Great locals beach, but tourists are now venturing out to it. Smaller then Megans---but if I had a choice between the two--and only one day-- this is where I would go. I think it's prettier then Megans and then snorkling is really good (try the the left hand side by the rocks). Food shacks with great drinks and local cusine at great prices are featured here. Can be a little 'hinky' at nighttime (daytime only! do NOT come here at night!), but in the daytime you are perfectly safe. White sand and some of the bluest water on St Thomas.
Coral World is a neat place to go, especially for people who don't snorkel or scuba dive but who want to see the local sea-life. It's a little pricey at $15 a person for admission but it is a fun attraction. You can even participate in "Sea Trekking" for an extra $50 (too rich for my blood--we didn't do it) where you put on an oxygen helmet and wetsuit and interact with the life on the ocean floor around the building. You can watch the iguana feedings or check out the outdoor pools with sharks, puffer fish, sea turtles, stingrays, etc. as well the petting pool where kids can touch starfish and other creatures. There is also a very short nature trail with a tortoise pen. Birds and lizards abound outside but the main attraction is the viewing center where you climb down into the ocean while staying cozy and dry inside. The walls are full of viewing windows through which you can watch all sorts of fish and sea creatures while using the handy info-kiosks to identify what you see and read up on different species. There are also aquariums in a separate building, one of the coolest is the night-time tank that shows phosphorescent fishies. We tried to get a picture but it didn't turn out too well. Very cool, though. All in all it was a worthwhile trip and although some might stick this attraction into the "tourist trap" category, I liked it and that's all I can say. Coki Beach is close by (literally steps away) and is a pretty, though small, beach. The other problem with Coki beach is that a busy road runs right by it which is sort of irritating.
We docked in the island's capital Charlotte Amalie. Although small St Thomas is very hilly, so good shoes are recommended for getting around away from the waterfront. Charlotte Amalie is a pretty waterfront town set back in the hillside away from the mayhem of Main Street and the cruise ship terminal
A short stroll up the hill brings you to the colonial style buildings, such as hotel 1829 and Government House
For the more adventurous, further up the hill brings you to the 99 Steps - a staircase street built by the Danes which leads to Blackbeard's Castle. The castle was indeed used by the notorious pirate, Edmund Teach and now houses a small hotel.
A cruel irony is, however, that if you count them there are actually more
than 99 steps and every one counts in the hot weather.
We only spent a morning on St Thomas, so we never got around to exploring the marvelous beaches, opting instead to seeing the town.
Magens Bay is a lovely beach not too far from Charlotte Amalie. It's the only other beach besides our resort's beach that we went to on St. Thomas. It costs $4 per person to enter (with which you get a pretty ticket with a picture of the Bay on it for your scrapbook) but I come from a place where beach tags are around $6 a day (Cape May) so I didn't find that too shocking or awful. The money goes toward maintaining the beach and facilities, which are great, by the way. They have bathrooms, showers and changing rooms plus a gift shop and food vendors. There are picnic tables and an area for large barbeques--we happened to be there for the VI Volunteer Fireman's BBQ so it was rather raucous. We liked the beach--the swimming was great and the sand was white but we didn't really see what the big deal is about this beach. Maybe we were spoiled because we had already been to Hawksnest Beach on St. John two days before and that is truely the most spectacular beach I've ever been to. Plus it was a little cloudy the day we went to Magens so it may not have looked quite as pretty as on a sunny day. You won't be happy if you are going there to snorkel--it's not a great snorkeling beach so plan to go elsewhere for that ; this is a swim and sun beach. Keep in mind, though, that the beach chair vendors close up shop early and you have to get your chairs and umbrellas back by 4:30 p.m., even though the beach doesn't "close" until 6:00 p.m. That was fairly annoying and my family had to drag me out of the water kicking and sceaming to go home. I was not a happy camper because I can swim all day and never come out of the water. My one complaint about this trip is that I was not in the water nearly enough. I'll remedy that next trip...
This is a walking tour of Blackbeard's Castle, which is actually a watchtower, and historic homes of Charlotte Amalie. Not too well organized but still interesting. After a quick intro you are given a tour map and left to wander around on your own at your own pace. Skytsborg Tower is the real name of the "castle". It was built by the Danish in 1679 and served as a watchtower overlooking the harbor at Charlotte Amalie. At one point Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard the Pirate, took it over when he controlled St. Thomas and pirated the Caribbean waters.
On the property there is a swimming pool for your pleasure, a bar also serving hot dogs and burgers, as well as many bronze pirate statues each with a plaque of their own brief history. Don't remember much of the historic homes because we didn't have a guide although there are guides. The former manor houses include Villa Notman, Britannia House, Crown House (once used by visiting Danish Royalty), Haagensen House, the Rum Museum, Hotel 1829 and the archaeological dig at the ruins of the 17th century Pedersen Estate, all listed in the National Register of Historic Places. To my knowledge the historic homes, essentially museums, are actually still owned and ran by the initial families, dating back some 200+ years. Its a nice way to spend part of your day. There are excellent views and ending the tour at the Rum Musuem is very satisfying. Ice cold AC is blasting from the vents and you can help yourself to unlimited rum punch or just punch.....or just rum!!!
Magen's Bay is acclaimed as being one the worlds top 10 beaches by the National Geographic Magazine. It's a wonderful spot to spend the day or part of your day. Its one of those places that takes everybody's breathe away. The water is very clean, calm and warm, which makes it excellent for kids. Its very romantic and the surrounding scenery is of course very green with palm trees and soft sand. There are lifeguards, a snack counter, bar, souvenir shop, chair and beach toy rentals, windsurf and boat rentals, and showers and bathrooms.
Fun place to visit, and it shouldn't kill your day. you can do this in about 1-2 hours tops. Kids love this place and it really is cool to see some of the larger fish that you can actually see in the water here. If you are older and want to see things without diving---then this is also a great call. Again, kids love it and if you pair this trip with a trip to COKI BEACH next door, you are sure to have a nice day.
It's a real life submarine where you can go deeper then a diver and see all kinds of fish and marine life. Air conditioned and a pretty cool experience. I don't recommend it if you are afraid of small places, but it actually is pretty comfortable. You see different things on different trips, because the ocean is always changing! Pretty neat.
Voted 1 of the "Top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world" by National Geographic Magazine, this is also St Thomas most popular attraction. It also can be the most crowded. BUT, all the comforts are here---a beach bar, bathrooms, showers, changing area's and a snack bar with great food at reasonable prices (I recommend the veggie pizza!). Kids do well here as the beach is very tame and level with no real drop off. There is a small $3-$5 admission fee to enter which maintains the park (from all the massive foot traffic).
A relaxed little spot with relatively few people. The sand can be rocky especially on the right hand side, but it's quaint and secluded. It can be busy with locals on special events and holidays during Sunday, but it's usually really mellow. The boats tied up here are used by the "Frenchie" fishermen who make a living fishing for fish and lobster out here.
Great place to swim. Not much to see underwater, but has a great beach never the less. The Marriot has a little bar called "Coco Joes" but it can be on the expensive side. Basic beach food, nothing special. You can rent Ocean Kayaks, Sunfish and Jet Ski's most of the time here. Can be crowded in season, but usually it's not so bad. But it's always less crowded then the ever popular Megans Bay...!
If you come to St Thomas, you definitely have to take a power boat excursion. There are many islands to explore and with an experienced guide, it will be the best thing you do while visiting the islands.
If interested in renting a power boat with a captain i recommend Russ White with Blue Mango Charters. Rates vary depending on how long the boat is rented. Full day usually runs around 400 dollars depending on the season. To contact Russ call 770-356-2442.
All pictures below were taken during a Blue Mango chartered trip.
Most of the rental companies are based out of Tortola (Road Town). There are several to choose from including Sunsail, Moorings, and Footloose. I believe all offer bareboat charters. The only requirement is a bareboat sailing license. Footloose is generally the cheaper of the 3, because as it was explained, the fleet consists of older boats once used by Moorings.
The boat we rented was a 49ft Beneteau, which appeared to be in perfect condition. Once on the water however, things went south. The first thing to break was the discharge in one of the bathrooms. So after taking a shower the water could not be drained from the bathroom floor. Next was the discharge in the refrigerator. Most of the provisions purchased were ruined by the standing water in the refrigerator. Also it never really cooled anything that was purchased. If that wasnt bad enough we ran out of fresh water after a day and a half, so we purchased more. Well, even after purchasing 250 gallons of water, we still ran out in less than a day. So something was obviously wrong with the pumps or water tanks.
When all this was explained to Footloose, they explained nothing could be done in way of compensation because we did not lose any sailing days. That is just bad business. Sure we did not lose any days sailing, but not having any water or cold food, sure as hell made it pretty miserable. I do not recommend Footloose to anyone. Spend the little extra money to rent from Moorings.
Walk the streets of Charlotte Amalie and explore the old danish names. The waterfront buildings are originally built for storage.
Start with Main Street (Dronningens gade), but be aware of salesmen constantly trying to drag you inside their stores. Then continue with all the small exiting passages. The stores downtown are mainly liquor, jewelry and perfume, but smell and taste the atmosphere.
After shopping you can rest with a nice meal at Hard Rock Cafe or The Green House.
For full size map, send me an e-mail!!