Magens Bay in St. Thomas is touted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. So, of course, when we stopped in St. Thomas during our recent cruise onboard the Norwegian Getaway, it was high on our list of excursions to do while in port.
The beach was beautiful. Even on the overcast and gloomy day we visited, the water was a beautiful, crystal blue and the beach was soft, white sand. I even commented after getting into the ocean that the bottom felt so soft on my feet (much different than the rocky beaches in the Bahamas).
The Magens Bay website describes the area as:
“The park consists of 68 pristine acreage: one mile of white sand beach, a six acre arboretum consisting of large trees from four tropical continents, a two acre camping ground with parking, 5 acres of coconut groves and 15 acres of mangroves and wetlands. The park has three bath houses strategically located along the beach and four sheds for rentals for private parties, weddings or other activities. There are many benches along the beach for your convenience. “Magens Bay Authority Website
This information is, for the most part, accurate. The problem just comes down to time. We were docked in St. Thomas from 8:00 am until 5:30 pm. Our excursion left at 10:30 am and we were only allotted 2 hours to spend at the beach. If you want to enjoy lounging at the beach and maybe having a snack, this doesn’t allow you much extra time to explore the other amenities offered.
Also, because of the popularity of Magens Bay and depending on how many ships are in port that day, the beach can get very crowded. When we visited, there was a larger Carnival ship and a Princess ship in port, so the beach was hard to navigate for all the people. I would think your best bet would be to try and go to the beach on your own, leave just after the boat docks in St. Thomas, and try to beat all the excursion people there. You might be able to get at least some quiet time on the beach that way.
We purchased our excursion to Magens Bay through Norwegian. The cost was $49 per adult which included the bus ride to and from the beach, a short photo op, and entrance into the park.
Better Deal to Take a Taxi?
Taxis are readily available at the cruise port and are definitely willing to take you to Magens Bay. The cost when we were there was $10 per person ($8 per person to ride in an open air bus). I do believe some of the open air busses will stop at the top of the mountain to allow for a photo op above Magens Bay, but I haven’t confirmed this. It probably depends on which driver you get. Once you arrive at the beach, it is $5 per adult (or children 13 and over). Children under 12 are free to get into the beach.
So, as you can see, you will pay about $25+tip per adult ($10+tip each way for the taxi plus the entrance fee) and can stay at the beach for as long as you like (or until the boat leaves). That being said, you have to weigh out the pros and cons. Pro… you’ve saved money and get more time at the beach. Con… if your taxi breaks down on the way back to port, the ship isn’t going to wait on you.
There are lifeguards on duty who are trained and certified by the Red Cross.
There are also restrooms which offer changing areas and outdoor showers to rinse off the sand.
There is a concession area available which offers snacks like pizza and ice cream as well as drinks. A boutique is situated next to the concessions which offers swimwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach towels, t-shirts and souvenirs for purchase.
Beach chairs are available to rent at the concession stand. When we were there in November, the cost was $8.00 + $5.00 refundable deposit. With that being said, there was a long line to rent chairs and you had to drag the chair yourself to your desired lounging location. I did see some people get an employee to drag them back to turn them in, but I don’t believe this is the norm. Most people I saw were either hanging out at the picnic tables or laying on a towel on the sand (which was our choice).
Kayaks are available to rent. Single kayaks are $20 per hour and doubles are $25 per hour. Paddleboats are $30 per hour, and Sunfish are $35 per hour.
You can find more information about Magens Bay on their website at http://www.magensbayauthority.com/.
Have you ever been to Magens Bay? What did you think of it? Does the experience vary by the time of year, weather conditions, or (for the most part) how many ships are in port? How about St. Thomas? What excursion would you recommend while in port? Or are you the type to go it on your own? Let me know what you think in the comments below!