We docked at 7AM in the Havensight Mall area in St Thomas on the Carnival Valor cruise ship. We were very anxious to explore the island knowing we only had until 4:30 PM to be back on the ship. After darting off the ship in a hurry, we opted to walk towards downtown Charlotte Amalie. There is a scenic walk along the coastline passing through the many yacht slips in Yacht Haven Grande. We wanted to see and experience all that we could of the island. As soon as we walked through the mall area we made a right and followed the path towards Veterans Road right into downtown. It is a very easy walk and you feel very safe. While on our walk along the water we passed many different designer stores including Gucci, Louis Vuitton and many more in the Shops at Yacht Haven Grande. This is a great port to shop in because of the duty free and tax-free shopping deals. You will get the best deals when you are shopping for jewelry, alcohol, perfume and make-up (not too much on clothes). You are allowed to bring back into the US 5 (1liter) bottles of alcohol as well. It was a beautiful 78 degrees at 8AM in the morning, and from speaking to the locals, this is the weather they receive all the time. The walk into downtown was about a 25-minute walk but well worth it. If you would prefer to take a taxi cab they wait right in the Havensight Mall area and charge $4 per person to ride into downtown. When we reached the downtown area most of the shopping was not open yet. *Stores on all of the islands tend to open around 9:30AM-10:00AM. *
We stumbled upon Gladys’ Café in the Royal Dane Mall Shopping Center, which is right in the center of town. It is very difficult to find this restaurant because of the location (located down a cobblestone alley way). Ask any local if you have difficulty finding it and they will point you in the right direction, as well as encourage you to check it out! The locals are very friendly in this town. Tourists as well as locals seem to LOVE this spot. They open at 7AM so they were one of the only places open when we got into town around 8AM. We previously had breakfast on the ship but we knew we HAD to check this place out. Gladys is known for singing at the bar and entertaining her customers. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see this. (probably got there too early) My boyfriend and I both ordered mimosas and they were only $3 a glass, we thought that was a great price. It is the best West Indian cuisine and we were sure to bring home her homemade hot sauce as a souvenir. We had Gladys’ homemade chips, salsa and guacamole, which was amazing.
After our great meal/drinks we decided we wanted to venture to the beach. Megan’s Bay beach is known for having the most beautiful beach on the island. From downtown you have to take a taxi to get to Megan’s Bay Beach. The taxi costs $8 per person each way plus $4 per person to enter the beach so for the entire trip for two people it was $40.00. The beach was unbelievably beautiful and very relaxing. The water was crystal clear and very calm. After laying out on the beach for a while and going in the water, we decided to rent paddleboards (my boyfriend can not sit still for too long). It was our first time paddle boarding and we absolutely loved it! The Yak Shak has hourly rates and the friendly staff gives you a brief tutorial before entering the water. To rent kayaks at the Yak Shak it is $30 for a double and $20 for a single. To rent paddleboards it is $30 per board per hour. The owners of the Yak Shak were very nice and explained everything very thoroughly since it was our first time. We were out in the water paddle boarding for a little over an hour and had a blast! I only fell once! We would certainly return to Megan’s Bay for a beach day in St Thomas and I highly recommend it.