St. Thomas/St. John trip questions

Old Jul 10th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 20
St. Thomas/St. John trip questions

I'm planning to visit both these islands at the end of March, spending 4 nights in St. John first then 3 nights in St. Thomas.
Does anyone have any comments regarding Maho Bay tent camps and Sapphire Resort?
Does Sapphire Resort offer a shuttle from Red Hook ferry to its resort?
About how much does it cost to rent a car/jeep per day?
If I'm looking for shallow snorkeling areas (less than 10 feet deep) accessible from beaches, where do you recommend?
About how much does it cost per day to rent snorkeling equipment and if I rent from a hotel, can I use the equipment anywhere on the island?
Would it be more cost effective to bring my own snorkeling equipment for 3 people or to rent on the islands?

Thanks for your help
wisconsin is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2005, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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I don't think Sapphire has a shuttle to Red Hook ferry but from what I remember, Sapphire is pretty close by. There are always some taxis around the ferry area anyway. It costs about $45-65 a day for a jeep rental, may be a bit more dependent upon what you rent. I have rented at the airport in St. Thomas and taken the car on the car ferry to St. John. The roundtrip ferry is about $35. Then you will have your car with you at all times. Maho tent camps is often referred to as one of the best "eco-camping" experiences in the world. I hope you realize you will be camping. But the tents are quite solid and remind me of the old safari movies. Maho also has many amenities like a restaurant, swimming pool, convenience store, etc. all set in a very outdoorsy kind of environment. Maho Bay is right there for wonderful swimming and snorkeling. Hawksnest has very accessible and shallow snorkeling. Trunk Bay of course has its famous snorkeling trail. Cinnamon Bay also has great snorkeling around its offshore island, but stay on the side towards shore if you don't like deep water. Most snorkeling is accessible from shore, but really good snorkeling is usually out around 10-15 feet and up. I was intimidated in the beginning but once I experienced snorkeling in St. John, I found myself not caring a hoot about the depth once I realized it's almost impossible to drown with a snorkel in my mouth, and I can't sink if my lungs are inflated all the time from breathing. Which is why I bring my own gear. The only cumbersome part are the fins, but even they fit nicely in the bottom of the suitcase. Snorkel equipment can be rented and it costs around $5-15 per day depending on where you are. The hotels really don't care where you use their stuff as long as you return it at the end of the day. If you buy snorkel equipment there, it will cost you more than buying it at home. Most intermediate, run of the mill snorkel equipment can be purchased at any sporting goods store and most department stores will carry it too. It'll be the same if not better quality than the rental stuff anyway. If it were me, I'd just buy at home where you can try stuff on before you buy. A decent package is out by "Body Glove" for about $29.95 not including fins. Fins, by the way, are essential to the good snorkeling experience. Finally, Maho is a good ways away from everything. Having a car will definitely be nice, especially for exploring the rest of this very beautiful island.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2005, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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We brought our own snorkeling gear for me and my husband.We rented it for our kids for about $3.00 a day with a $12.00 deposit.Most of the beaches on St John are pretty calm.We found Cinnamon bay to be more calm..earlier in the day.

We bought some snorkeling vests as we would get tired when we went out deep.I highly recommend getting some if you want to snorkel out a little deeper as they really help when you need to clear your mask or just want to sit for a minute.We paid $50 each for them at Crabbys watersports in Coral I would recommend going to a watersports store at home and buy them if you would like them.

We enjoyed snorkeling at Cinnamon bay,Trunk bay,Caneel beach,Hawksnest bay.

I have heard that it is great snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay and Little Lameshur bay..both are a little bit of a hike so we did not go to them as we had our 2 yr old with us.I also heard that Waterlemon cay has rougher waters than the others I mentioned.Good luck and have fun!!
christiegr is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2005, 08:47 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 348
Last November, we spent 3 days on St. John and then 3 days on St. Thomas. While I enjoyed both, St. John was just nicer. If I had it to do over again, I would have stayed at St. Thomas first. I reasoned that it would be easier to get to the airport on departure day, but St. Thomas was a little bit of a letdown after St. John.
scarboroughmom is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2005, 09:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Very good point Scarboroughmom. I didn't want to say it, but boy, I was thinking what a big difference between Maho and Sapphire Resort, not that there's anything wrong with either, but they are just SOOO different. I agree with you, but then again, some folks might enjoy the resort life after afew days of "roughing" it. Hardly! Everyday on St. John is a good day.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2005, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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We stayed at Sapphire Beach several years ago. The beach is beautiful, the hotel is less than to be desired. Also, when cruise ships are in the beach becomes packed with cruisers on a beach excursion. I would recommend staying away from this hotel. Why not look into Secret Harbor. I heard first hand that it's nice.

St. John is my most favorite place! For snorkeling, try Maho Bay for beginners. Not much to see, but the water is very calm. Hawksnest has great snorkeling as does Honeymoon beach (along the rock formations).

You definitely need a jeep on St. John. If you don't mind the $$$ taxis in St. Thomas, don't rent one.

Also, bring your own snorkel gear!!! It's cheapter.

Flori is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2005, 02:25 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
sapphire has no free shuttle. was on st. thomas 3 weeks ago and spoke to a woman staying there who said she would never go back. numerous service problems...
i highly recommend its a great little resort. all condos directly on the beach. very nice snorkeling and a great restaurant. also very close to red hook.
virginia is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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and secret harbour does not allow cruise ship passengers on their gorgeous beach!!
virginia is offline  
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