St. Thomas is home to world renowned shopping! Hundreds of duty free shops line the streets and alleys of the capital, Charlotte Amalie. Multiple buildings in Havensight, where most cruise ships dock, house shops and boutiques. There are smaller malls around the island and even the larger hotels offer shopping!
The best buys on St. Thomas include jewelry, alcohol, china, crystal, perfumes, art, clothing, watches and cameras. If you are in the market for something in particular, primarily jewelry and cameras, it is a good idea to know what the going price is in your home town; some items are better deals than others so it pays to know what items cost at home.
Mango Tango Art Gallery
Mango Tango Art Gallery, located in Al Cohen's Plaza, has been a premier art gallery in St. Thomas and the Caribbean for over 25 years. They offer original paintings, prints, ceramics, and framing. Jane, the owner, knows and loves art. She offers a great variety of artists and art styles. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30am to 4pm. Exhibitions and shows monthly, call for details, or check the gallery's facebook page.
(Hurricane Status: Open for Business) You can shop online for your favorite souvenirs, travel guides and maps from the Virgin Islands. VItraders.com has been serving customers for over 14 years. Planning a vacation and need a guide book, beach guide, map or bird watching book? VItraders.com has a great book section. Are you looking for souvenirs like wall calendars, cook books, Caribbean dolls, coloring books, hot sauce, magnets, postcards, mugs, Christmas Cards and ornaments, hats or shot glasses? You will find a nice selection of all of those and more. Click over to VItraders.com for Virgin Islands Books and Souvenirs.
The jeweler of the Virgin Islands since 1954, Cardow offers the largest selection of fine, high-quality jewelry and timepieces at savings of 40-60% off U.S. retail prices. Cardow delivers by sourcing precious stones directly from the mines, creating their own branded jewelry and bringing the latest trends from around the world. As the only local member of Preferred Jewelers International, Cardow provides lifetime guarantees with a network of over 106 service centers around the U.S. and Canada. Voted best jewelry 14 years in a row and a recommended favorite from locals, Cardow remains one of the last authentic jewelry shopping experiences in the Caribbean.
Duty Free Shopping – $1,600 Exemption
Applies to US residents returning to the US mainland
If you return directly or indirectly from a U.S. insular possession (which includes the U.S. Virgin Islands), you are allowed a $1,600 duty-free exemption. You may include 1,000 cigarettes as part of this exemption, but at least 800 of them must have been acquired in an insular possession. Only 200 cigarettes may have been acquired elsewhere. For example, if you were touring the Caribbean and you stopped in Jamaica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other ports of call, you could bring back five cartons of cigarettes, but four of them would have to have been bought in U.S. Virgin Islands.
Similarly, you may include five liters of alcoholic beverages in your duty-free exemption, but one of them must be a product of an insular possession. Four may be products of other countries. Duty free allowance on alcoholic beverages applies if you are 21 years old, it is for your own use or as a gift and it does not violate the laws of the state in which you arrive.
Travel to More Than One Country
If you travel to a U.S. insular possession and to one or more of the Caribbean Basin countries, for example, on a Caribbean cruise, you may bring back $1,600 worth of items without paying duty, but only $800 worth of these items may come from the Caribbean Basin country(ies). Any amount beyond $800 will be dutiable unless you acquired it in one of the insular possessions.
Note Keeping track of where your purchases occurred and having the receipts ready to show the CBP officers will help speed your clearing customs.
St. Thomas Shopping Areas
Charlotte Amalie (Downtown)
The greatest density of stores is in Charlotte Amalie. The principal street there is Dronningens Gade, better known as Main Street. Parallel to Main Street is Back Street and Waterfront. Stores line each of these main roads, and in between the three roads are side streets and alleys where even more shops are located. In the alleys, like Royal Dane Mall, Palm Passage and Riise Alley, you will find many unique shops and boutiques. The stores in Charlotte Amalie are housed in and among historical buildings; so shopping and sightseeing in one trip is easy. Small cozy restaurants and a couple fun bars are located among the stores, perfect for lunch or a refreshing drink.
Monday – Saturday, including Holidays: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday Hours: While Sunday hours are usually half day, closing time 1:00 pm; there are exceptions created by the number of ships in port. When there are no ships in port, some stores won’t open at all. If there are several ships in port some stores might stay open until 3:00 pm.
In Charlotte Amalie there is an area called Vendors Plaza where vendors set up small booths, tables and tents from which they sell an assortment of souvenirs. Vendors Plaza is located across from the Emancipation Park and Fort Christian. There you will find silver jewelry, t-shirts, tropical print wrap skirts, shirts and dresses, imitation bags and watches, trinkets and more. There is also hair braiding, a photo op with a donkey, a coconut-for-sale stand, local food vendors and ice-cream stand.
Vendors Plaza is generally open Monday through Saturday from about 7:30 am, when the vendors start setting up, until 5:00 pm when they start packing up for the day. On Sundays, only a few vendors set up but this generally depends on the number of ships in port; more ships usually means more vendors.
Across the street from Vendors Plaza is a Co-op store that sells locally made crafts and goodies.
Shopping in Havensight
Havensight is the location of the second large agglomeration of stores that cater to visitors. It is right next to the primary cruise ship dock and the shopping area is made up of Havensight Shopping Center, Buccaneer Mall and Port of Sale. Long buildings house some 60+ stores. Shop for jewelry, clothes, perfumes, liquor, electronics, music, sunglasses, hot sauces and souvenirs. You can have lunch in Havensight also, there are several good restaurants to choose from.
Monday through Sunday, including Holidays: Hours of operation are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, 7 days a week when there are cruise ships in port.When no ships are in port hours are 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. On days when ships stay in port into the late evening; some shops remain open until 6:30 pm.
Shopping Around the Island
Smaller shopping areas include; American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook, Lockhart Gardens, Tutu Park Mall and Nisky Center. These areas cater primarily to residents; you will find pharmacies, clothing stores, grocery stores, unique shops, art shops and music stores at these locations. Mountain Top and Paradise Point are both attractions, primarily known for offering extraordinary views but they both offer shopping as well. Tillett Gardens, is an oasis of arts and crafts; pottery, silk-screened fabrics, candles, paintings, jewelry, and more.
There are many options for shopping while visiting St. Thomas. There are lots of great stores, great items and great savings. Happy Shopping!
- Save your swimwear for the beach. It is considered taboo to wear swimsuits only or to walk about bareback anywhere but the beach or poolside. You will receive a much friendlier reception from sales people if you are covered up when walking around shopping areas and entering stores.
- There are a lot of jewelry stores on St. Thomas. Many of the family run stores will bargain or haggle on the price, so be prepared to make offers lower than the original or ticket price. Larger stores also might give discounts but to a lesser degree, in any case its worth it to ask. Also if you have time then shop around, you might very well find the same item in another store.
- Say ‘Good _____ (Morning, Day, Afternoon)’ to salespeople before starting a conversation. Locals are very greeting conscious and this small gesture goes a long way.