After my Danish walking tour in Charlotte Amalie, I returned to the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas, grabbed a quick lunch at Sails, and got ready for my Scenic St. Thomas Island Tour. We were to meet our driver, Campbell Rey, at 2:15 pm to depart for the tour. Before the tour, I took a few pictures of the Christmas decorations at the hotel since they did a fantastic job decorating for the holidays. All it needed was a little bit of snow to make it complete, but I think Santa will forgive St. Thomas for not having any snow for his arrival. As I was relishing the 80 plus degree weather, I knew that back in Boston the weather was more what Santa would embrace than in St. Thomas so my focus stayed on the great weather, views, and the people of the Virgin Islands.
Our goal for the afternoon was to take a ride around the island and see the sights as well as take the St. Thomas Skyride to ascend to Paradise Point. However, the weather was not cooperative and we were unable to take the Skyride up as it was raining. Campbell didn’t let us down and we enjoyed our time in his safari cab taking in as many of the sights as possible. Campbell put the sides down to protect us from the rain, but we were still able to get out and see what we needed to and of course, take as many pictures as possible.
Clearly Campbell knew he had a shopper in his safari cab as we headed to the world famous Mountain Top. It is not humanely possible to go inside this store and not buy something. There is absolutely something for everyone from souvenirs to clothing to jewelry to sandals and more. Known for their world famous banana daiquiri, here’s a little history: “For more than 60 years Mountain Top has offered our visitors a unique and breathtaking experience. Come and Feel the thrill of climbing up over 1000ft in an open air safari bus through our tropical forest to the highest point on St. Thomas.”
The views from the observation deck are truly breathtaking. To look down and see the bluest of blue water down below can take your breath away. Along on our tour was Alani Henneman-Todman from the Department of Tourism and she mentioned that on a clear day it is so much nicer. Even on an overcast day, the views were ones that I’ll never forget. The first picture is from this vantage point as is this picture. Can you think of anything more stunning than the beautiful green countryside next to the various shades of blue in the water? I certainly can’t. I need to learn my Caribbean geography better to be able to tell you which islands are in this picture, but until then you can simply appreciate the beauty for what it is.
Back inside I toyed with the idea of having one quick banana daiquiri, but I instead opted to purchase a pair of sandals. Before I left the store I had three pairs of sandals and a few trinkets to take back home with me. I could have spent the afternoon inside this store with so many things to look at including the very odd jewelry with bugs inside them. Imagine bringing that home as a gift! The sandals were a great deal as I ended up with a pair of Reef sandals, Teva sandals, and third pair. The first morning at the Ritz-Carlton before my walking tour, as I headed out to meet up in the lobby, my sandals broke so I was down a pair. One pair down must naturally mean that I have to buy three.
After shopping at the World Famous Mountain Top, we stopped at a few scenic spots for photos. One of the spots included Drake’s Seat. Just a seat on a ledge, this is where British privateer Sir Francis Drake, commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I, is said to have used this spot to spy on enemy ships of the Spanish Fleet passing through what is now called Drake’s Passage. You can pull off the road and enjoy the same view from this lookout point. If you are into history and great views, this stop won’t take but a minute or two and can reward you with incredible souvenir pics.
One of the views includes looking down at Havensight yet again for another view of the ships in port. In case you didn’t see my earlier post, the ships in port from left to right are Celebrity Cruises “Summit,” Royal Caribbean “Serenade of the Seas,” and Royal Caribbean “Explorer of the Seas.” From this vantage point they look so small, but it does give you an idea of what Francis Drake might have seen from high atop this hill. I can’t imagine ever getting sick of these views. Think for a second of waking up to this every single day of your life. How could you ever wake up in a bad mood?
If you have mobility issues, small children, or just don’t feel like walking, a tour by safari cab could be a great option for you to see the island of St. Thomas. You’ll still get great information, good photo opportunities, and more without having to leave the safari cab if you choose not to do so. Or like me, you could do both the walking tour and the safari cab tour. After our tour we headed back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner before heading out for our special night in Charlotte Amalie for the “Miracle on Main Street.” More on that in my next post.