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moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

Washington DC...
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moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

Hello, we are going to be in St. John for 8 nights in early June. I am already planning to do the Ram's Head hike and Lind Point Trail, but am looking for a third hike (in case we decide we want to do more hiking). I am looking for a moderate hike (less than 2 or 3 miles- not super steep), preferably with good views. I have both the Feet Fin and 4WD book and the St. John Off the Beaten Track book, and I thought about Brown Bay or Cinnamon Bay as options. Any suggestions?

Also, I was interested in kayaking, and the Hidden Reef Eco Tours kayak trip looks interesting, but was wondering if you would recommend just renting a kayak on our own instead, and if so, where is a good place for kayaking to see good views of the coast? We are not super experienced kayakers, but we have been a few times, so wouldn't want to go somewhere too isolated, or with lots of waves. If we went with Hidden Reef, do we need to book in advance, or can we wait to decide until we get on island?

Thanks for your help!!!

Ohio
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1. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

Brown Bay hike is nice, though I wouldn't say it had great views. It's fun to explore down at Brown Bay and the snorkeling is terrific, out to the left. It's pretty isolated - you're likely to be alone there.

Have you considered the Reef Bay hike? We did that one last month, guided by a National Park ranger. There are some awesome ruins at the end, and the petroglyphs to visit, and the bay is unlike other St. John bays. My choice would be to do the Reef Bay hike, leaving very early in the morning, on a day that a guided hike will be happening. Then when Sadie Sea comes to pick up the hikers, tell the captain that I can't make the trip back up, and pay to ride back to town on the Sadie Sea with him :)

Marietta, Georgia
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2. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

Speaking of Brown Bay, I've heard the snorkeling is good on the left side by some sources, and that it's best on the right side by others. Are they both good? If not, which side is the best?

Washington DC...
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3. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

I thought about Reef Bay, but didn't really want to hike with a group, or commit to booking the hike before we got on island in case we changed our mind and just wanted to be lazy and go to the beach instead of the hike, haha. How long does the hike take? Is it mostly in the forest?

Holliston, MA
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4. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

You can rent kayaks at Cinnamon Bay. You can kayak out to Whistling Cay where there is some nice snorkeling. My son and I did that, then went across to Francis Bay, Maho Bay, etc. just following the shoreline and occasionally beaching the kayak and snorkeling a bit. I am not in the best physical shape, and we had no problems whatsoever.

Ohio
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5. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

Oh, gosh, I had no sense of time on the hike, and it depends on how many times you stop to check things out as well. I'm pokey and nosey, so I'd guess around 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. You wouldn't HAVE to go with a group if you did what I suggested - hike down on a day that you've confirmed a guided group is going. Go early in the morning, just the two of you. Then you'd have time to hike and explore at your leisure. The capt of the Sadie Sea will take you back to Cruz Bay, if you tell him you're unable to hike back out, for some fee that wasn't too much.

We had a couple do this, on our guided hike - that's how I know it can be done. To be safe, you should have enough water with you to sustain you for the hike out, in the event the boat didn't show up. As far as I know, the trip is only cancelled in the event of pretty bad weather, in which case you wouldn't voluntarily decide to do a hike, either, probably.

Just an idea.

As far as Brown Bay goes, I've only snorkeled the left side, so I can't comment on the right. For some reason, it didn't seem as appealing, when we were there, on the right.

St Thomas, VI
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6. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

If you've only kayaked a few times in a lake, I think you should do a guided tour, because kayaking in the Caribbean is usually ocean kayaking, which can be more challenging than lake kayaking because the water can have more waves. You also have to contend with all the other water crafts that are out there if you're kayaking in a busy area. Besides, the guides really add to the experience because they can tell you so much about the history and the environment.

I would compare the tours offered by Hidden Reef Eco Tours and VI Ecotours to see which one best suits your needs. I've heard good things about both, but VI Ecotours has permission to operate out of Caneel, so they can take you to beaches/hikes that other kayak operators can't take you to.

Because the Reef Bay trail hike is so popular, there are days when it fills up and they can't take unreserved passengers. Since the tour is limited to the capacity of both the taxi to the trail head and the capacity of the Sadie Sea, I'm not sure there's always room for those who didn't book ahead.

Wisconsin
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7. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

My son and his girlfriend went with Hidden Reef Tours last month and they had a great time. They learned a lot about the island, both above and below the surface. They did book it about a week before we got there.

Washington DC...
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8. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

Thanks so much, the kayaking sounds like fun, I'll see if my Husband wants to book a tour.

Any other suggestions for hikes, not sure if Reef Bay is what we are looking for this trip. Maybe something that we could easily do on our own with views ?

Is Caneel Hill really strenuous, or is it not that bad even though its steep?

St Thomas, VI
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9. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

I love the Caneel Hill hike because of the fabulous view from the top of the hill. I'm not athletic, but I've managed to do that hike several times. It's not a walk in the park, but I guess it could be described as moderately challenging. I posted the hike on everytrail.com.

kod
Sarasota, Florida
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10. Re: moderate hiking/ kayaking suggestions

Brown Bay is moderate. Cinnamon bay hike has an extremely steep section in the beginning that is not moderate. Tektite /Cabrite Horn is of similar difficulty as Rams Head, perhaps a little steeper, but has very good views.