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The Ciboney people settled on this beautiful island around 1500BC. Later on, the Arawaks took over the island, and later they were replaced by the Caribs. Christopher Columbus and his ‘New World’ discovery brought the Dutch West India Company to Saint Thomas in 1657.
St. Thomas became a slave market in 1673 when the first ship carrying slaves arrived on the island. The Danish crown colonized the island in 1754 and was granted free port status in 1764. The sugarcane production was the primary economic activity on the island until it became the slave auction hub of the Caribbean.
After years of negotiations, St. Thomas, St, Croix, and St. Johns were purchased on March 31, 1917, by the United States and they became the US Virgin Islands. The US purchased these islands as part of their defensive strategy to maintain control over the Caribbean and the Panama Canal during the First World War.
Citizenship was granted to the residents in 1927. After the second world war, the island saw an increase in tourism. With the islands’ lush white sandy beaches and year-long warm weather, visitors couldn’t resist. Tourism increased every year and more Americans decided to invest in the property market around the island. Despite natural disasters such as Hurricane Hugo (1989), Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn (1995), and Hurricanes Irma and Maria (2017) the island’s infrastructure continues to improve as the flow of visitors continues. Hotels have been built from the West End to the East End.
St. Thomas is full of local culture. You can find the most exquisite handmade crafts down every street you go to. Brightly painted buildings and cobblestone walkways direct you to local restaurant that serves the best local cuisine. Because of the multiple nationalities that have inhabited this island over the centuries, the culture has been ingrained into the foundation of the island.
Each year the locals get together to celebrate their culture by taking part in the Carnival. The Carnival is a month-long event that concentrates on each aspect of the island’s culture. You can find the Cultural Fair that showcases an exciting mix of local foods, drinks, plants, pastries, candies, and colorful displays of arts and handmade crafts.
The entire Carnival consists of competitions in such categories as; native candies, cakes and pastries, plants, produce, arts and crafts. There is also the ‘Special Food Contest’ and ‘Best Dressed Fair Participant’. Whether you attend the Carnival for the food, the music, or the shows, be sure to know that you will have the experience of a life time. No other carnival can come close to the annual Carnival of the Caribbean Island of St. Thomas.
St. Thomas a place filled with color, music, and food. The main dish served on the island is Fungi.
Although you might think of mushrooms, this dish has no mushrooms. Fungi is similar to Caribbean-style polenta made from ground cornmeal. Whether it’s soft and creamy like mashed potatoes or cooked longer and shaped into balls, this dish is commonly served with fish and garnished with onions, okra, and tomatoes. The locals also have a big love for, Johnny Cakes, served fried or baked this is a simple, slightly sweet delicacy for breakfast, lunch, or as a snack.
Coral World has been rehabilitating local wildlife and is dedicated to coral reef education since it opened in 1977. You have various options when entering the park. The park has an underwater observatory, which was the first of its kind in the Western hemisphere. The underwater observatory allows you to observe and learn about coral reefs and their associated organisms in their natural environment.
You can also take the time to learn more about the tagging program Coral World is assisting with. Scientific research is done by tagging most of the captured sharks they receive in the rehabilitation program. Before they release them back into the wild they tag the various species of wild sharks so that they can track their behavior and movements by placing a small tag next to their dorsal fin. All the research data that is collected is shared with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Coral World Ocean Park will truly surprise you with the various marine species they house. You can spend the entire day at this Park and learn all that there is to know about the marine species in our oceans. It might be a good idea to get a guide for your tour through the park. The size of the park allows them to care for a large variety of wildlife and ensure that each animal receives the best possible care, and the highest level of success to be re-introduced to the wild.
Although this island is littered with hotels, bed and breakfast, and self-catering resorts, the best rated will always be the Ritz-Carlton. Experience a redesigned of the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. This renowned resort welcomes back families, couples, and adventure-seekers. Encounter the beauty of the Caribbean in a new light.
They have upgraded all the guest rooms and suites. There are new and exciting public spaces such as the family pool with waterslides and 11 new ocean view pool cabanas added. There are also new event and meeting spaces, and four added dining venues, including the introduction of a new culinary concept, Alloro, which will celebrate the simplicity of Sicilian dishes right here in St. Thomas.
Experience the luxury catamaran, Lady Lynsey II, that can accommodate 75 guests on a cruise that they will never forget. Sunset dinners and all-day snorkeling are just what you can expect on this excursion.
Not only a 5-star hotel but also the best excursions available on the island. You can choose from, snorkeling to tennis courts, something for the entire family to enjoy without leavening the property.
St. Thomas is a well-visited island with many hidden gems. When it is time to relax and rejuvenate make sure to add this majestic island to your list.
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