The breath-taking island of St. Thomas was the first stop on our Carnival Valor Caribbean cruise, and we were excited for the adventure ahead!
Months prior, my hubby decided that he would cross off his bucket list item of scuba diving in the Caribbean, and so he booked a scuba diving excursion at the Coki Dive Center located on the eastern end of the island.
Knowing that the excursion would take about 5 hours from start to finish and that I would be on my own, I decided to find something fun to do, and as luck would have it, I discovered Sunny Liston Tours online.
All I was looking for was something light-hearted, fun-filled and informative that would include shopping, sight seeing and beach time, and for $40.00, Sunny provided all of that and more!
Let me start by saying, if you don’t like to sing, laugh and make instant friends all while exploring the island, this tour is not for you!
We started off at 10:00am by boarding the open-air cab (otherwise known as a “safari”) and being driven to the most popular outdoor market in Charlotte Amalie where we got to enjoy 1.5 hours of duty-free shopping. I instantly hit it off with Shirley and Vick, a sweet couple from Canada, and we spent our time exploring the rows and rows of many Caribbean souvenirs and gifts. Shirley gave me some pointers on how to bargain with the shop owners, and I was able to walk away with some amazing deals! Did you know you can get freebies at the jewelry shops just by asking? I walked away with several unique charms…for free!
Me, Shirley & Vick
On the way up to our first scenic vista, Sunny turned up some upbeat Caribbean music that pulsed out of our safari that got everyone clapping and singing along. He interjected his personality to the music by adding “uh-huh uh-huh’s” and “wooh-wooh’s” to every song! As other tour vans passed us, we made sure to cheer, wave, scream and sing…and watch as their expressions turned to “I wish I was on THAT tour instead!”
Our colorful safari!
Sitting on the very edge of the seat, I had to brace myself during those hairpin turns or else I would have exited the tour a little too early! The gentleman sitting in front of me who went by the alias of “Lieutenant Dan” turned out to be a fun addition to the tour group. He, too, was sitting on the edge, and would make sure I didn’t roll out of my seat each time we rounded those tight corners. There were lots of screams and “Whoas!” along the ride, and some people even threw their hands in the air as if they were on a roller coaster ride. At one point, “Lieutenant Dan’s” hat flew right off his head and landed in my lap! An adventure indeed!
Our first vista overlooked the lush island, harbor and all of the magnificent ships.
The water couldn’t have been any more blue – it was breathtaking!
Our next stop was Mountain Top where we got to empty our wallets again, enjoy a banana daiquiri, get to know our tourmates better and be in awe of the crystalline views of Magen’s Bay Beach, one of the top ten beaches in the world!
After our fun-filled afternoon of shopping and sightseeing, it was time for my new friends and I to part ways as Sunny dropped us off at our pre-selected beaches of choice. I decided to go to Coki Beach since my hubby would be there. Everyone else either went to Magen’s Bay Beach or Sapphire Beach.
Coki Dive Center was right off the beach, so it ended up being perfect! For $5.00, I rented a chair, and the attendant even put it in the shade upon my request. You can also rent umbrellas and snorkel equipment…whatever your heart desires. Everything that was needed was right there, and I got to spend about an hour relaxing, gazing out into the water, and swimming! (Just be careful, the undertow is a little strong!)
As I strolled along the beach taking pictures, I heard “JENNNNN!!!” Looking up, I saw my hubby waving to me from the Coki Dive Center. We had about 30 minutes left before Sunny would come back around to pick us up, so we spent that time enjoying the water, soaking up the sun and talking about our adventures. And yes, he thoroughly enjoyed his scuba diving experience!
As scheduled, Sunny picked us up around 3:15, and he even let my hubby join the much smaller group even though he wasn’t part of the tour.
On our way back, rhythmic Caribbean music filled the air, and the fun continued all the way back to the ship. As we drove by the cruise-goers waiting in line, our tour group cheered, clapped and screamed, “SUNNY LISTON’S THE BEST!!!”
And on the island of St. Thomas, he is!
Sunny Liston Tours
P.O. Box 9108
St. Thomas, VI 00801