St. Thomas Transportation

There is no passport required for U.S. citizens, making travel to this Caribbean island just a little easier

Photo credit: © sunmaya
 

As the largest tourism center in the United States Virgin Islands chain, St. Thomas sees a lot of traffic on, off, and around the island. There are numerous ways to arrive, from flying internationally to sailing your own vessel, and once you arrive on the island the public and private transportation options rival any other island in the Caribbean.

Getting There

The hub for air travel to all of the U.S. Virgin Islands is located on the island of St. Thomas, and many tourists heading to the British Virgin Islands connect here as well. Because of the ease of air travel, that is usually the top choice amongst tourists heading to the island, but cruising and sailing are real possibilities as well.

Getting Around

The transportation options available to tourists on St. Thomas are as diverse as each visitor, allowing everyone to easily find the most preferred method of transportation for them very easily. The least expensive method of transport is the buses, though their scheduling is not very reliable, and other options include car rentals, taxi services, and even water transport by ferry.

Air Travel

St. Thomas is the hub of all air travel in the Virgin Islands. Anyone traveling to any of the US or British islands will most likely be traveling through St. Thomas. This is because the airport here, Cyril E King Airport, has some of the few flights coming from outside the Caribbean; namely from the United States. You should have no problem finding a flight to the Virgin Islands no matter where you are. You may need to make one or two transfers, but overall it will be a simple experience.

Seaborne Airlines has a weekday service that operates flights to and from St. Croix and St. Thomas. The flights start as early as 6:40 am from St. Croix and end as late as 6:00 pm from St. Thomas. All of the flights are done on a 14-seat DHC-6-300 Twin Otter seaplane with two engines and each flight has two pilots.

You can click here to see our St. Thomas Air Travel Page, where you will find a list of direct flights that come into St. Thomas, as well as the airliners that serve them.

Sailing

Of the three, St. Thomas is the most tourist friendly of the US Virgin Islands. Visitors will find plenty of amenities and services being offered, whether you come by air or sea. At marinas like the American Yacht Harbor and Crown Bay Marina, sailors will find docking areas where they can replenish supplies, relax, and secure their vessel as they explore. At these same docks, and some other areas around the island, other travelers will be able to find day-sailing trips and other excursions that will take them to some of the smaller islands around St. Thomas, such as Hassel Island.

Cruises

Not everyone travels to St. Thomas with the intention of staying for awhile. Many tourists arrive on the island each year via cruise ship to spend a day and a half to a full day quickly exploring all of the most important sites and activities that the island has to offer. Cruisers, typically aboard a Carnival, Disney, Royal Caribbean, or Princess ship, will arrive on the island at the Crown Bay Cruise Dock or the Havensight Cruise Port, both of which are along the island's south coast. Cruisers have plenty of options once they arrive, from staying at the Crown Bay Center or Havensight Mall, which are accessible almost immediately upon leaving the ship, to hailing a cab and getting in a quick tour of St. Thomas.

Rental Cars

Most tourists end up renting a car to get around St. Thomas because it ends up being less expensive than taking a taxi from place to place. Rates range from around $70 to $150(USD) a day, and if you rent the vehicle for more than a week you'll receive a 10 percent discount. Rental car agencies tend to be centered around the island's main ports of entry, including the airport, the cruise ports, and the two ferry terminals which are located in Red Hook and Charlotte Amalie. Although there is a serious lack of road signs on St. Thomas, a color coded sign system is posted around the island to help tourists find their way to all of the most popular attractions and sites.

Check out our comprehensive Guide to Rental Cars on St. Thomas, where you'll find contact information for local agencies, as well as tips about driving on the island – like how even though St. Thomas is a U.S. territory, driving is done on the left side of the road.

Taxis

Taxis are a great option for tourist who would rather not be in charge of driving on an island that is unfamiliar to them. Rates on the island are set in advance rather than metered, so there is less room for negotiation and the prices are known upfront rather than a surprise when you arrive. Rates are based on where the ride begins and where it ends, plus, they are charged per person and cost less for each person the more people ride. For example, a taxi from the airport to Charlotte Amalie is $7(USD) is there is only one person riding, but $6(USD) per person if there are two or more. Drivers are also known to give island tours, which can be a great option for cruise ship passengers in need of a quick overview of St. Thomas. Click here for a complete list of taxi rates as well as more information about hailing a cab on St. Thomas.

Buses

Although buses on St. Thomas are not to be relied upon to keep their schedule, they do count as a form of transportation that can be used as opposed to taxis and rental cars. If you're feeling adventurous and are not on a tight schedule, feel free to hop on a bus and see where the day takes you.

The most predictable route on the island runs from Red Hook to Charlotte Amalie beginning every morning at 5:15 a.m. and continues to do so hourly until 8:00 p.m. Other buses travel from Red Hook, pass the airport, and head to Bordeaux, and there is also a bus the goes from the airport to Red Hook from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Buses headed to the country cost $1(USD) per person, and those that stick to the city are $0.75(USD).

Ferries

Although the ferries on St. Thomas are generally used by tourists connecting to other islands from St. Thomas, many visitors wind up taking day trips to St. Thomas from elsewhere in both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. There are two ferry terminals on St. Thomas, one in Red Hook and one in Charlotte Amalie. Where you will land will depend on where you are traveling from, and which service makes a stop there. If you run into a ferry service that travels to both locations, which does happen, you can decide where you choose to land based upon schedule, prices, and especially the location of the activities and sites you will see once you land on St. Thomas. Also, be aware that if you are traveling to St. Thomas from the British Virgin Islands, you will need to present a valid passport in order to gain entry.

Be sure to click here to see the various ferry routes that service St. Thomas.

The possibility is there that you could travel by air, by land, and by sea all in one vacation. When you plan a trip to St. Thomas, the possibilities are all there, all affordable, an all within reach.

 

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