We got off Carnival Liberty on a beautiful sunny day in St. Thomas without any definite plans other than going on the skyride at some point. Sometimes we plan an excursion, but at other ports we just get off the boat and see what’s there. A slew of taxis waited by the dock, loading groups of passengers in a taxi van for a $4 trip to town. We hopped in, unfortunately the first ones in that van, so we had to wait for others to join in and fill it up before it left for town.
The van let everyone off in the touristy shopping district. We got out next to the shop that had free tanzanite earrings for people who had cards from the port shopping lecture. After visiting a few other stores to collect the free things they offered to entice shoppers in so they could try and get them to spend money, we wandered down to the road on the waterfront. We took a few photos of the Carnival Liberty, some including the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships docked near us.
John spied a little flea market across the road set up under a sea of blue tents. Before we had time to look at much of anything, a little old local guy said he had a bus tour leaving in 10 minutes. We like random bus tours, and they’re cheap, so we signed up. We had just time to look at one booth before getting on the bus. I found a Larimar bracelet I liked for $10. Unfortunately it did not have the best clasp and I lost it at the airport on the way home.
Within minutes of getting on the bus, it started sprinkling a bit. We timed that right, getting under shelter since we left the boat in bright sunshine and had not dressed for rain. About as quickly as it started, the rain stopped and the sun shone again.
Saint Thomas has some pretty big hills with narrow roads winding steeply up, down, and through many Y-style intersections. When a truck passes by a bus, somebody hangs off into the dirt on the side of the road in some places because even though it is a two lane street it is not wide enough for large vehicles going both directions. That did not seem to bother any of the drivers. They’re used to it, they drive those roads every day. On the wrong side. The island did not always belong to the USA, so they drive on the opposite side like people in England or Australia.
First the bus stopped at a viewpoint on a hillside where we got some nice pictures of the ship from above. Next we viewed Magens Bay. From there we could also see St. John and Tortola. St. John belongs to the US, but Tortola is British. We came in on the Caribbean side of the island. From the viewpoint above Magens Bay we looked out on the Atlantic side. The Virgin Islands lie at the border of the two seas. A little old guy with a donkey hung around that viewpoint, making his living from people who would give him a few bucks to pose for pictures. Some interesting plants grew there as well.
After a short trip downhill, the bus pulled into a parking lot. From the balcony behind a small local fast food place and gift shop, our guide pointed out areas on the hillsides and in the valley where local people live and shop. The gift shop had a shirt that would have been the perfect gift for my son, Chris, if it had not had long sleeves.
Finally he took us to Iggies Beach Bar at Bolongo Bay. He said the resort next to it was the top resort of the area. It looked pretty peaceful. It had a nice sandy beach, lots of iguanas wandering around, a hammock strung between two coconut trees for laying in the sun, and jet skies sitting in the serene blue water of the cove with a kayak paddling around behind them. If anyone wanted to stay for a swim and join the next tour through on that bus, they had that option. One family considered it, but then decided not to because they did not want to get left that far from the boat in case the next tour ran later than planned. We had some time to relax on the beach, taking photos and testing the hammock. Some of the other people tested the drinks at Iggies bar instead.
After the tour, the driver dropped most of the other people at the shopping mall near the cruise ship dock and the rest a bit closer to the ship. We stayed on the bus just a bit longer than everyone else. He let us off in front of the St. Thomas Skyride on his way back to town.
Glad you guys had a nice time in St. Thomas! Love your blog and stories, LB!
One of my favourite stops is at Magens Bay… St. Thomas is beautiful!
I prefer the random stuff too. I leave the tourist stuff to others.
Beautiful post and pictures! It is still a dream from me to one day go on a cruise in the Caribbean. I can only go camping these days. 😉
Camping is fun too. Sometimes you can get really good deals on cruises if you look for them online.
I like the shirt. I don’t know why they would only sell it with long sleeves. It’s hot in the Caribbean.
Nice review…I’m glad to see that I can get a tour for little money and not have to pay the big prices that the cruise ships want!
Thanks. We love the random bus tours. Any time we’ve just got off the boat to see what’s there we’ve always found something to do, but if there’s a specific thing I want to do I book that in advance.
Going here in Feb too for a week. Thank you for the info……