I would like to take the ferry over to St.John, once there ,are there buses or cabs available to take you to the beaches? I want to go to Trunk Bay to snorkel the underwater trail. I'd rather do this on my own than take a excursion from the ship. Any tips would be helpful. Thanks
Couldn't be easier! There will be plenty of taxis (well, trucks with benches in the back) right there were you get off the ferry in Cruz Bay. FWIW, consider Hawksnest or Cinnamon instead of Trunk...1/4 the number of people and just as good (if not better) snorkeling + beach. We'll be there on Wednesday WooHoo!
You can hit several beaches along the north shore in one day. If you get tired of Trunk, grab a cab and "go next door" to Cinnamon. There is a small old Piper underwater there about 20 yards off the beach on the far left hand side past the rocks. Kinda neat snorkeling over an old small airplane! We married on Hawksnest, and the seagrape trees along the beach are romantic as well if you're looking for a quiet romantic stroll. We've seen a stingray at Trunk before and several hawksnest turtles on the other end of the island at Salt Pond Bay (past Coral Bay). Taxis don't go that far though - a jeep would be needed for Salt Pond and good walking shoes to get from parking to the pebble beach. For a cruise port day it is best to stay with the beaches on the north shore.
if going to trunk bay, go left as far as u can, (looking out to sea), the underwater trail is pretty much runined. ive also heard going clear up the the right is goof snorkling, but any time ive been there, the water looked to rough. u also might want to consider going to Big Maho Beach. go right and snorkle around the rocks to the other side. ive seen every thing u can think of there over the years. if your going soon, a neoprene suit might be a good idea, lots of us thought the water was too cold to swim and snorkle for very long. i didnt have one, and staying in the water anyway, but most people were out on the beach. little beach, but only 2 steps from the taxi. bus is avail, but not to the snorkling spots spoke of here on the boards. salt pond is amazing, but if your on a cruise ship, u wont have time to do it. happy cruising, if staying on st john, email me and i can tell u lots of places to snorkle.
Thanx so much for all the info on St. John. I'm going to take all the info and use it. I can see I'd rather do this than take the excursion offered. We're not going till March on a cruise so we don't have too much time, but I've been told to go to St. John and we enjoy the water more than shopping. We were in the D.R. at about the same time a couple years ago so I kind of figured the water might be a little colder. But for the short time, we should be ok. Again thank you everyone. You guys really have gotten us more excited about this island now.
I would agree with your assessment. We just returned from St. John last week where we booked the ship's excursion to the island. We had looked forward to the tour for several years, but found the trail disappointing. There are markers on the bottom with interesting info but we found the water quite cool and stirred up. We left our ship at 1:30 and arrived on the beach about 2:30. Then we had to claim our gear and becasue we hadn't done much snorkeling, we stayed for the lesson. We had to get out of the water at 3:45 for our return trip. The whole thing felt rushed. the fact that our ship sailed at 6 was another pressure. We wouldn't do it again. The beach was beautiful, though.
Went snorkeling at Trunk Bay on February 12th. The water was pretty calm, and the snorkeling was O.K., but very few fish. The water was bearable, but, after an hour, I got a few cramps in my calves and got out of the water.
We also felt a little rushed in that the ships excursion didn't leave St. Thomas until about 1:40 p.m., and the ride to St. John's Island was about 35 or 40 minutes. Then we had to take a taxi (safari bus with benches) to Trunk Bay. Beaver was our driver. He did stop to show us Hawks Nest Bay and the Rockefeller estate on the way. However, this all took away from actual in the water snorkeling. We had to get back to the taxi by 4:20 p.m. Not much time.
There were about a hundred snorkelers in the water. Kind of crowded. Fish must have been spooked because of so many snorkelers because, although seeing some, they were few and far between. So, this snorkeling shore excursion did not meet my expectations.
The island is awesome, however, and the natural beauty of the water, sand, palm trees, lush vegetation, etc. was just "to die for."
I hope you enjoy your trip. We loved it even though we could have had a lot more fun if we had more time. Tim
I spent quite some time in St. John in 1993. There is a "locals only" type spot as you come down the hill approaching Hawksnest. The spot is referred to by the locals as Jumbies. The beach is a little crescent of sand and boulders down about 20 stair steps from the road. The snorkeling was in 4 to 8 feet of water and the variety of fish was incredible and the water crystal clear. There are no services but it is worth a 1 hour stop just to get some underwater photos. Ask any cab driver at the pier, they know the spot. When you are finished just walk down the road to Hawsnest for a cab or flag one down from Jumbies. They almost always stop if you are on the side of the road.
Time from the pier in Cruz Bay is 10 minutes.
Jumbie is superb snorkeling--my favorite "easy" snorkeling on St. John, and never a crowd.
If you're a decent swimmer, the very best snorkeling on St. John is in Leinster Bay near Waterlemon (often misspelled on maps as Watermelon) Cay. To get there (easier in a rental car than a taxi), park in the Annaberg Sugar Mill ruins parking lot, then take the trail northeast (ask the ranger) for about half an hour along perfectly flat terrain circling the bay. Dump your stuff where the trail ends and swim out to the little island. (DON'T go out that far if you're not a good swimmer--the current is deceptively strong.) I've seen sea turtles, stingrays, starfish and every kind of tropical fish you can imagine. It's fantastic.