Shopping in Virgin Islands of St Thomas or St John
Duty free shopping in the Virgin Islands is not only fun but full of history and interesting architecture.
During the 1600’s, U S Virgin Islands were known for being commerce islands. They were a major hub for ships doing business, illegal at times with pirates and countries supporting them. Rum was a major industry and export of the Virgin Islands. Unfortunately Slave trade was a major import.
The Virgin Islands were the second point on a shipping route called the Triangular Trade. Slaves were imported to the Caribbean islands from the first point Africa. They were sold and traded in exchange for Rum,molasses and sugar. The third point was a return trip back to Europe with the same ships loaded with goods to sell.
In the process of the above history being created. Stable buildings were built with bricks that were transported along with the slaves. The bricks were used in the ships as ballast to keep them upright in the strong trade winds.
Loaded down with sugar and rum the bricks were no longer needed on returning ships. They were put to use on the islands for building all of the early commercial buildings. Building that survived hurricanes through the years.
Which leads us to where the same buildings and architecture of much of the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie comes from.
Shopping in the Virgin Islands
Today you will find Charlotte Amalie still a bustling port. Conversely you can now buy duty free items such as high end watches,like Rolex and Patek Philippe. In addition you will find diamonds and brand name jewelry to locally made art and souvenirs.
Take a walk along the Water Front of Charlotte Amalie. Many of the buildings from the 1700’s still are in use. What use to be rum warehouses are now jewelry stores, boutiques and restaurants. Another good shopping location with multiple stores is Yacht Haven.
Visit some of the stores on line for St Thomas by clicking the image below.
Since St John is less than 3 miles away from St Thomas,they shared in the same history with many building still standing from the 1700’s.
St. John also boasts great shopping especially famous for the hook bracelet. Also a large artist community.