Good morning! Peak season is upon us, and I know most visitors will be looking for some unique, outdoorsy activities to do on St. John. I went crystal kayaking at Maho a few days ago and highly recommend it!
Having lived on St. John for two years, you would think I’ve done everything this beautiful, small island has to offer a million times over, and yet I am still pleasantly surprised by the amount of fun activities that I find on my days off. Recently, I spent the day at Maho, one of my favorite beaches, and tried the crystal kayaking and paddleboarding offered at Maho Crossroads.
Known for its pristine, turquoise waters and frequent turtle sightings, Maho is at the top of most people’s list when they visit St. John and my favorite beach because it’s a snorkeler’s paradise. There are lots of turtles and stingrays that like to graze in the area. Also, there are beautiful conch shells scattered in the Bay.
For my avid hikers, there are multiple hiking trails in the area that connect to Centerline and North Shore Road. The American Hill/Cinnamon trail is visible from the beach as well, which is a reminder of the history here and how a good amount of the structures are still standing.
Another reason I like Maho is because there are lots of amenities such as a tiki bar, food truck (with the best chef on island, Smitty), a retail shop, and snorkel, kayak, and paddleboard rentals.
If you’re spending the day at Maho, the crystal paddleboarding and kayaking offered at Maho Crossroads is a fun activity for the whole family! It’s easily accessible, does not require a lot of skill, and features a lens into the underwater world without ever getting wet. The adjustable two seater kayaks are surprisingly sturdy and made from the same material as everyday products such as airplane windows and windshields. There’s plenty of room to bring your bags (dry bag recommended), shoes, or any other belongings, if you decide to go to one of the little beaches neighboring Maho.
I went out last Friday with two friends, Sabrina and Becky, and we had a great time! We took two kayaks out and paddled around the right side of the beach, which is known for turtles. The wind and current were pretty strong, so I definitely got my workout in as we paddled past the buoys. When we got as far as we wanted to go, we drifted back to the beach and watched for any underwater life. The crystal bottom gives an almost zoom-like effect to the bottom, and I was able to see two small (I think green?) turtles and lots of fish as clearly as if I was snorkeling. The water has been cold and choppy lately, so this was a unique way to see the underwater world without going snorkeling.
When we were ready to go back in, Maho Crossroads employee, Trevor Dovey, helped us carry the kayaks back across the street. Famished from our workout, we stopped by the food truck, ordered tacos, and sat at one of the picnic tables listening to the Grateful Dead playlist that always plays on the speakers at Maho Crossroads. It was a great morning, and I’ll be back again soon for another paddle around Maho!
Maho Crossroads Facebook page can be found here with more information.
A few things I wanted to give a heads up about:
- There is a mild current around Maho, nothing to be worried about but something to be aware of!
- The kayaks and paddleboards are $40 for the first hour, and $15 for each additional hour.
- It’s one of the last beaches on the North Shore Road, so to get there, I’d recommend using a taxi because parking is limited. If you drive, make sure to get here early to secure a spot!
- *and please, please do not touch the turtles or any other marine life you may see
6 thoughts on “A Unique Lens: Crystal Kayaking and Paddleboarding at Maho Beach”
Thanks for the info. How much to rent the kayaks?
“The kayaks and paddleboards are $40 for the first hour, and $15 for each additional hour.”
Do they have a rental rate for the day?
The kayaks and paddleboards are $40 for the first hour, and $15 for each additional hour. (as copied from paragraph above)
Any idea how late you can get a taxi from Maho back to Cruz Bay? Seemed like years back it was hard to get a taxi that far out/up North Shore Rd.
How do I rent a Crystal Kayak before we come?