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St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands  City Info
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Caribbean > US Virgin Islands
St. Thomas




Population:
St Thomas 54,000

Capital city:
Charlotte Amalie

People:
African descent (75%), US mainland expatriates (13%), Puerto Rican (5%), Danish, French

Language:
English, plus some Creole, Spanish and French

Religion:
Baptist (42%), Catholic (42%), Episcopalian (17%)

Government:
Unincorporated territory of the US

Major industries:
Tourism, oil refining

Major trading partners:
USA, Puerto Rico

Time Zone:
Atlantic Time Zone. Daylight saving time not observed. Otherwise, it is the same as Eastern Standard Time.

Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):
High Low
January - March 86F 67F
April - June 89F 70F
July - September 90F 73F
October - December 88F 69F

Health risks:
Sunburn: Be sure to apply sunblock or sunscreen often.

Electricity:
110-120V, 60Hz US appliances will work with no adapter.

Weights & measures:
Imperial

Telephones:
From North America, dial 1 + 340 + the seven-digit local number. Elsewhere, dial your country's international direct dialing prefix + 1 + 340 + the seven-digit local number.

When to Go:
The peak tourist season is between December and April, but this has more to do with the weather in North America and Europe than it does with the reliably balmy Virgin Islands' weather. It's therefore best to visit outside this period, when you can expect room rates to be almost half those charged during the busier months. An additional draw is that the calmer weather between April and August tends to keep the waters clearer for diving.

Public Holidays:
1 January - New Year's Day
Third Monday in January - Martin Luther King Jr Day
Third Monday in February - Presidents' Day
Late March or April - Easter
Last Monday in May - Memorial Day
3 July - Emancipation Day
4 July - Independence Day
First Monday in September - Labor Day
Second Monday in October - Columbus Day, Virgin Islands Friendship Day
11 November - Veterans' Day
Fourth Thursday in November - Thanksgiving
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - Boxing Day

Currency:
US dollar (US$)

Banks:
Several major U.S. banks are represented on St. Thomas. Hours vary, but most are open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 2:30pm, Friday from 9am to 2pm, and 3:30 to 5pm.

Business Hours:
Typical business and store hours are Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm. Some shops open Sunday for cruise-ship arrivals. Bars are usually open daily from 11am to midnight or 1am, although some hot spots stay open later.

Dentist:
The Virgin Island Dental Association ( 340/775-9110) is a member of the American Dental Association and is also linked with various specialists. Call for information or an appointment.

Doctor:
Doctors-on-Duty, Vitraco Park ( 340/776-7966) in Charlotte Amalie, is a reliable medical facility.

Drugstores:
For over-the-counter and prescription medications, go to Drug Farm, 2-4 9th St. 340/776-7098, or Havensight Pharmacy, Havensight Mall, Building #4 340/776-1235).

Electricity:
110 to 115 volts, 60 cycles, as on the U.S. mainland.

Emergencies:
Police, 911; ambulance, 922; fire, 921.

Hospitals:
The St. Thomas Hospital is at 48 Sugar Estate ( 340/776-8311), Charlotte Amalie.

Hotlines:
Call the police at 911 in case of emergency. If you have or witness a boating mishap, call the U.S. Coast Guard Rescue ( 787/729-6800, ext. 140), which operates out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Scuba divers should note the number of a decompression chamber ( 340/776-8311) at the Roy Schneider Community Hospital on St. Thomas.

Laundry and Dry Cleaning:
The major hotels provide laundry service, but it's more expensive than a laundromat. For dry cleaning go to One-Hour Martinizing, Barbel Plaza ( 340/774-5452), in Charlotte Amalie. A good full-service Laundromat is 4-Star Laundromat, 68 Kronprindsens Gade ( 340/774-8689), in Charlotte Amalie.

Liquor Laws:
Persons must be at least 21 years of age to patronize bars or purchase liquor in St. Thomas.

Newspapers and Magazines:
Copies of U.S. mainland newspapers, such as The New York Times, USA Today, and The Miami Herald, arrive daily in St. Thomas and are sold at hotels and newsstands. The latest copies of Time and Newsweek are also for sale. St. Thomas Daily News covers local, national, and international events. Virgin Islands Playground and St. Thomas This Week, both of which are packed with visitor information, are distributed free all over the island.

Post Office:
The main post office is at 9846 Estate Thomas ( 340/774-1950), Charlotte Amalie, open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 5:30pm and Saturday from 7:30am to 2:30pm.

Rest Rooms:
You'll find public toilets at beaches and at the airport, but they are limited in town. Most visitors use the facilities of a bar or restaurant.

Telephone, Telex, and Fax:
All island phone numbers have seven digits. It is not necessary to use the 340 area code when dialing within St. Thomas. Numbers for all three islands, including St. John and St. Croix, are found in the U.S. Virgin Islands phone book. Hotels will send faxes and telexes for you, usually for a small service charge. Make long distance, international, and collect calls as you would on the U.S. mainland.

Transit Information:
Call 340/774-7457 to order a taxi 24 hours a day. Call 340/774-5100 for airport information and 340/776-6282 for information about ferry departures for St. John.

Weather:
For weather reports, call Vietema at 340/774-2244.

Arriving By Plane:
If you're flying to St. Thomas, you will land at the Cyril E. King Airport 340/774-5100, to the west of Charlotte Amalie on Route 30. From here, you can easily find a taxi to your hotel or villa. Chances are you will be staying east of Charlotte Amalie, so keep in mind that getting through town often involves long delays and traffic jams.

Nonstop flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands from New York and Atlanta take 3 3/4 and 3 1/2 hours, respectively. Flight time from Miami is about 2 1/2 hours.

Getting Around By Car:

Driving Rules
Always drive on the left. The speed limit is 20 m.p.h. in town, 35 m.p.h. outside town. Take extra caution when driving in St. Thomas, especially at night. Many roads are narrow, curvy, and poorly lit.

Renting A Car
There is no tax on car rentals in the Virgin Islands.

Warning
St. Thomas has a high accident rate. Visitors are not used to driving on the left, the hilly terrain shelters blind curves and entrance ramps, roads are narrow and poorly lit, and drivers often get behind the wheel after too many drinks. To be on the safe side, consider getting collision-damage insurance.

Parking
Because Charlotte Amalie is a labyrinth of congested one-way streets, don't try to drive within town looking for a spot. If you can't find a place to park along the waterfront (free), go to the sprawling lot to the east of Fort Christian, across from the Legislature Building. Parking fees are nominal here, and you can park your car and walk northwest toward Emancipation Park, or along the waterfront until you reach the shops and attractions.

Getting Around On Foot:
This is the only way to explore the heart of Charlotte Amalie. All the major attractions and the principal stores are within easy walking distance. However, other island attractions, like Coral World or Magens Bay, require a bus or taxi.

Getting Around By Bus:
St. Thomas has the best public transportation of any island in the U.S. chain. Buses, called Vitrans, leave from street-side stops in the center of Charlotte Amalie, fanning out east and west along all the most important highways. They run between 5:30am and 10:30pm daily, and you rarely have to wait more than 30 minutes during the day.. The service is safe, efficient, and comfortable. For schedule and bus stop information, call 340/774-5678.

Getting Around By Taxi:
Taxis are the major means of transportation on St. Thomas. They're not metered, but fares are controlled and widely posted; however, we still recommend that you negotiate a fare with the driver before you get into the car. Surcharges are added after midnight. For 24-hour radio dispatch taxi service, call 340/774-7457.

Taxi vans transport 8 to 12 passengers to multiple destinations on the island. It's cheaper to take a van instead of a taxi if you're going between your hotel and the airport.

Visas:
No visas are required for citizens of the US and Canada, though you'll have to prove citizenship by way of a birth certificate, voter's registration card or valid passport. Most other nationalities don't need a visa either, but will need a passport for a stay of less than 90 days. Proof of onward transportation is required upon entry.


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