To my opinionated way of thinking, most duty-free shopping is a scam, but if it keeps a lot of you cruise ship types off the precious beaches, I'm all for it!
I still recall one visit to the Island Beachcomber beach bar (one of my favorite hangouts, a friendly mellow spot) when a couple of women from New Jersey were there for 4 nights running, bragging each night about the jewelry they'd bought that day, and complaining about the heat in Charlotte Amalie.
They were dripping with sweat & all manner of gems, waggling their fat fingers at the rest of us poor benighted beach bums. Not ONE DAY of their vacation was spent doing much other than shopping.
Unique Suggestions: Heck, they could've stayed home to shop the discount malls of Paramus for that.
Fun Alternatives: Me? Given a choice between a few hours of shopping in CA vs. a few more hours in that clear blue Caribbean Sea, you can guess where I'll be!
Most anyone who's been to Charlotte Amalie on a land-based trip will agree, the mall at Havensight by the cruisehip docks is a complete rip-off, but it's a great way to keep the cruisers occupied!
Still, hundreds of them every day at certain times will flood the town of Charlotte Amalie proper anyway, so it's best to get hold of one of the tourist publications that lists the cruiseship docking schedules so you can plan to avoid them. CA is not bad if you time it right.
In Charlotte Amalie you can also book a trip on the Atlantis Submarine. They decent to 80 feet and you will see corals and lots of fish. Personally, I did not care about this too much. Save your money and go on a nice snorkeling trip in St John. It is more fun and you will get more for your money. The Atlantis Submarine tour takes about 2 hours and you pay about $85 per person (adults). Children fares are less expensive. For the same price you can get a 4 hours snorkeling trip in St John and I would vote for this instead of spending 2 hours on the Atlantis.
Unique Suggestions: browse around the stores in the Havensight Shopping Center
A typical island scam is to rent the visitor a condo for a few months, collecting the first and last months's rent in advance. If the unwitting tenant has rented during the winter high season, he or she will often find themselves evicted on the least pretext just after making the final rent payment, e.g., that for the next-to-the-last month of the rental term. The rental firm then rents the condo as a short term rental for the next eight weeks. (Note that the rental agent performs the eviction without due recourse to law, often stealing the renter's belongings if he or she is off island. The police are familiar with this and do not bother anyone.) Those renters who attempt to fight back quickly discover themselves sued for destruction of property: it's a bit like being gang raped then having the rapists send you a bill for their exertions. All in all, there's an air of practiced cynicism to whole process--a process with which the local Bar members are well, if helplessly, acquainted. Lastly, if you ever do get into serious trouble in St. Thomas and want a faithful advocate, retain an off-island attorney. Several New York firms have staff who are entered into practice in the VI. Better yet, stay on a civilized island, such as Bermuda.
Eunice's Restaurant- purports itself as native food. It's actually frighteningly bad food with even worse service. Unless you're into eating fish guts and pushing rice aside only to find some eyeballs staring back at you, I'd avoid this place.
Taxis will shake you to death - roads are bumpy - you will spend a fortune in taxi fees if you stay there long. If you take the tour by van or motor-surrey be advised you will not be given very much time to make photos or to examine various sites. If you can, rent a car or negotiate with a driver to take you on a private tour - check with the tourist info center.
Described as an old plantation house with beautiful gardens and a great view.
Unique Suggestions: The view is nice so bring your camera.
However the view is nice where ever you go in the islands and you don't need to pay the spendy fees to get some nice shots of the ocean. The house itself is not the original.
the original was blown away by a Hurricane many many years ago and has been, somewhat, rebuilt to the original with many add ons.
Fun Alternatives: Mountian top is owned by the same individuals and is nothing more than a few bad tourist trap shops and a good view.
I suggest hoping in a taxi, run up to mountian top for the banana daquari's and a couple of good shots of the view then head to meagan's beach for the afternoon and finnish the day at Paradise Point for the best view of the sunset that the islands have to offer.
Havensight Mall and other shopping centres around the cruise ship dock are reputed to be quite tacky indeed. They're designed to capture tourist dollars as soon as travelers disembark from the cruise ships and almost all the stores are duplicates of those in the far more atmospheric historic centre of Charlotte Amalie. Traffic in this area can be quite brutal as well.
Magens Bay Road, , 00802, Caribbean
Good for: Couples
7338 Estate Bakkeroe, Charlotte Amalie, Caribbean
Good for: Business
The hotel rooms were old and the bathroom's were rusty, dirty, and downright disgusting. The food...more