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Author: Jenn Manes

Exploring the Island: Hiking to Ram Head

The view from the top of Ram head looking west along St. John’s south shore

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I enjoy taking a walk that leads me to somewhere beautiful. And we have so many options around St. John to do just that. Today I am going to tell you about one of my favorites – the hike to Ram Head.

Ram Head is located in the southeastern section of the island, and south of Coral Bay. To get to Ram Head, you will first take Route 10 east (if coming from Cruz Bay), and then you will take a right at the Coral Bay sign, which is Route 107. You will drive just under four miles until you see the parking lot for Salt Pond on your left. This is where the hike begins.

The parking area at the trailhead that leads you to Salt Pond and Ram Head
Ram Head is 1.2 miles from the parking lot.

As you can see in the image above, the hike from the parking lot to Ram Head is 1.2 miles. I timed the hike on my Apple Watch, and it took me 38 minutes. I did, however, stop to take numerous pictures along the way.

The hike to Ram Head isn’t extremely tough when it comes to the terrain. What makes this hike tough is the heat. There is very little shade along the path, so you will definitely want to wear sun protection and bring plenty of water. It’s also best to do this hike early in the morning before it gets too hot out.

The hike from the parking lot to Salt Pond Bay beach is .3 miles, or about five to 10 minutes. It’s a wide path, that is mostly dirt, but it is rocky in some spots. The hike to Ram Head is definitely a sneaker or sandal with straps type of hike in my opinion.

The path down to Salt Pond Bay
There is a restroom at the bottom of the trail near Salt Pond Bay, and it is usually very clean.

Once you arrive at Salt Pond Bay, you will walk across the sand. At the end of the beach, follow the path to your right and along the shoreline. The path will then go into the woods and up a hill. Follow that for a bit, and soon you will reach Blue Cobblestone beach.

Walk to the far end of the beach
Follow the path along the shoreline to the right at the end of the beach. The path to the left leads you to Drunk Bay.
The trail then goes into the woods, and you will climb some hills.
That’s Blue Cobblestone beach in the distance.

Be very careful as you walk across the cobblestones, as some are loose and wobbly. I twisted my ankle pretty badly when hiking this stretch once, and it was no fun at all.

Toward the end of Blue Cobblestone beach, you will see a sign that simply says “Trail” and points to your left. Follow that up a short, but winding hill and you will soon see Ram Head in front of you.

Follow the sign to Ram Head
The top of Ram Head is on the hill in the distance to the right.

After walking for a few minutes, you will come to a cut in the land. The wind whips up and through this little section. It’s a great spot to cool off before making the final climb up to Ram Head. From here, it’s just a few minutes and you will be at the top of Ram Head.

You are almost to the cut at this point.
Hold onto your hats, because it’s super windy right here!

The views at the top of Ram Head are some of the most spectacular on island. You can see a great deal of St. John’s south shore in one direction and several islands in the British Virgin Islands in the other direction. You can even see St. Croix to the south on a clear day.

South shore views from Ram Head
British Virgin Islands in the distance (somewhat shaded) and to the right
My friend Pat checking out St. Croix to the south.

Ram Head is also an integral part of St. John’s history.

“It has been speculated that this remote and inhospitable region provided a hideout for runaway slaves, called maroons, who lived here just before the slave rebellion in 1733,” according to “This was a time of severe drought on St. John. Food could not be easily grown and was in scarce supply. The biggest problem the maroons faced was finding fresh water. The underground springs had dried up along with the freshwater pools of the major guts. On Ram Head, however, the maroons could provide themselves with food and water. Water could be found stored in the cactus that proliferated on the peninsula and the sea around the point provided excellent fishing. Whelks could be picked along the rocky portions of the coast, and conch could be harvested on the grassy seabed of Salt Pond Bay.”

The site continues, “For these reasons, Ram Head is thought to have been a stronghold for the Akwamu tribesman who rebelled against slavery in 1733. When the tides of battle turned against the rebels, a group of warriors committed suicide here rather than face capture.”

How to Get to Ram Head

It’s best to take a rental car or an island tour out to this part of the island. The taxis will drive you to Salt Pond, but they do not routinely go past this area. This means that you may get a ride out, but you will most likely will not get a ride back unless you schedule it in advance with your driver. The cost of a taxi from Cruz Bay to Salt Pond is $30 for one person or $21 for two or more people. You can opt to pay the taxi to wait for you, which costs $1 per minute. The bus is another option, however I have heard countless stories from hikers who were left stranded after missing the bus.

Interested in seeing more of St. John? Please contact me to learn more about my island tours. I am a licensed tour guide with a five-star rating on TripAdvisor. Feel free to check out my website at or email me at




Island Tidbits would like to welcome our newest advertiser James M. Miller Property Management. James M. Miller Property Management offers both luxury and affordable vacation rentals and cottages on St. John. I’ve worked with them for years, and I can say firsthand that they take an extra effort to be prompt, helpful, courteous, and efficient to exceed your island expectations. Please click here to view their more than 30 vacation rentals. 


Stay on the Beach at Cinnamon Bay

The beach near some of my favorite eco-tents & bare sites at Cinnamon Bay

Did you know that you can stay just 40 steps from the beach for as little as $40 a night? It’s true! Camping may not be for everyone, but there is definitely a more affordable way to stay in St. John, and today I plan to tell you all about it. Camping really isn’t your thing? No problem! There are other options at Cinnamon Bay that are affordable and don’t require you to sleep in a tent. 🙂

Let’s start with the basics… Cinnamon Bay is the only campground in the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John. It’s located on St. John’s north shore, between Trunk Bay and Maho Bay. (Peter Bay is to its west, but that beach does not have public road access.) Cinnamon Bay is less than 20 minutes from Cruz Bay, and the taxis go there regularly.

Like all of St. John, Cinnamon Bay was heavily damaged when Hurricane Irma rolled through back in 2017. It stayed closed for several years as renovations occurred, and it finally reopened last January. And since the storms, Cinnamon Bay has been converted to a nonprofit, so all proceeds support St. John.

Cinnamon Bay has three types of accommodations: bare sites, eco tents and cottages.

Bare Sites

All bare sites include a wooden platform with a rain cover, a picnic table and a charcoal grill. You can opt to bring your own tent and gear, or you can choose to rent a bare site with a tent and linens. You can also choose to rent a cooking kit for an additional fee. The cost to rent a bare site starts between $40 and $50 a night, depending on the season. They are located in different areas within the campground. My favorite is number 13, which is about 40 steps from the beach.

Eco Tents 

Want to kinda camp, but not really camp? Then an eco tent might be a good option for you! These are permanent tent structures that include a queen-sized bed, a fan, light, electrical outlet, linens and a cooking kit. The cost to rent an eco tent starts between $130 and $175 a night, depending on the season. Oceanside eco tents are priced a bit higher.

Check out this quick video I took of sites 12, 13 and 14, which are some of my absolutely favorites.


Ok, now this is a great option for those of you who want to stay on the beach, prefer not to camp, and don’t want to break the bank at the same time. The cottages are solid concrete buildings that have windows on the front and back to allow the gentle breezes to roll through. Each cottage has a queen-sized bed, plus a day bed/sofa with a trundle. They also have a mini fridge and grill, and they come complete with linens and cooking kits. All of the cottages are located on the western side of Cinnamon Bay and are very close to the beach. The cost to rent a cottage is between $230 and $285 a night, depending on the season.

Check out this quick video I took to show you the location of the cottages at Cinnamon Bay:

As I mentioned, prices are based on season. Here is the breakdown:

  • Low season is July 16th through August 31st. Rates range from $40 to $230 a night.
  • Mid season is May 1st through July 15th and also November 1st through December 14th. Rates range from $45 to $250 a night.
  • High season is December 15th through April 30th. Rates range from $50 and $285 a night.

All rates are based on double occupancy. The Cinnamon Bay campground is closed in September and October.

Cinnamon Bay is a full service campground, and its amenities are offered to non-campers who are stopping bay to use the beach as well. It has a large restaurant that serves lunch and dinner near the entrance and parking lots areas. There is also a food truck near the beach that serves lunch. A new food truck is coming soon, so it’s food offerings will be expended later this season. I will keep you posted on that.

The restaurant at Cinnamon Bay serves breakfast and dinner. It is open to the public.
The food truck is located beside the beach at Cinnamon Bay.

There are restrooms available to everyone. There is also a spigot beside the main restroom building near the beach where you can rinse the sand off your feet. Showers are only available to campers.

The restroom building near the beach

Cinnamon Bay also has a well-stocked camp store that has drinks, snacks, t-shirts, hats, reef-safe sunscreen and more.

The camp store at Cinnamon Bay

I know the world has gotten pricier in recent years, and St. John is no exception. So this is a nice, affordable option for many of us. If you are interested in learning more about the Cinnamon Bay campground, please check out its website at

(Quick note to my readers: This is not a paid placement story. I simply write about the places I enjoy & items I think you will care about. I like to promote cool places and great businesses on the island.)

Share this post: [DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_SOCIAL_ICONS] Use It to Plan Your St. John Vacation

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! Today I wanted to point out some features here on that you may have missed since we launched back in September. There are lots of items here that will help you plan your St. John vacation.

Let’s start with how to get here. You will notice in the Important Links section in our sidebar a link that says “How to Get to St. John.” This link tells you everything you need to know from flying into St. Thomas to taxiing to one of the three ferry options (Red Hook, Crown Bar or Charlotte Amalie) and then the actual ferries or barges, which you will need to take to get to St. John. It even discusses the customs process at the airport. Click here to read How to Get to St. John. You can also find this information under our Info tab in the Island Tidbits menu.

Want to see what St. John looks like at this very moment? We have more than 20 live-streaming webcams over on our Webcams page. We’ve included webcams from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay and beyond. We even included the Soggy Dollar Bar’s webcam too. You can see all of our webcams at

Interested in watching some videos recently taken here on St. John? I’ve uploaded 10 videos so far. There are beach videos – Trunk Bay, Honeymoon Beach & Saltwell Bottom. There are also GoPro videos I have taken while driving around the island. Want to see exactly what it looks like to drive from Cruz Bay to Maho Bay? Well you can! Check out that and all of our videos at

Now let’s talk Logistics. I’ve created two custom maps. One shows you exactly where our restaurants are located, and the other shows basic logistics like parking lots (paid & free), dumpsters (we drop our garbage off here), public restrooms and more. One thing to note: There is a Coco Jim’s marker incorrectly placed in Cruz Bay. That is on the public Google map, and I do not have the ability to change it, although I did notify Google. Coco Jim’s is correctly placed on my map (purple marker). It’s located on Route 10 beside Mid Way. We plan to add more categories to the Logistics map soon, including laundromats, ATMs, etc., so please check back often for updates.

In addition to all of this helpful information, I also post stories daily that will also help you plan your St. John vacation. I enjoy writing about hiking trails, history, restaurant openings, re-openings and more. There are so many great things happening here, and so many cool stories from the past, and I am excited to share it all with you.

So please bookmark this website – Follow us on social media. Click here for Facebook. Click here for Instagram. Want to see our videos as soon as they post? Click here to check out our YouTube channel.

If you’d like to get our stories emailed to you once or twice a week? Please click here to Subscribe. Prefer to receive our posts daily? Just click the email icon at the bottom of this post to sign up.

And lastly, if there is anything you are interested in learning more about, please email me at I would love to hear from you.

That’s it for today. Thank you for reading Island Tidbits. I hope you find this site to be helpful when planning your St. John vacation.

Have a wonderful day!


The Cannon at the Ferry Dock

Hello everyone! So I’ve been writing Islands Tidbits for just under three months now, and I see that I have so many more readers today than I did when I first started this blog back in September. (Thank you so much for reading!) So I figured I would re-share the following story, because I think it’s so interesting. And I think you’ll find it to be interesting too. Here is the story of the cannon at the ferry dock in Cruz Bay.

The bulk of people who visit St. John, or return to the island, do so via the Cruz Bay ferry dock. And as we do so, we pass an important element of our island’s history – a cannon that was previously located at Fortsberg in Coral Bay. The ruins of Fortsberg, an 18th century citadel fortress, are located on a hill above the eastern side of Coral Bay harbor. Fortsberg was the site of a successful slave rebellion in 1733.

This particular cannon was relocated from Fortsberg to Cruz Bay when the ferry dock was being built in 1838. At that time, it was placed with its muzzle facing downward and into the ground, a common practice during peacetime. The cannon was used as a hitching post for donkeys or horses. (The fort at Fortsberg was decommissioned in 1765.)

The cannon at the Cruz Bay ferry dock was originally placed muzzle down. Image source: Library of Congress

When the dock was remodeled in the 1990s, the cannon was placed pointing out to sea, which is culturally and historically inaccurate. The good news is that the ferry dock is set to be renovated once again, and local historians and residents are asking that the cannon be restored to its original position.

The cannon’s current position

In 2013, three additional cannons were uncovered on the beach in Cruz Bay. It is believed that they, too, were originally located at Fortsberg. The three cannons were removed at the time, and moved to a “secure place” according to a 2013 St. John Source article. It turns out that the “secure place” is just behind a building, but let’s hope that changes soon.

Three cannons were found on Cruz Bay beach in 2013. Image source: St. John Source

So the next time you’re coming or going via the Cruz Bay ferry dock, please take a moment to check out this cannon. It’s such an important part of the island’s history.


Best Beaches to Visit When We Have Big Swells

Saltwell Bottom and Hansen bays are located within Round Bay on St. John’s East End.

Hello everyone, and welcome to the middle of the week! So as I told you earlier this week, we have a pretty large north swell happening right now. This means that swimming at the north shore beaches – Hawksnest, Trunk and Cinnamon especially – is not safe. There is currently a high risk of rip currents, a high surf advisory, a small craft advisory and dangerous swimming and surf conditions, according to the US National Weather Service out of San Juan. They’re currently forecasting seas up to eight feet with breaking waves up to 13 feet here in the USVI and also over in Puerto Rico. That’s pretty intense.

When we have a north or northeasterly swell (happening right now), it’s best to spend your time at the beaches located on the south side of the island. So until this north swell goes away – it’s forecasted to last through the end of the work week – you will want to swim and snorkel at the following beaches:

Salt Pond Bay

Salt Pond Bay

Salt Pond is located about four miles past Coral Bay. To get there, take Route 10 (Centerline Road) out to the main Coral Bay intersection. Take a right there (if traveling from Cruz Bay), and drive about 10-15 minutes until you se the Salt Pond parking lot on your left. The walk down to Salt Pond is about five minutes. It’s a downhill walk to get there, which means an uphill walk back to your vehicle. There are not a ton of trees at Salt Pond, so be sure to bring sun protection. There is some nice snorkeling at Salt Pond, and the bay will be nice and calm.

Little Lameshur Bay

A view from Little Lameshur
A building at the Little Lameshur plantation

It’s a bit of a journey to get to Little Lameshur, but it’s a pretty beach, one which will also be calm during these swells. To get to Little Lameshur, you will also take Route 10 to Coral Bay. Take a right (again if you’re coming from Cruz Bay), and drive until the pavement ends, which is about 4-5 miles, I believe. Once the pavement ends, there is a mostly dirt road that leads you to Little Lameshur. It is almost a full mile to get out there. You will first past Great Lameshur, which is a rocky beach. Continue a bit further to get to Lameshur, which is sandy. When you’re out there, walk to the end of the road and check out the remnants of the sugar plantation. Not all rental companies allow their vehicles to go out there due to road conditions, so you will want to check that first.

Hansen Bay

Thalia is one of the owners of the property beside Hansen Bay. (2019 pic)

Hansen Bay is located on the East End, about 12 miles from Cruz Bay. It’s pretty easy to get to this beach, as long as you don’t mind driving up and down some pretty big hills. To get here, you will just drive straight down Route 10 until you get there. You will pass through the main intersection of Coral Bay. You will then pass Skinny Legs and Hurricane Hole. After you pass Princess Bay (part of Hurricane Hole), the road will start to get steep. Go up and down a few hills, and eventually you will get to Hansen on your right. It’s a beautiful sandy beach. The owners of the land (they own up to the high tide water line) charge a donation to park on their land. One of the owners, Thalia, is pictured above. Please tell her I sent you. 🙂

Saltwell Bottom Bay 

Ash and his family own Saltwell Bottom. (This is an older photo taken when Lime Out was located out there. It’s now located in Coral Bay.)
The view from Saltwell Bottom

Saltwell Bottom is located just around the corner from Hansen. So follow those directions, but drive past Hansen. You will drive an additional minute or two and then you will be at Saltwell. This, too, is a donation to park beach. It’s a bit more pebbly, but it’s one of my favorites on island. If you head out here, tell the owners Ash and Yola, that Jenn sent you. They’re great people. This beach has great access to Pelican Rock too, which has amazing corals and a lot of fish.

Haulover South

Haulover south

Haulover south is located at the bottom of one of the steep hills before you get to Hansen and Saltwell Bottom. It will be very calm during these swells, but it is a very rocky beach. I know not everyone loves that, but there is good snorkeling there if you don’t mind the rocks.

Maho, typically a nice and calm beach, has even had waves this week.

Waves at Maho this past Monday. They will continue through the the end of the week.

There are other beaches that will be pretty calm this week, but the ones listed above are the easiest to get to and have a decent amount of parking.

I hope this helps! Be safe out there, and always use a noodle or life vest when you’re snorkeling, even if you’re snorkeling in calm water. Better safe than sorry is my motto. And please, do not attempt to snorkel on the north shore until this swell is gone. The water is unsafe and so churned up that you probably won’t see much anyway.

Have a wonderful day!