A historic site tour takes you around one of the most charming historic districts in the Caribbean -- St. Thomas.
While there are alot of steps and walking this tour was great because we did it ourselves. The people stationed at the direction points were very knowledgeable and were happy to tell us about the houses and tales of blackbeard. If you likes pirates and romance novels you will love the 1829 house. Try the painkillers they are good.
After beach we were left on the top of the city to check a few museums. 99 steep steps was very difficult to go down. No assistance nor help. We had to find our own way back via walking or run down taxi. A few miles away from ship.
When on Blackbeard's castle and shopping tour! What a rip off!!! They drive you up to the castle and dump you in the hot, humid, overcrowded parking lot and trickle you in a little at a time. There is a great actor as a pirate with a fun tale. The look out only allows 8 at a time with a hoard of people coming in. The grounds and homes are beautiful but hardly any explanation of what you are seeing. Then you are dumped out onto the main shopping avenues with a bee hive of other tourists. Good luck trying to get help in a store and finding your way back.
Instead of shopping for hours, we independently walked up the 99 steps to Blackbeard's Castle. Very cool. They had a docent dressed in pirate garb, who was very entertaining in the telling of his blackbeard tale.
We toured Hassel Island with Doc, which we arranged prior to the cruise by calling the St Thomas Historical Trust. The number is online. We met in Frenchtown, where we met Doc and were taken over to the Island. Doc was informative and entertaining as walked and stopped at various stops. Although it was over a 3 mile walk, it didn't seem that long. Doc checked with us often as we walked along with frequent stops. There are some steep inclines and lots of sun, so you need sun screen and good walking shoes and the ability to walk well. That said we had a couple in their 70s and they did well. Doc was a wealth of historical information and we really enjoyed the tour. Cost was a $50 donation to the Trust.
Black Beards' Castle was very interesting, lots to see and rum tasting too. Don't let the 99 steps down put you off. It's easy because there are Museums, shops and plenty to break up that trek down the hill (you drive to the top). Once at the bottom there are plenty of shops but don't forget to barter, it's half the fun.
We have been to St. Thomas 3 other times did the Black Beards Castle, enjoyed reading and learning about the pirates who traveled the Caribbean. Did the 99 steps back to town and then just some shopping and ate lunch in one of the cafes
Nice pit stop, with a meandering walk through a nice plantation home leading to a Pizza Lunch that took the better part of 2 and 1/2 hours from start to finish.
In conclusion, if we went again, would we take these tours? Well, you do need to stretch your legs on terrafirma and with this review, if you don't mind paying upwards of $100 each time each person,set your bar really, really low for time distribution, chaos and very poorly laid out, badly maintained, badly disorganized locale environs set amidst tropical settings......Go for it!!
The visit to the St. Peter Great House at the top of the island included great vistas and a nice garden. Blackbeard's Castle was well worth the trip despite the commercialism involved in walking down from the castle to the city. The walk was a part of the tour and we enjoyed the walk, but it seemed we were constantly going through a shop for rum or jewelry or something to buy. Still, it was a good tour and I recommend it for others. Once you reach the bottom of the walk, at street level, you are 2.5 miles from the ship, which we didn't have a problem. Some people did not want to walk, but taxis were not expensive.
Nice ride around the island to Greathouse & Blackbeard's Castle. Too expensive for what it was and it was marketed to people not able to walk the stairs down from the Castle. It also left you more than a mile from the ship without making that clear beforehand.
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