St Thomas- the second island we visited
On the boat terminal we docked at, they had a small spread of shops and restaurants. So you don’t have to take a taxi anywhere, you can do your shopping and eating right outside the boat if you wanted to. We decided to go to Megan Beach, which has been listed as one of the top beaches in the world.
It was wonderful. The view was fantastic. They served alcohol on the beach (although most places due). And the water was warm and clear, the sand golden and the fish small and vast. One thing to keep in mind, this is a US territory island, which means you are required to pay to get on the park/beach. We weren’t told this until we had already arrived. So it was a bit of a surprise to have to pay the taxi for the ride there then also pay to get on the beach.
If you are not used to driving or being driven on small islands like this, keep in mind that the roads tended to be rough and constantly under construction. The cars have the steering wheels on either side, by that I mean some cars the steering wheel was on the right side and other times on the left, so it was interesting to see the drivers sitting on the wrong side but driving on the right. We did managed to make it to the beach in one piece and then later, to Blackbeard’s Castle.
We spent about 2 to 3 hours in the warm water before showering off (which was great!), changing and then catching a taxi to Blackbeard’s Castle. This is where the island has the Rum factory/tour. You pay $10 or $15 and an employee regales you with the dastardly deeds of Blackbeard, you can climb the ‘castle’ which is a watch tower, and get then a tour of the rum factory where at the end they offer you about a shot of each of their rum flavors (they have about 6). They also have a large pool and a small outside cabana.
I can say this, drink lots and lots of water. It is so easy to get dehydrated and heat fatigue especially if you continue the remaining portion of the tour (which is done by yourself) where you meander down the hill side, through several historical building and even a dinosaur exhibit! There was also an amber museum and a jewelry shop attached to the exhibit. This was included in the castle price.
I made the mistake of wearing a pair of healed flip flops and this trek just about killed my feet. It’s a steep decline the whole way, so make sure that you have a good sturdy pair of shoes or wear a pair that you are comfortable climbing in. We didn’t do any shopping on the main drag, but ended up wandering around the small tent shops before catching a taxi back to the docks shopping area.
I once again missed out on eating any of the local fair. My dad is really hyper sensitive and felt that he’d get food poisoning if he ate anything on any of the islands. So I snacked the whole time of fruit and small boxed cereal I had taken from the ship. As a side note, you can bring water bottles off the ship. So I just filled it up or purchased one on the way off the boat and was good the whole time (it was about half a gallon worth of water).
Back at the cruise docking bay, we searched for a post office as my mother wanted to send postcards, but unfortunately the one by the ships was closed. The only other post office was back in the city we had just left. So if you are planning on mailing any postcards, be sure to check where the post offices are before heading out for beaches and shopping. We went back to the ship after that to eat and cool down.
The Taxi was about $10 to get to the beach, then another $10 to get to the castle (it would have been the same price to go back to town or the boat), this price is per person. The castle was about $15 person, and the taxi from the market back to the boat was priced at $4 per person, no matter what company you chose to ride with. Since there were about 12 people in our group we did get a price break on the taxi back to the boat (the beach taxi’s are a set price) and paid $2 per person. This was after haggling.
A note on haggling for transportation. Saving a few dollars here and there on a taxi or transpiration, to me isn’t worth the time or effort. We spent 5 to 10 additional minutes trying to find a better deal which only save a person $2 at most. That being said, if you are paying for a large group, instead of individually, then you might want to try and haggle down the price because $2 a person isn’t a big deal but when it goes from $40 to $20 for a group of 10, it’s worth it.
The other thing to keep in mind is where you are spending your money. If you’re buying loads of drink, food or gambling on the ship where you are paying a great amount of additional money for those items, trying to save a few bucks on transpiration is a waste of your time, frugalness and effort.