Kayaking is a good way to get from bay to bay or out to the small cays around St. John, where you can picnic or just enjoy a day on a desert island. How easy or hard it is to kayak around St. John depends a lot on the weather and sea conditions; calm weather means easy kayaking, so check the marine forecast or a water sports center before planning a trip. The most popular area for kayaking is off St. John’s north shore, where you can paddle up to beaches or out to offshore islets, like Whistling Cay, Waterlemon Cay, or the Durloe Cays. A kayak is the ideal means to explore the creeks and bays that make up Coral Bay or reach the remote east end of the island.
Gear and Tours
On the north shore, kayak rentals are available at Cinnamon Bay Watersports (Cinnamon Bay, 340/776-6330 or 340/693-5902) and at Maho Bay Watersports (Little Maho Bay, 340/776-6240, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.). For exploring around Coral Bay, Crabby’s Watersports (Coccoloba Shopping Center, 340/714-2415) rents single and two-seater kayaks. Expect to pay $50–75 for a full-day kayak rental.
For a little bit more than you would spend for a kayak rental, you can go on a kayak trip with a guide. Arawak Expeditions (340/693-8312, www.arawakexp.com) offers guided kayak tours to Henley and Lovango Cays, leaving from Cruz Bay. Half-day tours cost $50; full-day tours are $90, including lunch. Arawak also offers multiday guided paddle trips, such as a four-day circumnavigation of St. John.
Hidden Reef Eco Tours (877/529-2575, www.hiddenreefecotours.com) offers two-hour, three-hour, full-day, and sunset guided paddle trips around St. John’s east end. All tours depart from Haulover Bay and explore remote and relatively inaccessible snorkel sites. Rates range $55–100, and there are tours for every ability level. All tours include snorkeling, and full-day tours incorporate hiking.
St. Thomas-based Virgin Islands Ecotours (340/779-2155, www.viecotours.com) has teamed up with Caneel Bay to offer guided kayak tours of Caneel Bay, Paradise and Scott Beaches, and Turtle Point. The three-hour excursion includes snorkeling and hiking, too. Reservations are essential and may be made through Virgin Islands Ecotours or the Caneel Bay activity desk (340/776-6111, ext. 7218). The tour costs $80 per person.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition