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cruiseloving

Whats the best beach to visit in St Thomas?

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niceneasy - both Sapphire and Coki have snorkel gear rentals. Its around $10 for snorkel gear for the day. Don't know if either has RX masks. At Coki there is a dive shop and at Sapphire the watersports booth is also a dive shop. You might contact them and check: http://www.cokidive.com/ and http://www.diveinusvi.com/.

 

Openwater - Magens Bay is about a mile long, so while its popular you have the room to spread out more so than other beaches - like Coki for example which is a very small beach. Most cruisers that go to Magens tend to stick around the concession area because that is where the food/drinks are, chair rentals are there too and also the taxi stand is nearby. If you head left or right the crowds tend to thin out. For sure more ships means more people; 2 ships isn't a busy ship day for St. Thomas considering some days there are 6-7 ships. If its a Sunday you are going to be in port then Magens will have both folks from the ship and residents - its a popular beach for beach parties and picnics on Sundays. If your kids are young Magens is good, the water is usually very calm, deepens gradually, very clear. The sand is nice for making castles. If the kids are older, they rent kayaks and paddle boats at Magens and they might enjoy that.

 

 

thecruisers723 - Magens Bay rents the floating mats. Sapphire does too. Bolongo also and Coki, Sugar Bay and Morningstar I think do too.

 

--Islander

 

 

Does Magens Bay have bathroom facilities?

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Islander-

My group of 6 adults will be in ST Thomas in March. I have been there before, but the 2 other couples have not. We initially wanted to go to St John, but since some have never been to St Thomas and the cost is a bit high just to get there (plus time) we are leaning toward staying on the island. Two of the men in our party are not big beach people.....they are ok with some beach time, but not all day. I will be on Caribbean Princess which I am thinkin gwill be at Crown pier, so I am guessing taxi fee will be about 11.00 pp each way?? Does that soudn right?? I am really thinking about booking a tour instead since you can do one with Sunny Liston for about 30.00. (Not a lot more then just a taxi and we will get sight seeing and shopping time in) Does htat seem like a wise choice? I am alittle concerned about Sapphire Beach though. I was leaning towadr going there b/c they offer watersports etc, but do they have food and drinks available? I am reading in some places on cc that Sapphire is in disray...is that true? It also alarmed me b/c Inoticed one of the tour guides will not drop his clients off there. Any input would be helpful;)

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I love this thread. Just when I think I've selected the right beach for us I read another post and change my mind again........

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We loved Magens Bay. Get there early, head to the left side and it will be paradise! The water was calm, the palm trees were swaying, it was so relaxing! It reminded me of beaches in Hawaii.

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We loved Magens Bay. Get there early, head to the left side and it will be paradise! The water was calm, the palm trees were swaying, it was so relaxing! It reminded me of beaches in Hawaii.

 

Sounds wonderful however we're still thinking about going to Emerald;s beach. It looks there are three ship sin port the day we visit so Magens Bay may get too crowded.

 

dan

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Sounds wonderful however we're still thinking about going to Emerald;s beach. It looks there are three ship sin port the day we visit so Magens Bay may get too crowded.

 

dan

 

We spent some time on Emerald Beach a couple of weeks ago....Loved it!!...Close to the port, nice sand, attractive view (enhanced by two windjammers anchored in the bay), two great bars and restaurant, uncrowded and WC facilities...However, plane/jet traffic at the nearby airport is certainly notable. It didn't bother us, we actually found it entertaining, but for some it could be an issue.

 

Visited many beaches that day, we rented a Jeep....Only two ships were in port that day so none of them were crowded.

 

Morningstar is the closest to the Havensight piers. A small but pretty beach, it's not a 'let's walk the beach' opportunity. Attractive food & beverage facilities available at the hotels. This was our second visit to this beach, simply put it's a good beach but no wow-factors.

 

Coki Beach was in a 'little-rough-around-the-edges' neighborhood...This combined with the gauntlet we faced driving up to the beach took us back a little. People flocked to us, "need parking? want to buy this or that? where are you going? what do you need?"...Available parking for the beach was not clearly visible, so rather than engage the masses we departed. Beach unseen.

 

Sapphire Beach was beautiful!!!....The view of the bay and islands, framed by palm trees and stunning water color was a real wow-factor. Quite the vista....The beach was attractive, long but a little narrow....F&B and WC facilities were readily available and appeared welcoming....Not a bad beach selection at all.

 

Magens Bay is everything I've seen in print and read about....Without a doubt it is one beautiful, scenic beach...But, in my humble and perhaps shortsighted opinion, I don't see this as one of the best in the world or in the Caribbean...It's certainly worth a visit...but for me, it doesn't live up to the hype (a reminder to modestly promise and deliver big)....We walked this beach. It's a good walk. The views, both natural and man-made, are attractive...The left side of the beach is THE place to spread your blanket...I can easily imagine both the facilities and the beach being 'hectic' during busy times. It doesn't appear to be volume-friendly...All in all, it's Magens Beach!!!..It has a remarkable wow-factor and it should be visited.

 

If the occasional airport traffic is not an issue for you, Emerald Beach is a great choice....If quiet airspace and a 'classic' Caribbean beach scene is desired, Sapphire fits the bill.

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my wife and i went to secret harbor last july. it was great. it was not very crowded at all.

 

Can you tell me about Secret Harbour? How was the beach, snorkeling, food, was it clean. Safe place to spend the day? How far from the Havensight Pier? Cost to get there? We are avid snorkelers and want to spend the day at a nice beach with great snorkeling. Please let us know how it was since you were just there.

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The band doesn't play at Sapphire on Sundays anymore. The beachside restaurant and bar are closed and they were the ones that organized the live band Sundays.

 

Coki vs Sapphire...

 

They are both pretty beaches. Coki is a very small beach. Sapphire is longer but also not a very long beach when looking at the sandy part only. Coki has a gentler slope in the water than Sapphire which deepens more quickly. Coki is usually very calm, and Sapphire calm. Coki is usually super clear, Sapphire also clear. Regarding calm and clear; this is the usual status but in both cases it depends on weather systems effecting the water and possibly stirring up the sand. At Sapphire if you wanted to take a stroll there is the opportunity to do this, you can walk along to the peninsula, walk around to the marina and walk the beach. At Coki you don’t really have that option but if you wanted to go to Coral World, it is right there. Sapphire has resort/condo/marina developments around/near it; the area is maintained accordingly. The area before/around Coki is a bit seedy.

 

Both are sandy, Sapphire has pebbles mixed in with the sand from around the middle of the sandy part of the beach over and then has a lot of pebbles/coral rubble on the far right side, it’s pretty much all sandy on the far left side. Directions are when facing the water and the comments apply to both the shore and in the water.

 

Coki has various vendors that sell drinks, food, souvenirs/gifts and they are housed in small booths along the beach. The vendors approach beachgoers to take drink orders and to sell their wares, rent chairs and so on. Sapphire doesn't have vendors on the beach. Both places have food/drink. At Coki there is food/drink service on the beach. Burgers, chicken, sandwiches and the like are available. Sapphire there is a small place a short walk from the shoreline that sells burgers, fish sandwich, beer/soda a few mixed drinks and a couple other things and also beach wait staff taking orders for the restaurant up at the condos.

 

Both have chairs for rent. Coki has umbrellas for rent, Sapphire does not. Sapphire has natural shade on the right side under sea grape trees, and some on the left side also, little to no natural shade in the middle. Coki has little natural shade but there are a few shade providing trees along the shore. There are restrooms at both. At Sapphire the restrooms were part of the now closed restaurant so they aren’t getting the upkeep they need but they are open. As far as the restrooms being clean, at both beaches its hit or miss.

 

Coki has good snorkeling for beginners; the fish are used to being fed (which isn't necessary since they are used to it and will come around anyway and also feeding marine life food not usually in their diet like dog biscuits and bread can be harmful to them, more on that at: http://www.reefrelief.org/science_body4.html). Since they are used to being fed they come right up by the shore basically - so quite easy to see a school of fish without leaving the comfort zone of being very close to shore. Swim out toward/around the rocks on the right side and it's still pretty shallow and more fish to see. You can snorkel on the opposite side too. Not a huge assortment of types of fish and very little coral. Water is generally calm so another plus for beginner. Sapphire has a larger area for snorkeling and more diversity in what you see - there are sea grass beds in the middle of the sandy side and there are some fish in there but not many, what you might see there are marine life that like sea grass such as conch and turtles - but neither is a guarantee. On the right side (when facing the water) there are rocky outcrops and a large shallow rock/reef area that starts right by the shore and goes out. Along the outcrops and ledge near shore you can see juvenile fish and further out deeper areas see more fish and some coral, seafans. The closer snorkeling around the rocks and over sea grass beds are good for beginner adult and kids with assistance from adult. The shallow areas on the far right side should be avoided as it is quite shallow and without enough distance from the rocks to swim you might hurt yourself or damage coral. You can however snorkel around the ledges of the shallow area and stay in a regular depth of water; you'll see fish along the ledges and under them. What you can do is look for a rocky outcrop on the beach, just past the watersports booth. Enter just after the rocky outcrop and swim toward the shallow ledge, then swim along the ledge out toward the point of the peninsula. There is good snorkeling as you get near the point but it’s fairly deep and there is a current once at the point so keep that in mind. You can also snorkel on the left side of the beach and see various fish. You’d walk to the left side of the beach, up to a little wall and then enter there and snorkel around toward the beach on the other side of the wall.

 

PS: You mentioned being in port on a Sunday and only 1 ship. Coki Beach is popular with residents on Sundays for parties, picnics, bbqs - so it will be busy with both cruisers and residents. Sapphire is also popular with residents but not for parties etc. since the hotel/condos are there.

 

--Islander

 

Hello Islander,

We have been to Sapphire and loved it. Wanted to try Secret Harbour in two weeks. We are looking for a nice place to spend the day while in port.(Carnival Liberty) Is the snorkeling just as good at Secret Harbour as it was at Sapphire? Also, is the water clear, and the sand nice and sandy or is it rocky at SH? Any info would be helpful. We loved Sapphire, and had a great day snorkeling. Snack bar was only opened. Is there a beach restaurant for us to use at SH? Also, how far away is this resort from Havensight? Do you know the cost to get there? We would appreciate your help-we would return to Sapphire in a heartbeat, but we thought we'd try something different(if its worth our trip) Let us know. We will be in STT in two weeks!

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Is there a website to figure out what ships are in? This sounds like it's gonna be a tough choice figuring out the beach situation. :rolleyes:

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We spent the day at Secret Harbor Nov. '08. There is a restaurant Blue Moon (didn't eat there), dive shop. Snorkeling was good, saw turtle, squid and lots of fish. The water was clear, sand if I recall was coarse, water calm, entrance to water rocky, we used water shoes. Cab was 10PP each way, which has increased in the past year, but don't know what it is.

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Is there a website to figure out what ships are in? This sounds like it's gonna be a tough choice figuring out the beach situation. :rolleyes:

 

cruisett.com

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Michylicious -

 

The closest beach to the Havensight dock is Morningstar, about a 5-7 minute drive (not easily walkable as it is not flat, curvy road, no sidewalks). The closest to Crown Bay dock is Emerald Beach, about a 2 minute drive (or 20 minutes or so walk, flat, sidewalks).

 

--Islander

 

I realize the road isn't great for walking to Morningstar but what's your time estimate for walking from Havensight? Looks to me like 25-30 minutes because of the hill.

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Islander,

 

I will be is St. Thomas off Oasis of The Seas on Tues, Feb 23rd. We will be docked from 7am til 6pm.I will be traveling with my husband, 12 and 14 yr old kids and my sister. I have a full day planned and my question to you is am I nuts to try and cram it all in? My husband thinks so!

I have a rental car reserved at the airport so I plan to try and get off the ship as early as we can, take a cab to the airport to pick up the car, drive to Red Hook, take the car ferry over to St. John, spend a couple of hours snorkeling at Trunk Bay, take the car ferry back to St. Thomas and do a little tour of St. Thomas, stopping at maybe Sapphire Beach and Magen's Bay for an hour or so each. Maybe check out Drake's Seat. Then return the rental car by 5pm to take a cab back to the ship by 5:30.

What time do you think I need to return the car by in order to get back to the ship by 5:30 at the latest. I had originally reserved the car at the port location but they told me that the airport is closer to Crown Bay so I changed the location. Was that the right thing to do? I think there are 4 or 5 ships scheduled to be in port that day.

And lastly, I am a very experienced driver but I've never driven on the left side of the road. Is it pretty managable?

Thanks,Elle

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I realize the road isn't great for walking to Morningstar but what's your time estimate for walking from Havensight? Looks to me like 25-30 minutes because of the hill.

 

I did it a few years ago. Make sure you have a good map/directions because the route is not obvious. Hills aren't all that bad but it's twisty.

 

I don't recall exactly how long it was but I think about 30 min.

 

Wjen I was there the road was not pedestrian-friendly at all. Most of it is okay, but there are short stretches where the road is right up against the rocks with no room for pedestrians. You would want to keep both eyes open in these little stretches as there is no room for error. I'm an enthusiastic walker but I'm leery about recommending this wholeheartedly. There are (or were) just a few tight spots. Apart from that not too bad.

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Islander,

 

I will be is St. Thomas off Oasis of The Seas on Tues, Feb 23rd. We will be docked from 7am til 6pm.I will be traveling with my husband, 12 and 14 yr old kids and my sister. I have a full day planned and my question to you is am I nuts to try and cram it all in? My husband thinks so!

I have a rental car reserved at the airport so I plan to try and get off the ship as early as we can, take a cab to the airport to pick up the car, drive to Red Hook, take the car ferry over to St. John, spend a couple of hours snorkeling at Trunk Bay, take the car ferry back to St. Thomas and do a little tour of St. Thomas, stopping at maybe Sapphire Beach and Magen's Bay for an hour or so each. Maybe check out Drake's Seat. Then return the rental car by 5pm to take a cab back to the ship by 5:30.

What time do you think I need to return the car by in order to get back to the ship by 5:30 at the latest. I had originally reserved the car at the port location but they told me that the airport is closer to Crown Bay so I changed the location. Was that the right thing to do? I think there are 4 or 5 ships scheduled to be in port that day.

And lastly, I am a very experienced driver but I've never driven on the left side of the road. Is it pretty managable?

Thanks,Elle

 

Sorry to say but your husband is right this time.

 

I did it a few years ago. Make sure you have a good map/directions because the route is not obvious. Hills aren't all that bad but it's twisty.

 

I don't recall exactly how long it was but I think about 30 min.

 

Wjen I was there the road was not pedestrian-friendly at all. Most of it is okay, but there are short stretches where the road is right up against the rocks with no room for pedestrians. You would want to keep both eyes open in these little stretches as there is no room for error. I'm an enthusiastic walker but I'm leery about recommending this wholeheartedly. There are (or were) just a few tight spots. Apart from that not too bad.

 

Thanks Greystoke, I walked from crown Bay over the mountain to Emerald beach & it sounds similar. We've been to Morningstar a number of years ago but were on a scooter & I can just recall the road but it appears different when walking. I've got my Google map ready to go.

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Oh No! That's not what I was hoping to hear :( It's going to be difficult to decide whether to just go to St.John and Trunk Bay on the ships excursion or to still rent the car and just tour around St. Thomas and visit a few beaches. We'd like some good snorkeling. I hate it when my husband's right :)

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Oh No! That's not what I was hoping to hear :( It's going to be difficult to decide whether to just go to St.John and Trunk Bay on the ships excursion or to still rent the car and just tour around St. Thomas and visit a few beaches. We'd like some good snorkeling. I hate it when my husband's right :)

 

It's not that going to St John is difficult to do, it's just time consuming. I've been there 3 times & it is beautiful there's no doubt but trying to do everything on 1 stop is almost impossible.

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I don't mean to criticize your planning process but I think you are being a little unrealistic. I'll give you an example.

 

"Then return the rental car by 5pm to take a cab back to the ship by 5:30. What time do you think I need to return the car by in order to get back to the ship by 5:30 at the latest."

 

There are three car rental agencies at the airport. All have a single counter with one person working. If a plane lands before you get there then you will wait for however long it takes for the counter person to help the 5 or 6 folks in front of you. Realistically you would have to allow one hour for rental return. Most times it takes about 15-20 minutes but if you absolutely have to be back at the dock at 5:30 I wouldn't enter the lot any later than 4:30. The same applies for the pick-up but time is not critical then. By the way, don't rent from Hertz as they don't allow cars to go to St John.

 

If you take the car ferry you have to allow 1.5 hrs from the airport, to the ferry and docking at Cruz Bay. The car ferries are a lot slower and don't run as often as the passenger ferries. I have a TS in St Thomas and go there every year in February. I'm very familiar with the places you want to go and your planned route. I don't think I could do all that in the time you have available. If this is your first time driving in the USVI I know you can't do it. The speed limit is 35. The locals will drive at 45 -50 in some stretches. You'll be lucky to do 30.

 

My suggestion is to scale back. Pick either St Thomas or St John and do one not both. If you insist on your original itinerary then ditch the rental car and go with taxi's.

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Thank you very much for your information. It's exactly what I need to know but it's going to be hard to change my mind as I had my heart set on doing it all. I have never been to USVI. My sister has been to Trunk Bay and said I HAVE to go there. A secretary at my husbands work told him he HAS to go Magen's Bay. I was really looking forward to the adventure of driving on the island. There aren't any tours that do both. Do you think if I change the car rental location back to the Port location, it would give me more time or less? So, you all really don't think I have time to do the rental car, go Trunk Bay and back on the car barge, and go to Magen's Bay with a couple of hours at each to relax? If that's an overwhelming NO, then I have to decide which to cut out. Either my husband and I go our own ways on the island, or better yet, we'll have to go back another time and do what we don't get to do this time.:)

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So, you all really don't think I have time to do the rental car, go Trunk Bay and back on the car barge, and go to Magen's Bay with a couple of hours at each to relax?

 

I've been to St. Thomas once, and while I don't have any personal experience renting and driving a car, I think in general you're trying to plan to do too much. There are a lot of factors to consider -- such as traffic problems, issues at the car rental place, etc -- that you're not really taking into account. It would be impossible to plan for unexpected delays like that -- you can't exactly schedule a traffic jam or getting lost into your itinerary -- so I think it would be a much smarter idea to plan for less activities and then have the extra buffer time if/when something doesn't go exactly according to your schedule. Plus, the whole idea of being able to relax at all during this day the way you have it planned now is questionable... maybe it depends on how you're wired, but I know I would be so stressed out about keeping to the schedule that I wouldn't feel relaxed enough to really enjoy any of it. I'm with everyone else -- I say go for either Magens Bay *or* St. John, but not both. And like you said, you can always go back another time to do whatever you had to cut out this time. :cool:

 

Erica

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jimf41, I've rented the vehicle with AVIS for the reason that I could take it on the car ferry.

 

I may have to start adding up the taxi fares and ferry rates for each leg of what I want to do for the five of us but I'm afraid that will add up to be very expensive and I'd miss out on my adventure of driving. We'd have a better chance of making it back to the ship on time I guess.

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