Where do I start? Beaches are in abundance on island cruises and so wherever you visit, you are never very far from a beach. Some people like the beach and others not so much, usually because in general, sand gets everywhere! But if you can get over the sand it’s well worth a day relaxing on a beach.
The Caribbean is the ideal destination to cruise to if you are a beach lover. If you enjoy scuba diving, I’d recommend that you take a look at the ultimate diving in the Caribbean. There are over a thousand islands that make up the Caribbean so there is sure to be a beach out there for you. On my most recent cruise to the Caribbean, I visited Magens Bay on St Thomas.
Before my Caribbean cruise, I’d decided on the one thing I wanted to do or see on each island and having read that Magens Bay had apparently been voted by National Geographic as one of the top ten beaches in the world, my mind was made up that I had to visit this amazing beach.
The journey from the cruise port to Magens Bay was very hilly so it’s definitely not walkable, I’d suggest a taxi or shuttle bus, which you can pick up at the cruise port but be ready for a something not far off a white-knuckle ride if you decide to take the shuttle bus – and watch out, there are no doors!
We took a taxi on the way there and the shuttle bus on the way back but there was no difference in the price (around $7-8 per person).
When you arrive
When you arrive at Magens Bay, you must pay a $5 entry fee per person before being let in to the car park area for drop-off.
My top tip when visiting Magens Bay is to head to the far end of the beach from where the car park is situated. When we were dropped off by our taxi we found a spot at the end nearest car park – which appeared to be what everyone else had also done. When we took a walk along the shore line we realised that the other end was far less busy and more like the Caribbean beaches you see in photos.
This is in contrast to the end of the beach that we pitched up, which got quite crowded as two cruise ships were in port that day. Our friends didn’t like the crowds and so headed back to the town early to do some shopping.
Food and drink at Magens Bay
Once on the beach, waitresses will come around regularly for your drinks orders. I chose a frozen pina colada ($7.50), which was the perfect accompaniment for the Caribbean beach setting. These waitresses work for tips, walking up and down the beach all day serving guests so don’t forget to tip them for this service.
The beach serves a range of food from Magens Bay Beach Bar. Pizzas seemed to be really popular, along with burgers, hot dogs and gyros. The gyros were delicious and I would definitely recommend them.
Next to the beach bar is a rental shop, where you can hire kayaks from $20 each as well as paddle boats and sunfish boats. We brought our own snorkeling gear and so we were content with trying to find the fish (there were a few) so didn’t take much notice of what was on offer.
We visited the little shop next to the beach bar, which was packed with souvenirs and essentials and we were able to purchase our souvenir Christmas bauble and a birthday present for our cruise friend.
There are toilets and changing rooms near the car park, which are very basic but functional.
In all, there is everything you need for a relaxing day on the beach.
Was it the most beautiful beach I’ve ever visited? I’m not sure, I think that its notoriety has made it a very popular tourist spot for cruise passengers and it’s possibly a victim of its own success but the quieter end of the beach has managed to retain its Caribbean beach image.
At the time that this blog post was written, St Thomas was closed to cruise ships following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. My thoughts go out to everyone on St Thomas and I just hope that the cruise ships don’t stay away for too long as they are a huge source of income for the local economy.
Have you visited Magens Bay, St Thomas? It would be great to hear your experiences, please share them in the comments below.