We are a family of five wishing to find any reputable tour operators for
snorkling, finding less crowded beaches etc for st thomas, st croix, st john.
has anyone done these things on their own and not through cruise line.?
Can we just find someone to take us from dock to best beaches or is this not safe in these islands?
On St. Thomas, I recommend Coki Beach Dive Shop. They have scuba and snorkle. On my last trip to St. Thomas I did the scuba class and dive. It cost $50 for the lesson, some in water instruction and a dive of about 30 minutes at 25 ft on the reef. It was absolutely wonderful and about $45 less than the same thing through the cruise line. I also pd $15.00 for a round trip in a cab for just me. Maybe if there is a group of people the price may be lower per person. Just grab a cab at the pier for Coki Beach. There is also a marine life viewing area.
From St Thomas it is easy to take a cab to Red Hook for the hourly ferry to St John where Trunk Bay is located with its well marked underwater snorkeling trail. To my knowledge equipment can be rented at Trunk Bay. It is one of the prettiest beaches around. JP
Yes Carol, you can certainly books lots of different shore excursions on your own. At almost any port (incl. most in the Mediterranean, Mexico, the Caribbean, etc.-can't speak for the orient, but would imagine it's the same) you will find cabbies & mini van drivers who offer trips very similar to or identical to the ones you can get through your ship. Only prices will be lower. I have done this a LOT (incl. the places we all get warned about like Jamaica), never had a problem & saved lots of $. If you go to websights of the various islands you can often find tours you may pre-book. Snorkeling equip. is available at most of the more popular beaches. (Like Trunk Bay, which the other poster mentioned & is georgeous!) I think there is a ferry directly from Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas to Cruz Bay in St. John, which avoids having to get a cab to Red Hook for the ferry to St. John & ride to Trunk Bay. The ferry from C/A takes about 45 min. (Be very careful to allow extra time - they don't always run "exactly" on schedule.) Or you can rent a jeep once you're on St. John & stop at any of the beaches you want. There are several beautiful ones on the way to Trunk Bay. (I don't know how many people can ride in one but think they cost about $75/day??) I think there is even an 800 # for the U.S. Virgin Islands - or search the net. BUT(!), having said that, if it is your very first cruise or very first time to St. Thomas, the Trunk Bay shore excursions are really not badly priced. You will get your snorkeling equipment, a scenic & beautiful ride across the bay & a little jitney ride on St. John, a GEORGEOUS island. After your tour, you will still have time to shop in Charlotte Amalie for a couple of hours or else take a mini-van tour of St. Thomas. Even though we "know the ropes" there, we often still do the Trunk Bay tour as we have first timers w/us from time to time & it's not to be missed. If you are going to Grand Cayman, Stingray City is not to missed. And Dunn's River Falls near Ocho Rios, Jamaica is also great for families. Of course, those are all VERY POPULAR excursions, but there is a reason why! IF you have other things in mind, just ASK YOUR CABBIE. They can do "custom" trips for you. Have fun!