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kentuckychris

Just got back. Sapphire beach review

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Thanks for the detailed review. I think we will be going to Sapphire when we stop at St. Thomas in December. It will be our first trip to the island.

 

I have a question about the snorkeling. It has been about 10 years since I snorkeled and I don't remember if we wore any sort of lifevest. I know that my husband likes to take quick dives down and then return to the surface, which would be more difficult with a vest. How deep is the water where you were seeing the fish? Shallow enough to take a break and touch bottom and walk if you need to or is it deep enough to dive down a little further?

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Thank you all so much for your reviews. DH, DD(2) and myself will now be heading to Sapphire!!!:) We basically want a beautiful and calm beach which won't get too crowded, and this sounds perfect! I'm also sure my daughter will be delighted will all the iguanas, being the animal lover that she is :p.

 

We're so excited. This is our first trip to the eastern caribbean (and only our second cruise) and since we've never been to St Thomas, I have a few questions I'd like to ask and would really appreciated any inputs:

 

1. We'll be cruising on RCL's Oasis, and for what I've read, it docks at another port, not at Havensight. Do you know where is actually docks?

 

2. We plan on going straight to Sapphire beach, and spending about 3 hours or so there, then we would like to do some sightseeing or take a tour of the island and then do some shopping. What places would you say are not to be missed? Should we consider paying for a tour or should we consider just asking the taxi driver to stop a a couple of places?

 

3. Do you think my daughter will also have to pay the $10pp for the trip from the port to Sapphire? And in fact for all taxi rides? (She's a 2yo) And how doable is it to take a stroller with us?

 

4. Is there an entrance fee to Sapphire Beach?

 

5. Where would you recommend we end our day for a little shopping before going back to the ship?

 

Thank you so much for your help! I really can't wait to be there! Counting every single day till our cruise (33 days to go):p

 

We are on Oasis March 10 and plan on going to Sapphire Beach and Paradise Point by taxi. I will let you know what it was like when we return. Sounds like a great day!

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We went to Saphire beach a few weeks ago and had a great time. Here is my review from our cruise review.

 

My DH and I walked out to the main road and took a 2$ taxi that the locals use to Sapphire Beach. It was a 40 minute ride and one of the locals helped us know where to get off. We have done this before to Red Hook so we kinda had an idea where to get off. We had to walk down the driveway through the parking lot to get to the beach. The beach was beautiful with plenty of trees to place towels under. We had our own snorkeling gear so we went right in. The coral near the beach was mostly dead so we had to swim out near the point to find live coral. The water is really clear and the beach is beautiful. We spent a few hours at the beach snorkeling before heading back to Crown Bay. We had to walk back up the hill to catch the $2 taxi back to Crown Bay. It is a cicular route so you get the taxi going the same direction as you got off. After the taxi passed through Charlotte Amelia we got off at the green Pueblo Food store and walked back to the ship.

 

Here is the link to my pictures:

https://skydrive.live.com/?sc=photos&cid=1e98e90214e77bf9#cid=1E98E90214E77BF9&id=1E98E90214E77BF9%213356&sc=photos

You say Taxi. Do you mean a bus ?. Sounds a lot cheaper than everyone else is saying for the trip to Sapphire.

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Karid08,

 

1) I believe you are at Crown Bay.

 

2) you could plan a tour with air forepce one or one of the several tour operators. They often include a beach stop. We would prefer ro either rent a car or just taxi to Sapphire and then back to CA for shopping. There is a historic area where Main St starts (the 99 steps), you can see some historic architecture there and also along Main St. Coconuts (10 Main St) has a great burger and a Backstreet Bushwacker.

If you want to see nice views Skyline Drive is a good option, a taxi driver can give you a 1 hour tour if you don't want to take a full day tour. But the tour oprtators have shopping, touring, and beaching packages too. I would just be sure to include Sapphire in that package, some operators are associated with specific resorts and will only take you there.

 

3) if she sits on your lap or the taxi isn't full I would think you would get a break but not sure.

 

4) no fee for Sapphire, just Magens.

 

5) Downtown CA since you are docked at Crown.

 

 

Paradise is a nice spot to emd the day if that fits your itinerary.

 

Enjoy!

Edited by blue_water

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You say Taxi. Do you mean a bus ?. Sounds a lot cheaper than everyone else is saying for the trip to Sapphire.

 

No buses on STT. This is a taxi that circles the island mainly for locals. You can get lucky with the timing and it is cheap, but not worth planning your day around.

When we stayed at the Sapphire Resort we saw cruise people waiting at the entrance for the "bus"(after walking up that hill in hot weather!) when we drove into Red Hook for groceries snd they were still there when we returned! Just to save $8pp -wow! What a way to spend the short time you have available on an island.

 

Everyone who lives on and visits STT will warn against this, it is just not worth the time and effort in most cases.

Edited by blue_water

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No buses on STT. This is a taxi that circles the island mainly for locals. You can get lucky with the timing and it is cheap, but not worth planning your day around.

When we stayed at the Sapphire Resort we saw cruise people waiting at the entrance for the "bus"(after walking up that hill in hot weather!) when we drove into Red Hook for groceries snd they were still there when we returned! Just to save $8pp -wow! What a way to spend the short time you have available on an island.

 

Everyone who lives on and visits STT will warn against this, it is just not worth the time and effort in most cases.

 

Thanks for the info.

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You say Taxi. Do you mean a bus ?. Sounds a lot cheaper than everyone else is saying for the trip to Sapphire.

 

Some of the taxis act like a bus. They say taxi in front but they do a regular route which passes close to Crown Bay and right by Haversight. This route goes past Saphire Beach and Red Hook then circles back. We have used them on our 6 cruise stops in St Thomas over the years. I don't think we have ever waited more than 5 minutes for one. We have also taken the taxis from the cruise parking lot and have had to wait 15 minutes for the driver to fill the taxi. You will have to walk a bit to catch one of these "taxis" and wether it is worth it is up to you. Since we were at Crown Bay the taxi in the cruise parking lot would have been $10 per person each way. So it was either $40 or $8 for the two of us. Here is a picture of the taxi. It can take a while for the driver to fill it.

 

 

420900_2489094241703_1683123189_1625481_153967343_n.jpg

Edited by Eileen G

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First of all, thank you all so much for all the information, pictures and suggestions. I think I now have a better idea of where everything is located and of where we want to go. There are just a few things I don’t understand really well.

From some posts I’ve been reading as well as from your posts, I see that you can actually ask a cab driver to give you a short tour of the island. What I don’t understand is how that works, because as far as I see, the cabs are the open air ones which accommodate a bunch of people. So if everybody doesn’t want to do the tour, how does that work? Are there regular cabs for 3-4 people, which provide the same service which we can take and are the prices the same as the open air ones?

I’ve looked into different tour companies, but they all start with shopping and we don’t want that, plus we want to do the beach on our own time and not be constrained to 2 hours. I would prefer to take a short tour of the island while on our way to Sapphire (Blue_Water that 1 hr tour sounds exactly what we would like to do). After Sapphire we want to come back to Paradise Point, admire the views for a while and then go back down to Charlotte Amelie, for a little bit of shopping before heading back to the ship. I still have some doubts so I’d really appreciate any help you can all give us. Here are my questions:

1. If we want to do a short tour of the island on our way to Sapphire, where should we ask the driver to stop for a couple of minutes to check the views? The way I picture it in my head, from Crown Bay you drive east and around the island to arrive at Sapphire, is that right? Is there another way to go, like across the middle of the island and passing Mountain Top and then going down to Magens, just to check it out before arriving at Sapphire? I don’t really know what’s doable and what’s not, so I’d really appreciate your help with this.

2. As I said, we would like to go to PP next, we won’t be taking the tram since DH has a bad fear of heights and that would be a bit much for him. So, could we ask the taxi driver to drive us straight from Sapphire to PP? Or do we have to go to Heavensight first and then take a different taxi to PP?

3. We’re thinking of having a couple of drinks at PP, and maybe something to eat, but since all of us are big foodies (including our 2yr old) are there any places in particular you would recommend to have lunch, and located within the areas we’ll be visiting? We’d love to have some of the lovely cuisine the island has to offer.

Thank you all again for your help! We’re really looking forward to our time in St Thomas. I’m already thinking about when we can go back and we haven’t even been there yet!:p

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A taxi to Sapphire will head over the hill to Coki then Sapphire, that is the normal route for them. We drive another route that goes more to the east when staying at Sapphire. I'm not as familiar with STT as the residents or more frequent visitors and so I can't be as helpful with this question.

 

There are sedans and alot of vans for tour type excursions. I'm thinking that you could have a driver take you along Skyline Drive and hit Drake's Seat and maybe Mountaintop for views before dropping you at PP. You would just get a price from a driver. Mountaintop is justa store with a view of Magens Bay and not worth a special trip in our opinion. But the views from Skyline are great. You may want to talk to drivers at the port to see if they can take you to Sapphire and return at a given time rather than rely on making plans with a driver at Sapphire.

 

Yes, the driver can drop you right at PP.

 

There are some restaurants at the west end of Main or Waterfront that are good.

The GreenHouse serves good burgers/sandwiches and margaritas. But Cuzzins (Carribean) and Glady's (international) are great.

 

I would pose these questions (at least the tour vs taxi) on the St Thomas forum on TA to get the most helpful answers from destination experts.

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We will traveling on the Oasis in June w/ friends. There will be a total of 9 of us. Has anyone rented a car or a van in St. Thomas? Just thinking it might be less expensive to drive ourselves, esp. if we get 1 vehicle than to pay $10pp each way..

 

Thanks for all the recommendations for Sapphire. Sounds like a must see!

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I know the person said the $2 taxi was easy, but there were 2 different couples that tried it. The first one said they packed the car they were in so full of locals that there was 5 in the back seat. There was a woman with 2 kids plus the couple. They got to the beach and had to walk down the hill to the beach. That wouldn't be bad, but if you are carrying anything and it's hot like it was when we were there, it could be a long, hard walk. Just because you have 3 or 4 for a taxi, still doesn't mean that's all that will be put in it. That couple ended up going back with us and said after the ride there, they were happy to ride in the open air taxi. The other couple said they just had 3 other people in the taxi with them, but they had to stop 2 places before they got to sapphire. It took them over an hour to get there. I guess you have to decide what your time is worth on vacation.

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First of all, thank you all so much for all the information, pictures and suggestions. I think I now have a better idea of where everything is located and of where we want to go. There are just a few things I don’t understand really well.

From some posts I’ve been reading as well as from your posts, I see that you can actually ask a cab driver to give you a short tour of the island. What I don’t understand is how that works, because as far as I see, the cabs are the open air ones which accommodate a bunch of people. So if everybody doesn’t want to do the tour, how does that work? Are there regular cabs for 3-4 people, which provide the same service which we can take and are the prices the same as the open air ones?

I’ve looked into different tour companies, but they all start with shopping and we don’t want that, plus we want to do the beach on our own time and not be constrained to 2 hours. I would prefer to take a short tour of the island while on our way to Sapphire (Blue_Water that 1 hr tour sounds exactly what we would like to do). After Sapphire we want to come back to Paradise Point, admire the views for a while and then go back down to Charlotte Amelie, for a little bit of shopping before heading back to the ship. I still have some doubts so I’d really appreciate any help you can all give us. Here are my questions:

1. If we want to do a short tour of the island on our way to Sapphire, where should we ask the driver to stop for a couple of minutes to check the views? The way I picture it in my head, from Crown Bay you drive east and around the island to arrive at Sapphire, is that right? Is there another way to go, like across the middle of the island and passing Mountain Top and then going down to Magens, just to check it out before arriving at Sapphire? I don’t really know what’s doable and what’s not, so I’d really appreciate your help with this.

 

2. As I said, we would like to go to PP next, we won’t be taking the tram since DH has a bad fear of heights and that would be a bit much for him. So, could we ask the taxi driver to drive us straight from Sapphire to PP? Or do we have to go to Heavensight first and then take a different taxi to PP?

 

3. We’re thinking of having a couple of drinks at PP, and maybe something to eat, but since all of us are big foodies (including our 2yr old) are there any places in particular you would recommend to have lunch, and located within the areas we’ll be visiting? We’d love to have some of the lovely cuisine the island has to offer.

 

Thank you all again for your help! We’re really looking forward to our time in St Thomas. I’m already thinking about when we can go back and we haven’t even been there yet!:p

 

The open air taxi leaves and follows 2 different routes. Sapphire Beach is on one route. If you are going to go to the beach, you get off at Sapphire and pay the $10. Those on the tour get off and look at the beach and get a history and take pics, then get back on and continue thier tour. They pay $25 at the end of the tour. If you are going to a different beach, you might get on the one that starts in the opposite direction, so your beach is closer to the beginning of the tour. Just tell the driver what you want to do and he will tell you which one to get on or if he can accomodate you.

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I was 'almost' settled upon Magens for our 1st visit to St. Thomas, but the reviews here, especially those pertaining to snorkeling; sound great @ Sapphire except for the repeated references to climbing up or down a hill.

 

I'm confused as to whether navigating said hillside is the only way to access the beach if using a taxi or tour?

 

Mobility can be an issue for my party, can anybody describe how steep/long the trek is?

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If you take the $10 taxi, you don't have to walk up/down the hill. The taxi takes you steps from the beach.

 

You can't avoid the hill, though, if you take the $2 safari. It's a pretty steep hill - think San Francisco, you have to walk a bit before you get to the hill. Maybe 1/4 mile total with the hill less than half of that distance.

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I was 'almost' settled upon Magens for our 1st visit to St. Thomas, but the reviews here, especially those pertaining to snorkeling; sound great @ Sapphire except for the repeated references to climbing up or down a hill.

 

I'm confused as to whether navigating said hillside is the only way to access the beach if using a taxi or tour?

 

Mobility can be an issue for my party, can anybody describe how steep/long the trek is?

 

Those people are talking about using the bus there. If you take a taxi, they take you right down to the resort and drop you off in the turn around area there. Then you just walk down the sidewalk and you are at the beach. No problems at all. :)

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I would just ignore the reference to the "bus" - that is a taxi that travels one-way around the island and is mainly for locals, some cruisers try to catch it to save money (which is sometimes good but not necessarily in this case). The normal taxi will drop you right at the beach as others have said.

I think you'll love Sapphire, we did on our first stay there.

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Sorry so long getting back on this thread. Yes, definately take the taxi. Drops you off right at the beach and there are always taxi's waiting to take you back. No hills to go up or down.

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Taxi fares are regulated and are not negotiable. Be sure to tip the driver, too many people just walk away.

 

Maybe they just walk away because it is essentially a shuttle service, packing people in as tight as possible, and charging a per person rate. I do not feel the need to tip these drivers.

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Maybe they just walk away because it is essentially a shuttle service, packing people in as tight as possible, and charging a per person rate. I do not feel the need to tip these drivers.

 

That's your privilege. I drove taxi and understand it's a service like any other they are providing. I understand your issue, and if I'm dissatisfied in any way that's known via the tip. This is their livelihood, if they do it well they should be tipped. If you're treated like cattle and there's no sense of humor get in another taxi or don't tip. But if you want to be coddled you may want to try a private driver. ;)

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sound great @ Sapphire except for the repeated references to climbing up or down a hill.

 

I'm confused as to whether navigating said hillside is the only way to access the beach if using a taxi or tour?

 

Mobility can be an issue for my party, can anybody describe how steep/long the trek is?

 

 

 

As others have said, if you use a taxi, they will pick you up right at the ship and drop you off practically on the beach, so no hills or excessive walking is involved.

 

 

For those of you considering taking the $2 bus: IMHO, the hill is probably comparable to climbing 4-6 flights on the ship... in the heat, while carrying all your beach gear, after a long day at the beach. If you have to use the elevators to go up or down that many decks, the bus is a TERRIBLE option. There are also other disadvantages such as unpredictable schedules that you need to be aware of, so do a little research first!

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That's your privilege. I drove taxi and understand it's a service like any other they are providing. I understand your issue, and if I'm dissatisfied in any way that's known via the tip. This is their livelihood, if they do it well they should be tipped. If you're treated like cattle and there's no sense of humor get in another taxi or don't tip.

 

Just because someone provides a service it doesn't mean they automatically deserve a tip, even if they go above and beyond what is required. When is that last time you tipped your bus driver, or the airline pilot, or the flight attendant?

 

 

Personally I think we should go the Aussie route and just do away with ALL tipping and pay people a living wage.

 

 

I tip when someone goes above and beyond their duties (& it's customary), or if their stupid employer doesn't pay the employees enough and expects us to make up the difference in tips. Think cruise line employees, waiters, etc.

 

 

The taxi rate system on St Thomas seems to pay more than a fair wage IMHO. If a driver can stuff in 15 people and get $10 out of each and every one of them they aren't going to get a tip from me since he just pocketed $150 (minus considerable expenses). However, if it's only 2-4 people, then yeah I'm more likely to tip him to make it a living wage since I don't think $20-40 is enough for the trip.

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All good points, and tipping is a personal choice. I do not tip fligjt attendants, but I do give holiday tips to barbers, hygienists, etc. And although I'm not well off I'm sure I tend to tip more than folks who never drove raxi, waited tables, or tended bar (these are obviously the services we would be talking about, not airline pilots, lol).

 

My original post was out of frustration/disappointment in other tourists we had the displeasure to be around. One "gentleman" wasted our drivers (and our) time by trying to weasel a cheaper price after being taxied to his destination by a very nice and polite driver. Many others are outright rude and disgusting to drivers even when the driver does a wonderful job and makes everyone laugh. So we tend to tip more as we apologize for our fellow cruisemates who throw their money at them like slaves.

 

So tipping doesn't make sense in all situations as you say, but I know a few drivers in the USVI and BVI and they aren't getting rich because of the competition, lack of business many months on end, and the expenses you mentioned.

So I do urge folks to consider tipping when they receive good service or at least be civil while visiting their home.

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So I do urge folks to consider tipping when they receive good service or at least be civil while visiting their home.

 

+1.

If you aren't going to tip them, at least be nice to them!

 

BTW, if you guys new how much brand new pilots make on the regionals, you probably would be tipping them too!!

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