While on the cruise-ship they will offer many pre-planned outings which you can book onboard. These can be bus-trips to local waterfalls, ruins, shopping excursions or beaches. They are generally offered at a reasonable rate. Many first time travelers take advantage of these packages, they are easy, and generally you just have to show up at a designated spot, on the designated day and your off. But this is about bargains. Many people will get off the ships and rent a car or jeep for the day, get a map of the area, and explore. If you are uncomfortable with the driving habits on some islands, you may want to hire a taxi. Find a licensed taxi driver with his permit which is current and up to date. Ask him first what it would cost for a full or half day tour. He will ask what you wish to see. The majority of the taxi drivers know their island extremely well. They know which spots are interesting and safe for tourists. Make sure to tell him what time you need to be back to the ship, make sure it is a long time before the ship actually leaves. The term “Island time” is for a reason. Islanders don’t live their lives by watching a clock. Some of the most interesting passengers at dinner that night will have tales of their adventures of “striking out on their own” and experiencing a new culture.
Please remember that if you hire a taxi driver for the day and stop for lunch he may be hungry also. Most cab drivers stop in at their home during the day for lunch. If you hired him for the day he may be skipping lunch. Please insist he eat with you and do pick up his check. 99% of the time they order the lowest price item, or what you are eating out of politeness. The local eateries though are low priced. In Jamaica during one trip we stopped at a local Jerk Pit, the two of us, and the driver at full lunches with cold drinks for under $10.00. It took a bit of coaxing to get him to join us, however the stories we heard in the taxi the rest of the trip were genuine and priceless.
If you are traveling to St Thomas and need a tour guide for the day you may wish to contact Winston . Its amazing how much he resemble Eddie Murphy, both in the sparkling laugh and smile! His insights on the island are delightful and he prides himself on dependability. His number is 340-771-4948 TP-488. You may need to book him at least two weeks in advance for a full day tour, but your efforts will be rewarded!
A fine website to check out if your traveling to Jamaica is http://www.geocities.com/peattaylor/index.html Peat comes highly recommended by travelers to Jamaica. Write ahead of time to reserve your day. He is very much in demand. A fine example of the entrepreneur spirit alive and well in Jamaica.