We recently took a cruis aboard the Carnival Fascination cruise ship through the gorgeous southern Caribbean. We left from San Juan, Puerto Rico and our first stop was St. Thomas. St. Thomas is one of the three islands to make up the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with St. Croix and St. John. The U.S. Virgin Islnds are known for the beaches, shopping, and snorkeling.Charlotte Amalie is the largest city and the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islnds. While St. Thomas may be small in size, there is plenty for you to do if you only have one day in St. Thomas.
St. Thomas has 2 cruise ports, Havensight and Crown Bay. Being on a Carnival Cruise ship, we docked at Havensight. Havensight is a 5-10 minute taxi ride to Charlotte Amalie. This was one of the prettiest harbors we saw on our cruise. Once you walk off the cruise ship you’re surrounded by gorgeous blue water and green hills. The island has many regular taxis from compact size to large vans, as well as open-air, covered trucks called “safaris” with bench seats. St. Thomas is one of the busiest cruise ports in the Caribbean, especially during the winter. Here is what to do in St. Thomas for one day.
How to Spend One Day in St. Thomas
Ride the Tram to Paradise Point
One of the best ways to see St. Thomas from above, Paradise Point, is located within walking distance of the cruise ship. The gondola ride takes you up 700 feet above the town, which takes about 7 minutes to get to the top. The sky-ride has 6 cabins that can each hold 12 people each. From here you have a gorgeous view of the clear blue water, the lush green trees, and the white homes along the hills. Paradise Point allows you great views of the harbor, Water Island, and even Puerto Rico. You can truly sit here and enjoy the scenery all day if you’d like. With gorgeous views of the ocean and the island, it’s definitely a must-do while on St. Thomas during a cruise.
Once you purchase a ticket ($21 for adults) for the tram, the ticket is valid all day, so you can ride the tram again if you’d like. There is a restaurant, bar, and shops at the top, so it’s a nice place to relax and enjoy the views. Included in your ticket price, is a taster of the Bushwackers Bailey, which is their singature drink. We didn’t stay long as we had other places to see. But if you are staying the nigh in St. Thomas, I can imagine this would be the perfect place to watch the sunset.
We went to Paradise Point directly after the cruise ship docked and it was the perfect time. We didn’t have to wait in line at all, and had plenty of space at the top to not feel cramped. I’m sure when there are more boats in port, Paradise Point can get very busy, as it’s so close to the harbor. If you want to avoid as many people as possible, the sooner you go, the better.
**You can also take the taxi to the top and bypass the sky-ride, if you want to save some money
Enjoy the Beaches
The beaches on St. Thomas are just gorgeous! Magens Bay is the most talked about beach on St. Thomas. It is a one mile stretch of gorgeous sand. This is the only beach on St. Thomas that has an entry fee. Magens Bay has an entrace fee of $5/person. It is $8/person each way for the taxi ride. Magens Bay is best for relaxing. A bar and restaurant are available at the beach. Because this is the most known beach on the island, it can get very busy.
Many first time visitors will want to visit Magens Bay. We originally planned to go to Magens Bay, as we heard this was the best beach to see on the island. Once we got off the cruise ship and talked to a taxi drive, he convinced us that Coki beach would be better. We all piled into an open air, safari truck as he took us on an unexpected tour through the island to Coki Beach. The taxi to Coki beach is $9/person each day, but there was no entrance fee at the beach. Once at Coki Beach, chairs are available for rent for $5/each and umbrellas for $10.
Coki Beach is the place to go if you want to swim with fish. If you’re interested in snorkeling, check out this tour at Coki Beach. Even close to the shore, we were able to see fish in the water. Coki Beach is on the northeastern shore, close to Coral World Ocean Park. There are lots of vendors on the beach, including water sports rentals, beach bars, craft vendors and more. There are multiple dive shops right about Coki Beach. The water is just crystal clear and very clam. This is the beach to go to if you want to do any water sports. Although I’m sure Magens Bay is gorgeous too, but we really had a fabuous time at Coki Beach and would to go back!
Island hop to Trunk Bay, St. John
If the beaches at St. Thomas don’t excite you, you can catch a ferry over to St. John. We would have done this if we had some more time, but it’s an all-day event and sive we were only in St. Thomas for one day we wanted to explore St. Thomas. Trunk Bay is consistently voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so I can only imagine the beauty. Trunk Bay is part of the National Park and has an entrance fee of $5/person.
There are two passenger ferries: one in Charlotte Amalie and one in Red Hood. Red Hood is the only one that will take cars across as wel.. The ferry from Charlotte Amalie will take a little longer, but there may be more traffic getting from the cruise port to Red Hood, so it may end up being the same time. The ferry from Charlotte Amalie to St. Johns is $13/one way and takes 45 minutes. It’s a 5 minute taxi ride to the ferry from the cruise ship. From Red Hood to St. John it’s $7/one way and only takes 20 minutes, however its a 17 minute taxi ride to the ferry dock which will cost about $10/person. There are more ferries that leave out of Red Hood, so you will have more options. Once you arrive at Cruz Bay, there are taxis to take you to Trubk Bay (15 minute ride) for $6/person. I’d recommend heading straight to St Johns right when you get off the cruise ship, so you can spend as much time as possible on Trunk Bay, and then spend the remainer on St. Thomas before boarding the cruise ship.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are known for the great duty-free shopping. Alochol, jewelry, gemstones, and watches are among the popular items here. Many shops line the streets of Havensight, where the cruise ships dock. The busy town of Charlotte Amalie has tons of duty-free shops if you are looking for some things to take home. The currency in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the US Dollar, so no need to exchange money. If shopping is your thing, St. Thomas will be a great stop for you.
We only had one day in St. Thomas, but it’s a beautiful island and defnitely deserves its own vacation, not just a day stop on a cruise. We will definitely be back to spend more time on St. Thomas.
What to pack for St. Thomas
Have you visited St. Thomas? What would you recommend to do in one day in St. Thomas? Let us know in the comments!