Initial Impressions of Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands

View from the balcony of our new place on Donkey Hill

I’ve now been in the US Virgin Islands on the island of Saint Thomas for a little less than a week after having moved down here for a month with my buddy Dan. Both of us were more than ready to get out of the Seattle rain in favor of a tropical climate — so we are now in Saint Thomas living the island life for the 2nd summer in a row, though certainly not quite as relaxing as Santorini last summer given I’m working full time this time around.

We spent the first three nights at the Best Western Carib Beach Resort overlooking Lindberg Bay (I’ll post a few photos in a separate post), and are now renting two rooms in a place on Donkey Hill. Our first task was to find a short term rental so that we could get out of our $179 per night hotel room. Surprisingly, finding a short term rental for the summer proved fairly easy, even with Dan and me being fairly lazy about the process. I did some initial research on vacation home rentals in various places across the web, but in the end, we ended up finding our place on good ol reliable Craigslist. We’re on the top floor of a duplex with a 3 bedrooms upstairs and 2 bedrooms downstairs – I’ll do a separate post with some photos of the home.

As for some initial impressions of the island now that we’re settled in a bit? For starters, Saint Thomas seemed extremely run down the first few days. I know it’s off season and just entering hurricane season, but shops were closed and the city seemed lifeless. I think part of that was due to where we were staying (right near the airport) and that there were no cruise ships in town the first two days. However, we drove through Charlotte Amalie again yesterday and there were three gigantic ships gracing the harbor, and tourists everywhere. As a result, the city was buzzing with activity and shops that were closed a day previously were lively with bodies. The cruise ships being in town also brought the unfortunate addition of traffic jams. Food is ridiculously expensive – a $14 philly cheese steak, $12 DiGornio pizza, $9 breakfast bagel, $80 at the grocery store in one day. Repeat, food is expensive. Remember, expensive food on Saint Thomas. We hit Morningstar Beach for an hour today (didn’t want to burn the 1st day) and the water was unbelievably warm – probably the warmest ocean water I’ve been in anywhere in the world. It’s certainly helpful having a local resident (our landlord) help guide us in the right direction in terms of activities, food, and people. Getting certified for diving is going to cost about $250.

After a few days under our belt, we’re feeling a lot better about the island’s prospects. All in all, I’m a fan and looking forward to an awesome 5 weeks.

Now, back to island life…

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Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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  • Take a day trip to St. John for the snorkeling (Trunk Bay). It’s a must-do touristy thing, and you will love it! Agreed the water is the best anywhere, which is why I love the Carib so much. So, so jealous.

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