Relocating to St Thomas
Welcome to St Thomas and the culture of the Virgin Islands. You may need a passport to come and go from the islands. Check out our page on US Virgin Islands and who needs a Passport. These are exciting times to be relocating to St Thomas. It is an island paradise but it also has all the familiar American advantages as well. There are large retail stores, Mc Donald´s and Blockbuster Movies. Most of the news channels on the cable TV network are located in New York, which is only a 4 hour plane ride away. And although the locals pay taxes based on the US Federal Tax laws, the money stays in the US Virgin Islands for the infrastructure. There is plenty of local employment and great ways to network and start your own retain business or resturant. The local chamber does a fabulous job of bringing business minded people together. St. Thomas also has many not for profit organizations for wildlife preservation and other important issues. Tourism is the leading employment opportunity with seasonal and full and part time jobs. however, there are also professional long term opportunities as well. The most needed professionals are teachers and nurses, just like in the states!
History of St Thomas Island
St. Thomas starts out for us when Columbus went on his second discovery voyage for the Queen of Spain in 1493. But with the Queen´s flag flying and eventually France, England, Holland, Denmark and finally the United States, it wasn't until two hundred years later that St Thomas actually became a community. Yes, Columbus had a fort built there called Fort Christian, but until Denmark´s Danish West Indies Company managed the land, it was the only working structure.
The Danes built 4 sturdy structures that doubled for homes and taverns. They were very popular with the seamen and others living on the island that they lovingly called Beer Hall. You can imagine the delight the combination of beer, white sandy beaches, and lovely weather might bring together.
The name Beer Hall stuck for almost twenty years, until Denmark's King Christian the Fifth renamed the coastal area Charlotte Amalie in honor of his lovely wife who gave him 8 children. Today Charlotte Amalie is the capital of St. Thomas, and the largest city of the three main islands. It is located on the south side of St Thomas island. Because of its deep water port, Charlotte Amalie is the popular place for worldwide cruise ships to dock. There are many "Duty Free" shopping experiences for you and your family to enjoy. The city is home to one of two airports in the US Virgin Islands. Although the Grand Hotel is 19th century architecture, it is now famous for its wonderful Duty Free shopping. There is a wonderful walking tour you can do on your own. The tour will take you to the many historic buildings at Charlotte Amalie, such as Fort Christian which is directly across the street from the Legislature Building. Emancipation Park is where St Thomas holds most of its special events and gatherings. Also on the list of must see is Blackbeards Castle and Haagensen House Museum.
St. Thomas Island had a rather dubious background and flourished in slave trade and piracy. Giving the township the boost it needed, the unfortunate trades gave way to more respectable trading of merchant wares and sugar plantations. There are still stories most likely familiar to you about the Pirates of old, such as the story of Bluebeard!
Culture of St Thomas Today
The economy on St Thomas and the US Virgin Islands have had many changing moments. Far too many to mention here. The US took almost fifty years to negotiate terms with the Danish West Indies Company which was by 1865 floundering in the ports. Finally in 1917 the United States paid $25 million US dollars for ownership of the three main islands: St Thomas, St Croix and St John.
Today the culture of the 31 square mile island is much like the rest of the Caribbean climate. You will, however, notice the subtle differences in the islands when visiting each. St Thomas is known for its huge meals and exceptional restaurants. You can still hear the reggae or calypso music played on local radio stations through out the island. Several out door activities make visiting St Thomas unique. Breathtaking views from Mountain Top or Drake´s Seat will have you snapping pictures. The Tillett Gardens has the ultimate shopping arena of one-of-a-kind art pieces made from the local artisans.
One of the BEST attractions on the island of St Thomas is The Coral World Ocean Park . It has such amazing places like the Undersea Observation Point and one of our favorites, the Touch Pool, where you can pick up a star fish or scratch the belly of a sea urchin.
Relocating to St Thomas
You and your family are free to live a simple life and wait for the tropical rainstorms to blow across the sea. The locals are offered many discounts from companies in St Thomas. The people here are kind and English is the first language. The local hospital is about 5 miles from Charlotte Amalie and there are numerous homes a few miles up the mountain for employees.
The busiest tourist time is December through April and the local news can now be read online at the St Thomas Source guide on the internet with tons of daily information. The University of the Virgin Islands has a campus on St Thomas and also one on St Croix. Understand the school schedule and browsing through the class catalog can be done on their very up beat and motivating website.