i'm interested in finding a pretty beach with good snorkeling. which one of these 2 would be best? i just read somewhere that they charge 1.00 to use the restrooms at coki. does anyone know anything about the restroom facilites on either of these 2 beaches?
When last there the restrooms at Coki were free, but as they are part of the Coral World
facilities they may charge $1.00 now. Back in May they were certainly free on Saphire.
I like both and you can't go wrong with either.
Saphire is definately a more idealic setting with views of St John and the BVI's. It will be a bit less crowded . There are two places to get food and a small convenience store. There are public restrooms and an outdoor shower to get the salt and sand off. There is a "water toy " and activity center, they will rent you chairs. Snorkelling off the beach is nice . Standing facing the water, off to the right you can see the coral. Don't swim over it, it gets too shallow and you'll get cut. You can see a channel that runs along the edge of it. Snorkel the edge . The beach is public but there is a resort and condo developement here. Cab stand is out in front of the resort.
Coki will have more activity due to proximity to Coral World (a paid attraction). Walk further down the beach to get away from the crowd if there is one. Local vendors work the beach selling food and drink (and it is okay to eat it). There is also a hot dog /food stand outside Coral World and a scuba/ snorkel place to rent equipment. Vendors will rent you chairs on the beach. Facing the water, snorkelling the right side of Coki you will see lots of fish but no underwater color. Far left side (facing the water) has some coral just offshore. Cab stand is outsideCoral World.
Yes you can rent chairs and umbrellas at Saphire. The iguanas ( and yes there were some) tended to stay way down the far ends of the beach where there were no people and some underbrush for cover. I tried to photograph a few and they were very shy and ran when I approached with 25 feet. They will not be an issue in enjoying this wonderful beach.
Were at Coki in late July. Didn't care for it AT ALL.............I did see some snorkelers and scuba groups though who had come in with a group specifically to do that. I will have to admit the water was clear there. We were taken to the very end of the beach (farthest away from Coral World) by someone who knew our tour guide, Godfrey. It was a scary place to me..........lots of strange smoking going on. Felt uncomfortable leaving on stuff on beach while we all went out into the water. That in itself was miserable. Ratty looking chairs with broken straps for rent for $5.00 each, broken umbrellas for $10. We had to stand there and wait for them to repair the ones they brought out for us. $1.00 to use restroom EVERY time you used it. No ceiling, no lighting...........Folks I hope we just got taken to the wrong place on the beach...........but I will never go back there or recommend it to anyone. The area we were in had buildings made from the sides of old 18 wheeler trucks..............I'm not a princess, don't get me wrong, but this wasn't a pleasant experience..........people on our same tour from Holland America and Mariner of the Seas felt the same way................
Coki is a local beach and does have the food vendors and such working out of old trailers in the parking lot behind the beach. Things are a little more civilized down the other end (Coral World end). I kind of think you were brought to the place probably run by your drivers brother in law.
There is a normal indoor bathroom around the corner from the food vendor next to Coral World and the chairs and such down that end are probably not as "ratty".
Saphire, because it is out front of the resort and condos does not attract the "local" contingent like Coki does. Coki is still a great beach. A lot of fun. Quite frankly on any beach in the Virgin Islands ,no matter how safe it feels , it is a good idea to have someone stay with the "stuff" on the beach.
Thanks for your post here. I also felt like we got taken to the wrong place. I don't think we will ever go there again, but at least I know that I can say, "STAY NEAR CORAL WORLD!!!!" We just put too much trust in our tour guide who came so high recommended. At least hubby didn't say "I told you so", well at least he didn't too many times! I always enjoy your posts.......you've got all those daughters! We've got two.....how did you ever survive dealing with all those girls! What a trooper you must be!
I would take a open air taxi to Red Hook catch the ferry to St John's and go to Trunk Bay. Tneir you can rent chairs and snorkeling equipment. The beach is beautiful and the snorekling is great. They have a food stand if you want to eat. We did this on our own as you have more time to spend at the beach and cost less.
Saphire in my opinion is prettier than Trunk Bay, has better facilities, and is located 45 seconds past Red Hook. While others are still waiting on line for a ferry and then have a ferry ride and cab ride to go to get on a beach in St John , you'll be slapping on the suntan oil on the beach at Saphire. In addition, the snorkelling at Trunk Bay is "cute" because of the underwater markers, but, the coral is virtually 100% dead. You can walk right in off the beach at Saphire and the snorkelling is 100% better. No, I am not in the chair rental business at Saphire.
Just returned from Destiny July, went to Saphire beach. Cab drops off in a loop area and a VERY close walk to beach. Where we arrived, there were plenty of chairs and shade palms. No one ever bothered us, or asked for money for chairs.
For my son (14) we bought a "real" not cheap kind of snorkeling set gear, of fins and mask from a dive shop near the ship -he spent two hours just swimming around surface near husband and I. I had found a set of two pool floats in the store window that twist open, and just blow up the rim...our favorite sovenier of the trip! Just deflate rim, twist back and pop in its net bag. We just brought a few granola bars from home, bottled water to drink, and two extra bottles refilled from ship to rinse off sand off feet.
The water is so clear I could lie on float and see fish passing below me. A few coral rocks to avoid near shore, great sand a definite beach choice. Our driver was a real hoot- actually from Dominica! -
he also recommended taking the ferry to St. Johns perhaps next time we visit-- he said the ferry near Saphire ran every half hour versus thru the cruise waiting an hour to catch it.
I have a couple photos of beach if you email me.
Adventure of the Seas RC April 2008
Carnival Liberty April 2007
Carnival Miracle April 2005
Carnival Destiny June 2001, July 2005
NCL Southward June 1985 Honeymoon!