On St. Thomas, a good view is an entrepreneurial opportunity. The best vistas are popular with itinerant vendors, drink retailers, and other businesspeople out to make a buck. When the cruise ship dock is full, expect the following overlooks to be teeming with tourists and locals trying to sell them something.
The most famous overlook on St. Thomas is Drake’s Seat, located a few feet from the intersection of Routes 40 and 33. The legend that Sir Francis Drake stopped here is probably not true, but never mind. The view of Magen’s Bay is fantastic, and there’s a bench where you can sit to thoroughly enjoy it. On clear days you can see parts of the British Virgin Islands in the distance. Come here early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds.
Mountaintop (St. Peter Mountain Rd., 340/774-2400), which proclaims itself “world famous,” is really a small shopping mall on top of one of St. Thomas’s highest points. When there’s a cruise ship in, taxis disgorge hundreds of cruise ship passengers here; when there’s no ship, the place is a ghost town. The view from the front balcony is excellent; on a clear day you can see Tortola and the other British Virgins. There are also restrooms. A bar specializes in banana daiquiris, supposedly invented here.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition