Does anyone have any recommendations to the best beaches on St. Maarten and St. Thomas?
Which are your favorites and why?
What is the best way to get to your favorite beach?
Just want to swim and maybe snorkel a little.
In St. Thomas, Magen's Bay was voted as one of the top prettiest beaches in the world by the Travel Channel. And while it is very pretty, it's not good for snorkeling. Reason being is all the sand - fish prefer rocks and coral as it provides food and shelter. So, if you want snorkeling, you need to go to Coki Beach or better yet, take a water taxi over to St. John and visit Trunk Bay - it's wonderful for snorkeling.
As for getting there, just take a taxi. There are tons of them around and they will negotiate prices with you. Once you've agreed to a price, they'll take you there and come back to pick you up. You don't pay until after they bring you back.
As for St. Maarten, our favorite is Orient Beach. Beautiful beach. Just be aware this is on the French side of the island, so you will see topless. And if you go beyond the stone jetty, it's clothing optional (and yes, there are signs warning you of this).
As for how to get there, we always rent a car. There are plenty of car rental kiosks at the pier. As you get off the pier, turn right and you'll see them. It's easy to get around the island, safe, and enjoyable. Definitely stop in Marigot and do some shopping at the open air flea market. But cars will run you about $45 - $75 depending on the time of year.
But you do not need to do any pre-purchased shore excursions on either of these islands. You can do everything you want to do on your own and enjoy it alot more.
Hope this helps.
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For snorkeling and swimming, I would suggest going over to St. Johns when you are in St. Thomas...There are excursions that go there, or you can also get there by using the ferry. It does take some time, so worth it, an absolutly beautiful beach.
St Thomas - The ferry to St. Johns, for a visit to Trunk Bay is a good recommendation... but does eat up a bit of time.
The taxis at the pier in St. Thomas are mostly "group" cabs (open back decks to carry passengers, with set fees to different locations).
So, if you want to go Megan's Bay, just tell them at the pier, and they'll show you which "truck" to jump into.
A beautiful (and less crowded option) on St Thomas is Sapphire Beach. There will be "group taxis" to take you there and back as well.
For St. Marteen, I really like Dawn Beach. Again, less crowded than Orient Beach. Rental cars are the way we normally go there, but over the years, as more cruise ships visit, the roads have become quite crowded. So, if you choose this option, leave yourself time to get back in bad traffic conditions.
Mrs. Brown and I are hoping to visit the beach at the end of the airport runway in St. Maarten, during our Valor cruise in Nov. Does anyone have experience at this beach? Wondering what time of day is best to catch the big planes...
You can see by this video, just how close yiu are to the planes coming in. Sunset Beach Bar is the place to be. They have a scedule of the planes at the bar...When the planes leave and if you stand close, get ready to be sand blasted, and, possibly sent flying...scary tooSunset Beach Bar - St. Maarten - YouTube
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Our Head waiter told us to forget about Meagans Bay ( St Thomas) since there would be 4 ships in port and it would be very crowded. So we got a taxi over to Emerald Beach resort where we had a really nice day. Welcome to Emerald Beach Resort in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands there was even a wedding to watch while we were there! The beach and pool were free, the drinks and food was reasonable.
We spent a week in St Thomas and experienced just about the whole island in that time. They say that Magens Bay is the nicest but we were there and I beg to differ. My sister warned me that it would not be as amazing as I expect and she was right. We visited Sapphire Beach I think it was called and that was nice but we really really enjoyed Bolongo Bay. It is a hotel with 2 resturaunts and a nice beach, we went there twice while we were there for the week and plan on going back there again on our upcoming cruise.
Last edited by Trip; October 15th, 2012 at 09:38 AM.
Reason: renove link
I was at Maho Beach in Nov 2009 (see my photos here on my profile). The bigger planes come in after 2pm usually. i was there till about 1, but saw a few decent sized ones land, I rented a car and drove there. there was plenty of free parking behind the grille/ rest. Get there early and spend the day. it gets crowded closer to noon time.