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Sapphire Beach St Thomas USVI

Discussion in 'Royal Caribbean International' started by kitty1, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. kitty1

    kitty1 Guest

    We're going to be in ST Thomas in Nov. I'm looking for some info on Sapphire Beach.

    Has anyone been to Sapphire Beach in St Thomas USVI? I'm looking to go to the beach and do snorkeling as well. I've heard Magen's Bay is nice, but over crowded. I've heard that Coki Beach is excellent for snorkeling, but tends to be crowded as well.

    The ship has shore excursions going to both Coki and Magen's Bay, so I'm tending to stay away from those two areas. We're leaning towards doing our own thing and going to the beach and snorkel.

    Does anyone know anything about Sapphire? Are there beach chairs available for rent? What do they charge for beach chairs? Is there snorkeling there? Is it any good? We have our own equipment.

    Is this a safe area? I've heard that you shouldn't leave your valuables unattended. Other than that is the area safe?

    We'll be there on a Sunday. Don't know if that matters, but it might.

    Any pros and cons for Sapphire vs Coki would help. Right now I'm leaning towards Sapphire.

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. mac_tlc

    mac_tlc Guest

    We have been to Sapphire Beach twice and to Coki Beach once. Here is my take on the two, plus Megan's

    Megan's Bay -- Usually pretty crowded, its just a beach, no real facilities. It is a "bay", so it is not exposed to the ocean, no surf , very little snorkeling.. Pretty to walk along.

    Sapphire -- The prettiest water I have seen in St. Thomas. Have the use of the Sapphire Beach Resort, so there are good changing facilities, rentals of all sorts of stuff, soem covered spots too. Very very nice. The surf is real, the beach itself has a bit of a slope as you enter the water, not the softest bottom I have ever felt.

    Coki -- Best snorkeling of the three, by far. Very pretty. When we were there the crowds were manageable. Some refreshment stands available. $5 per beach chair, $10 per umbrella. Softest bottom around ! (for a beach, I mean).. Little surf.

    Best ?? For us , its Coki ... better snorkeling, bottom,less surf for the weaker swimmers.

    We have done these on our own each time.. Here is our drill : I am assuming you will be there for about 10-11 hours.

    1) Get off ship at about 9:00AM or so ... Get a taxi to downtown ($3 per person each way)

    2) Arrange for an island tour with a stop at one of the three beach spots. We have used "Bernard" twice, his dad also works with him as does another gentleman whose name escapes me at the moment. We meet them next to the post office downtown at about 12:30PM.

    3) They give you a 30-40 minute narrated trip arond the island, stopping to view the sites, such as Megan's Bay from above, Charlotte Amalie from high above the harbor (fantastic views).

    4) They will drop you off at any of the three beach spots. We have stayed about 2 hours and they wil pick you up at 3 or 3:30 and bring you back to the ship..

    Cost ? About $15 per person !! Can't beat it, It's $8 one-way to Sapphire from the pier or downtown.

    Hope this helps..

    mac_tlc
     
  3. Kar06

    Kar06 Guest

    If I don't do the Water Island Bike Trip, I plan to go to Sapphire beach in November on the Serenade. I have seen some pictures and it looks like a great beach.

    Last time in St Thomas my family went to Magen's Bay and didn't discover crowds, despite it being "spring break" season. We went down towards the end of the beach to the right if you are looking right at it, and didn't find it to be crowded at all. I loved Magen's Bay....
     
  4. kitty1

    kitty1 Guest

    Thanks for the info Mac.... It definitely helped.
     
  5. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    Are the waters warm enough to swim/snorkle in December?
     
  6. mac_tlc

    mac_tlc Guest

    We were at Sapphire Beach at the beginning of December and it was great ...... February was also wonderful..

    mac_tlc
     
  7. Haven't been to Sapphire Beach in St. Thomas, but have been to St. Thomas 5 times. I love to snorkel and the absolute best place I've found to snorkel in the entire Carribean is on Trunk Bay on St. Johns. The BEST time to enjoy St. Johns is early. As soon as your ship docks, catch a taxi to the Red Hook Ferry (cab ride approx. $8 pp). Take the Red Hook Ferry across to St. Johns island (cost approx. $12 pp round trip). Take a taxi to Trunk Bay (cost approx $4 pp). If you get there about 8:30 you will have one of the Caribbean's finest beaches to yourself. It's the only beach in the U.S. that features an "underwater park" (i.e., U.S. Park Service has placed "markers" under the water for snorklers to read). There are snack and changing/shower facilities there. By noon, you'll probably be ready to head back to St. Thomas for lunch, shopping or more touring. Also, by noon the beach will becoming crowded. It's a great beach and even better when you have it almost entirely to yourself if you get there early.
     
  8. That's what I was going to say. Trunk Bay on St. John's is gorgeous. Excellent snorkling (colorful fish and everything) and that underwater tour is awesome. Plus, the coral is not right up against the beach so you can enjoy the WARM, CLEAR, water with a sandy bottom and have more than enough of a buffer before you reach coral.
     
  9. Camelia

    Camelia Guest

    Question: do you swim from the beach do the beginning of the underwater tour? Skip said that the coral is not right up against the beach. How far out is the underwater tour? Can't wait to visit Trunk Bay in March of next year.
     
  10. Lady Jag

    Lady Jag Guest

    Sapphire Beach is the one that many of the crew from Princess use on their 'off' time because there aren't so many tourists there.
     
  11. Jeana

    Jeana Guest

    The coral @ Trunk Bay is not very far out. Well within easy swim distance. Trunk Bay is gorgeous - not to be missed!
     
  12. tvanhooz

    tvanhooz Guest

    All I can say is that we were in no hurry whatsoever to get off of the ship and by the time we made it to Sapphire Beach, it still wasn't too crowded.

    Lots of iguanas running around, a nice beach, and beautiful water. There did seem to be a portion of the water that had some time of marine growth under it...like a rocky area, or coral, or something that may attract fish.

    We had a great time and could RELAX in peace.

    Have fun!!!
     
  13. Skip and Jenna are right. The coral at Trunk Bay is easily reached from the shore. The beach has a wonderful, natural sand bottom for about 40 feet before reaching the beginings of the coral. Also, the underwater markers start about 30 feet off shore and go to about 50 feet off shore. The fish and coral are great. But PLEASE remember not to stand on or take the coral.

    Take only memories and leave only bubbles.

    YellowJacket! (Lord, I was born a ramblin man . . .)
     
  14. lrn376

    lrn376 Guest

    Hi Kitty1,
    just came back from a Southern Caribbean cruise. Went to Coki Beach. It was wonderful. Chair rental was $5.00, umbrella rental was $10.00. The snorkeling was fantastic. There is a snack bar there. The water was very clear.
    We used Godfrey (who was wonderful) as a tour guide. He picked us up at the dock, took us into town for a 2 hr. shopping spree, then gave us a 2 hr. tour of the island and then he took us to the beach. we had a choice of three beaches. Sapphire, megan and coki. Most of us wanted to go to Coki beach, Coki beach also has Coral world which is very nice to see the fish underwater without snorkeling. It is fun for children if u are bringing any along. We had a wonderful time with Godfrey who is very personable. He charged $20.00 for the day. (6 hrs.) Have fun. Anywhere u go on the island will be beautiful and you will enjoy. If I can be of any assistance, please contact me. Lois
     
  15. kitty1

    kitty1 Guest

    Hi Lois,
    Thanks for the info. I think we're going to go our own way in ST Thomas, and probably take a taxi or hire a guide like Godfrey. Is that the same guy from godfreytoursvi.com?

    I checked out his web site, and he charged $20 for a tour. How long did you get at the beach?
     
  16. hokie78

    hokie78 Guest

    Just found this board, so perhaps this St Thomas info is moot. But in the event it's still timely . . .
    We've recently discovered cruising after being Caribbean land-lubbers for years. Usually spend a week in St Thomas at Easter break, but was slow in making air arrangements and can't get there (without taking out a second mortgage). Will substitute it with A 5 nighter on Enchantment in April, after having done a weekend quickie on Majesty last month.

    Comparing Sapphire, Coki and Trunk Bay on St. John (PLEASE--no S on the end!!) is like asking which is better--Paris, London or Rome? They all have their points and all are gorgeous. We own a timeshare at Sapphire Beach Resort, so clearly we're partial. Let me cover the others first.

    Quick mention of Megans Bay. Very scenic, but with very calm water and virtually no snorkling--by our standards--to speak of. I think there's a charge to get it.

    Coki--relatively nearby Sapphire, so you might be able to sneak a peek--is very touristy. Busloads of island-based tourists, as well as cruisers, are dropped off continuously. The Coral World underwater aquarium is right next door which contributes to the crowds. The best time I ever had at Coki was when I got up early and was on the beach there before 8AM. Likely impossible from a cruise which is why we had the run of the place at that time. There was a small group of locals doing some water aerobics and that was it. We have our own gear, so we snorkled and fed the fish breakfast They're almost too "trained," looking for handouts the minute you hit the water. You can literally snorkle by bending over at the waist and putting your face in the water. Stayed til 9, and met the first two buses as we left. The place fills in quick. The scenery there is wonderful, but the beach, while long and crescent-shaped, is narrow from tree line to water. If you rent chairs there at the peak, you'll feel like you're on the ship's pool deck on a sunny sea day--packed. They do have a little snack/drink stand there, and snorkle rentals too.

    Trunk Bay is also beautiful, with a bit more of a swim to get to the snorkling. But they do have an underwater trail there in that you follow a route, and there are underwater signs identifying some of the fish you'll likely see. Again--can be very crowded. You're also in for the ferry ride from Red Hook which is no big deal, and a nice little adventure, but it does add time to the day (20-30 mins in each direction, plus the cab ride to the beach). Be advised the cabs at the ferry dock are those pick-ups with benches in the back, and they'll wait til they get a full load before starting. A few years ago, they instituted a $5 charge to get into Trunk Bay. Can't recall if that's per head or per car--I think per head. The idea was to cut the crowds, but I'm not sure it's working. Trunk Bay/St John is best visited if you're spending extended time on St. Thomas and you're not rushed in any way.

    Sapphire Beach--the jewel in our humble opinion. The beach is the epitome of Caribbean beaches. Crescent-shaped, white sand (the others are too), very wide beach with water that contains no less than 3 or 4 different colored blues and greens. The beach has both full sun and areas shaded by sea grape trees that go right up to the water's edge. There are some places you can have your feet in the water and still be in the shade. This is a beach resort, but you are most welcome here. And because it's a resort there are amenities galore to partake of. As a non-guest you'll have to pay for chairs, mats, wind surfers and paddle boats, but they're there. Two excellent beach bars. One is actually at the pool, which butts up against the beach. Another tremendous sight. The beach is a bit rocky in this area, so head back towards the A-D buildings if you'd rather beach it. This is also where you'd hit the water for snorkling. You'll see the reef under the water, just off the beach. An incredibly easy swim in relatively shallow water. All kinds of coral and fish I can't name except the Parrot Fish. I swear to God I see the same one every year. Technically the pool is for guests, but you might get away with a dip--great after being in the ocean--if you're discreet. We did it for years before breaking down and buying there. The views from Sapphire are of St John, Jost Van Dyke and Tortola. Couple of other smaller islands whose names I don't know can also be seen. And here's the bonus since you said you'll be there on a Sunday. Sapphire Resort has a beach party each and every Sunday, all year round 2-6PM. (Can't speak for Christmas, but I was amazed to see it on our first Easter Sunday down there!) A live calypso/reggae band at the beach bar/pavillion, drink specials and some serious island dancing. You haven't lived til you've "jumped up" with the locals. Who by the way come in droves to this event, dressed in what I'd call casually elegant attire, mixing, mingling abd dancing with us white-bellied tourists in our bathing suits. An absolute blast. Now you'll still have a crowd issue, but there's so much more space. If you're not there early, you may not even be able to rent a chair. Don't sweat it. Just spread a towl under one of the seagrape trees--it'll be worth it.

    So head for Sapphire--you won't be sorry. And if all THIS wasn't enough, I'd be glad to answer any e-mails. Enjoy!
     

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