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First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

New York
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First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

Hi All - My boyfriend and I will traveling to St Thomas in January - it will be our first time to this island. We are staying at the Best Western Emerald Beach Resort. I would love to hear from those of you familiar with this resort and the island itself. We will not have a rental car as the airport is within very close proximity to the hotel. Should we decide to venture out at night for dinner - any recommendations? Any day trips you would absolutely recommend? Any and all insight is appreciated in order to help us make the best of this trip. Thank you in advance.

St. Thomas
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1. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

Without a car you will be taking taxis to leave the resort and it will be expensive as they charge per person.

Frenchtown is a short taxi ride and has many choices for lunch or dinner - taxi will be $5-6 pp ea. way

Charlotte Amalie has excellent shopping and interesting architecture and is a good daytime destination, about the same taxi cost. You could also take a ferry to STJ from town which is a great day trip.

Magens Bay is a nice alternative beach or Smith Bay Park or even another hotel beach like Sapphire or Secret Harbour - but the taxi rate will be about $10 pp ea way.

Here is a link to taxis: use the airport rate for your hotel to a destination

vinow.com/stthomas/…

A daysail trip from Red Hook or Sapphire Marina to STJ or even the BVI is a wonderful way to see the other islands in close proximity to STT. There are ferries available too.

Emerald Beach is a convenient hotel to the airport but many days the beach is crowded and over run with cruise ship passengers for the day - they will be gone by 5pm though. I was just there today for few hours reading and swimming and it was very busy, with weddings, hundreds of ship visitors and loud jetskis and flyboarding just outside the swimming area - and the bar was 2 deep most of the time - would be a good day to seek an alternative beach if a ship is at Crown Bay dock.

There are always taxis available outside the lobby but make arrangements for return pickup at night if you go out for dinner or entertainment.

Charlotte Amalie...
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2. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

You owe it to yourself to rent a car and explore! You can even take one to St John and explore there. In the end it will save you money.

RL

St Thomas
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3. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

I "third" the recommendation to rent a car. The best beaches are on the East end of the island and a taxi out to them will cost you minimum $12 per person each way. The freedom of going where you want when you want is priceless!

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

I "fourth" on the car. Where your staying is convenient, but the East and

North end definetly need a car. Taxis are going to really hit you in the pocket.

Tulsa, Oklahoma
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5. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

The "resort" is a typical hotel operation that happens to be on a nice beach. We usually stay there for a night if needed and have never stayed longer than that. The rooms are typical hotel rooms. The restaurant there is ok, nothing to write home about. The bar also serves typical pub food. There is a nice pool, but kind of small. As others have said, the beach gets over run with cruise passengers, since you will be there in high season, you will see many of them.

As you can see your going to get alot of people suggesting that you rent a car. If you intend on seeing any of the sights, you should consider this. There is so much to see on this island. But if you intend to hang out on the beach and only go off property for dinner you might save some money by taking taxi.

A car is only about $250-$300 for the week. You dont need a 4x4 on St Thomas, we always rent the smallest compact available. If you have a car, that opens up the option of taking the car ferry from Red Hook over to St John and explore it (note, Hertz does not allow their cars on the car ferry).

I highly recommend working a visit to St John into your plans and a car is the only real way to do it as the taxi's there don't go everywhere you would want to see. Waterlemon Cay is our favorite snorkeling spot on St John but our favorite beach is Maho Beach.

I would also suggest a visit to Sapphire Beach, excellent snorkelling there and you can order lunch/drinks from the servers that work the beach. Coki Beach is always worth a visit IF there are not too many ships in port, excellent snorkeling here too. Coral World is worth while as well (next to Coki Beach). A trip to Honeymoon Beach on water Island is also highly recommended. The ferry leaves from Crown Bay Marina next to Tickles Dock Side Pub

If your looking for souviners a trip to Mountain Top is a must, but don't miss all the shops in downtown Charlotte Amalie as well as "tent city" (next to the downtown fire station) and Havensight. If your looking for high end stuff be sure to visit Yacht Haven Grande (next to Havensight).

For the price you are paying you could do better by renting a condo via VRBO.com. We love staying at Sapphire Beach Resort and Marina. Right on the one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

Did I mention...rent a car ;-)

Mike in Tulsa

Edited: 06 November 2013, 13:18
Great Meadows, New...
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6. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

I feel a car is a must! Try Restaurant w/ a View over looking Charlotte Amalie. Food, service and view are remarkable. Take a ride over to Red Hook and visit Secret Harbor-beautiful beach and great snorkleing. A day trip to St John is also a must. We are leaving Sunday....so excited.

Hamilton, NJ
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7. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

How long are you staying for? Our first 4 day trip we taxied. The next 13 week+ trips we wouldn't consider not having a car! Best western is our first stop each trip for lunch at their beach bar. Other great food places are iggies (must do!) greenhouse. Virgilios and the delly deck for breakfast! Definitely go to Magen's for a day and do a day trip to water island. Love it there! You'll have a great time just remember you're on island time and always start with a good morning/afternoon you'll always get a return smile!!

CA
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8. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

I have read a lot about parking issues and that this is the main reason not to rent a car. Any insight?

St Thomas
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9. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

The only time I ever have a problem finding a parking space is on the rare occasions when I have to go into town, there's a heavy court day and the main parking lot at Fort Christian is filled up. Otherwise there is plenty of parking at supermarkets, resorts, beaches, etc.

Saint Louis...
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10. Re: First time to St Thomas... What we need to know?!

I would also recommend renting a car. You want to get to Sapphire Beach, Secret Harbor and I would strongly recommend a day trip to St. John (via car ferry, $30 each way or $50 round trip) and getting to Trunk Beach and Maybe Hawksnest or snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay. There is so much to see on the islands, and the East End is the place to be in my opinion. Staying around the airport is fine but you will have a very different experience not getting around (which will be expensive by cab.

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