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The beautiful beaches of St Thomas - brief descriptions/opinions

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For the first-timer - and even a return visitor - there are indeed a ton of opinions about the various beaches, and we too are certainly biased in our rankings. But each beach has a unique or distinctive vibe or setting that can help one choose based on their situation that day. Some are located near a port while some take much more effort to get to but reward that effort.

 

The East End beaches of St Thomas are preferred by many who are looking for the nicest beach on STT. These include Coki, Smith's Bay, Sapphire, Secret Harbor, and Cowpet Bay (Coki and Smith's Bay are actually on the north side but are on the east end of the island). But others are also very nice and may work best if you have limited time or just want a nice beach to relax at that is closer to port and may be less crowded. And of course the beaches of St John are also gorgeous and should be experienced when possible. Trunk Bay, like Magens Bay, is highly-touted and so a bit touristy most days, but Cinnamon Bay and others less frequented are also beautiful.

 

For St Thomas -

 

Coki Point is a gorgeous beach set in a very small bay with good snorkeling off the beach. You'll find one of the nicest beaches you've seen here, but it will have a lively vibe as it gets very crowded. Several vendors renting stuff and selling food and drink. Taxis are readily available. We love Coki and find it a very intimate and romantic beach when ships are not in port.

 

Smith's Bay Park and Lindqvist Beach is a beautiful, maintained beach (both Smith's Bay Park and Magens Bay are maintained by the Magens Bay Authority and charge a small entry fee) but is much quieter and offers very few amenities. Here you would find natural beauty and relative quiet that you might have expected to see decades ago and not today. Grab your towel and a lunch and drinks from Gourmet Gallery and enjoy the beauty while it's still here. There may be chair rentals and portapotties there now, and you may need to have a taxi return for pick-up.

 

Sapphire Beach is a gorgeous beach in a larger bay with abundant natural shade, nice island views and great snorkeling off the beach. There is a reef area, a sandy swimming area, and a sea grass area where turtles and rays may be spotted. Home to 3 condo properties with food and drink options, but currently there are no chair rentals or public restrooms. So a very nice spot to be for condo guests on big ship days. And those cruisers young at heart (and body) that can be happy with a towel in the sand and the sapphire-colored sea for relief will be rewarded with paradise here. Taxis were stationed here but with fewer cruisers coming here you'll want to have the driver return or call a taxi when ready.

 

Secret Harbor is a small bay that is home to one condo property and has a quieter vibe more like Sapphire. However the water is dead calm at SH and there is no shade available to most day visitors. Good snorkeling and a restaurant on site and nice beach though.

 

Cowpet Bay is very close to Secret Harbor and is home to the Elysian Resort (condo resort) with a small beach and snorkeling. Primarily suited to guests of the condo but still a public beach.

 

Magens is on the north side and is a deep bay with a a nice, calm beach that's maintained (small entry fee) and is touted as one of the top 10 beaches in the Carib by Frommer's, cruise ships, etc. It has that rating for a reason, and it sees many people and so is touristy. No snorkeling here, and for some folks Magens doesn't have the charm or character some of the other beaches do. But it is a beautiful beach that is great for toddlers and kids because it is so dead calm, and it offers restrooms, small restaurant, a gift shop and available taxis.

 

Lindbergh Bay (aka Emerald Beach) is closest to Crown Bay and is a popular beach for folks docking there. A nice enough beach with rentals and food and drinks available at the Best Western Emerald Beach Plus Resort. You can also rent a room for the day to take advantage of a shower and changing room. Nice option if Magens and the East End beaches are too much effort.

 

Honeymoon Beach on Water Island is another popular destination for folks docked at Crown Bay because the ferry to Water Island is very close. This beach has become very popular however and gets crowded during the day.

 

Morningstar Beach is closest to Havensight and is a popular spot for folks docking there who are looking for a quick beach stop following an excursion or other tour. Home to the Marriott and you can use their services or just pick a spot on the beach for your towel and take a lunch if you'd like.

 

Hopefully not confusing the choices even more! And here's a map showing the beach locations for those not familiar with the island, just click on the map for a larger view -

http://www.virginislandsthisweek.com..._road_map.html

Edited by blue_water

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I wish this was here when I was planning my trip. This is really great, I was so confused. its hard to keep it all straight when you are reading different threads.

We ended up going with a private scuba/snorkel excursion and he will take us to different beaches. Really looking forward to it.

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Thanks for the great info. We took your recommendation and visited Sapphire Beach on Feb 11th. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN THE WORLD!!! I was nervous because I really wanted an awesome day for me, my husband and kids. It blew my mind! My husband just couldn't get over how beautiful it was. Even with 4-5 ships in port, there was basically only resort guests. No crowding. A nice quiet, relaxing feel. Just paradise. Thank you for the recommendation. Can't wait to go back!!!

 

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4tacos: When you visited Sapphire, where you able to find restrooms in the area? Also any chair rentals?

 

I've heard that the facilities are limited at this beach, and would be interested in your experience. -Thanks

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Great thread thanks for starting!!

4tacos I too would be interested to know about facilities at Sapphire have read many reports lately where they aren't available anymore

 

 

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You are quite welcome 4 tacos, we started renting a condo there following our stays on Tortola as a way to re-Americanize ourselves before flying home and fell in love with Sapphire. I've been sharing that ever since!

 

Gracie, Leon - the dive center which normally rents chairs, snorkel gear, non-motorized water sports, etc along with the public restrooms have been closed for some time now and are not available. If you read the descriptions above you will have a good idea what's available at Sapphire and at other beaches.

 

Sapphire would still be our first choice on a cruise stop because we're fine with a towel on the beach under a tree and the sea to relieve ourselves in a pinch! :D Definitely much quieter now that these facilities aren't currently open, but I understand many people would want more amenities, especially with children.

 

Good luck!

Edited by blue_water

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Yes, as blue_water has stated, everything is closed up. There are no restrooms or lounge chairs to rent. All we wanted was a quiet, beautiful beach and that is exactly what we got. It had plenty of shade and we brought our towels and snorkeling gear. It was a perfect day.

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Thank you so much Blue Water, this is great!

 

We always go to Magens and wanted to go somewhere new this year. I appreciate all of the work you put into this. We'll probably go to Coki or Emerald.

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Can anyone compare Sapphire Beach to Trunk Bay? We have always gone over to St John, but since our ship (Dream) is in port from 11-7, I thought maybe we would just stay on St Thomas this time. Any thoughts?

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Trunk and Sapphire are very comparable. Trunk is a beautiful beach with decent snorkeling but it can get crowded there. It's like the Magens Bay of STJ...very nice, just highly advertised on this forum and elsewhere.

 

Sapphire is also a gorgeous beach just past Red Hook with great off the beach snorkeling, abundant natural shade along the shore, nice island views and food and drink options. There is a reef, a sandy swimming area, and a sea grass area too.

The dive center and restrooms are currently closed so no rentals or restrooms. But if you can be happy with a towel on the beach and using the sapphire-colored water to relieve yourself :p you'll be treated to a day in paradise with few people around you. And you'll add another 1.5 hrs or so of actual beach time and save $26pp on the roundtrip ferry and taxi to Trunk as well. Taxi between Havensight and Sapphire is about $10pp each way and 20 - 25 min. If you want restrooms and a restaurant Secret Harbor is an alternative, although I wouldn't put it in the same class with Sapphire and Trunk...

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If someone has taxi fares to each one of the beaches could you please post them from Havensight? Thanks a bunch :)

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Figure $10pp each way for the East End beaches and $8 to Magens Bay, less for Lindbergh and even less to Morningstar. For Trunk and Cinnamon on STJ $10pp to the Red Hook ferry, $7pp to Cruz Bay, and $6pp to the beach.

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Figure $10pp each way for the East End beaches and $8 to Magens Bay, less for Lindbergh and even less to Morningstar. For Trunk and Cinnamon on STJ $10pp to the Red Hook ferry, $7pp to Cruz Bay, and $6pp to the beach.

 

 

I'm not sure where coki is but would that be the $10 pp each way? Thanks for all the rates.

 

 

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I'm not sure where coki is but would that be the $10 pp each way? Thanks for all the rates.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

 

Coki would be $8 - 10pp each way. There's a link to an island map in my first post that shows Coki POint near Smith's Bay Park on the East End.

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For the first-timer - and even a return visitor - there are indeed a ton of opinions about the various beaches, and we too are certainly biased in our rankings. But each beach has a unique or distinctive vibe or setting that can help one choose based on their situation that day. Some are located near a port while some take much more effort to get to but reward that effort.

 

The East End beaches of St Thomas are preferred by many who are looking for the nicest beach on STT. These include Coki, Smith's Bay, Sapphire, Secret Harbor, and Cowpet Bay (Coki and Smith's Bay are actually on the north side but are on the east end of the island). But others are also very nice and may work best if you have limited time or just want a nice beach to relax at that is closer to port and may be less crowded. And of course the beaches of St John are also gorgeous and should be experienced when possible. Trunk Bay, like Magens Bay, is highly-touted and so a bit touristy most days, but Cinnamon Bay and others less frequented are also beautiful.

 

For St Thomas -

 

Coki Point is a gorgeous beach set in a very small bay with good snorkeling off the beach. You'll find one of the nicest beaches you've seen here, but it will have a lively vibe as it gets very crowded. Several vendors renting stuff and selling food and drink. Taxis are readily available. We love Coki and find it a very intimate and romantic beach when ships are not in port.

 

Smith's Bay Park and Lindqvist Beach is a beautiful, maintained beach (both Smith's Bay Park and Magens Bay are maintained by the Magens Bay Authority and charge a small entry fee) but is much quieter and offers very few amenities. Here you would find natural beauty and relative quiet that you might have expected to see decades ago and not today. Grab your towel and a lunch and drinks from Gourmet Gallery and enjoy the beauty while it's still here. There may be chair rentals and portapotties there now, and you may need to have a taxi return for pick-up.

 

Sapphire Beach is a gorgeous beach in a larger bay with abundant natural shade, nice island views and great snorkeling off the beach. There is a reef area, a sandy swimming area, and a sea grass area where turtles and rays may be spotted. Home to 3 condo properties with food and drink options, but currently there are no chair rentals or public restrooms. So a very nice spot to be for condo guests on big ship days. And those cruisers young at heart (and body) that can be happy with a towel in the sand and the sapphire-colored sea for relief will be rewarded with paradise here. Taxis were stationed here but with fewer cruisers coming here you'll want to have the driver return or call a taxi when ready.

 

Secret Harbor is a small bay that is home to one condo property and has a quieter vibe more like Sapphire. However the water is dead calm at SH and there is no shade available to most day visitors. Good snorkeling and a restaurant on site and nice beach though.

 

Cowpet Bay is very close to Secret Harbor and is home to the Elysian Resort (condo resort) with a small beach and snorkeling. Primarily suited to guests of the condo but still a public beach.

 

Magens is on the north side and is a deep bay with a a nice, calm beach that's maintained (small entry fee) and is touted as one of the top 10 beaches in the Carib by Frommer's, cruise ships, etc. It has that rating for a reason, and it sees many people and so is touristy. No snorkeling here, and for some folks Magens doesn't have the charm or character some of the other beaches do. But it is a beautiful beach that is great for toddlers and kids because it is so dead calm, and it offers restrooms, small restaurant, a gift shop and available taxis.

 

Lindbergh Bay (aka Emerald Beach) is closest to Crown Bay and is a popular beach for folks docking there. A nice enough beach with rentals and food and drinks available at the Best Western Emerald Beach Plus Resort. You can also rent a room for the day to take advantage of a shower and changing room. Nice option if Magens and the East End beaches are too much effort.

 

Honeymoon Beach on Water Island is another popular destination for folks docked at Crown Bay because the ferry to Water Island is very close. This beach has become very popular however and gets crowded during the day.

 

Morningstar Beach is closest to Havensight and is a popular spot for folks docking there who are looking for a quick beach stop following an excursion or other tour. Home to the Marriott and you can use their services or just pick a spot on the beach for your towel and take a lunch if you'd like.

 

Hopefully not confusing the choices even more! And here's a map showing the beach locations for those not familiar with the island, just click on the map for a larger view -

http://www.virginislandsthisweek.com..._road_map.html

 

Thank you so much for this post. It answers so many questions. But, although it is easy to choose from this info, there will be five ships in port when we are there! What would you suggest for a 20 yr old guy (excellent water skills - lifeguard)? Thanks.

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Thank you for the info on all the beaches. We were at Sapphire years ago and it was beautiful. We can do without chairs, but is there anywhere to get a beer or a burger within walking distance?? Or can we pack a cooler of beer and sandwiches from town, is that allowed?

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Yes, the only facilities that recently closed were the dive center and restrooms. The Banana Cabana beach grill is located between condo bldgs B and C and serves a great mahi mahi sandwich and burger and sells beer and drinks. There is also a restaurant behind the marina and a food truck (Off The Grid) at the entrance.

You can also bring food and drink, Gourmet Gallery at the cruise dock has a great deli and drinks.

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Sounds awesome...thanks again for all the great info! We are the only ship in port that day. I think we may have the beach to ourselves lol!!!

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Could you tell me how far it is from the port to Coki. We've done Magen's Bay, and are doing Coki this time, hope we won't be disappointed!

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We've been there many times and a 15-20 min cab ride gets you there.

 

You will not be disappointed. Coki is a very nice beach that has alot more fun type atmosphere to it.

Edited by LuckyZ

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I've been reading a variety of different things about Sapphire in a variety of different locations--Just making sure I have updated info because I read on a feb 25th post that there were signs that said private property, no trespassing where the taxis drop off spot is.

I also read on a different post that the taxis can drop you off down the hill at the parking lot behind the beach resort (building with the red roofs) and then follow path that goes between 2 of them to beach.

 

How long of a walk is it? we have someone in our group with back problems.

 

When you walk on the beach how far are you from the Banana Cabana where

 

you can get beer/rum punch and burgers and fish sandwiches?

 

How often does the taxis run if most people don't go there anymore?

 

Why is it the taxis driver push so hard for you not to go there?

 

So I think to sum it up everything is the same at Sapphire except that it is less crowded, no bathroom or chairs---is that right?

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Please see answers to your questions below -

 

I've been reading a variety of different things about Sapphire in a variety of different locations--Just making sure I have updated info because I read on a feb 25th post that there were signs that said private property, no trespassing where the taxis drop off spot is.

I also read on a different post that the taxis can drop you off down the hill at the parking lot behind the beach resort (building with the red roofs) and then follow path that goes between 2 of them to beach.

 

 

How long of a walk is it? we have someone in our group with back problems.

If you're dropped near the Sapphire Resort & Marina condo bldgs the beach is just a short walk along a sidewalk to the sand. If dropped at the entrance to the property it's a good walk downhill and of course uphill for the return. Not something I would want to do with a bad back.

4tacos had posted that his driver dropped him right at the lobby like they did when the dive center was open, but that may have been before the owner taped off that area. I'm not sure and I asked him that question in another thread earlier.

 

When you walk on the beach how far are you from the Banana Cabana where you can get beer/rum punch and burgers and fish sandwiches?

Banana Cabana is located just a very short walk from the oceanfront and is between condo bldgs B & C.

 

How often does the taxis run if most people don't go there anymore?

You may see a taxi stop in if the lot is open, otherwise you can call or have your driver return for you.

 

Why is it the taxis driver push so hard for you not to go there?

Some drivers have friends and relatives working for other resorts or at Coki.

 

So I think to sum it up everything is the same at Sapphire except that it is less crowded, no bathroom or chairs---is that right?

Exactly! If you can be happy with your towel on the soft sand under the seagrape or palm trees and are OK with relieving yourselves of the rum punches or painkillers in the gorgeous sapphire-colored water you're in for a real treat! ;)

 

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