Caribbean Shore Excursion Recommendations

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Caribbean Shore Excursion Recommendations

For nearly 30 years, we have been going on Caribbean cruises on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess cruise lines. I have been keeping cruise journals with notes on where we went and painting an occasional watercolor of a lovely beach. I created this a webpage listing the islands and shore excursions we have done with my thoughts and tips to help me remember and to help the many people wondering what Caribbean shore excursion they should do on an island. 

To find Caribbean shore excursion recommendations, please expand the Table of Contents to search by island.

To give some background on myself to determine if my Caribbean shore excursion recommendations are similar to what you might like: 

  • my husband and I are active. I can walk 4,000 – 24,000 steps a day depending if it is a reading day relaxing by the pool or if we are doing a lot of walking around a city like Puerto Rico.
  • we like to snorkel and to see animals
  • we like the beach and I like cultural and food tours to learn more about the island and people

Antigua Shore Excursions

Holding a stingray at Antigua stingray city

Stingray Swim and Snorkel Shore Excursion

Celebrity excursion – 3 hours for $79 per person – Excellent!

Hot wait on the pier waiting for everyone to get there.

30 minute bus ride to outside orientation area. One or two bathrooms for changing.

Board a boat for an 8 minute ride to a plastic dock platform where we got off the boat and were able to be the water for about an hour with the stingrays.  Water was about chest high and sometimes deeper. There are guides in the water (see above picture) holding the stingrays, so you can put your arms and hands out flat to hold it for the photo opportunity. I held a super huge female who was looking at me for the photo opportunity.  It was something to make eye-to-eye contact with a huge stingray. She had gentle, curious eyes. I kept her in the water, since if I was a fish, I wouldn’t appreciate being held out of the water by so many people.

Stingray interaction tips: Take baby steps or drag your feet to avoid stepping on the stingrays who lay on the sandy bottom to rest or digest their food. If stepped on, they may sting with their barbed tail. No one stung while we were there. They were very gentle.  The females are larger than the males.

Be careful feeding the squid to keep your thumb tucked down so they don’t rasp it or suck it in. The stingrays brushed passed me caressing my legs and arms as they went by and let me pet them.

There were a lot of people to swim around and at times the waves pushed you into deeper water. The stingrays were forgiving as I bumped into them from the waves.

After the boat ride back, there were rum punch and non-alcoholic rum punch.  You could purchase the picture, but it took time to flip through all the pictures to find yours. The price was reasonable.

We got back onboard the ship in time for the buffet at 1:15 pm.

Valley Church Beach Shore Excursion

On your own.  In about 20 minutes and $10 per person, you can take a taxi. Chair and umbrella rental is $20.  There are restrooms and a bar.  The water were many shades of turquoise blue that felt like slippery velvet in the warm water. but was also milky white due to the sand.  Sometimes, it can be clear enough to see the starfish.  We could not see anything that day because of the fine sand in the water.  

Beach Escape on Valley Church Beach Shore Excursion by Celebrity (3.5 hours – $49) was not recommended by some people because of the long drive and not much time at the beach. You had to rent your own umbrella as well.    

Valley Church Beach with turquoise blue water

Other Antigua Shore Excursions

Fryes Beach was also not great for snorkeling and is farther from the cruise ships.

Dickenson  Bay and Darkwood Beach are recommended beaches.

Turners and Long Bay are better for snorkeling

Bahamas Shore Excursions

Warning: Be careful about port security and going through the port X-ray as you return to the ship. I had taken my expensive metal watch off and put it in the bowl to go through the X-ray, but I kept a eye on it, because it was expensive.  As it came out the other side of the X-ray, the male security reached down and grabbed it and put it in his pocket in a blink of an eye. If I had not been watching it, I would have missed it. I confronted him and asked him for my watch back. He denied having it. I would not move. 

“Give me back my watch. I saw you take it and put it in your pocket.” I said.

“Give her back her watch,” said the female security guard as if it was no big deal that I was accusing her co-worker of stealing.

The male security took my watch out of his pocket and handed it back.

I told our cruise ship security what happened. He just said it does happen and even on board the passengers sometimes steal people’s liquor bags that they are not allowed to take back to the room.

Sea Lion Encounter and Beach Day at Blue Lagoon Island Shore Excursion

Sea Lion at Blue Lagoon wanting to cuddle and put her head beneath my chin while I hugged her. This was not a standard pose.

Celebrity – 5 hours – $167 – Outstanding for actual sea lion experience. Just OK for overall management.

We met at 7:30 am in the Celebrity Theater for the shore excursion groups to be called. There is a 30 – 40 minute double decker ferry ride to the Blue  Lagoon Island. It is better to sit on the left side to see more sights.  

Upon arriving to Blue Lagoon, there was not any direction on where we should go for our tour and we had to ask around. We walked past a touch tank where a staff member was describing the wild life and offering people to touch. When I walked up to touch, I was told that I was not part of the group and should not touch. We finally found the little building to the right of where we got off and stood around waiting for someone to tell us what to do next. Finally, our tour guide came to get us in our life jackets and take us to the sea lions below.  Sea lions look like seals with claws but can walk on their flippers as opposed to crawl on their bellies like seals have to.

The sea lion actual interaction time was 30 minutes. We got to hug, kiss, give a belly rub, see his teeth, and each person / group got a chance to do these things while the staff photographer took pictures. The funniest parts were when the guide said, “Say cheese” and the sea lion would give a big, cheesy smile. Sometimes, she would stick her tongue out in our photos which was hilarious to see.  After the photos, we got in the waist high water on a platform for the educational part where we got a personal look at her black teeth, holding her back flipper to see her toenails, rubbing her belly, and getting a kiss.  She also jumped to hit a ball and zoom across the pool at incredible speed. The sea lion felt like she was having fun and we had a great time.

I had originally thought the sea lions lived in a lagoon, but it looked like they lived in plastic tubs at the top of the hill behind a fence and only came down the concrete ramp to interact with the tourists. I felt sad about that and made my thoughts known on the post shore excursion survey and talked to the Shore Excursions representative who called me about my survey comments.

After the interaction, there was not any guidance on where to go or what else was available. We did purchase several pictures from the website when we got home.  We walked around Pearl Island which had a VIP area and lunch area which was not included in our tour.  There were plenty of lounge chairs scattered around that we could lay on, but no umbrellas.  The water was very calm and protected and relatively shallow. On the far side near the sandbar, I snorkeled and saw a few fish. We saw a barracuda swimming close to the tourists near the shore.

Even though we left a few hours before we needed to, on the return ferry from Blue Lagoon Island, the ferry was overfull and it was standing room only.


Cabbage Beach Shore Excursion

On your own. You have to take a 45 minute ferry ride to Cabbage beach, then walk to the beach, about 10 minutes.  It is near RIU and Atlantis resorts.   We spent 20 minutes walking around the Atlantis hotel and looking out at the lagoon with sharks. We only had about 2 hours before we left at 12:30 for our 2:00 pm departure. 

It is better to take a 15 minute taxi for the 2.5 miles, so you have more time at the beach. There is only a porta potty with a hand washing station.

 You will need to negotiate the price with the vendors for a chair and umbrella and have exact change in case they do not bring it back.  There  aren’t any good drink or food places, unless you want to buy a drink from a guy on the beach. Bring your own drinks or go to the convenience store near by.

It is not not advisable to leave your valuables on the beach.


Barbados Shore Excursions

Tiami Sail, Turtles & Swim Shore Excursion

Celebrity – 4 hours – $98 – Outstanding

From the ship to the shore excursion area, it is about a 10 minute walk along the sea wall. It is not pretty since you can’t see the ocean very well and there are trucks and constructions.  Celebrity had free shuttles going back and forth from the ship to the shore excursion/shopping area.

We always thought Golden Eagle Catamaran in St. Maarten was top notch, this shore excursion was even a level above them!  Each two people had their own padded seats with backs spaced far apart which had individual storage space to keep things dry beneath the cushion.  There was also the two section catamaran netting area up front.

There were both men and women bathrooms on-board. You had to flush by moving the lever and pumping the handle, but it is common on boats.

After meeting at the pier, it was a short bus ride to the marina across from the cruise ship.  It was a 30 minute boat ride to Carlisle beach (Turtle Bay) to see the turtles. We walked down a few steps and either dived or went down the wooden ladder into the water.  We saw a few turtles swimming along the bottom feeding on the sea grass, a huge Eagle Ray, needle fish.  I had a baby turtle with a brown patterned shell, about 8″ across swim next to my head. I almost bumped into it when I turned my head. I badly wanted to pet its shell or touch his leg, but we were told not to touch the turtles. He was only 3″ away before he swam away.  

We were snorkeling around 60 minutes, then went for 30 minutes to a beach where Rihanna has a condo and you can rent a condo for $1,500 a night. Several people swam around the boat.  Of course, the beers and rum punches flowed freely with great service.

Back at the marina, you exit through a gift shop (surprise!), so there was await getting everyone on the bus due to people shopping. They had various cute turtle figurines and stuffed animals and shirts.

Carlisle Beach Shore Excursion

Carlisle Beach – On your own. Located two miles from the ship (3 – 5 minutes) and only $5 taxi each way. We walked back in 40 minutes.There are about 3 ship wrecks in the water. You can see by the other boats dropping off people in the area.  We stopped at several sites for the shipwrecks, and there were about half a dozen turtles swimming around us in the water.  To see wild turtles, this is where the cruise ship shore excursions come, so you can come to the beach and take a boat ride yourself.

 The Boatyard Club is $35 for chairs and an umbrella (while supplies last), ocean trampolines, an ocean slide, dive platform, rope swing, included boat tour to the shipwreck and turtles, WiFi, basketball, beach volleyball, bean bag toss, showers, changing area, and restrooms. at the Boatyard.   An ID is required and includes a welcome drink and transport back to the cruise ship.

At Harbour Lights, it is $10 per person for a lounger chair and shared umbrella or $25 per person if you want a front row seat by the water.  There is a Combo package (chair and turtle and ship wreck tour for $35 per person or “A Perfect Day in Carlisle Bay” is the Combo package plus lunch for $48 per person. Lunch is normally $18-22 a person.  You can buy a ticket in advance.


Other Barbados Shore Excursion Recommendations

Celebrity offers a “Swim with Turtles, Shipwrecks, & Snorkel” – 3.5 hours for $85, a “Barbados Beach Break” – 3.5 hours for $30 at Harbor Lights with chair, umbrella, and drink, plus a more expensive “Tiami Five Star Catamaran and Turtles” – 5.5 hours for $121 which includes a Caribbean lunch.

Dominican Republic Shore Excursions

Colorful umbrellas in Umbrella Street in the Dominican Republic

Tastes and Traditions Shore Excursion

Celebrity excursion – 6 hours – Outstanding! 

Great way to cover a lot of things/places in one day plus time to shop. Lunch included. Good number of places for a bathroom break if needed.

This was an all day trip and bus ride bringing you to different locations to sample food and drinks made on the Dominican Republic. You need to be able to get on and off the bus which had steps. Stops included:
1. Cigar making – demonstration and you can make and take your own home. Santa Dominiga Coffee sample. Bathroom.

2. Independence Square

3. San Felipe Catholic Church

4. Island Treasures store (at Beller and Jose Del Carmen Ariza streets) – Mamajuana liquor sample (I liked this one better than the Macroix rum factory version)

5. Rincan del cafe – coffee and chocolate store. Get the Irish cream hot chocolate – the BEST!. Bathroom available to the left of the checkout counter.

6. Umbrella  Street (see above photo) with lovely rainbow umbrellas. Photo op for tourists. Pink St with Maria Blanco statue – the walls, street, and decorations are all pink.

7. Dominican lunch at Maria Garden.  Pork, chicken, rice, carrots, broccoli, potato salad, cucumber salad, plantain, soda. Over 600 plants in the garden.  Brief tour of garden. Bathroom. 

8. Oro chocolate factory – tasted chocolate nibs, saw equipment, received a chopice for the chocolate sample. Bathroom. 

9. Macorix House of Rum – normally $4 per person but free with this tour. Tours every 18 minutes. Walk past barrels in the dark, watch 15 minute video, then receive 8 samples of rum and liquor they sell including 8 year old aged rum, spice, Mamajuana (good), pineapple rum, coconut rum, apple rum (good) coconut water with rum.


Key West, Florida Shore Excursions

Ernest Hemmingway's House

On your own.  From the cruise ship, you can walk 0.8 miles or about 17 minutes to 907  Whitehead St. to the Ernest Hemmingway’s house. He was a famous American writer from the 1930’s who wrote “Old Man and the Sea,”  “Farewell to Arms,” “the Sun Also Rises.”

Animal lovers will enjoy seeing descendants of his five-toed cats enjoying snooze time in the sunny garden.

The house is open every day from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and requires cash only to buy a ticket for entry. Adults are $18, and children $7 (6 – 12 years old). Tours are 20-30 minutes and are entertaining and worthwhile.  

The Southernmost Most Point Buoy

On your own.   From Ernest Hemmingway’s house, walk 0.4 miles or 7 minutes past the lovely Key West homes and shops to 1400 Whitehead St to see the southern most point in the continental United States. There is a large red buoy to mark the spot. You will see the crowd of people waiting to take pictures.  

There is a webcam, so you can take a picture or screenshot of yourselves.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach

On your own.   From the cruise ship, you can walk about 1.3 miles or 30-45 minutes to the park for a little local beach time.  Bring cash for the admission, around $7 if you are entering by car or $2.50 per person if you are walking.  You can rent chairs and umbrellas. There are picnic tables.  It was a small beach with trees and shade.

Bring your own snorkel and water shoes, since the beach is not smooth sand but small rocks and pebbles and hurts to walk on it in your bare feet. Bring snacks and drinks since it is is hot and humid in Key West.  There is a small cafe, but we did not go to it.  There is a bathroom.

You can also walk around the fort.

Other Key West Shore Excursion Recommendations

On your own.   Key West Tours – Conch Tour Train is very short walk from the cruise ship on 303 Front St.  They open at 10:15 am and have an open air, narrated tram ride around for around 70 minutes in a loop, if you do not get off at the four locations.

Puerto Rico Shore Excursions

Puerto Rico is an very walkable, safe town from the cruise ship.  You can walk to many of the historic attractions, feed the pigeons, and enjoy the local restaurant.  The streets are old with uneven bricks and have undulating sidewalks plus some hills to climb, so if you use a wheelchair or walker, it will be challenging and better to go on a tour or take a taxi.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro or Castillo San Christobal Forts

On your own. From the cruise shop, you can walk to Castillo San Felipe del Morro, also known as “El Morro” which is the fort on the hill as you enter and leave Puerto Rico.  Built from 1537 – 1792 and used for nearly 500 years until 1961 as a fort  It is a good walk up the hill through the huge grassy area to the fort and there is an admission charge of around $10 and it is open 9:30 am – 4:00 pm, 7 days a week. The fee will also allow you to visit Castillo San Christobal for free which is a short walk away.  There are cannons and re-creations of kitchen and other areas used by the soldiers. El Morro has stunning views of the ocean.

From El Morro, you will see the Santa Maria Magdalena Pazzis cemetary. After the fort, it is worth a little walk to see the beautiful statues and to enjoy the view.  

Parque de las Palomas

On your own. Walk from the cruise ship up the hill to Calle San Francisco, Plaza de Armas.  For a few American  dollars, you can buy a bag of corn to feed the hundreds of friendly pigeons. They will land on your arms, head, and fly around you.  

Bring some wipes, in case they leave an offering behind on your clothes or hat like they did for me.   There are park benches, trees, and a scenic view. Great fun for the kids or big kids at heart and anyone who loves birds.


Escambron Beach - Walk to Beach from the Cruise Ship

On your own. Walked from the cruise ship, past El Morro and San Christobal forts, along the cliff overlooking the ocean for 1.1 miles (1.8 km) to Escambron Beach. You will past a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and a hamburger place on the right (stop there is you want to get a drink or lunch to take with you). The walk was past residential areas and felt safe. Escambron Beach is a nice local, non-touristy beach called La Playaita. It does not have beach chairs/umbrellas or food/drink services though. There is a life guard. It was family friendly. No seaweed. Not great for snorkeling due to the cloudy water and just a few fish. On the east side closer to the old Normandie hotel, there is supposed to be some reefs better for snorkeling. There was a public bathroom, continue past the parking lot and palm trees. Do NOT sit under a palm tree and check above you for coconuts, since a 10 lb coconut fell from the tree I was sitting against. Fortunately, the tree was leaning, so it did not land on my head. There was a vendor selling coconut gelato ($6 for a large). One of the days, he sells grilled corn. Other than that, the locals brought their own picnics. I walked about 7,000 steps that day round trip. You can stop at the forts on the way back.

Deavadura Restaurant

On your own. Walk from the cruise ship to 200 Sol St. Closed Saturday & Sunday. No outside dining.

A lovely local, woman-owned restaurant with authentic, inexpensive Puerto Rican food and fresh fruit juices.  We have eaten there several times in Puerto  Rico.

St. Croix Shore Excursions

Buck Island Shore Excursion

Celebrity shore excursion – 4.5 hours – $114 per person – Good – Excellent!

This tour is of Buck’s Island which is a 3 mile protected area and is a U.S. National Monument.

We got a late start due to waiting for additional people to show up. 30 minute bus ride, then 30 minute boat ride. No bathrooms available unless you are able to ask at a local bar before you get on the boat. You get about 60 minutes to follow the guide and snorkel around the coral. They keep you together in a group due to the other tour groups and to help protect the coral.

I have the tour an Excellent, because of the large variety of fish we saw, usually only 1 or 2 but it was great to see such a variety – parrot fish, blue head wrasso, yellow tail snapper, tang. Much of the coral was dead or grey looking where we swam thought.

Next was a stop at Turtle Island for 15 minutes. You had to jump in the water and swim to the beach which was steep and tricky to climb with the waves crashing behind you. No turtles. 

The young, thin, attractive women crew in their short shorts and almost thong-like bathing suits served rum punch and intriguing views for the male guests. It was the first time my husband wanted to make sure we tipped the crew generously.

St Kitts Shore Excursions

Day Trip to Nevis with Lunch Shore Excursion

Celebrity – 6 hours –  $139 per person – Excellent 

Walked to high speed boat with plastic on the sides. It was not the most scenic view, but sitting in the back, you could see before the plastic sides started. The plastic was there due to the ocean waves and spray, because the boat passes through an area where the  Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet which makes it rougher water. In 1970, an overloaded ferry with 109 people sank there. We bounced a bit in that area, but nothing too bad.

The boat ride was 30 minutes to Nevis where we boarded a brightly pained open sided school bus. I liked that the sides were open, which provided plenty of air flow, but getting up and down the stairs on the school bus did provide a bit of a challenge for those with hip or knee problems, and we got off and on the bus quite a lot.

Stops included: 

1. Alexander Hamilton’s house (about 15 minutes for photos)

2. hot springs where you could put your feet in the hot spring fed water. If we had more time, it would have been nice to have a soak, but you would have needed to bring your own towel.  There was a lady offering small towels to dry your feet, but there was a  $1 charge.

3. The oldest Hotel – Bath House & Hotel – built in the 1650’s with a good view of Charleston. It was closed and will take a lot of money to make it habitable again.  Walking distance are the hot springs just down the hill.

4. St. Thomas Anglican church – oldest church in the Caribbean from 1750. Time to walk in and say a quick prayer. 

5. short stop at a modern looking shopping center to shop or try and use the bathroom at the museum but not much time to see the iPad information they had

6. Lunch at the Lime Restaurant across from Pinney Beach (pronounced Penny).  Excellent. We got the Fried Grouper (there was a choice for chicken) and it came with rice, coleslaw and two drinks of your choice (run punch, beer, soda). I got the Caribe beer and ordered the additional coconut ice cream which was really a scoop of vanilla ice cream with toasted coconut on top for $5.

7. At Penny Beach, the chairs with blue umbrellas were complementary for us.  In spite of the super loud waves which made a thunderous gunshot sound as they hit the shore, I fell fast asleep after the two beers and all the bus stairs.

Carambola Beach

People relaxing on beach chairs with green beach umbrellas. Blue water and to the left are the mountains of St Kitts with roads winding up them.

On your own.  Excellent.

Took a taxi on our own to the beach. It was about $20 each way, and the driver was very trusting and told us to pay him when he picked us up and we told him the time, 3:00 pm.  The ship left at 5:00 pm.

The resort offered chairs ($5 each) and an umbrella ($10) to rent. Pay the beach attendant and get a band. 

We snorkeled and saw living coral with a manta ray, sergeant majors, and and an octopus.

For lunch, we shared a Jerk Chicken entree which was not to spicy. It came with french fries, salad. With two cocktails, the bill with tip was around $70.

Other St Kitts Shore Excursion Recommendations

Other people have recommended: Lion Beach, Reggae Beach Bar, Spice Mill bars, Cockleshell Bay Beach

St Lucia Shore Excursions

St Lucia Beach Break Shore Excursion

Celebrity shore excursion – 4 hours – $40 – Excellent (Good value)

30 minute Bus ride to St Lucia Yacht Club & Spinnaker. Two chairs and one drink were included with the price, but an umbrella was $10 more.  There were some big waves which made it too sandy for snorkeling. There were restaurants and big climbing pool toys you could pay to play with. We had three hours at the beach.

Other St Lucia Beach Shore Excursion Recommendations

Cosol Tours – 5 -6 hours – Soufriere, Pitons, Sulpher Springs at St Lucia volcano and play in mud baths, Toraille waterfall, Anse Chastanat Beach

Anse Cocohon beach – snorkeling, shipwreck, $10 per person to access the beach via the Tikaye Resort where it is $20 for 2 chairs and an umbrella

St Maarten Shore Excursions

Golden Eagle Catamaran Sail & Snorkel Shore Excursion

Celebrity shore excursion – 4 hours – $99 – Outstanding

We have taken Golden Eagle Catamarans several times, and they provide first class service.

It is an early time – 8:15 am, but you are back by 12:30 pm, in time for lunch. After meeting in the pier building, you walk to the catamaran.

We snorkeled for about 45 minutes at a dive site with a sunken helicopter and submarine where people can walk, separate tour, with a helmet underwater holding onto the rails. The guide fed the fish and there were a lot of yellow and black striped sergeant majors and Ballyhoos (needlefish) swimming around us.

Next, we sailed to Mullet Bay  Beach and swam to the shore. It was soft, deep sand. We snorkeled to the left by the rocks to see  more Ballyhoos and Black Tangs.  The crew brought coolers of Caribe and Coor Light beer plus rum punch. Chairs would have to be rented, and they did come by to make you pay, so we stood and drank.

On the way back, there were more drinks and even champagne. The male crew made several rounds asking if people would like more drinks and taking cups/bottles away.

Great Bay Beach Shore Excursion

On your own. On the pier is a ferry booth where you can pay $7 (round trip) for a a water taxi to take you to the beach which you can see from the cruise ship. It is about 1 mile (20 minutes) to the downtown beach.

Last time we were there, a young man, Rej, led us to  Antoine’s where we rented chairs and an umbrella for $20, drank frozen guava berry drinks, and the 1 – 3 pm Happy Hour $10 cocktails)


Orient Beach Shore Excursions

Orient Beach Escape with Lunch Celebrity shore excursion – 4.5 hours – $99 (includes 1 drink and 3 lunch meal options).  We have not done this shore excursion, since we used to get a taxi to Orient Beach on our own, so we could stay as long as we wanted. It is on the other side of the island (the French side).  There used to be wall-to-wall bars/restaurants and lounge chairs and umbrellas, but that was pre-Covid. 

We had been doing to Orient Beach since the early 1990’s and remember when it only had one wooden shack for a fish lunch.

Orient Beach is known for their nude beach which is down to the right of the beach past the tourist area. There was a sign for no photographs. Full nudity is common. Unfortunately for my husband the people were not the Sports Illustrated kind of super models that he saw, but older people with normal bodies.  I remember the first time we went, my husband was so excited to be going to a nude beach and all the women he was going to see. As we got off the taxi and walked on the beach, we saw an older gentleman with a sun hat, a cane and nothing else come tottering past us on the beach. I grinned at my husband and said, “There you go!”

 There were also a number of clothed cruise ship passengers walking the beach taking in the sights.

Bars we have enjoyed and rented a chair and umbrella and enjoyed lunch:

  •  La String Bar
  • Orange Fever

Divi Little Bay Beach Resort

On your own.  We took a $12 taxi to the  Divi Little Bay Beach Resort where we paid $15 for two chairs and an umbrella. We tipped the lady who dug a hold for the umbrella in the sand who seemed surprised about the tip. There is a nice resort known for its diving lessons and snorkeling and did not have many chairs available for other people such as cruise ship people, so it was a nice find. There are not a lot of chairs available. They were on the narrow beach.

The bathroom is to the right of the front desk reception area and up the ramp.  There were two restaurants on the beach, one of which served freshly grilled hamburgers which smelled so good. On the street side, was a deli and coffee shop.  The drinks at the resort were reasonable, $10-$12.

For snorkeling, there was some coral to the left.  We saw trumpet fish, soap fish, a brown parrot fish, blue/green/pink parrot fish, an octopus, lionfish, sergeant major, and black fish. Great snorkeling!

If the ocean is behind you, to the right, you can walk up the hill to Fort Amsterdam. It is past the other buildings up a long hill.  It features a great view of the cruise ship and where we had snorkeled with the helicopter and submarine – around the hill landmarked by the little rental dive house on the water.

We left at 2:00 pm because of the rain even though the ship did not leave until 6:00 pm. It took 30 minutes back due to the traffic.


Other St Maarten Shore Excursions

Other ideas include:  Kim Sha Beach Rendezvous (Celebrity – 4.5 hours – $79), Simpson Bay Beach which has bars and restaurants, and Buccaneer Beach Bar

St Thomas Shore Excursions

Coki Beach Shore Excursion

On your own.  This is one of our favorite beaches. It is located across the island, about 45 minutes away.  It is a small beach, but there are schools of medium sized white fish who you can feed with dog biscuits that you can buy at some of the bars on the beach. They are big dog biscuits, and you have to hold the edge, keeping your fingers tucked in.  Assuming you brought your own snorkel gear, you can hear their teeth scraping at the dog biscuit or the parrot fish chomping on the plant life.

Early in the morning if you are first off the ship, they are the hungriest and you will have a large school around you.  It can be a little tricky when so many fish are darting in to try to take a bit of the biscuit and keeping your soft fingers out of the way. By afternoon when they have been fed a lot, you may only get one or two fish to show interest.  

The fish don’t have sharp teeth but they do have strong teeth that will draw blood if they decide to chomp down on a finger. 

There are several kinds of fish to be seen snorkeling: Sergent Major, yellow tang, parrot fish, and a ramora shark.

There are several bars and people happy to bring you drinks and food to your chair. Bathrooms and taxis.  One time, we headed back at 3:15 pm and there were not many taxis left. We arrived around 4:00 pm.

Sapphire Beach Shore Excursion

On your own.  It was a pretty long ride by taxi ($20 for a shared taxi). There is shade from trees, and we rented a chair. I bought a bag of fish food to feed the fish. I had to wait a long time for the water to make the pellets soft then squeezed the bag and happy fish! I saw white fish with yellow trim and white fish with silky bodies that were like puppy dogs following me around and squirming, wiggling, and nosing at the pellets.  Coral was dead and I didn’t see many other fish, but I did see a 3-foot brown fish that I hoped was not hungry.

Tortola Shore Excursions

Blue, Red, yellow beach umbrellas with green hills of islands behind them

Cane Garden Bay Shore Excursion

On your own. We took a taxi.  It was too cloudy for snorkeling, but the Painkiller and rum punches made up for it.  The beach was between two green hills with smaller islands in the distance., a peaceful day at the beach.

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Claire has over 30 years as systems engineer and project engineer with Fortune 100 companies and over 20 years as a Reiki Master Teacher, Healing Touch Certified Practitioner, and energy medicine teacher.

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