Fantastic - almost private beach
Although I had read stories about poor service and a non-friendly attitude of the islanders, I did not experience that. Amenities were great. The food was fine, the water and beach were fantastic as was the view. Service was fine. as good as what I would expect from any carribean resort.
We had great snorkeling just off the beach in the coral reefs. Because the reefs come up to parts of the beach, you need to go in at the sandy places.
One morning I saw the tracks of a turtle that had come ashore but decided not to lay its eggs.
We did 3 days of diving using Anchor Dive Center.. highly recommended. The beach is the best on the island.
Pretty scenery but too isolated
My family just spent a week at the Carambola Beach Resort, Dec. 25, 2004-Jan.1, 2005. Having been to several islands in the Carribean, we were a little disappointed in this particular island. It didn't seem geared to encouraging tourism. Although the island is very scenic, we were unable to get to explore the island as much as we wanted because of the location of the hotel. The hotel is located very far from anything and is up and down a very windy road. When we arrived at the Carambola we were informed that their were no rental cars available. The taxi rides for a family of 4 ran about $32.00 each way plus tips. It would have been helpful if the Carambola had a courtesy van to drive people to and from Christansted (at least) a minimum of once a day. We found nthe front desk folks to be clueless. The person at the gift shop was new and didn't know much about the snorkeling, sailing etc. trips on the island. We also were disappointed that as compared to other places we have been that the different boat trips didn't arrange to pick you up at the hotel. So, any trip you wanted to take you would have to figure the extra cost of the taxi. We tried to sign up for a trip as soon as possible and wound up with something on Friday( the earliest we could get). On Friday, the company (Mike's) called to say that the water was too choppy and we couldn't take the sail boat we originally planned, they offered us a power boat to go to Buck's island instead at a totally different time than we had planned for and therefore unable to make due to the taxi situation. We visited Christensted which was very pleasant, some nicer shops but don't expect the kind of shopping you find in St. Thomas. We enjoyed eating in town. Eating at the Carambola was definitely on island time. Our family joke was that if you wanted lunch, you needed to go at breakfast and order, and order at lunch for dinner. No exaggeration. Luckily we found their food to be good, although the menu became boring after a few days. The Pirates buffet on Friday night was good and the buffet concept helped alot. The entertainment was alright but minimal, basically some live music for a very short period of time and then 3 men on stilts. It was new year's eve and we were expecting something special but it apparently was what they have every Fri. night. One thing missing was any kind of music at the bar area or at the pool. They rarely had any music on. Our accomodations were o.k.., rustic and reminded me of a bungalow. Not super clean but adequate. The beach was small but clean. You need to stay away from the rocky areas and the area where the sea urchins reside. The ocean was a little rough. My husband ran in to his own little tsunami on our last day. His face was pretty banged up, so caution is advised especially in the winter. The pool was large and not crowded. Get there early though to get towels, they run out about noon. Also there is no towel service at the beach. The weather was wonderful, high 70's and low 80's with delightful sea breezes and little rain. We enjoyed a partial sunset due to some clouds at the Sunset Grill. The beach there wasn't great but the small casual restaurant had great service and good food. They also had good live entertainment, a wonderful flute and guitar duo. We sat at a table in the sand with the sea creeping occasionally to our feet. There is a hiking trail at the hotel carved out by the landscaping director, Jeff. Since we had a ten year old, we didn't continue on the trail to the wave pools on the other side of the mountain. Jeff was very knowledgeable and will give some tours of his own if he has time. Definitely seek him out!! The tennis courts at the hotel were poorly maintained. There is an exercise room that has basic equipment. All in all, I doubt we would go back, but we did enjoy being "away from it all" and our family time together. My sixteen year old daughter got bored after a few days and cell phones don't work at the Carambola so she couldn't communicate with her friends. My husband and I actually enjoyed the lack of contact for the week. My ten year old liked it. So, if you are an adventurous type and really enjoy isolated spots, I would recommend the island and the Carambola but make sure you rent a jeep or a car in advance!!!
Overall a nice stay
We had the Carambola booked from 6/26-7/3. Check in was a breeze, but the budget car people were inefficient at best. Sunday they said I'd have a car (no go), then the same on Monday, but I insisted they get one (and they did have it delivered).
That done, we enjoyed exploring the island. Plenty to see and do- dinner at the Waves at Cane Bay was excellent; Cheeseburger in Paradise was paradise, Stixx and Rummrunners in C'sted good as well as the shopping - get an "Island Hook" bracelet (the original) at Sonya's, the best in town!
The resort was beautiful, rooms huge with screened in porch. It is isolated and secluded, but also deserted....nobody there! People showed up by Thursday, went to the Pirate buffet on Friday (decent, perhaps better if you're a shellfish lover). It was strange, that Friday night they wanted to close the bar at 10PM ??? It was the first time they could make $$ in my opinion all week, and they wanted outta there....weird! It would be great for a group of people- you can make your own party!
I was very impressed by this resort. We went in the middle of September and there were only six other guests staying there at the same time. We had the place to ourselves! I enjoyed the time at the resort more than traveling around the island. Happy hour is from 5-7 every night with half priced drinks. We would relax in the pool (which we also had to ourselves), with our drinks, and listen to the waves. It is under new management which my boyfriend and I had several conversations with. Very nice people. The rooms are huge with beautiful screened in patios and balconies perfect for relaxing in without bugs. It is pretty far away from nearby towns but that is one of the things we loved most about it (probably because we had a rental car and didn't have to take a taxi). Food is pretty expensive on the island and so are the activities. The resort is very serene and is the perfect location if you want to relax and enjoy the company you're with.
Going back every year!!!!
A wonderful place to stay. The Management and staff are extreamly accommodating. The food, service and accommodations were more than we anticipated. It was our first time to St. Croix, and the stay at ths Carambola was so enjoyable that we are going back every year.
Carambola-Best Kept Secret in the USVI
My wife and 2 children (ages 10 & 6 at the time) stayed at the Carambola for 10 days from July 10 to 20, 2003 and enjoyed our stay immensely. We rented a car for most of our stay as the resort is isolated-but that is why we chose to stay here. If you plan to arrive *after dark*, you may consider taking a cab since the hotel is not that easy to find from the airport at night. You may consider enjoying this beautiful, quiet, breeze filled resort for a day or 2 and have the front desk arrange a car for you. They rental company will pick you up, drive you 20 min to the airport to fill out the forms. You will have little trouble finding your way back in the daylight. Be sure to drive around the island-especially the south shore which is uncrowded and scenic (save for the refinery area). The Carambola itself is beautiful. Lovely grounds, spacious, comfortable if rustic accomodations and friendly staff, especially the housekeepers (upstairs room offers more privacy-better sea view from screened porch-you can also sleep here if you like). The beach is beautiful and large (actual swimmable area is only 20-30 yards though) with plenty of shade and a few hammocks. The beach is cleaned early each day. Both adults and children will love the large pool with plenty of chairs and shade along with the game room above the bar. The Friday night Pirates Buffet is very popular w/ locals so reserve early. It was terrific-w/ free entertainment. The BBQ night was also very good. Both are not too expenive if you consider the quality and amount of food you enjoy-they charged less than 1/2 for the kids. All in all, this resort exceeded all our expectations and we greatly appreciated the trip advisor reviews. St. Croix is a wonderful, family friendly island with some great beaches-especially on the west side (north and south of Frederickstad especially Rainbow Beach) The water here is always calm and clear. True, the town is run down and unemployment probably high, but no one ever bothered us durning the day. In addition, many local families enjoy these beaches and all were very friendly and helpful. The beach at Cheney Bay was nice with good snorkeling to the right-but be sure to splurge for an all day trip to Buck Island. Yes it is all you heard, worth the cost and you will never forgive yourself if you do not go at least once. Old sugur mills and thier history are all over this island-even if you hike to Annaly Bay you will find one in the middle of nowhere (be sure to go on a calm day to enjoy the tide pools). Annaly bay is "close" to the resort as the crow flies but you will need directions or a guide to walk there from the resort. My oldest daughter and I drove part of the way-left the car and hiked down a hill to get there. The Cruzan Rum Factory tour was nice and informative (you can get the same rum slightly cheaper at the local K-mart, believe it or not). We also loved the St. George Botanical Garden and the grounds of the Whim Plantation House (you can tour the grounds for free-at least when the house is closed). The beach at Cane bay is good with OK snorkeling and Cramer Park-deserted durning the week, has a nice beach (no snorkeling-lots of sea grass). Finally, Christianstaad is a nice place to shop and has some nice restauraunts on the water. The Fort is worth a visit just for the view and history (the fort in Frederikstaad less so but that one is free to enter). You may wish to visit the Buccaneer Hotel to see what all the fuss is about and, yes, the view, especially at night. If you have a car, there is a huge supermarket for food close to the airport on the same road as the Botanical Garden (small fee to get in gardens). All the locals shop there. These is no market close to the Carambola but you will enjoy it here if you want peace, quiet and lovely surroundings. My wife and picky kids loved this place and island and we hope you do too. (Ferry sevice to other islands only in winter-sea plane$ all year round).
Sunset at Carambola, St Croix
Entrance to Carambola Resort