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October 31, 2015 / oneworld82

Incredible beaches and Danish history: St Thomas, USVI

The USVI are one of the most sought-after Caribbean destinations by American travelers. One reason is, I venture to say, the general fear that US citizens have of traveling abroad – be it Mexico or Canada or, yes, a Caribbean paradise. It’s puzzling to me how so many people have a total mental block when it comes to travel abroad – as if it were the most stressing thing in the World – due to a mix of language issues, terrorism paranoia, disease obsession… you name it. Thankfully, we Europeans are immune to all of that 🙂

The other, more important reason though is St Thomas’ and St John’s famed white sand beaches. We had high expectations of course (after all, we were on a Caribbean cruise!), and so we were excited to visit this small US territory to soak some sun and, hopefully, do some snorkeling.

After leaving San Juan, we docked the very next day in St Thomas, at 7am. I had of course heard a lot of St Thomas’ beaches and of Charlotte Amalie’s shopping, and so Thuy and I were both excited to explore the island.

We picked up our Budget car rental by the pier, and we set off for Charlotte Amalie. The town is very interesting, mostly because it was found by Danish settlers, and Denmark was the ruling power over here for a couple of centuries. Danish architecture dots all the main streets and alleyways around the compact city center.

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As most of the islands we visited, Charlotte Amalie is tax free, and so everything is around 15% cheaper than in the USA. This is enough to fill local shops with luxury goods, from watches to jewelry, and alcohol, although I did not see many people shopping (mostly looking around).

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You can easily visit the city center in half a hour, which we did. Afterwards, we headed to Drake’s Seat, one of the highest points on the island enjoying spectacular views over the Atlantic side of St Thomas. Magens Bay is stunning – a picture-perfect bay with an amazing beach. Also, St John (the other part of the US Virgin Islands) can be easily seen, and on clear days even Culebra (part of Puerto Rico) can be seen. The fact that we found a great, sunny day made picture-taking all the more appealing.

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After the stop we headed down to Magen’s Bay, for our first beach stop of the day. We paid our $10 to enter the beach (2 adults plus one vehicle) and then we enjoyed this moon-shaped, white-sand beach. Even the many tourists sunbathing on the beach could not detract from the charm of this incredible spot. The water wasn’t very warm, but it wasn’t cold either. Given that it was 91F outside, bathing was quite delightful. Snorkeling here is not that good, as the are neither reefs nor major rocks.

On the way to Magens Bay...

On the way to Magens Bay…

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After a couple of hours, we left for Coki Beach, about 15 minutes away and still on the Northern side of the island. This beach is famous for its snorkeling, and Coral World (dedicated to underwater fun) is located near as well. After renting mask and snorkel for $5, we snorkeled around and it was really good. I had never found so many tropical fishes so close to the beach before! This spot was the perfect beginner’s spot. We were also lucky as we could spot a barracuda swimming by!

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We had an amazing hour of swimming and snorkeling (we even spotted a barracuda close to shore), and then we celebrated our sightings with some Presidente beers and a fresh-fruit rum smoothie at one of the many beach bars.

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As it was now almost 3pm, we took our car and we drove to Charlotte Amalie, stopping by a vista point over the bay en route. Look at the pictures below and judge by yourself how stunning the vista was!

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After a quick stop in town to check out a local souvenir markets, we headed back to the ship, picking up a local beef pastry on the way (absolutely delicious and filling).

It was a great day in St Thomas, that left us excited for the other islands to come! Once back aboard we indulged in a couple of burgers before heading to the Serenety area of the ship, aft side on decks 10 and 11. This is an adult-only area with two Jacuzzi pools, perfect to relax and sunbathe.

After a couple of hours we got ready for dinner in the Silver Dining Room. The restaurant was quite nice overall, and service was great. Here some sample dinner food throughout the trip.

One Comment

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  1. Anisa / Oct 31 2015 9:18 pm

    I saw a barracuda close to shore at coki beach too! It was scary!

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