Frequently Asked Questions
Never been to the islands or St. John? No worries. Villa Notre Ciel is easy to get to. There is no airport on St. John so you fly into St. Thomas, USVI which is right next door. Many commercial airlines provide service to St. Thomas. A short taxi ride from the airport in St. Thomas will provide scenic views of St. Thomas and bring you to the Red Hook Ferry that takes you to Cruz Bay on St. John. We will meet you as you step off the ferry in Cruz Bay, take you to your rental car and then on to Villa Notre Ciel where we will show you around, answer all your questions and suggest places to go and things to do during your stay. When you book your stay, we will answer any additional questions you may have about how to get here. While you are here we will respect your privacy but remain just a phone call away should you need us.
Documentation: Beginning December 31, 2005, a PASSPORTwill be required for any person wishing to enter the USVI. Depending on where you are coming from, other requirements might apply. Therefore we recommend that you check with your airline or travel agent to determine what other forms of ID required or valid for you. If you are planning a side trip to the British Virgin Islands be sure to determine their entry requirements as they could be different.
Clothing: Pack light for your vacation on St. John. We are truly a casual Caribbean island. Day time attire is usually a comfortable shirt, shorts, and walking shoes or sandals. Beach clothes, including an appropriate bathing suit cover-up when walking in town. It is not appropriate or legal to walk the streets in town in your bathing suit. Comfortable walking shoes – walking is part of your island experience and there are many great hiking trails for the more adventuresome. Evening attire on St. John is “casually elegant”, there are no restaurants on the island that require coat and tie for men. December through April evenings can be cooler so substituting long pants or dresses for shorts may be more comfortable. In sum, a few pair of shorts, swim suit, shirts, sandals and walking shoes are all you need to enjoy your vacation on a relaxed St. John. If you have forgotten anything there are great shops to buy some new island wear!!!!
Sunscreen & Sunglasses (The sun is strong the year round!)
Prescription medicines (There is only one pharmacy on St. John and availability is limited.)
Camera & Film (A disposable underwater camera is a good idea)
Dive Gear: Bring your own gear (sans weights and tanks), or rent the whole kit from the local dive shops. Be sure to bring a CURRENT DIVE CERTIFICATION CARD.
Snorkel Gear: Bring your own or rent it from a local shop for approximately $7-$10 per day.For US citizens: Valid US photo ID (e.g. state drivers license or US passports), if you’re planning a side-trip to the BVI then you will need your US Passport. Non US citizens: Passports are required.
St. John is a friendly island. We greet each other with “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” and a smile. As a visitor, you will find that using this greeting to start each conversation (before you launch into what you need or are looking for) will go a long way in making your visit more enjoyable. A friendly attitude in the shops, restaurants or anywhere on the island will usually elicit a friendly smile and response.
About 75% of the local residents of St. John are West Indian. They are friendly and proud, and will welcome you to their island with open arms. Many West Indians speak a dialect of English mixed with a local Creole or Patois which most visitors find charming but sometimes difficult to understand. After a few days, you will become accustomed to the melodic tones of the dialect and understand most of what you hear.
As a new visitor to our island one of the most difficult but enjoyable adjustments you will need to make is accepting our “pace of life”. Few of us on St. John are in a hurry… relax Mon! Expect to spend a little more time in restaurants and shops than you would at home. Take your time, relax, stop looking at your watch and enjoy your vacation!
Many of the restaurants and shops on St. John accept credit cards however some only accept cash or traveler checks. A few of the excursion and charter companies accept credit cards, preferring cash or traveler checks. We suggest you limit the amount of cash that you carry. There are two banks on the island, each with ATM’s. The official currency of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands is the U.S. Dollar.
Electricity on St. John is 110 volt and uses the same outlet format as in the United States. Notre Ciel has hair dryers (2).
Driving on St John is a different experience for visitors and “locals” alike. We drive on the LEFT! Our cars are left-hand drive, like those on the US mainland, but we drive on the left. After a few days, you will get comfortable with the change from driving at home. However, just like the laid back & relaxed life on St. John, we do not drive very fast. The speed limit on St. John is a maximum of 20 mph with a limit of 10 mph in the towns of Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. The roads are very winding (some 180 degree switchbacks) and have steep hills. It is important that you keep your vehicle on your side of the center line and be prepared to stop for wildlife (donkeys, iguanas, deer, cows, pigs, goats, chicken, etc.) which have the right to roam freely about the island. Seat belts are required in St. John as elsewhere, you will be fined for not wearing them. We strongly recommend that you rent your vehicle on St. John. There are a number of good car rental agencies on St. John and we will be happy to provide you with a list.
Always a breeze…
Always A View
Although Notre Ciel has ceiling fans, you will find that the villa is naturally cooled by the refreshing trade winds of the Caribbean.