Hi my lovely readers!
Many cruise lines offer Caribbean itineraries that stop at St. Thomas. Many people use the time in port for some souvenir shopping in the main terminal and of course going to the beach.
Related post: 7 Reasons To Stay On The Ship While In Port
But St. Thomas has many local sights that are worth exploring and that aren’t far away from the cruise terminal at all. They’re within walking distance from the cruise port of St. Thomas, which is located next to the city centre, more or less a short 5 – 10 min walk away.
So, if you fancy some culture and island exploration instead of only going to the beach or perhaps a mix of both, here are some ideas for you on what to do in the port of St. Thomas.
What To Do In Port: St. Thomas , Virgin Islands
SKYRIDE TO PARADISE
When I visited the island back in 2014 with Carnival, I headed straight to the Skyride to Paradise Point, which is a cable car that takes you all the way to the top of the mountain and offers amazing views of the island.
On the top you can find several services and facilities such as a restaurant and terrace where you can sit, relax and enjoy the view of the cruise port and its surroundings. There’re also some shops that sell unique souvenirs and of course your standard touristy items.
As I am a big tea lover, I bought myself a lovely tea set for one person that always brings me joy when I look at it and of course make myself a nice cuppa.
The ride is open most ship days as of course tourists make up the majority of income for people on the island. Still, make sure to check if the sights, not just the Paradise Point, but also others are open as some sights were closed during my visit.
For more information please visit: https://www.paradisepointvi.com/
FORT CHRISTIAN AND EMANCIPATION GARDEN
Our next stop was downtown St. Thomas. From Skyride to Paradise Point many of the other touristy attractions are about 30 min walk away. As we walked along the waterside, Fort Christian was next up.
It’s apparently the oldest standing structure in the U.S. Virgin Islands, being almost 400 years old and was used for many different purposes over the years such as town center, government building, jail and museum nowadays I hear.
I wish I could say it was awesome, but I actually have no idea as it was closed during my visit. It has a decent score on Tripadvisor though. Still, the building looked very interesting from the outside and is a piece of Virgin Island history.
Next to Fort Christian you can find the Emancipation Garden, a small garden with a pavilion that celebrates as its name states the emancipation or freeing of St. Thomas’ slaves in 1848.
Very close by, if you walk up the hills, you’ll come across the 99 Steps. There’re tons of steps in Charlotte Amalie, the capital of St. Thomas as the city is build on a hill. The 99 Steps, actually 103 steps, are the most famous out of all the stairs and steps as they are very picturesque.
The material for the stairs was brought all the way from Denmark as St. Thomas used to be a Danish colony. If you walk to the top of the stairs you reach Blackbeard’s Castle, which was technically next up on my sightseeing list.
I say technically as again this attraction was sadly closed. With the Caribbean Islands you really need to look up opening times I learned as some attractions only open on certain days, some open only for a few hours and some open from for example 11 am. So yeah, check those opening times to avoid disappointment.
Still, I was able to peak through the gates and look at the tower. Legend has it that the pirate Blackbeard used the tower as a lookout.
THREE QUEENS STATUE
Literally next to Blackbeard’s Castle you can find the Three Queens Statue, a monument honouring the leaders of the 1878 rebellion against the Danish Government, who fought for freedom and better working conditions.
As our little sightseeing tour only lasted a few hours and we didn’t feel like doing any shopping, we headed back towards the cruise port to get ready for our next stop – Magens Bay.
My partner and I got back on board our ship, grabbed a bite to eat and changed our clothes to get ready for the beach. From the cruise port you can grab a taxi easily to get to Magens Bay, which is roughly 20 min drive away from the cruise port.
We spend a good two hours or so at the beach, which wasn’t very crowded. The reason for this is most likely that you have to pay an entrance fee to use Magens Bay. I mean you could argue about the fee, but it wasn’t too expensive and they use the fee to look after and clean the beach. Plus, like I said it keeps the numbers in good check of beach goers. Hence, we were happy to pay it.
I thought Magens Bay was a very nice beach. There is not much going on, but that’s what I liked about the beach. Sometimes they can be too loud and rowdy, but this was certainly not the case for this beach.
When it was time for us to go back to the ship, we just went back to where the taxi driver dropped us of and took another taxi back to the cruise port. Again, the ride only took about 20 min, but I would always suggest to leave a little wriggle room just in case of traffic. You don’t want to miss your ship.
And that concluded my day trip in St. Thomas!
How would you spend your time in St. Thomas? Do you prefer sightseeing, just the beach or like me the best of both?
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