Good Morning, Good Morning! I returned home to St. John last night after an unexpectedly LOOOONG travel day. Despite a missed flight, Delta made all of my dreams come true and still made sure I got home to St. Thomas yesterday 🙂 Pro Tip: ALWAYS book the earliest flight possible. Anyways…We have been talking a lot about boats recently but there are plenty of other excursions and activities available to visitors and residents that allow you to explore St. John with a different perspective. So, today, I am starting a series on some of those diverse activities today in order to give you more options for your upcoming trip to Love City!
Kayaking or Paddle Board Tours
One of the best things I have ever done on St. John was a full day, guided kayak tour of Hurricane Hole. This area offers an incredibly diverse underwater environment and, although you likely won’t stumble upon massive colorful coral heads on this trip, you WILL see some of the most incredible marine life that St. John has to offer.
Hurricane Hole is located within the protected Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument on the remote East End of St. John and is named so due to its protection from most major storms. A chain of underwater mooring lines are offered to the local boating community via an annual lottery. Those who are selected, receive a spot in this protected cove in the event of a major storm. But, also under the water line, around the edges of the bay, you’ll find the mangroves. The root systems of these trees house an incredible variety of sea life. Giant conchs, puffer fish, baby barracudas, juvenile fish of all types, octopus and much more lie hiding within the protection of the roots amidst the shallow shore lines.
The full day kayak trips to this area are offered by several companies on St. John and many provide transportation as well as lunch with the fee for the day. You will enjoy paddling through the calm waters of the multiple bays that make up Hurricane Hole from one secluded beach to another in between lengthy swims and underwater exploration.
Both Arawak Expeditions and Virgin Islands Expedition Company offer this full day excursion with transportation from Cruz Bay included in the price of $100-$150 per person plus gratuity (Don’t forget to take care of your guide!). Speaking of the guides, as you paddle, they will teach you about the rich history of St. John’s East End and explain all of the eco-systems and marine life you will discover along the way. If a full day on a kayak sounds like a bit much for your group, both companies offer a variety of similar kayak and paddle board excursions to fit the needs of any group.
If you want to get out and explore the trails of St. John but aren’t sure where to begin, a guided hike is a great way to gain a plethora of information about the environment and history of the island under the guidance of an expert! Go on a bird watching walk with a NPS Ranger or explore the rich history of Leinster or Brown Bay with the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park. You can also try a guided hiking and snorkeling adventure around Salt Pond or Annaberg with Virgin Islands Expedition Company.
Note- The Friends VINP tours are generally active during the peak season months. So, make sure to check their website for upcoming dates.
Informative Island Tours by Land or by Sea
I always say, in order to truly love a place, you should learn as much about it as you absolutely can. There is a rich history here on St. John that many times gets blurred by our beautiful beaches and fun-filled happy hours. So, the next time you are visiting, book a tour at the beginning of your trip to unlock the past and present stories of St. John. One must do, in my opinion, is a St. John: UNCOVERED tour from the water with Flyaway Charters. Captain Colin has dedicated a lot of his life to learning a lot about the rich history of St. John during his nearly 20 years on island and, during this tour, you will not only enjoy all of the fun that a day on the water has to offer….You will get a beautiful history lesson along the way!
If you are already set on another boat excursion, try a driving tour of the island. The safari tours are a must do if you have never done one before. Experience the views and overlooks of St. John in an open air taxi with a local guide adding layers of character and personal stories of life in Love City to your informative tour. Starfish Tours and Taxi offer private two and a half to four hour tours and a customized option if there is a specific area you are looking to explore.
If you want to hop in an air conditioned Jeep for a custom tour of St. John that includes beach and bar hopping, history, hikes and off the beaten track stops along the way as well as a TON of inside St. John info, take a full day or half day tour with Explore STJ Island Tours and former News of St. John owner, Jenn Manes.
Any one of these options is a great way to kick your trip off in the right direction, giving you valuable information about the beautiful space you are about to enjoy for the week (or weeks!) to come.
This is just the first of many posts to come offering new and different ways to explore St. John on your next visit! I know that many of you out there simply have your favorite beaches in mind when you visit here. And that’s all fine! But, for those of you long-time visitors out there, or first timers with an itch to learn a bit more about Love City, I urge you to diversify your St. John portfolio and dig a little deeper on your next visit! Have a great Wednesday all!