St. John USVI Beaches: Hart BayExcerpted from St. John Off The Beaten Track © 2006 Gerald Singer
The beach at Hart Bay consists of a long strand of sand and coral rubble fringed by sea grape, beach maho and mangrove trees. There is often breaking surf and strong breezes. The water near shore is shallow with grass and algae growing over the sand.
Hart Bay Beach a great picnic beach. It is not crowded and it is usually cool and breezy. The view is spectacular, the sound of the surf, inspiring and the freshness of the air invigorating.
There are two trails to Hart Bay, both are relatively easy walks and both go to the same beach although one leads to the southern and the other to the northern ends of Hart Bay. The trails are the property of the Chocolate Hole Owner’s Association. The association, however, is not presently restricting land access to the beach.
To pick up the trail to the southern end of the beach, drive
a quarter mile from the intersection of Chocolate Hole East Road
and Route 104 and then turn left onto Bovocoap Point Road. Drive
about 0.3 miles to the intersection of Bovocoap Point Road and
Hart Bay Overlook. Park on the side of the road at the Hart Bay
Overlook. The trail goes behind the house named Poinciana and
leads down to the beach.
To arrive at get to the northern extreme of the beach, take the first left turn on Tamarind Road which you will come to shortly after the intersection of Chocolate Hole East Road and the South Shore Road. Go 0.2 miles and then bear right on to Cactus Road and proceed 0.1 mile. The trail will be on your right and is marked by a sign reading “Hart Bay Trail”.
The path to the beach provides a pleasant walk through a typical dry forest environment passing by the edge of a picturesque salt pond, a beautiful location for bird watching in the early morning. From the pond, the track leads through the mangroves and ends at the beach.
In the center of the bay are some rocks that rise up above the surface. Just north of these rocks is an area of coral ledges. Colorful small corals and encrusting sponges line the lower edge of the shelves. These shelves provide protection for small fish and other sea creatures, so there will be a lot to see under the ledges and around, and in, the holes, cracks and crevices of the reef.
Remember, only attempt this snorkel on a calm day and be careful of sea urchins when you enter and exit the water.