Frequently Asked Questions
YES! We have a 12 passenger open air safari truck that will take you and your equipment on your excursion. All transportation is included with the half and full day tours.
No experience is necessary! Beginners are welcome on all of Virgin Islands Expedition tours. In fact, most of our guests have never been in a sea kayak before. Anyone in average physical condition (i.e. Moderate hiking and biking) can paddle our sea kayaks. The only prerequisites are healthy spirit of curiosity, a smile, and a good attitude. You will find that our guided tours offer enough flexibility to provide a safe and rewarding experience regardless of age or skill level. Our guides will give instruction on proper sea kayaking and snorkeling technique prior to departure. And, your experienced guides will be with you the duration of your adventure to offer pointers and improve your skills.
Our tandem kayaks used for tours are surprisingly stable and comfortable. It is actually quite difficult to capsize these boats. Approximately 1 out of 1000 people will capsize and almost all of these instances take place while horseplaying (waterfights, “racing,” goofing around).
Will I be uncomfortable (cold or hot) during my tour?
No. Our goal is to make sure you are comfortable. The temperate climate in the Virgin Islands helps make this possible. Some guests, however, can get a little chilly after a long snorkel. As advised in our What To Bring checklist, a small towel and spare dry clothes are useful if you are prone to getting chilled. It is more likely that you will feel hot or overheated. Having access to plenty of drinking water is the best way to combat this issue. Fortunately, we will never be too far from swimming access in the beautiful Caribbean Sea. This is our favorite way to cool off after a big paddle or long hike.
We are incredibly proud of our guides who have a broad range of guiding experiences and skills. They all bring something unique to the table which makes cross training easy and fun. Some have a whitewater background, while others are marine biology enthusiasts or outdoor safety experts. USVI Expedition guides are all trained on basic sea kayaking, paddle boarding and hiking safety as well as first aid and emergency response. Although we come from different backgrounds, the common theme for our guides is to make sure you see, experience, and learn as much as your curiosity will bear while keeping safety as our first priority.
Our guests are a lot like you! Although our guests vary in age, size, ethnicity, culture, and skill level, you all have one thing in common: A desire to intimately experience nature from self propelled action. Our guests are generally very curious, active, and like to get involved. Minimum group size is 2 guests and the largest is 12. Within these small groups we get couples, families, friends, daytrippers, and long time St. John visitors. There’s no need to worry about coming alone. Our trip structure allows everyone to get to know each other and enjoy the experience with one another.
Most guests range in age from 16 to 65. We do have age minimums of 6 and 13 depending on the duration and difficulty of the activity. Please see age limitations listed under each activity. There is no upper age limit but we prefer to discuss physical fitness and capability with those over 65 before making a reservation. If you have young children, older adults, or anyone who desires a less strenuous guided trip, please look into our custom tours.
While all of our hiking trips are objectively outlined in miles traveled and level of difficulty, paddling trips are a different beast. We prefer to measure these tours in time rather than distance covered. Due to several factors, such as wind speed, wind direction, ocean current, swell, and paddlers’ ability it makes paddling trips more variable. On all one day paddle trips, you will never exceed 1.5 hours in the kayak and most legs of you tour will be no more than 45 minutes. We begin each tour with a planned route in mind but have alternatives available because we believe flexibility is key to any outdoor adventure.
Not at all. There is a beautiful world under the surface that is colorful, alive, and enchanting. Enjoying this incredible part of Mother Nature is one of the reasons St. John is so special. As long as you respect the environment, the environment will respect you. Your guide will detail all potential hazards in each snorkel brief before entering the water.
The U.S. Virgin Islands enjoy a tropical climate, moderated by easterly trade winds and with relatively low humidity. Temperatures vary little throughout the year. This means that anytime is a great time to visit! However, heat index does increase from July through October and hurricane season is August, September, and October. Our opinion is somewhat contradictory to the facts above; we love late summer and early fall! The water temperature is perfect and wind conditions usually dissolve to nothing. This makes for excellent underwater visibility and perfect paddling conditions.
We provide all kayak and paddle board equipment, snorkel gear, and a dry bag if needed. We also provide lunch on all full day trips. You will be responsible for bringing drinking water, sun protection, sunglasses, active/water friendly clothing, and appropriate foot wear. Please note that we recommend sturdier shoes for strenuous hiking trips than we do for paddling trips. Footwear is outlined in more detail on the What To Bring checklist.
We use tandem sea kayaks on all of our guided tours. This is industry standard for all operators who are safety conscious. Our reasons for using tandem kayaks include stability, speed, and flexibility. Tandems are wider and therefore much more stable. Tandems are also longer, making them faster, which helps guarantee that the group’s experience is maximized. Additionally, you are splitting the work load with someone else. Doesn’t that seem easier?
Lastly, and most importantly, it gives your guide flexibility to create ideal paddle pairs so the group can move at a similar pace. This occurs very rarely but it is nice to have that option. We highly recommended tandem kayaks but occasionally guests request a single. If you can provide proof of completing a sea kayaking training course, we will allow use of single touring kayak. Please note that singles are extremely limited and may not be available for use on the day of your tour.
With interest and popularity in paddleboarding growing so rapidly, many people are beginning to ask this very important question. Generally speaking, most people are pleasantly surprised by how quickly they catch on to the basics. Our boards are 11 feet long and 32 inches wide making them very stable and comfortable. 90% of our students and guests become comfortable paddling while standing up. There is also no rule that says you must stand up in order to enjoy this sport. Kneeling and paddling in the prone position are great options to get out on the water, get active, and see some cool stuff. Our guides will be with you the entire time to encourage and give pointers along the way.
This is a very important question that everyone should ask themselves before participating in a new and rigorous activity. We have rated each trail based on length of hike, elevation change, trail composition and exposure. Each trail is described in detail and ultimately this is a decision that you must make for yourself. If you have chronic joint injuries or risk of cardiac issues, consult your physician before signing up. Our guides will set a slow and enjoyable pace on each hike with opportunity to rest and hydrate (usually while learning interesting biological or historical facts). If you are looking for something less rigorous, we are happy to work with you and create a custom hiking trip for you and your group.
We sure do. Click HERE to see a list of things we suggest to make your adventure more enjoyable.