Trunk Bay beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. It is located on the island of Saint John belonging to the US Virgin Islands in its northwestern part. Besides relaxing on the beach, you can also go snorkeling and admire the underwater life of the local coral reef. Through its picturesque scenery, which it owes to the white sand, turquoise water, and excellent weather practically all year round, this place is often visited by photographers.
The premises of the Virgin Islands National Park, which has about 27 square miles, is Trunk Bay in Saint John. By attaching the bay to the reserve cause, that the archipelago has remained away from urban development. In that, it is one of the most virgin places in the Caribbean. The area consists of a crescent-shaped beach three-tenths of a mile long (almost 0.5 km) and the islet of Trunk Cay, and all is surrounded by hills. Whereas, under the water, on the west side of the beach and around Trunk Cay, there are coral reefs that are often visited by divers.
HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND?
The island can only be reached by ferry, as there is no official airport on the island. First one should to fly to the island of St. Thomas, and then from the airport get a cab to the port of Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook. From there, by boat, we can reach Cruz Bay on the island of St. John. From Red Hook the ferry runs 20 minutes, whereas from Charlotte Amalie the trip lasts about 45 minutes (from Charlotte Amalie the ferry leaves much rarely frequently than from Red Hook).
Here you can find the current schedule of ship course from several towns.
Here you can make a cruise reservation from Charlotte Amalie to Cruz Bay.
Here you can make a cruise reservation from Red Hook to Cruz Bay.
HOW TO GET TO THE BAY
From Cruz Bay, take Route 20 (North Shore Road), and drive about 3.5 miles. On the way, there is a picturesque viewpoint (Trunk Bay Outlook), from which most of the photos are taken of the bay. Unfortunately, there is no parking there, so it is best to park in the nearby parking lot near Peace Hill Trial and walk to the viewpoint. Be careful because the road does not have any sidewalk/roadside. Continue driving down the hill, and after a while you will begin to see signs indicating a parking lot at Trunk Beach.
WHAT CAN YOU FIND ON THE BEACH?
The beach there is a bar with snacks, drinks and a grill, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are also beach chair rental shops, picnic tables, showers, toilets and a gift store. The beach is guarded and there is always there a lifeguard (usually from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO THE BAY?
It’s best to go to the beach early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The sunrises at Trunk Bay are amazing, and it’s worth taking your camera with you at this time. Getting there before the crowds is important if you have a rental car because the nearer to noon, the parking lot at the beach gets more and more full. If we go there later around noon or after noon, it is best to take a cab. Sunsets at Trunk Bay are also magnificent, with low-set clouds often appearing in the blue sky, providing ideal conditions for taking beautiful photos.
WHAT HOURS IS THE BEACH OPEN?
Trunk Beach is open for tourists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Toilets and showers are open from 8 am to 4 pm.
ABOUT WHAT SHOULD REMEMBER?
Sunscreen – this is one of the most important things to take with you. It will protect our skin from the glaring sun and possible burns. It should remember that many sunscreens have been banned in the Virgin Islands because of ingredients which damage coral reefs. Fortunately, such sunscreens can be purchased on the island in many stores, including grocery stores.
Sandals or flip-flops – the walk to the beach from the parking lot is short, but it leads through the woods, and it is better to take them to avoid a possible cutting.
Snorkeling equipment – in Trunk Bay, there is an underwater trail that shows the beauty of the offshore coral reefs. However, in order to swim trail, you need snorkeling equipment, that is a mask, tube, and fins. If we do not have our own equipment, we can rent it, for example, at St. John Beach Bum in Cruz Bay.
Waterproof camera case – if you want to take photos/video of sea creatures and coral reefs, it is essential to equip yourself at a case for camera to avoid flooded.
Ultraviolet (UV) filter for the camera – such an accessory will certainly help us to better set the camera and take a lovely photo of the sunrise or sunset over the bay.
The beach is most crowded near the entrance. If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s a good idea to go down the beach to the west (on the left when looking toward the ocean). In that area, just behind the rocks, is also the small Jumbie Beach. Additionally, the western part of the beach is more shaded.
Green turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Touching or coming too close to them is considered an offense, and you can get a fine.
Parking at the bay can offer about 40 parking spaces.
Unlike other beaches on St. John, at Trunk Bay there is a $5 entrance fee.(If you have an America the Beautiful National Park Pass, admission is free, read more about the pass here). Cash or card is accepted, but it is recommended to have cash in case of power outages or other problems.
Kayaking or paddleboarding is prohibited.
Occasionally, jellyfishes may appear in the bay. Swerve them when diving to avoid possible burns.
THE UNDERWATER TRAIL
The Underwater Snorkel Trail is a great option for people who beginning to snorkeling. The trail is located at the west wall of Trunk Cay (when looking toward the ocean) and measures about 600-700 feet in length (183-213 meters, each source gives a different value). The underwater trail is marked with plates that you can swim up to. Plates contain information about the reef and the species of fish that can be seen there. Some of them have warnings written, such as “Do not touch turtles and coral.” The coral reef is only 30 meters from the beach. Although many tourists visit this the area, it is still one of the best snorkeling place on St. John, where you can see tropical fish, stingrays, sea snails, arrow crabs, coral and even green turtles. The depth does not exceed 16-20 meters (different sources give a different value). More experienced divers can circumnavigate the entire islet of Trunk Cay (it takes about 1 hour), as the entire island is surrounded by a coral reef. It is worth remembering that on the eastern side of the islet, the reef is more “barren” and inhabited by fewer sea creatures, due to weaker protection from waves.
ATTENTION! Depending on the weather, tides and phase of the moon, there may be strong waves and currents on the far shore of the bay. Use common sense, never exceed your capabilities, and always dive with someone.
The nearest resorts are located in Cruz Bay. It is just a 10-minute drive or cab ride from the beach. For those looking for privacy and amenities in the form of a cottage or villa, on the island, there are almost 400 rental offers. On this page you can find accommodation on Saint John along with seasonal discounts.
- In 2017, the island of Saint John was hit by Hurricane Maria, which destroyed most of the local flora.
- Trunk Bay is named after the largest sea turtle in the world – the leatherback sea turtle, which is known by islanders as “trunks.”
- Apparently, on St. John, there is not a single stoplight.
- The population of St. John Island is about 5,000 people. During the peak season, which is between December and March, due to tourists, the number of human rises to 40,000.
Trunk Bay is undoubtedly a charming place where tourists can relax and forget their daily problems on a sandy beach amid the sound of the sea waves. For the more active, in other than the underwater trail near Trunk Cay, it is possible visiting places in the area such as Annaberg Sugar Plantation, Trunk Bay Plantation Ruins, Cinnamon Bay Plantation Ruins, Catherineberg Estate Ruins and Peace Hill Windmill. Certainly, the island of Saint John is conducive to people who are mainly looking for relaxation, as well as people who, in other than snorkeling, would like to explore the historical knowledge of this place. History of the island it can get to know by visiting one of the surrounding ruins of sugar plantations that functioned during the modern era.
Author Start Livin, source Unsplash.
Pearly-eyed thrasher at beach in St. John's, US Virgin Islands, Yogi Misir, source Unsplash.
Typical forest path on St. John, Cyrus Crossan, source Unsplash.
Tense Southern stingray in St. John's Hudson Bay, Roger Darnell, source Unsplash.
Roger Darnell, source Unsplash.
Honeymoon Beach, St. John, USVI, author Wadé, source Unsplash.
Hansen Bay, St. John, author Start Livin, source Unsplash.