens Bay beach to go to public use and to forever be enjoyed by everyone by still to be kept as natural as possible in order to keep the natural and wonderful beauty of Magens Bay beach.

Then in 2002, more land was added to this from the purchase of an estate. Magens Bay beach then became 319 acres to become Magens Bay Watershed Preserve. The area is very protected by St. Thomas because of the lush habitats to many animals that it contains.

There is also a nature trail that was donated in May of 2004 to the Magens Bay area which consists of 25 ares great for seeing what Magens Bay has to offer. This trail starts at Magens Bay Road at Canaan and ends at Magens Bay Beach.

Usually hikers are dropped off at the top of the trail and hike down to the beach (what a great end goal!). Or of course you can start at Magens Bay and hike up to the trailhead. This is a moderately active hike and lasts around 1.5 miles.

This is a very fun hike that you should try to squeeze into your schedule and visit.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands Carnival Events

There are many events happening in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands during the month of April. It’s Carnival time! All of these events are in St. Thomas so have fun.

Saturday, April 6th - Lionel Roberts Stadium  8:00pm

The Queen Selection Show is on this day. This show is a competition of young women ranging from ages 16 to 21 years old. Each contestant is judged on Talent, Fashioning of Swim wear and Evening wear, Speech and a Cultural Costume. The winning young lady reigns over Carnival events.

Saturday, April 13th –  Lionel Robers Stadium  8:00pm

Calypso Revue is the event on this day. Some of the greatest calypsonians from across the Caribbean are brought together for a Calypso Revue. There is great music at this event!

Wednesday, April 17th –  Lionel Roberts Stadium  8:00pm

Cultural Night, King & Queen of the Band. This event features music and dancers and is a must see.

Friday, April 19th –  Fort Christian Parking Lot  6:00pm

Opening of Carnival Village is on this day. Carnival Village is the center of Carnival activities that you must visit. Each year the Fort Christian parking lot is converted into a village, with over 30 booths. There is plenty of food and drinks being sold and much to do. From Monday through Saturday there are many live bands with great music and entertainment.

Sunday, April 21st –  Charlotte Amalie Harbor  10:00am

Water Sports Activities in St. Thomas. In the Charlotte Amalie harbor there are boat races and other water sports activities. You can watch along the Charlotte Amalie waterfront.

Wednesday, April 24th –  Emancipation Garden  8:00am

This is the Cultural Fair. The culture, food & crafts fair is a very popular event in St. Thomas for Carnival. It involves several upon several booths which are selling Caribbean food, drinks,plants, produce, crafts candies, pastries and other things which are not always available year round.

Thursday, April 25th –  Veterans Drive  4:00am

Roas-a-Time or J’ouvert. This is one of the most popular events of Carnival while in St. Thomas. It is an early morning party (starts at 4am!) as thousands of people dance through the streets behind their favorite bands while others stand on the side and enjoying the music.

Friday, April 26th - Main Street  10:00am

Children’s Carnival Parade. From toddlers to teens Virgin Islands kids twirl, perform and dance along Main Street for hours in troupes of colorfully costumed masqueraders. The parade route starts at Market Square and runs along Main Street to Lionel Roberts Stadium.

Saturday, April 27th –  Main Street  10:00am

Adult’s Carnival Parade. The adult’s parade is one of the biggest events of St. Thomas Carnival and is very, very popular. It takes place in Charlotte Amalie along Main Street and includes thousands upon thousands of lively participants and just as many viewers that line up around the parade route. This is a definitely must see if you are on or near the island.

Trunk Bay Underwater Trail

A very popular attraction when visiting the Virgin Islands is heading on over to St. John and seeing Trunk Bay in the Virgin Islands National Park. The picturesque and beautiful beach has been photographed plenty of times by both visitors and those who live on the island. Trunk Bay is often called the most beautiful beach in the world. Do you want to see all types of fish such as Angel fish, Parrott fish, Puffer fish, sea turtles and plenty of colorful coral? Check out the Underwater Trail and Trunk Bay!

The water at Trunk Bay is crystal clear (as you can see above) and the sand is extremely white and clean. There is great snorkeling at Trunk Bay which makes for a great and fun underwater trail at Trunk Bay.

There is a shop where you can rent or buy water gear such as a snorkel set so that you can have fun in the underwater trail. There are also showers, bathrooms, public telephones, BBQ areas, areas for private events and food available for you and your family as well.

There are plenty of fish and other water life in the trail. The trail is 650 feet long and was created and is currently maintained by the National Park Service. There are signs in the water that help describe what you are looking at and where you are heading.

Trunk Bay cost a low $4 for adults and individuals 16 year old and younger are free to go to Trunk Bay. The low cost is well worth it because of the many things that you can do at the beach. If you plan on visiting multiple times, there is an annual pass available at Trunk Bay for $10 for an individual or $15 for your family.

Shopping in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Many people come to St. Thomas and the VIrgin Islands for a nice and relaxing vacation. Many people also try to get as much shopping as they can get done also because the U.S. Virgin Islands has the best duty free shopping in the Caribbean and in the area.

Duty Free Shopping

U.S. residents are allowed to take home up to $1,600 worth of duty free goods bought in the U.S. Virgin Islands per person. This includes both adults and children, just in case you have children with you on your vacation.

All you need to know is that when you are returning to the U.S., you must fill out a form to give to customs detailing these items. You may also be asked by the U.S. Customs agents to show proof and receipts for these items, so make sure you keep any receipts or documents that you may have or were given.

As you might have noticed, the $1,600 worth of duty free goods is double the $800 limit from other islands in the Caribbean and is a great benefit to those visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands. You may also take up to 5 cartons of cigarettes and 5 liters of liquor back to your home as long as one of the bottles is a product (such as Cruzan Rum) that was made in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Downtown Shopping

A famous shopping area in the Caribbean is shopping in downtown St. Thomas. Main Street has several streets with all types of retailers and duty free shopping. There are many stores that will most likely have your next “need” that you just have to check out and buy.

Havensight Shopping Mall

Havensight Shopping Mall is located right on the cruise ship dock. This is a very convenient location and is less crowded if you are looking for duty free shopping. There are many of the same products as the downtown shopping stores and price are similar as well.

Yacht Haven Grande

Yacht Haven Grande has many high-end stores that must be checked out. It is located very close to Havensight Shopping Mall and you can walk there. There are many stores, parking and tasty restaurants to eat at.

Crown Bay Center

Crown Bay Center is the newest shopping center in St. Thomas. There are several shops to looks at and lots of parking. A very nice place to shop at with jewelry stores, camera stores, electronics, and local products.

Water Activities in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

When going on a vacation to the Virgin Islands, I’m sure one of the top things on your mind include the beach, swimming, and relaxing under the sun. There are several water activities that are available to you and your family.

Virgin Islands Ecotours

This is a very fun company that offers several interesting eco-friendly tours of St. Thomas and St. John. The tours can be to Mangrove Lagoon, Hassel Island, Caneel Bay and so on. There are many different options for each tour . You usually kayak to the spot, hike and snorkel the area. Your tour guide will teach you fun facts about the local area such as the local plants and culture.

Trunk Bay in St. John’s Underwater Trail

Trunk Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches to visit. Many people take a picture up top of it and it is like a computer screensaver!  It is a very popular beach with a 225 yard long underwater snorkeling trail. There are many things along the underwater trail such as coral and of course plenty of fish. There are many things to do when at Trunk Bay. There is a small entry fee just as a reminder.

To get to Trunk Bay in St. John, simply take a taxi to the ferry in Red Hook to Cruz Bay. Then look for one of the taxis located right outside (or a bus) to Trunk Bay.

Snorkel/Scuba/Snuba

There are many options for snorkeling, scuba diving and snuba-ing while in St. Thomas.  There is very clear water pretty much everywhere and it is calm most of the time.

At Sugar Bay Resort, there is good snorkeling due to their being a small section of the beach being rocky. Snorkel close to there (but with distance just to be safe) and you will see plenty of sea life! The water is very clear and calm most of the time which of course just enhances the experience and makes it more fun.

Sailing

Sailing is a great past-time while in St. Thomas. There are many day sails that might include snorkeling, scuba diving, meals and so on, evening dinner cruises and so on. You can go to St. John, the British Virgin Islands (with a passport) and so on.

Having Fun With Children in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

If you are traveling to St. Thomas with children, then you are in luck! There are several activities on the island which will be immense amounts of happiness and fun to your little ones, no matter what their age is. Besides just playing on the beach (which is tons of fun), there are so many activities and family attractions to see and enjoy.

Coral World Ocean Park

At Coral World Ocean Park, there are plenty of fun activities for you and your family to do. It was voted the top attraction in the Virgin Islands and it’s crawling (or swimming…) with sea life. You can swim with sea lions, pet a shark, and feed food to animals such as stingrays. Coral World Ocean Park is located adjacent to Coki Point and is a 4.5 acres marine park. You can also snuba which is a fun adventure in itself as well.

There are tons of activities at Coral World Ocean Park. Once you’re done here, you can also relax on the adjacent beach, which has beautiful clear water to play on.

“Pirate” Themed Activities and Fun

There are many chances in which you and your family can pretend that they are “pirates.” You can board the Doubloon and set sail on a 3.5 hour sail to Buck Island. You can swim with turtles and snorkel.

You and your family can also go on the Treasure Seeker Pirate ship which is a 2 hour themed tour around the harbor. You can do face painting and have water-gun battles.

Butterfly Garden

Children can play with butterflies at the location and learn all about them. There is a 10,000 square foot enclosure in which they can roam free. There are daily shows in which exotic birds perform tricks for their audience. This fun activity is located at the Havensight Cruise Ship Dock.

Tree Limin’ Extreme

Have you ever gone zip-lining? It is a lot of fun and is for the adrenaline seeker.  You can zip line at speeds up to 35 miles per hour on a 3 hour tour. You will see incredible scenery and have a lot of fun with this attraction.

Bluewater SUP Safaris

Standup paddle boarding seems to be all the rage right now. You can take standup paddle boarding lessons or rent a board and explore Hull Bay Beach.

Water Island Adventures Tour

Do you like to explore nature? Water Island Adventures Tour offers a 3 hour bike trip on Water Island. There are many sites to see and interesting attractions to visit such as a plantation from the 1600s.

St. Thomas Historical Trust

There are of course many other hikes and rides you can do on, such as with the St. Thomas Historical  Trust. They take hikes to Hassel Island where you can see a fort from the 1800s and go on many hiking trails.

Historic Attractions in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

There are several attractions to see when in the Virgin Islands, and lots to see while in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. Today, you will be reading about several attractions that you must visit while on the island. This will consist of short summaries of each attraction, with full summaries coming in the future on certain attractions.

1. Market Square – People come to Market Square from all over St. Thomas to sell food such as fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and homemade sauces. The busiest day to visit Market Sqaure is on Saturday usually. This is a great place to visit if you would like to see the culture of the island.

2. Fort Christian – Fort Christian is a historic landmark that was completed by Danish settlers in 1680.  It was built in 1680 to protect the colony from hostile people and housed a jail with a police station, a governor’s residence and a place of worship.

3. Frederick Lutheran Church – This church was established in 1666 and was rebuilt in 1826.  This is a great place to visit if you would like to see the architecture and history of the church.

4. Blackbeard’s Castle – Blackbeard’s Castle is a watch tower built in the late 1600′s and has a great view of the harbor. Many people visit this attraction and is a great thing to see.

5. Hotel 1829 – Do you enjoy classes island architecture? Hotel 1829 is for you then! It was built as a townhouse for a French sea captain and is now a hotel.

6. St. Thomas Reformed Church – This church is the Virgin Island’s oldest congregation and also the longest standing denomination with a continuous ministry in the United States.

7. Camille Pissarro Gallery – Charlotte Amalie was home to a famous artist named Camille Pissarro. He is considered the father of French Impressionism and was born in downtown Charlotte Amalie in 1830 (passed away in 1903). The home of his birth is now a landmark and art gallery and features by several artists – including Camille Pissarro.

8. St. Thomas Synagogue – This is a National Historic Landmark and is the second oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere.  The original synagogue was built by Sephardic Jews in 1796 and was rebuilt in 1833.

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands Helpful Information

When traveling on vacation, it usually makes it a lot easier when you know more about the place that you are traveling to. It can make everything much easier and much more enjoyable.

St. Thomas is a great place to visit and learning more about the culture, shopping and so on can make it even more fun as you will be prepared and have less questions once you arrive. Have a great time when you do come to the Virgin Islands!

Language

There are many West Indian dialects which you may hear when traveling to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Most of these dialects are English-based. There are people from all over the Caribbean living here so if you do not understand what has been said to you, ask for permission politely.

Also, it is a great idea to say “good morning” and “good evening” when greeting people on the island. It is considered very polite to do so if you are about to ask a question or start a conversation with someone. It’s just like a routine as though you greeted someone with a “hello.”

Taxes

There is no sales tax in St. Thomas or the other U.S. Virgin Islands. Residents pay income tax to the U.S. Virgin Islands and there are no state taxes.

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Picture by Michelle via www.makingsenseofcents.com

Cellphones

Your cell phone will most likely work in St. Thomas, but watch for roaming charges. AT&T is usually fine in St. Thomas with no roaming charges if you are from the U.S., but if you decide to go to the British Virgin Islands, then you most likely be roaming if you have a U.S. phone and contract. As always, it is best to contact your cellphone provider in order to get the most up-to-date information regarding your cellphone plan and being in the Virgin Islands.

Clothing and outfits

It is advised that when you travel to St. Thomas that you don’t just wear your bathing suits everywhere. The downtown areas and inside certain restaurants usually have dress codes consisting of proper attire and it is respected if you dress appropriately. Bathing suits of course are always great for the beach and swimming pools!

Currency in St. Thomas

The currency in St. Thomas is the U.S. Dollar. Credit cards are accepted at many places also, but as always, it is always a good idea to make sure first that they accept your form of credit.

St. Thomas Virgin Islands Travel Tips

Vacations are always supposed to be fun, and hopefully relaxing. Today, we have several tips to make sure that your vacation to St. Thomas goes exactly as you want. Hopefully these tips makes your vacation as smooth as possible.

Arrive on time

Remember to leave adequate time to check your suitcases and items and also to move through security. Security measures in the Virgin Islands are different in that all passengers traveling from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico must pass through U.S. customs.

Different airlines have different recommended arrival times, so be sure to ask someone such as a flight attendant.

3-1-1 rule when packing your items

If you plan on bringing liquids on your vacation, be sure to follow the 3-1-1 rule.  Liquids, gels and aerosols  must be in 3 ounce or smaller containers. Then it must be placed in a  1 quart sized clear plastic bag. Each traveler gets up to one ziplock bag.

DSC_0040Picture by Michelle via www.makingsenseofcents.com

 

Identification

Make sure to bring your boarding pass and an ID. If you are a U.S. citizen, you do not need a passport, a driver’s license usually will suffice.

Also make sure that the information such as your name are correct on your boarding pass.  The information should match the ID that you show. You will have to show this information twice, to the U.S. Customs agent and to a TSA agent.

Bringing certain items back

During and after your vacation, you might find awesome things to bring back home as a souvenir. Keep in mind that certain items should be kept in the island in order to protect the natural resources of St. Thomas.

It is prohibited to bring back or export indigenous species, coral, sea shells, sand, flora and fauna.  Commercially caught legal size conch and whelk are the only shells that can be removed from the territory.

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands History

st-thomasWant to learn some fun and interesting facts about St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands? Well then you came to the correct article, as today you’ll learn many new facts and statistics. St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands have a very colorful and interesting history, and there is much to learn.

Facts

There are over 50,000 people living in St. Thomas based on the U.S. Census from the year of 2000. The island is 31 square miles, with it being 13 miles long and 4 miles wide.

During Christopher Colombus’ second voyage to the New World in 1493, he found the island and area around St. Thomas. After he discovered St. Thomas, its existence continued as home to many pirates and several small settlements. This was all long before a European power such as Denmark or the United States decided to pursue a permanent settlement on the island and the areas nearby.

Danish West India Company

In 1671, the Danish West India Company received its charter from King Christian V. to occupy St. Thomas and the islands nearby that they thought may be suitable for plantations. In the years after, St. Thomas was becoming very important and popular because of sugar.

In 1717, a small group of individuals were sent from St. Thomas to claim the island of St. John. In 1733, the Danish West India Company bought the island of St. Croix from the country of France.

There was a proposal in 1754 that recommended that the government of Denmark should take over the islands and how they were run.  This was then approved by the King of Denmark.

Around this same time the island of St. Croix was growing very quickly and its population doubled that of St. Thomas’ and St. John’s combined. The capital of the islands  was then moved from St. Thomas to Christiansted in St. Croix. While St. Croix developed a typical plantation economy in the area, the economy in St. Thomas’ shifted to trade and was booming.

The U.S. and Now

Between 1865 and 1917, negotiations between the United States and Denmark were started and talked about on several occasions. The United States bought the Danish West Indies for $25 million.

Tourism has continued to grow on the island, along with the population. St. Thomas is seen as a bustling island with much to do. It is also one of the top cruise port destinations and Caribbean vacation sports as well.