St. Thomas, the shopping capital of the Caribbean, is one of the most popular cruise ports in the world. St Thomas along with neighboring island St. John, make up two-thirds of the U.S. Virgin Islands. (St Croix is 40 miles south) The cruise port is in the capital Charlotte Amalie and there are 3-8 cruise ships in port everyday.
One popular attraction at the port is the Sky Ride that bring you to the top of Paradise Point for a great view of the harbor. The cost is a little pricey. A better way to spend your money would be to put that money towards an island tour. For a little more than the cost of the sky ride, you can get the history of the island and see more great views than one, especially from Drake’s Seat.
The best way to get around the island is to take a tour or a taxi. They drive on the left side of the road in St Thomas and many of the roads are narrow and steep. They do have $1 taxis that are for locals. However, many cruise ship passengers have used them to save money.
As soon as you step off the ship, you will be in a shopping mecca. Many go to St. Thomas to get great deals on jewelry, where bartering is a way of life. Here are a few tips for bartering:
Never accept the first price you are told
Your first offer shouldn’t be the highest price you are willing to pay
Be prepared to say no and walk out the door
If you make it to the door and they don’t stop you and say yes, then they have given you their lowest offer.
There are many great beaches to visit on St Thomas. The most popular beach is Megan’s Bay. Megan’s Bay is a mile long stretch of sand and palm trees that is pure paradise, but can also get busy on days with more than 3 cruise ships in port. Other great beaches include Emerald Beach (by the airport), Coki Point, Sapphire Beach, and Secret Harbor.
A 40 minute ferry ride (One-way, $12.00/Adults and $3.50/Children ages 2-11. Seniors are $6.00) will take you to Cruz Bay in St John. 75% of St John is part of the Virgin Islands National Park. Trunk Bay is known for it’s excellent snorkeling and has an underwater trail for you to follow. Some of the best snorkeling on the island is in Watermelon Bay and around Watermelon Cay. You are almost guaranteed to see a sea turtle at Watermelon. Other beaches include Cinnamon Bay (longest beach on St John), and Solomon and Honeymoon Beach. Solomon Beach is a 100 yard secluded stretch of pure paradise. The only way to get to Solomon is to hike down a trail. It is a 1 mile hike from Cruz Bay.
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Ben, a world traveler who has visited 41 countries, currently takes between 8-10 cruises a year. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, Drudge Report, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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