Water Lemon Cay
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*I was looking at Water Lemon Cay to go snorkeling but I am unable to locate it on the map. We will be arriving in ST. Thomas via NCL cruise lines. I plan on taking the ferry over to St. John and going snorkeling. I had noticed that Water Lemon Cay was highly recommened but we need to know how to get there. Is it to far to walk or hike to? Do we need a cab and if so how much. We are able to hike or walk but have no idea if it is too far. If you had one day in the St. Thomas, St. John area what would you do. We are not shoppers but enjoy hiking and snorkeling. Thanks for your help.
Water Lemon Cay is actually Leinster Bay. Leinster is the name of the bay and Water Lemon is the name of the little island located in the bay. Thus, cousing the confusion. The best snorkeling is located around this cay.
As far as the walk, it is about a 20 minute walk along the shore one a rocky trail. You will need a rental vehicle to get there. I am pretty certain that the taxis do not go out as far as Leinster.
You may have a better time snorkeling at Francis Bay, Hawksnest or Cinnamon for time and travel considerations.
Waterlemon Cay is wonderful, however might be a hussle for you with the time restraints. You could do it, you would need to try and get off the ship early as possiable, take a taxi to Red Hook, around $10 each way for one person, usually a couple dollars less for the 2nd, 3rd and so forth person. Ferry is $3 one way, one person, takes around 20-25 minutes. At the docks there are always taxis in Cruz Bay - get one, ask to go to Annaberg Plantation. Annaberg is right accross from the Leinster Bay/end of the paved road/beginning of the Waterlemon Trail - which is where you are actually going. Reason I say Annaberg -is taxis will not be hanging out at the end of the trail when you want to return to Cruz Bay so its a good idea to see where the taxis will be in that area - which is Annaberg OR set up a time, tell the taxi driver you need to be picked up at the beginning of the trail at a set time - be there. (Actually I just looked at my taxi rate sheet for St. John and Leinster Bay is an option, its the same price as Annaberg - like mentioned they are right next to each other. That taxi will run you $11 for one person, $18 for two, $7 for 3rd, 4th and so forth... one way. Do figure out a way to get back ,either have that same drive come back for you, or walk up to the Annaberg entrance and catch a taxi from there... because taxi's are not generally waiting at Leinster Bay.
You have to hike around 20-25 minutes along a relatively flat rocky path, coast line, then accross a sandy shore line, then swim out a little ways to the Cay. My best peice of advice would be to, keep track of how long it takes you to get from ship to water lemon.... keep this in mind then calculate which ferry you would need to take, they run every hour on the hour from Cruz Bay --- figure out which one you need to take to get back to ship in time, if you intend on staying over at Waterlemon area all day, and then make a time to get the taxi to pick you up - then watch your watches... St. John is an easy place to lose track of time in. 🙂
In terms of time.... well lets see 20-30 minutes from cruise dock to Red Hook, 20-25 minute ferry ride, maybe 20 minutes to trail, 25-30 minutes to hike. The taxi will be good youll see a little of St. Thomas. The ferry ride is nice, and St. John taxi -youll see a little of St. John was you drive. The hike is enjoyable too - so the commute will be enjoyable.
So are you saying it should take me about 2 hours to get to the beach to snorkel. We are supposed to dock at around 7 am and depart at 6 pm. So surely we could get there early. What time does the ferry start running at red hook? We will get up early and head out. I have snorkeled a lot and use to dive so I would prefer to go to a beach where you might see something besides little fish. Is the cay straight off of the beach within moderate swimming distance? How far of a walk is it to the Annaberg taxi location. Also is this worth trying to see. Is it possible to not figure out where the cay is?? Thanks for
2 hours might be more time then it actually will take, but a good rough estimate. I have been there several times, but never timed myself and never had my starting point be the cruise ship LOL. In any case. Check out the ferry schedules at
Quick reference -
8:00 am to Midnight
The eariest two often get full - reason being that folks commute to work on St. John, they need to get to work so they get there early.
I can visualize the Cay in my mind... LOL - trying to think of how to describe it to you in words so you can share the visual picture. Lets see... Ok picture the letter J but laying on its side... ok first long line of the J is the shore line and next to the shoreline is the road. Right across from the road if your back was to the shoreline would be the Annaberg parking lot, where you can acess port-a-potties good idea - as there are none at Waterlemon. The steps to Annaberg are right to the left of the parking area. The taxis/cars will drive a bit further to follow the road, the steps are more scenic- through trees. Ok back to my J.... so at the end of the first line of the J or where the stem starts to curve you have the end of the road and the beginning of the trail. At the end of the road, it is sort of squared off, looks like a car or two might be able to just park there on the side of the road -and some do, so perhaps there will be a car there. If you stand there, road behind you, shore to your left you can see the Cay, its a little islet. There is also a sign there, a street sign type thing but for the trail. It says the trail info, the lenght, time... step down right there and start following the coast line/trail. In some spots its an actual trail in others its just climbing over the rocks. Then keep walking toward the cay - like i said you can see it. This walk will be like you are following the curve of the J- LOL, geez this is sounding confusing. In any case - yes you can find it easily. And to sum up the visual - the cay is right there toward the end of the curvy part of the J Yes it is a short swimming distance. If you walk all the way to the end of the beach area then you get closer to it. Walk to Annaberg once back at the road - its right there, 5 minutes up the stairs. And yes its worth seeing. There is information about it on this web site, under St. John, National Park - Annaberg.
Do come back and post how you found St. John and Waterlemon to be, and how easy it was to find.
So all things said. If you had to pick one place to snorkel on St. John would this be it. You mentioned port a potties but is there any food in the area.
No food in this area, not walking... good point -bring some drinks with you and snacks... you can pick that up in Cruz Bay.
There are lots of spots to snorkel in St. John. Some are easier to get to like Trunk Bay and some are more difficult sometimes requiring boat access. Your choice is a good one!!
If you go to snorkel at Waterlemon Cay beware of the many mongoose that populate the area. They don't seem to bother people but will rummage through your bags while you're out snorkeling. Best to hang everthing from the trees. I guess they don't climb very well.
I wouldn't chance it on a cruise stop. Your ship docks at 7 and leaves at 6 which means that you won't disembark until earliest 8AM and you'll have to be back on board by latest 5PM. The earliest ferry you'll have a chance of getting at Red Hook will be 9AM and the latest you should count on for the return is 3PM to allow for delays.
Waterlemon is remote, no facilities at all so you'll have to schlep your own gear and refreshments and pre-arrange for a taxi driver to return and pick you up from there to get you back to Cruz Bay.
If you decide to do it have a wonderful time but there is equally good snorkeling at less remote spots on St John and also on St Thomas.
I agree with STT Resident
While Islander did an admirable job of outlining the route you actually pass by many spots of equal pleasure and will be 'on the clock' to snorkel Waterlemon. Personally I don't want that stress on a vacation and it might take away much of the enjoyment if viewed more as a task rather than treat.
I suggest you snorkel Trunk, Hawksnest or Cinammon, all with amenities and take the time to relax. Enjoy what the VI can offer, know what it brings and plan your return, perhaps staying on an island rather than cruising through.
Great advice for a post from 2003 🙂
More awake than I :$)
Good grief - now I see the last post was indeed Feb 2003 and someone decided to resurrect the thread in Feb 2014. Threads such as these really should be closed when there's been no activity for years!
Since this old revived thread still might be of interest to someone trying to visit StJ from a cruise ship, I'll add something that we did last year.
Many of the Cruise lines (in our case RCCL) will offer Snorkeling or beach break trips over to St.J that leave directly from the cruise ship dock. St. Thomas has horrible traffic and the taxi ride to Red Hook can take a long time and then you may be waiting up to an hour for the next ferry. This lets you bypass that and get on a boat heading to StJ pretty much within an hour of your arrival.
In our case it was a snorkel excursion where they first stop in Cruz Bay and let off anyone who just wants to see StJ (about 1/2 the boat load) and the rest take the boat to snorkel along the north shore for a couple hours. The boat returns to Cruz to allow the snorkelers a couple hours to look around too.
Check with your excursions desk but I assume they all use the same operators. The cost was comparable to taking a taxi to red hook and then a ferry on top of that. This not only saves you some time in getting to and from your ship but since you are technically on a ship excursion, they won't leave port without you like they might if you were stuck in St Thomas traffic returning from Red Hook.