One of the best ports of call for fun shore excursions in the Caribbean is St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. There are many different types of activities including underwater adventures, historical sights, local celebrations, and family fun to make happy memories of your vacation.
If you ever entertained the idea of scuba diving, St. Thomas would absolutely be the location to check it off your adventure list. This area of the Caribbean is home to hundreds of species of fish – the vibrantly decorated ones that look like they just swam out of a Disney movie. There are coral reefs, sea turtles, Caribbean lobsters, sea horses and dozens of other types of marine life swimming all around you.
Choose a tour where dive operators take you to the Tunnels of Thatch to swim through lava tubes, or explore the dramatic underwater canyons and ledges of Cow & Calf. At Wit Shoal II you can swim around the artificial reef created by a sunken Navy tank-landing ship. If sunken ships are your thing, there are over a dozen around St. Thomas to explore.
Regardless of your scuba experience, there are certified, licensed operators to meet your needs from beginner to expert.
Among the most popular historical sights on St. Thomas are Blackbeard’s Castle, Fort Christian (the oldest standing landmark in the Virgin Islands) and Museum, The 99 Steps, the revivalist style Frederick Lutheran Church, and the Synagogue of Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim (the oldest continuously utilized synagogue in the United States). Visitors of all faiths are welcomed in the religious structures.
There are several museums on the island dedicated to preserving the heritage and cultural influences across time. Be sure to visit the French Heritage Museum, the Seven Arches Museum, and the Camille Pissarro Gallery (father of French Impressionism).
There are agricultural and food fairs, arts and crafts exhibits, and celebrations throughout the year. Hint: the renowned V.I. Carnival has been celebrated in April-May every year since 1912. So check the calendar, and join in the festivities.
Around the Island
Catch a lift (to ride 700 feet above Charlotte Amalie) on the St. Thomas Skyride for the best views on the island. Once you’re at the top, shop, walk the nature trails, or hop on the Ferris wheel for an even taller view.
While on the island, visit one of the botanical gardens to walk among lush tropical plant and animal life. The Phantasea Garden boasts 1000 orchids, and the St. Peter Gardens has waterfalls and 150 species of Caribbean flora. You may also wish to book an ecotour in the Mangrove Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary & Marine Preserve. These tours are perfect opportunities to experience tropical life in a non-invasive way. Bring your binoculars!
There are also helicopter rides, self-guided driving tours, a zipline through the canopy, and skydiving. For the more traditional tourism activities, St. Thomas has miniature golf, bumper boats, and loads of family fun at Coral World Ocean Park.
These are a few highlights of fun for your Caribbean cruise shore excursions on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
Remember to book ahead when possible.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com