Rainbow Beach in St. Croix, U.S.V.I., is the beach you are thinking of at 5:00 p.m. every day. Its clean sand, blue-green water, and swaying palms attract both tourists and locals, and being near the cruise ship dock makes it an excellent option for passengers seeking a laid back and less expensive day. That’s exactly what my husband and I found here on our anniversary cruise last year.
We arrived at Rainbow Beach soon after the cruise ship docked in the morning and enjoyed its uncrowded beauty for a couple of hours before many other passengers and locals began to arrive. We rented two beach chairs and settled in for a day of sunning and swimming, reading and relaxing.
One of the reasons we chose Rainbow Beach was that it offers both a sandy beach and rocky snorkeling areas, which are not always found in the same place. We brought our own snorkel gear and paddled among the rocks looking for tropical fish. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much. The water was cloudy and a little rough, and overall, the snorkeling was not nearly as good as we have experienced in Tobago, Cozumel and Roatan.
We ordered a couple of soft drinks from the bar, but when we saw that the cheeseburgers were $10 each, we decided to go back to the ship for a late lunch. By that time, the sun had become intense and the beach was crowded, so we were ready to go. The shuttle picked us up within a few minutes and we enjoyed the scenery as it picked up another passenger before returning to the dock.
After lunch, we had just enough time to explore the shops and streets of Frederiksted, near the cruise ship dock. Christiansted is the larger city on St. Croix and is located about 20 minutes from the port by taxi. It offers tourists a larger assortment of activities, shops, and restaurants.
Shuttles to Rainbow Beach and other points of interest are available at the dock for $6 USD, round-trip. It is possible to walk to Rainbow Beach from the ship, since it is only about a mile away, but the road is narrow with no sidewalk.
We paid $5 USD to rent each chair and an umbrella would have been another $10. Kayaks and wave runners were also available for rent. You might want to bring water shoes with you, though they are not essential. The walk from the sand into the water is a little rocky, but not too bad on bare feet. The snorkeling areas are very rocky and I scratched my knee trying to get out of a rough area.
Our day at Rainbow Beach in St. Croix was the most relaxed and least expensive of our trip. If we were to return to the island, we might consider an excursion to Buck Island or one of the Christiansted beaches, but on a vacation filled with activities and excursions, a relaxed day at Rainbow Beach was exactly what we needed.