The ship docks here just after lunch and stays till mid evening. Once leaving the ship directly across the street from the cruise port is the main bus station (the buses stop in the parking lot behind the building to the left as you have the port to your back). We took bus 10A ($2.30 per person each way) from the downtown to the northeast end of the island to Malmok Beach where we spent the day snorkeling (must have your own gear). There is a nice reef formation less than 50 feet from the shore that follows the coastline for a considerable length. The water was calm and warm. I saw a considerable variety of fish and other life including: squid, puffer fish, triggers, tangs, an ell, pipe organ coral, fan coral and several fish I don’t know the breed. We caught the bus back to town and spent a little bit of time walking around the shops near the port terminal. Another fun day that cost almost nothing
Due to the schedule this port is only a half day port starting off really early in the morning. However, this really does work out well because even in late November Cartagena got hot and humid by noon time. We walked out of the port (through the second set of gates) out to the main street where we negotiated with a taxi to take us to the El Centro for $8 (make sure to get your walking tour map at the port tourist office) then we spent the morning walking around the old city. We also made a visit to the gold museum (free of charge). After we had walked around the old city, taken all the photos we wanted and did a little shopping we caught a taxi back to the ship (again $8 with a little negotiation). Before we boarded the ship we spent a little time walking through the small zoo that they have at the port. Overall a very interesting day that cost us almost nothing.
We spent the morning walking around the downtown area enjoying the pastel colored buildings and the fun shops. Early afternoon we caught a city bus($3) that took us on a full loop of the eastern end of the island. We didn’t get off the bus we simply rode it for its full loop which allowed us to see the interior of the island as well as the smaller towns that are far away from the tourists. We really enjoyed the ride.
When we got back to the ship at the appointed 4:30pm all aboard time we found that due to an issue they were working on we would be staying till 8:00pm. This extra time allowed us to head back into town and enjoy the city as night fell. We also took the opportunity to find a grocery store were we purchased the same liquor the tourist shops were selling but at less than half the tourist price.
We had been to this island before and had already done the shopping thing so this time we rented a car and spent the day driving around the island. I paid $54 for a small car for the day. We had been told that Frier’s Beach (near Marigot) was nice so we stopped there and found a wonderful little bay ringed by white sand and palm trees and best of all there were only a few people there. We also really enjoyed Oyster Pond and the area around. At the end of the day we walked along the boardwalk where we found our vender from last trip who offers cold soda right on the beach for $1 a bottle.
We spent Thanksgiving Day in the US Virgin Islands. I had pre-booked a jeep for the day at a car rental right in the terminal. Ended up paying $94 all fees and gas included for the day. Once the ship docked we headed straight for the car rental and off we went. I must admit it was a bit unnerving to be driving on the left hand side of the road, especially in a Jeep that was set up for right hand driving. Once we left town we headed straight for Red Hook to catch the ferry over to St. Johns ($50 round trip for the jeep and all passengers). We then spent the day driving around the Virgin Islands National Park. The park was so lush and green, we really enjoyed exploring the rain forest. I also had a short time snorkeling at Water Lemon Cay on the north side of the island. Snorkeling at Water Lemon Cay was excellent, probably the best coral formations I have ever seen anywhere plus several really nice fish to enjoy including what I think was a Tarpon that was just about as big as me. After catching the ferry back to St. Thomas we stopped at a small grocery store that had a lunch counter where we purchased a very nice selection of island fare for a late lunch.