You will need to rent a four-wheel-drive car in advance since there is no taxi service for the rough dirt road up the mountain. When choosing a car, don’t forget that you have luggage! If you are four people, you may not all fit in a small car with all your belongings. Be aware also that computer controlled all wheel drive vehicles do not always do the right things in these conditions. You may want to refuse parts of the agencies insurance, and except others. Ask your credit card company to confirm that you are covered for a jeep or SUV etc. in the Virgin Islands, what to refuse on the rental form and what the coverage entails. You may also need your hometown automobile or homeowners insurer to stand ready to help. Ask them what they require and what you can expect from them.
ON RENTING A CAR AT THE AIRPORT:
We do not particularly recommend renting from the airport but there are reasons on both sides. Some guests have preferred it, depending on the time of their arrival and departure. If this interests you, please be aware there is a 10% surcharge for pick up at the airport itself, and prices quoted may not include discharge or other taxes and fees. Be aware that if something goes wrong with the car on St. John, it may be difficult getting help from the St. Thomas agent. You also might create a problem by missing the car barge you intended, or that barge may not be running that day and no one could tell you this before hand.
Your flight may also be delayed and you could miss the last car barge. If that happens the car would have to spend the night on St. Thomas (with or without you). Weigh the risks, and don’t even think about it if your flight is scheduled to arrive after 3 PM.
WHAT TO BRING:
The castle can be cool in the evenings. Bring a light jacket, sweater, and rain gear. Dress is casual in most of the clubs and restaurants (but please cover a bathing suits in town).
Besides you’re camera, you may wish to bring your favorite CDs, a hat, sunblock, flashlights, and any specialty food you would miss (the local groceries have almost everything these days). Bring a snorkel gear (especially if you have a mask with a good fit) or you can rent at Crabby’s in coral Bay.
Also there are insect pests, as in all tropical places. Bring a good repellent with a high DEET content (depending on your allergies of course). Avon Skin-So-Soft is a safer alternative that works for many people. Bonny saves a basket of these products for our guests as well. Make sure you know the passport and photo ID rules. Also, you may wish to travel to the British Islands and you will need a passport for that!
The little castle villa is due west of Johnson’s reef, along the NPS boundary with the Lamesure wilderness, at the Northernmost corner of Calabash Boom (Danish for “tree”) Estate, and at north 18-18-57 by West 64-42-49 (latitude 18.3324 by longitude -64.7135) depending on what map you are looking at! For many reasons, we strongly recommend you arrive at the castle in daylight and as promptly as possible after you touch down. This is especially true if it is your first time on St. John’s or at our villa. So if you must stop before coming up, please make it brief. Detailed directions will arrive as part of your confirmation package.
PHONE and INTERNET SERVICE:
The castle number is (340) 693-5064. Be aware that there is only local and 800 number service. For long distance access, you will need a calling card for a long distance carrier that you can reach by dialing an 800 number. We have been very pleased with the AT&T calling card and it also works at the payphones. Some cell phones work and others do not, and some also will charge you a long distance roaming premium if they do work. Also be aware of a further complication: if your signal is coming from Tortola, British Virgin Islands, you will be charged international rates. It is best to check with your carrier about service charges in advance, and if you do not wish to pay the international premium charges, consider blocking international calls.
Internet service is now available via a wi-fi system, but if it is not working for any period during your stay, you can get dial-up service through a server with an 800 number. Check with your providers in advance that there number will work from area code 340. Many do not!
We have found a reliable and affordable dial-up service called my travel access. Call them at 1-888-443-5702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Their local connection number is 777–5511 but your account will have to be set up in advance from the states. There is also an Internet access near Crabby’s and Aqua Bistro.
Many unexpected factors can interfere with your perfect vacation, and travel insurance can help. We do not have enough experience to make a recommendation, but would appreciate your letting us know what you learned about it. We will pass that along to future guests.
Due to difficulties in getting both LP gas and water up the steep hill, the laundry room is only for the use of our housekeeping people. If you have an urgent situation )for example, it is been raining for days and all your clothes are too damp to wear) please let Bonny know and she may give you permission based on utility situation at the time. For non-urgent conditions, there are laundry services in Cruz Bay and near the clinic on centerline Road.
The electric is standard 110 V, 60 cycle AC produced on St. Thomas and runs through an undersea cable… but alas, there are occasional brown-outs and surges. Unplugged any sensitive devices when not in use in case it storms.
Stjohnlinks.com is a great site to confirm the ferry fairs, schedule and other resources.
WHAT IF IT RAINS?
Be aware that if it is rainy for an extended period, then you may be in the clouds. It’s cool for a while, and then you may get damp and uncomfortable. Most days with any rain will pour briefly and then return to bright sunshine. Rainbows are the best feature of such a day.
If you cancel your booking insufficient time that we can re-rent the space, then you will have a full refund, or pro rated evenly for the number of days we do re-rent. If we cannot re-rent the space for the time, we will apply your full deposit for a future rental. If you cannot come at a future time you may transfer this privilege to a friend or relative. Guests are encouraged to purchase travelers insurance, especially when traveling during hurricane season (between July November). If you are already at our villa in a hurricane, our manager will communicate with you about the safest plan for evacuation. If you do not arrive because a hurricane is imminent, we will credit what you paid for a future stay unless your travelers insurance policy will cover it.