Questions and Answers

 

Most questions on shopping and restaurants and condo rules and regulations can be answered in the rather extensive notebook that we have in our unit.  However, there are always other questions for first time visitors.  Hopefully the questions and answers below will be of help to all.

 

 I was wondering are there any gyms/health clubs in the area?    I looked in the Innovative Phone Book and found the Beeston Hill Fitness Center in Christiansted, 840 778-5144 and I went to www.gotostcroix.com and found "340 Cross Fit",  340 513-8703,  www.340crossfit.vi,  I hope this is a help.

 

What does the "fully stocked bar" contain?   We stock the bar in the spring with vodka, gin, bourbon, Scotch, several flavors of rum and a note to guests to please replace what they use. There is a saying in the islands that the mixes usually cost more than the alcohol, although I am sure that it would depend on what you are buying.

 

Where are the best snorkeling spots?    click here to see suggestions sent in to the Trip Advisor St. Croix Forum

 

Do we need water shoes?   There are a few loose pieces of coral in the sand in front of the beach.  You would definitely need them if you wanted to walk around the points at the ends of the beach.

 

Where is the king bed located?  Downstairs, click here to see a diagram of the entire unit.          

 

Does the king bedroom have an attached patio?  No, it's the upstairs queen that has the attached patio.            

 

Is the washer/dryer inside the unit?   Yes, and quite large too as well as new.

 

Are the electrical outlets the same in St. Croix as they are here in the U.S.?  Yes

 

Barbara,  did you see the itinerary ? Is that going to be a problem with arrival time. .?  (Arriving 8:00 a.m. on same day someone is leaving)  I see that you are arriving at 8:00 a.m. and probably will arrive at Gentle Winds around 9:00-9:30.   The previous guests have an early flight and should be out well before the departure time of 10:00 but Angela will need time to clean.  If you plan with her she will let you know if  she will need all the time until 4:00.   She should be there when you arrive and she can tell you where you can leave your suitcases and you can just change and go down and collapse on the beach (remember sun screen and take advantage of the shade) and eat and drink at the snack shack.  There’s also a restroom and changing area by the recreation room by the pool.

 

Assuming our flights are on time (BIG ASSUMPTION!!!!!), we should be arriving at about 9 pm St Croix time.    Note: I'm trying to convince everyone in our party to try to get by on carryon luggage only!!!!     Everything is pretty casual here so you don’t need a lot of clothes.   Plus we have a large washer and dryer.   On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that Seaborne will deliver your bags to Gentle Winds if the bags are delayed.  I know that American will deliver and I believe that the two are affiliated now.

 

I have not yet decided whether to rent a car or not for our trip.  In any case, I think that with our late arrival that it would be easiest on our nerves (and far quicker) to rent a taxi to take us to Gentle Winds.  Then, "if" I decide to rent a car, I think I could deal with that on Sunday (or even Monday) under less stressful conditions.   What do you think of the decision to use a taxi Sat night???   I think that is an excellent suggestion.  That is what I always recommend to anyone who arrives after 6:30 pm when it gets dark. 

 

When we get to the condo, I'm sure we'll want some snacks, some drinks, etc. and, of course, there will breakfast needs Sunday morning as well as perhaps lunch, etc..   It looks to me like our best bet is to have some provisions pre-stocked in the condo when we arrive.   What do you think of that option???   I think that that too is an excellent suggestion.  We have the snack shack on the beach for lunch and of course you can have food for dinner purchased also.  I would definitely suggest that you rent a car to try some of the restaurants on the north shore and in Christiansted and to go grocery shopping, but if you wait a few days, that would defray part of the expenses of provisioning and the taxi and would assure that you spend at least part of  your time resting and relaxing on the beach.  Centerline Car Rentals will deliver at no extra charge to Gentle Winds. Angela charges $25 per hour plus the cost of the food to shop ahead of time for you.

 

I'm sure everyone is going to want to hit the beach and the ocean early on Sunday; snorkeling will be a must do option.  My wife and I have masks/snorkels but the other four don't.   I would bring my own gear so I know it fits, the others can try what we have and if it doesn't fit, they will have to rent or buy.  See below.

 

 I've seen in the reviews references to the fact that you have snorkeling equipment at the condo but I don't know how much and whether or not you think they would adequate.    What is your suggestion as to what we should do???   You won’t know if our equipment will fit until you get there.   We have lots of fins but masks don't last long and we don't have so many.  I checked with Cane Bay Dive Shop (2015) and they charge $15 for 24 hours and have packages available for sale for $100.  Their phone number is 340 718-9913.

 

 I do think some of our party (me included) may want to also acquire vests.   We do have “noodles”  that you can use.  We have two or three.  They are very cheap to buy at Kmart.   There are lots of dive shops where you can rent or buy vests. 

 

 Also, are fins really required, at least for snorkeling of the beach at Gentle Winds???   My wife and I have them but we didn't want to pack them since they are so bulky. If you just snorkel inside the reef at Gentle Winds you don’t really need fins.  If you decide to go out through a narrow channel to the far side of the reef you would need fins to get past the breakers or if you decide to visit other beaches.  There are lots of snorkeling tours and the masks and fins are always included.  It's also possible to rent the equipment from  a dive shop.  Web site addresses and phone numbers are on our web site and brochures are in our unit and at the airport.

 
As our exciting vacation fast approaches, I realized I'd forgotten to ask a very important question: do you have extra (or do you know where/how much it would cost to rent) snorkel gear?  I don't currently possess fins, a snorkel, or a snorkel mask, and I'm thinking those may be a nice thing to have while on this vacation.  If you don't have extra, and it's a bit pricey to rent gear, I think I'll try to purchase it prior to flying out next weekend. 

Basically, I do have quite a bit of snorkel gear available but there is no guarantee that it will fit.  All tours, such as to Buck Island, furnish gear.  What I would do is try on what I have and if it doesn’t serve, you can buy on the island as there are lots of dive shops.  The test for face masks is to put it over you face without putting the strap around your head.  Then sniff in to create a sort of vacuum, bend over, and if it stays on it is a good fit.  If it falls off it has let in air and you need a different size. 

 

Do you recommend using bottled water for drinking?  No, our water is quite delicious.

 

I assume there are beach towels available for all?  Yes.  They can be hung to dry if necessary in the attached storage room or laid out on the patio chairs to dry in the sun.  We are requested not to lay them over the balconies.

 

Are there supplies available for both dish washing/laundry?   Yes, unless they have run out.  We ask guests to replace what they use.

 

Is the coffee maker drip or percolator?  (We like extremely strong/dark coffee).  Drip but we have an espresso maker.  Coffee is expensive so you can bring your own.  We also have a coffee bean grinder.

 

What is the ice source?  Tap.  Our water is purified here on the premises with reverse osmosis and we have a filter for flavor as well.

 

Is there a road map for St Croix available in the condo?  Yes.  There is also a road map of the mid-island from the airport to Gentle Winds on our web site.  There are lots of small pocket maps available at the airport.

 

Is there an outside grill?   Propane or charcoal?  Propane.  It has been acting up and you may have to light with a propane lighter, which we have,  instead of relying on the automatic lighter.  Salt air plays havoc with everything.

 

When you referred to restaurants along the north shore, I'm assuming you are referring to Cane Bay?    Any others (other than Christiansted)?  There is a list of recommended restaurants in our notebook in the condo listed by area.  North Shore, East Side, Central, Christiansted, Fredricksted.  There’s even a delicious ice cream parlor on the way to Fredricksted.

 

Is the taxi service on the island pretty responsive and reliable?  Yes, but more pricey than renting a car if you plan to go out often. 

 

Could you guess what the roundtrip fare might be from Gentle Winds to Christiansted?  The cost from the airport for two persons last year was $17, for 6 persons $53.  I would assume the prices to Christiansted are similar.   If you go to the cab company’s web page they are all listed.  Their web site is listed on our web site under “Useful Information”  We have also listed the prices as of last year on our web site.   An economy car rental from Centerline that can hold six persons would cost $58 per day as of 2013.

 

What are the hours for the food/drink shack on the beach?   Around 10:00 or 11:00 to 4:00 or 5:00.  During the later part of the low season the hours and days can be reduced.  They are closed in Sept. and Oct. and open four days a week May through July unless there is a greater demand.

 

 Does one pay for food and/or drink as you get them or can one run a tab for the condo unit?   Cash, but you can pay in advance and run a tab against your pre-paid credit and they also take credit cards now.

 

Can you use credit/debit cards on the island?  Yes, but be sure to notify your card provider that you will be out of town.  Sometimes they will block cards that are just one state away if you don't notify them.  Always bring at least two just in case. 

 

Does the shack accept credit cards?  Yes.

 

Can you give me a couple examples of the typical cost for various food items as well as beer/wine/mixed drink items?  No, sorry.  Just assume it will be more than in the states.  Coffee especially is expensive and might be worth bringing your own.

   

 Could you give me a brief idea of how the initial provisioning would work?  Obviously, we have to give them shopping list but a) how does the payment for the food items work? and b) what/how do they charge for the service?    If you used my manager she would charge you $25 per hour plus the cost of the food items.  She would leave you a bill and you would leave her a check or cash.

 

At end of July, are mosquitoes (or any other critters) pesky at that time?   We recommend wearing repellant at all times to avoid mosquito borne viruses such as Dengue or Chikungunya.  My favorite is Cutters Dry Spray.  It is 10% DEET and lasts two hours like all 10% DEETs, however the part that I like best is that it is non-greasy and non-fragrant.

 

I assume Christiansted is the closest place for a full service grocery store If you go to our web site you will see a link to a map of St. Croix.  Sunny Isles in the middle of the island is where we shop although there are also grocery stores on the way to Christiansted. 

 

Which would you recommend?  The notebook in unit has details on the various stores and you will also find driving directions.

 

 We definitely want to have fresh local fish/shrimp for several of our dinners we fix - where would you recommend to go to buy fresh fish?  We have  a very extensive notebook in the unit with details that include directions to the market that always has fresh fish.  Lobster is by the side of the road. 

We want to rent a car. Our plane comes in around 8:30 at night. Is it wise to rent a car at the airport and try to find our way to your condo in the dark? Or, should we take a taxi, and try to get to a car rental in the morning? Just wanted to get your opinion! And, if you have a car rental agency that you recommend?  I recommend taking a taxi if you come in at night. I also recommend Centerline Car Rentals. They will come out to the condo and pick you up the next day. It wouldn't hurt to reserve in advance, we always do.

I do have a question regarding provisioning.  Is there a place that you would recommend that would provide a few provisions in the condo prior to our arrival?  I would recommend my housekeeper Angela to get provisions for you.  She charges $25 an hour plus the cost of the goods.  If you will email me a list of what you want, I will see that she gets it and it will be waiting for you in the unit.

Sorry to be a pain but I was wondering if there is a blow dryer in the condo.   There's one in every bathroom.

Do you furnish shampoo and conditioner?  No, but the top shelf in every bathroom is full of small half-used bottles.  Obviously, I can't bear to throw anything useful away.

We will also want Angela to make the beds and do a basic cleanup for us every day – I promised my wife !!!  LOL  do you arrange that?  Angela will check with you when you arrive to see exactly what you would like and let you know what the charge would be.  I'm sure her rates will be more than fair.

I will probably like for Angela to have some groceries in the pantry for us upon our arrival.  How detailed does she like the list to be?  For instance, would she prefer  "Jiff creamy peanut butter" or just "peanut butter"?  I read that coffee is expensive and it its better to bring it with us.  Is that still the case?    If you want “Jiff Creamy Peanut butter” you would need to order it that way but I suppose that you should add “if possible, otherwise any creamy peanut butter” because there is no guarantee that the store she shops at carries that brand.    Coffee is still expensive and doesn’t weigh that much so if you have a favorite brand I would go ahead and bring it.  Be sure to send your shopping list a week or more in advance so we have time to get it to the office and then to Angela as she does not have a computer.

 

I would like to have the freedom to leave up to 11 AM on our departure day as our flight does not leave St. Croix until 3:25 PM.  I hope that is okay?  If no one is coming in the same day, you can leave as late as you would like, just let our housekeeper know in advance.   If someone is coming the same day, you can still stay but you might have to put up with the housekeeper working in one of the rooms.  Even if you are not leaving until evening, we can store your suitcases for you and you can use the pool and change in the dressing rooms by the pool.

Would you recommend booking any day trips we might want to take, to Buck Island for instance, from home before we arrive? Or is it usually not an issue getting reservation?

To the best of my knowledge, it is not a problem getting reservations.  In fact, you might even want to wait because a smooth sea day is preferable to a rough sea day for snorkeling; however, a call or an email to the tour company would be the safest thing to do.  I have had visitors who were SCUBA diving wait until they made their reservations with their dive company before they confirmed with me.

 

Will we able to get into the condo complex? (Is there a gate?)   During the day you just drive in.  After dark, they will have your name and a parking pass waiting for you.


 Can you recommend a beginners dive or snorkeling for our teenagers?(15 and 16 years old)
   For a beginner's dive, I would recommend N2theBlue located in Fredricksted on the west shore where there are no waves and there is a very interesting pier to dive beside.

 

Is the jeep excursion too rough for Senior Citizens?   Haven't taken it, you should call and ask.  Many people highly recommend it for first time visitors although I have heard it can be rough going at times.

 

Are there many restaurants on the north shore?   Some of my favorites are Eat at Cane Bay looking out from second story across the street, to the beach and water.  Sometimes you see scuba divers coming in at night with underwater lights; Off the Wall with pizza and Bingo on Tuesday nights, water lapping just a few feet away, The Waves, pricier out door dining with waves crashing just below your tables and lobsters waiting in their own cages in the tide pool, Rowdy Joe's with a limited menu, entertainment on Friday night and homemade ice cream and the Marriott Renaissance at Carambola where there are Mocko Jumbies (stilt dancers) on Friday night and you can eat either at their buffet or at the bar with the bar menu surrounded by great landscaping.

 

How far of a drive is Frederiksted?

Fredricksted is at least 20-25 minutes away.  Worth it for Turtles Deli, at beginning of town, or Sand Castle Beach, to left of town, or Rainbow Beach, north of town (loud music at beach bar but good food and quiet water) or buying outdated calendars at the Caribbean Art Museum, in center of town, to frame the pictures inside as souvenirs.  Some really beautiful art work and only $3.00 for a calendar!

Also, is there a post office near the condo where we can package some souvenirs to ship home instead of traveling with them?       

There is a post office on the way to Sunny Isle on the left on Highway 75 also on NorthShore Drive on the way to Christiansted.  

 

One other question I have is travel money -- are the ATM's and point-of-sale ATM card transactions like those in the U.S.?   Yes, the ATM’s are just like those in the states.  We use the drive-through ATM at the bank when we need cash, otherwise we just charge everything as we go along.  Except for small vendors , most everyone takes credit or debit cards.  There's also an ATM at the airport.

 

 One question, will I be able to fly into St. Croix directly from Dallas via Miami?  American Airlines is the major carrier into St. Croix.  I went to their web site and I see that they have a flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Miami and then to STX.  It’s very easy to make your own reservations just by going to www.aa.com .

 

I know the stores are closed on Sundays but does that include the grocery stores as well?   All grocery stores are open on Sundays.  Not to worry.

Is there a blender in the kitchen?  Yep.

 Also, did you say you guys have masks and fins for snorkeling or would you recommend we bring our own.  Also, my wife wanted to know if you had a DVD player – she likes movies as she may not participate in all the stuff my kids and I plan on doing J!!!  We have lots of fins and snorkels but no guarantee that the will fit, so I would recommend that you bring your own if you have them.  If the fins and snorkels don't fit, they can be rented by the week quite reasonably at the local dive shops.  And yes we have a DVD player as well as quite a variety of DVD's to play.

 

We won’t be pulling into the condo until around 8pm Saturday night.  We don’t plan on getting a rental car until Sunday.  We’ll probably be starving so I was wondering if there is any place within walking distance from the condo to grab a bite to eat?   No, but by the time you unload and get there it will be pretty late.  I would recommend paying ($25 per hour plus groceries) to our housekeeper, Angela, to pre-stock the condo for you and then everything will be waiting for you.  Just email me a shopping list.  Or, another option is to have the taxi go by Mc Donald’s which is just a half a block out of the way across from Pueblo Market on your way to Gentle Winds.

 

The guys were asking last night about fishing.  Can they fish from the shore?  Yes, the Lagoon and the Fredricksted pier were mentioned in on-line forums (trip advisor) as fishing spots. 

 

Is there a license needed?  No, not as long as you don't plan to sell what you catch

 

 And can we rent fishing equipment anywhere?     I was not able to find any information on renting fishing equipment; however, the charter boar "Gone Ketchin" is moored next door at the Salt River Marina.  Perhaps you could make arrangements with them. 

 

I would love to send the guys out on a boat for half a day if you know of an affordable person.   I would also greatly appreciate information on chartersPrices range from $400 to $750 for a half day.   Nine charter boats are listed at: www.visitusvi.com/stcroix/water_activities  and there is lots of information on fishing charters at: www.vinow.com/stcroix/SandL/daysail_fishing/   Boats that stood out were "St Croix Deep Blue Fishing Charters",  "Gone Ketchin",  "Irie Feelin Sportsfishing",  and "St Croix Inshore Fishing Charters"

 

I'd like to join a group to do a group Scuba or other stuff.  Is there any group that's better than another -- or who to avoid?  I have never heard anyone personally tell me to stay away from any particular dive shop.

As far as the best dive shop goes, I checked out the reviews on trip advisor and here's what I found:

 

 If you are new to  Scuba, N2theBlue in Fredricksted has 5 star ratings from all 29 people who reviewed it and they are located on the west end in Fredricksted where the water is calm and the last 21 reviews were all this year.  Of course I also heard it was sold but nothing will change the calm waters on the west end.

 

 Dive Experience in Christiansted is run by a lady Hall of Fame person and they have 71 5-stars and 5 4-stars and nothing less.  They also do lion fish hunting and furnish the spear guns if you take their class.  

 

Sweet Bottom at Carambola (hotel resort) on the north shore has 115 5-stars and 2 4-stars and two of my guests recommended them on their reviews

 

 SCUBA (St. Croix Ultimate Blue Adventures) has 220 5-stars, 9 4-stars and 3 3-stars.

 

Cane Bay stars are 65-7-1-1-1 going from 5  stars to 1 star and you can just walk into the water; cheaper than paying for a boat dive.

 

 Anchor Dive in Salt River Marina  has 8-1-0-0-1 no reviews this year and 6 last year.  (Too bad, they are right next door)

 

You might want to start out at N2theBlue, walk into the water at Cane Bay and then go lion fishing from Christiansted.  Or warming up more slowly, go from N2theBlue to Sweet Bottom  and then on.  I understand that N2theBlue has a boat stationed right next door at Salt River to dive the walls at the entry and also off Cane Bay.  As you can see, you have a lot of choices.  Probably always best to call ahead as they may be full on cruise ship days if you don’t make reservations.