My review of Sapphire Beach & Paradise Point

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#1
OH
25,374 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
St Thomas


I was really skeptical about this island due to all the negative news reports after the shooting of the teenager from the cruise ship a few months ago and all the gang related violence taking place on this island. However, I’m SO glad I decided to go ahead with my plans for the island.


We knew before going on our cruise that we wanted to go places on our own by taxi instead of a tour service. Our plans were to visit Paradise Point first for pictures, then on to Sapphire for some snorkeling, then on to Maggens for a short period before heading back to the ship.


When we arrived at Paradise to get on the skylift, they were not open yet to my surprise. They did not open until 9am. It was only 8am. I was not only disappointed but shocked knowing that the ships come in this early, you would think that they would be open this early to make more money. We did buy our tickets on the ship (which is actually CHEAPER than purchasing them at the skylift box). Our cruise line also offered your money back if you didn’t use the tickets. WOW. The only time you would ever see that happen.


So, we decided to walk back to the port and catch a cab and go on with our plans to Sapphire Beach. A lady was there to take us to the beach. She waited until that van was OVER PACKED and people sitting on laps before she would leave. People in the van where complaining and saying “seriously you think you are going to fit more people in here-no way” only for her to get more people in the van. 4-5 people in a 3 person seat!


The driver was very talkative and talked about the island. She told us how they basically only rely on the cruise ships coming in to make a living. She stated how much it hurt them if a ship didn’t come in that day or rearranged their schedule. She told us that living in the “ghetto” would cost you no less than $250,000 per house and above. She said the nicer homes would cost you an average of 1 million. WOW.



She took us to Sapphire and dropped us off. Upon entering this beach area, all I can say is WOW!!! I had found Paradise finally! The beach was absolutely beautiful. The beach was lined with natural shade grape trees, clear blue water and white sandy beaches. We quickly put out things under a tree and claimed our area then headed out to the water. Instantly fish greeted us. I didn’t realize just how many where under there until I put on my mask and went under. They were SURROUNDING ME! They followed us all over the place. They were very friendly and would get right up in your face. I couldn’t believe it. We swam over to the shaded area that we knew were coral and started investigating. When my husband went under the first time, right in front of him was a jelly fish. I ran back and got my camera and started taking pictures. I found it very hard to focus on something that clear in clear water to begin with. It was a task and I wasn’t very happy with the results, but continued on exploring for fish. They were everywhere. So many different species, colors and types of fish and coral everywhere. We were absolutely amazed at this place.



I ran up and grabbed the box of fruit loops I had brought with me and began feeding the fish. They became our friends the rest of our visit and even took the food right out of my hand. It was amazing. We swam over to the right (in front of the Sapphire Beach Resort) and found even more types of fish. We snorkeled nonstop for hours only getting out a select few times to rest for about 10 min. When we did get out, we were exploring the sand and trees that were full of huge Iguana’s at that point looking down on us and watching us like a hawk. How amazing was that! The best of both worlds-sand and water animals!



I have to say hands down, this was the absolutely BEST beach I have ever been to. We decided right then and there that we not only wanted to come back someday soon, but we wanted to actually stay on the island for an extended visit (not just on a cruise ship). I was that impressed with this beach.


We had brought our own snorkeling tube and goggles, but I was having a problem with my goggles fogging up for some reason. My husband did not. We were also lacking the fins to be able to adventure out deeper. So we decided to rent the entire snorkeling package (which included everything you needed) and it was only $7. The hut also sold ice cold pop and beer that hit the spot. I mean ICE COLD. We spoke to the workers there for awhile and they commented on how much they LOVE their job there at the beach hut. What a wonderful way to spend your working day.



We snorkeled for awhile longer and decided that we had better head back toward the port if we wanted to try to squeeze in our trip to Paradise on the skylift. (As much as we hated the thought of EVER leaving this paradise)!!!


We quickly caught the skylift up to Paradise Point after only having to wait for 1 round of trams to pull in (there are 3 together-one set going up while one set comes down). It was beautiful up there. Breath taking. However, I was very disappointed that I had my camera on for HOURS non stop taking fish, beach, and Iguana pictures that my battery was now dead. I managed to get it to come on long enough to snap a picture, then it would die, then another picture, then it would die again. I did this several times before it would no longer turn on. We then order the famous Bushwacker drink. We were going to order food, but the waitress was taking FOREVER 1) giving us a menu 2) coming back for our drink order 3) coming back with our actual drinks then 4) coming back again to see what we wanted to order. This process was about ½ hour already. So we told her to forget the food, we’d just have our drinks. She acted very disturbed about this and rolled her eyes and walked away. It took another 15 minutes for me to flag her down to tell her we were still waiting on our check for the drinks. Then another 10 minutes to come back with the bill. Geesh. Either they need more help or different people. I did not find them friendly at all.


There was some type of parrot/bird show going on up there, but we did not have time to watch it since we had spent so much time just taking care of the drink situation. It was time to head back to the port and catch a few stores along the way before boarding again. The ride back down did take a little longer. We caught the 3rd tram that came up. But, they run every 7 min (the guy up at the top said 5 min to us so I’m not sure). Either way, it didn’t seem too long. Each lift holds 8 people per cabin. We noticed only 6 per cabin seem to be getting in. Had people been filling them the way they should, we would have been on much sooner.


All in all, we didn’t find really GOOD prices on tee-shirts there or any good discounts you would normally see in tourist spots. We got a tee for $18.99 and sun glasses for $20 (since my husband accidentally broke mine the first day on the cruise). We stopped in the jewelry stores to find that the prices they quoted us were outrageous compared to those on the ship.


My final conclusion: St Thomas is by far is a beautiful island of Paradise. I hate the thought of everything bad going on at the island and hope that things continue to improve in the months and years to come. It would really be ashamed if cruise ships stops coming to such a beautiful place. I really hope to visit again soon and actually stay on the island. I would still like to visit Maggens Bay. But if you want to go somewhere with excellent snorkeling and beautiful beaches, I highly recommend Sapphire!!


If you have any questions that I might be able to answer, I'd be happy to try.


Here are some picture I took while I was there. Enjoy!


http://kimbakerphotography.smugmug.c...17703050_nhpoV
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TORTOLA: Baths
#2
329 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Thank you for posting your beautiful photos. I really enjoyed viewing them We are looking forward to spending the day at Sapphire Beach. We are avid snorkelers. Please tell me where you swam out and saw all the wonderful fish and coral. When we are facing the water where should we go?

Thanks
#3
OH
25,374 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by loves2cruz
Thank you for posting your beautiful photos. I really enjoyed viewing them We are looking forward to spending the day at Sapphire Beach. We are avid snorkelers. Please tell me where you swam out and saw all the wonderful fish and coral. When we are facing the water where should we go?

Thanks
The reefs are EVERYWHERE along the beach. They are amazing. We first went left upon entering the beach. Then we tried right (it was a bigger area of coral and went really far out). There seem to be more fish and coral in that area than to the left. It was right in front of Sapphire Beach Resort. If you look at the last 2 pictures right after the underwater pictures, every area you see that is shaded dark is nothing but reefs. It was amazing. The entire water is loaded with reefs right off the beach.
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ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#4
OH
25,374 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Actually looking at the pictures again, the first pictures of Sapphire are the 2 pictures with the boats lined up on the beach. Those 2 pictures show just how much of a reef there is everywhere. It seemed to be like this up and down the beach where we walked. Trust me, you won't go wrong probably no matter where you snorkel there.

Also, even though some of the reefs really go far out there, you're still only about 5 feet above the water in most places, some even less. So you can be way out there, but it's really not too deep and feels safe. The water wasn't too bad either (meaning pretty calm I thought and easy to snorkel in).
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ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#5
Rehoboth Beach,De
1,016 Posts
Joined May 2009
Thank you so much for your wonderful review . It made my day as I have read so many conflicting reports on Sapphire Beach . It will be our first stop when we are there in January . Thanks again ! Ted
#6
OH
25,374 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by tjschwalm
Thank you so much for your wonderful review . It made my day as I have read so many conflicting reports on Sapphire Beach . It will be our first stop when we are there in January . Thanks again ! Ted
You are very welcome. I did a lot of research before picking the beach I went to and A LOT of people recommended either Sapphire or Coki for the best snorkeling on the island. I haven't really read any conflicting reports on Sapphire, so they must have gotten by me if you found some. Everyone that I have spoke to on the board highly recommended Sapphire. If you choose to go there, I don't think you will be disappointed and have a great time if you do. I hope to return again some day.
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CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#7
Rhode Island
2,718 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Thanks for the great review.
I can't wait to go.
What kind of camera did you use?
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#8
hinsdale, MA
72 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Was there a place to have lunch at Sapphire beach? I was there several years ago and remember how beautiful it was. I read a post that said there were no longer any places to get food on the beach.

Thanks for the info.
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joshscure
#9
Michigan
1,216 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
[size=3][color=blue][i]First thank you so much for your pics very nicely done. How was the beach itself was it clean did they have chairs to rent and food stations. Was it overly crowded.
THANKS AGAIN
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#10
OH
25,374 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by reno3
Thanks for the great review.
I can't wait to go.
What kind of camera did you use?
I used a Canon D10 for the pictures. I that little point and shoot. It just amazes me every time I use it. It takes awesome night pictures as well.

Originally posted by Joshscure
Was there a place to have lunch at Sapphire beach? I was there several years ago and remember how beautiful it was. I read a post that said there were no longer any places to get food on the beach.

Thanks for the info.
You know I'm really not sure. We didn't eat while we were there and waited until we arrived at Maho (because we were at Sapphire during the morning and had ate breakfast before getting off the ship. I do know the place where we rented the snorkeling equipment was a pretty big hut and they had really cold drinks and for some reason I was thinking that they did have a menu with food on it. But, I'm not 100% sure. We were having too much fun to even think about food. LOL

Originally posted by oceanblue33
[size=3][color=blue][i]First thank you so much for your pics very nicely done. How was the beach itself was it clean did they have chairs to rent and food stations. Was it overly crowded.
THANKS AGAIN
The beach was beautiful and well taken care of. You didn't see any trash lying around or anything. All the places we walked by along the beach were well kept too.
I think they had places to rent chairs. But not sure. We just put our things under one of the grape trees and went out to snorkeling the entire time. There were plenty of people there with tons of chairs, so I would assume they rented them. There was a couple beside us from another cruise ship and they had chairs. We just never rent them any time we go to the beach because we wouldn't have any use for them since we stay out in the water the entire time.
It was not very crowded at all when we were there. Especially when we first arrived. By the time we left, it was getting a little more people there, but I wouldn't say crowded at all. If you look at the few pictures I took of the beach/water with people in the water, that was taken as we were packing up and leaving for the day. The one picture has several people in the water and the other picture was just to the right of them, there was next to no one there. ;o) I can say I've read recent reviews on other sites that do state that their are places to rent chairs and places to get food there.
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SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#11
Indiana
79 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
Loved reading your review and enjoyed seeing your pics. DH and I were going to do a tour and a beach (beach was to be picked by majority of the group), but I don't think I'll leave that to chance.

After reading your review and seeing your pics we will definately go to Sapphire Beach. Do most taxi's take you there and pic you up? Did you prearrange a pick up time?

THanks!
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#12
OH
25,374 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by dldplbc
Loved reading your review and enjoyed seeing your pics. DH and I were going to do a tour and a beach (beach was to be picked by majority of the group), but I don't think I'll leave that to chance.

After reading your review and seeing your pics we will definately go to Sapphire Beach. Do most taxi's take you there and pic you up? Did you prearrange a pick up time?

THanks!
Yea, any of the taxis will take you there. They are all waiting right there at the port and around in the parking lot by the road for you. Coming back, there is always taxi's running (what they said) every 15 minutes or so pulling in and out in this round turn around area in front of this building for Sapphire Beach Resort. When we were ready to leave, we didn't even have time to dry off and get our beach towels back in our back pack and a driver was there already telling us to come on, I'll take you. lol So no problems catching a cab back at all. There was nothing prearranged.
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EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
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BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
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BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#14
OH
25,374 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by schultz
Were there washroom facilities?
That I can't answer. We never used any of them until we got to Maho.
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EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination Conquest Magic
ARUBA: Arashi Beaches Animals Sites
BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#15
Arizona
664 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by schultz
Were there washroom facilities?
There are restrooms just past the snorkeling gear hut the she has described. When standing in the water & looking toward the hut they are to the right of the hut. I did not see showers though.

Great review mitsugirly! I also fell in love with this beach and beauty of the island in our visit.
#16
Trinity,Fl USA
2,881 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Thank you everyone for all this great info. I was up in the air as to where to go snorkeling our next stop there and this has helped me decide. Sapphire Beach - here we come!
#17
OH
25,374 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by travelbig
Thank you everyone for all this great info. I was up in the air as to where to go snorkeling our next stop there and this has helped me decide. Sapphire Beach - here we come!
You will love it. Make sure to report back after your visit and let us know how things went. When are you going?
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EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination Conquest Magic
ARUBA: Arashi Beaches Animals Sites
BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#18
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
31,220 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Great photos and review. We will be in St Thomas in a couple of weeks and have been to Sapphire 3-4 times and my husband has never seen fish like this. We were going to head to Secret Harbour this time but your review and photos is making us reconsider.

Since you mentioned you did lots of research did you consider Secret Harbour?

Also when you arrive at Sapphire and are looking at the water did you walk to the right or left. We have always gone to the left.

Agreed the beach is gorgeous. Thanks for posting those wonderful photos.
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#19
OH
25,374 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by emmy
Great photos and review. We will be in St Thomas in a couple of weeks and have been to Sapphire 3-4 times and my husband has never seen fish like this. We were going to head to Secret Harbour this time but your review and photos is making us reconsider.

Since you mentioned you did lots of research did you consider Secret Harbour?

Also when you arrive at Sapphire and are looking at the water did you walk to the right or left. We have always gone to the left.

Agreed the beach is gorgeous. Thanks for posting those wonderful photos.

I did a lot of research on here and on the web and everyone recommended Sapphire or Coki for the best snorkeling. With all the recent violence and gang related shootings around Coki (which was our first choice until I read several reviews of the "types" of fish at Sapphire), we decided on Sapphire. I didn't see many mentioning (at the time I was researching) Secret Harbour.

When you are dropped off at the turn around, in front of the Sapphire Hotel resort, you walk onto the beach and we went to the right. So opposite of where the snorkel rental shack was located.
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BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#20
Upstate of South Carolina, US
2,203 Posts
Joined May 2003
Enjoyed the review and the pictures...we also will be there in two weeks and we are struggling to decide what to do....I do like the concept of just taking a cab instead of the cruise tour option
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An original member of the FREEDOM'S ~ PINK BOA Society

Coming up.. ALWAYS LOOKING!
4/12/14~ NCL~ Jade~Rome, Livorno, Monte Carlo, Toulon, Barcelona, Valencia, Cagliari, Tunisia, Palermo, Naples, Rome

Past Cruises:
4/22/12~RCCL ~ Splendor ~ Barcelona, Marseille, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Split, Venice
04/22/11 ~ RCCL~ Splendor ~ 4 days of Easter in Venice ~ 10Day Med -Venice, Split, Corfu, Athens, Mykonsos, Santorini, Venice
10/09/10 ~ RCCL~ Oasis ~ Eastern
05/22/09 ~ RCCL ~ Monarch ~ Birthday/Memorial Day Blast
06/04/06 ~ RCCL ~ Freedom Inaugural - Pink Boa Society is Born
060/5/04 ~ Carnival ~ Triumph
06/01/03 ~ RCCL ~ Voyager
04/03 ~ Carnival ~ Fascination