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ONE WEEK (7 DAYS, 6 NIGHTS) of duty-free shops, resturants and fun

You’ll be impressed by St. Thomas’ bustling duty-free shops, excellent restaurants, fun bars, and stunning beaches characterized by white sand and warm, sapphire waters. Charlotte Amalie, the red-roofed town at its center, welcomes cruise ships daily, keeping the high-end jewelry and fashion stores busy. But spend a few days and you’ll be lulled by the slower, more relaxed rhythm of our everyday life on St. Thomas.

CALENDAR: FRIDAY Welcome to St. Thomas! Get your bearings in Charlotte Amalie, the biggest town in the U.S. Virgin Islands, before experiencing the sights and adventures the rest of our culture-rich island offers. MORNING After arriving at Cyril E. King Airport, rent a car and cruise (on the left side of the road) into downtown Charlotte Amalie. At the alfresco Greenhouse Restaurant and Bar, be cooled by breezes from the harbor just across the road, and get in the island spirit with a frozen daiquiri to accompany breakfast. Too early? They serve coffee, too. AFTERNOON Drive over the island’s crest to the North Side, pausing to take Insta-worthy pics from the scenic overlook known as Drake’s Seat. You can just imagine Sir Francis Drake keeping a watchful eye for Spanish ships approaching over the horizon. Below Drake’s Seat lies idyllic Magens Bay, with its stately palm trees, pure white sand and shimmering blue water. No, you’re not dreaming. Drive the winding road down to the beach, where you can sink your toes into the soft sand and wade into the calm, turquoise water. After swimming, feast on lunch at Magens Bay Bar and Grill to fortify yourself for your next adventure. EVENING Be swept up by the Skyride to Paradise Point gondola lift to watch the harbor and its islands unfold before you, silhouetted by the sunset’s rosy hues. At the top, dine at Prime restaurant on aged prime steak, locally caught lobster and chicken that’s smoked in-house.

SATURDAY Saturday is market day in the U.S. Virgin Islands and much of the rest of the Caribbean, so spend the day in Charlotte Amalie, soaking up the atmosphere and history — and doing a little shopping. MORNING Rothschild Francis Market Square’s open-air bungalow is filled with vendors. Don’t be shy to ask about the local produce and try Virgin Islands delicacies like beef or salt-fish pates (savory fried turnovers) and coconut-flavored dumb bread baked in a skillet “dum” style — an ancient technique that originated in India. AFTERNOON Charlotte Amalie’s Main Street shops are tucked into massive stone buildings that were once used as Danish warehouses for sugar and other goods. Be lured inside by sparkly gems, heady perfumes and designer fashions. For a bit of history, explore the red brick Fort Christian. Completed in 1678, it’s the oldest structure still standing in the territory. Take in dizzying views from the 99 Steps, a Danish step-street built with bricks that were used as ballast on tall ships arriving from the old country. EVENING Wander around Frenchtown, settled generations ago by fishermen from the Caribbean island of St. Barts. Spot French names on colorful fishing boats in this working village, then take your pick of restaurants and bars tucked into brightly colored buildings. For dinner, sample the octopus bruschetta or grilled local tuna at Oceana Restaurant and Bistro. Sip fine wine and feel the breeze that gently blows through this airy dining room by the harbor. After dinner, explore our many bars featuring live music and dancing in Frenchtown, Charlotte Amalie and Red Hook. SUNDAY Sunday is a great day to charter a sailboat. Hire a crewed sailing yacht for the day (they’re also available for longer cruises) from one of the many island charter companies. You’ll have the sailboat all to yourself as you ply the bright blue waters surrounding St. Thomas. MORNING-AFTERNOON Enjoy the good life on a sailing yacht , with the crew serving cold drinks and offering insider tips on snorkeling. Lend a hand with the sails or just sit back and relax. Anchor in a lovely, uncrowded cove and go for a swim while lunch is prepared for you. EVENING After such a strenuous day at sea, allow the chef and staff at Indigo 4 in Yacht Haven Grande to further pamper you with steaks and seafood cooked with a tropical twist. For instance, the grilled salmon is prepared with a mango soy sauce, while the New York strip steak is draped in coconut-ginger mushrooms. MONDAY Focus today’s activities around St. Thomas’ East End, from breakfast to a beach day and dinner. This is where you’ll find Red Hook, the “second city” on the island, a spirited center of dining and shopping, as well as the spot where ferries to St. John dock. MORNING Dig into a hearty breakfast at the Hook’d USVI restaurant, located in the American Yacht Harbor marina in Red Hook. Chow down on blueberry pancakes, steak and eggs, or shredded pork belly and gravy over buttermilk biscuits. AFTERNOON Drive a few minutes north to spectacular Sapphire Beach. Relax in the shade of coconut palms and watch windsurfers zigzag across the impossibly blue water. Rent one and join them or snorkel on the reef at the end of the beach. Have lunch at Sapphire Beach Bar, which serves casual eats like fish tacos, hot dogs and burgers. EVENING For a special seafood dining experience — offering everything from oysters to ceviche to wood-fire grilled local fish and lobster — The Easterly in Red Hook is a can’t miss. The kitchen creates dishes using locally sourced island ingredients, such as tamarind rum glaze. TUESDAY Island hop to picturesque Water Island, an outdoor lover's paradise that's just a 10-minute ferry ride away. This peaceful, 500-acre islet is nestled just outside Charlotte Amalie Harbor. MORNING-AFTERNOON Take the ferry to Water Island from Crown Bay in St. Thomas, just east of Charlotte Amalie. Rent equipment on the island and spend the day snorkeling, kayaking or paddleboarding. Afterwards, have lunch and a cold drink at Dinghy's Beach Bar on pristine Honeymoon Beach. EVENING Splurge on dinner at Blue 11 restaurant in Yacht Haven Grande, which offers prix fixe tasting menus of seven, nine or 11 courses, with or without wine pairings. Treat yourself to braised wagyu short ribs with local sweet potato purée and a cinnamon port reduction. Or choose Kallaloo, a traditional Virgin Islands soup made with pan-seared scallops, mahi mahi and mussels, all prepared in an open kitchen. WEDNESDAY Any list of must-see attractions on St. Thomas includes a visit to Mountain Top and exploring undersea wonders at Coral World Ocean Park and the adjacent Coki Beach, known for the best shore snorkeling on the island. MORNING Drive up to Mountain Top, an overlook just north of Charlotte Amalie near the highest point in the U.S. Virgin Islands (1,556 feet). Savor a famous banana daquiri, made with or without local Cruzan Rum, and shop for locally made souvenirs. The stunning views to the north and east encompass Magens Bay and a string of cays and islands beyond. AFTERNOON Check off another must-see spot by spending the afternoon at Coral World Ocean Park and Coki Beach on the island’s East End. Don special equipment and go walking on the sea floor with Sea Trek helmets or swim underwater with SNUBA gear among schools of tropical fish — no training necessary. Coral World also offers the rare chance to swim with playful bottlenose dolphins. EVENING At the aptly named Old Stone Farmhouse, the food shares top billing with the ambiance in this 200-year-old plantation fieldhouse with graceful arches and walls of exposed brick and stone. The food is based in classic French cooking, but includes conch chowder and a grilled pork chop sided with mashed plantains and Cuban black beans. THURSDAY MORNING Meander among amazing orchids, bromeliads and other lush island plants at Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden. Spot hummingbirds and bright-yellow birds called bananaquits at the bird feeders while basking in the trade winds and fabulous views from this mountain-top spot. AFTERNOON Before you depart St. Thomas, lunch on island favorites such as stewed oxtail and curry chicken at Gladys’ Café, located in Charlotte Amalie’s Royal Dane Mall.

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