Do you have hot water in the house? Yes.
Do you have an emergency water supply? Yes. (Note: utility supplies on small Caribbean islands can be unreliable. Vieques is a paradise, but it is sometimes a dysfunctional paradise. However, in the last ten years things have improved a great deal, and electricity and water outages have become rare, but still happen occasionally. We have a 600 gallon water tank at the house which is enough water for four of you for a week or so if you are careful. If you end up deciding that Casa Violeta is not for you, but you still decide to come to the Caribbean, make sure that anywhere you stay has an emergency water supply. Living in a house for a week with no water will be a very miserable holiday! See also the Caribbean Chaos Alert.
Do you have air conditioning? Yes, in the bedrooms only. Mostly you only need a/c at night when you are trying to sleep. We have fans in all of the main rooms, and there are frequent tropical breezes.
How many bathrooms do you have? Two full bathrooms – one with tub/shower, and one with shower only.
Would the house be comfortable for 5 or more people? Depends. The house has two bedrooms, one with a king sized bed and en-suite bathroom, the other with a queen sized bed. There is also the living room sofa, and we also have a blow up double mattress. Small folks and children might be able to sleep on the sofa. The blowup mattress will sleep two, but the problem is where to put it. You will either have to put it in the master bedroom, or in the living room. If these sleeping arrangements would work for you, then fine, otherwise, you’ll need somewhere bigger!
Are there a beach chairs? Yes. Several of them you can use and take to the beach, and a hammock. However, these things get easily broken so we can’t guarantee the quality or quality of them exactly. None the less we do start each season with more chairs and hammocks than guests, so usually there are plenty when you arrive.
Is there a cooler chest to take to the beach? Yes, a couple of those cheap hard foam ones. You can make ice in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator, or buy it from Lydia’s Colmada (corner store two minutes walk away). You can also buy cooler chests at Lydia’s for a few dollars.
Is there a washing machine? Yes.
Is there a clothes drier? No, but we do have a clothes line and pins. Clothes dry very quickly on the line in the almost constant tropical breeze.
Is there a dish washing machine? No, sorry.
Do you have TV reception for a portable? Yes, but its probably not worth watching. We don’t have a TV in the house, and we don’t have an external antenna. The reception is poor because the broadcasts basically have to come from the US Virgin Islands (about 20 miles away), or over the hill from Puerto Rico. The result is poor reception, and basically only a few local Spanish language channels. If you absolutely must see the big game that’s on while you are on holiday, then bars on the Malecon (about five minutes walk) have big screen TVs and usually show the most current sports. We do have a ghetto blaster with radio, cassette and CD player, though we ask you not to take it to the beach.
Does the house have a phone? No. Almost everyone has a cellphone these days, and most US plans include PR. We found it was no longer economic to have a land line at the house. There are also no public telephone boxes left either.
Is an Internet connection possible? There is none at the house, but several of the restaurants in Esperanza have WiFi, and there’s a cafe in Isabella with WiFi. If you have a cellular data plan, most major US phone companies will give you reasonable receiption on the island,
Are towels, sheets and the like included? Yes, and including towels/sheets you can use on the beach.
Is there parking available if we rent a car? Yes, either on the street (quite safe), or inside the gates. Parking is rarely a problem anywhere on Vieques except sometimes downtown Isabella or near the Port when a Ferry is just about to arrive.
Is the neighborhood quiet? Yes and no. There is very little traffic noise. There is some human noise – people talking, music, TVs etc. You are on the edge of a village, and most of the houses in that village have no glass in the windows (not needed due to the climate). So you will hear other people, but it is rarely intrusive. However, there is a lot of natural noise, especially at night. This is the Caribbean, semitropical. There is a constant night time noise of tree frogs, insects, occasional barking dogs, and Roosters. You can hear the sea on the shore if there is any swell on the ocean. When the wind blows, which it does gently much of the time, the leaves on the banana plants outside your window rustle and sound somewhat like falling rain. It is noisy, but most folks report that they quickly get used to it, or bring some earplugs if you are a light sleeper.
Is the neighborhood safe? Yes. However, this is a relatively poor part of the world , at least by US standards, so you should be cautious. Leave your valuables and your jewelry at home – there is in any case nowhere to really show it all off. Most of the crime on the island is bag snatching from the beaches where there is often vegetation which people can hide in. There are regular police patrols of the major tourist beaches, but why ask for trouble. Take your keys, drivers license (if you are driving), $20 and a credit card and you’ll have all you need. If you want to feel really safe, get yourself one of those little plastic waterproof cases you can hang around your neck even when swimming, then you don’t have to worry about even those getting stolen. You can get them at the Tradewinds store on the Malecon if you don’t have one already. At Casa Violeta itself you are surrounded by permanent residents who largely keep an eye on things, and when you leave the house you can close the metal Miami blinds and lock the doors behind you. We are also in a cul-de-sac so no through traffic.
Are we the only ones in the house? (no house or kitchen shared with other people?) You are the only ones on the main level of the house and you are not “sharing” any facilities. Most of the time you are the only people on the property. However, there is a small one bedroom apartment in the basement. Although we don’t usually rent it out, very occasionally you might find one of us, the owners, staying there, or a friend of ours. This is really pretty rare, and when we are there we are very conscious you are on holiday and we do our best to stay out of your way.
Are you going to be in Vieques while we will be there? Unlikely, but if we are staying in the basement apartment or at our our in-laws (around the corner) we’ll pop round to say hello, but that’s about all you’ll see of us.
Who’s responsible if something happens to the house and if you are not there? Our house manager. We give you names and contact numbers for our manager in the welcome letter.
Are the neighbors close? Yes, you are on a residential street.
Are there kids in the neighborhood that our kids might play with? There are children in Esperanza, but none in our cul-de-sac. There is an elementary school about two minutes away. However, bear in mind that most of those kids speak Spanish as a first language and may not speak any English. That said, if your kids are slightly older they will find lots of teenage kids hanging out at the pier on town beach (five minutes walk), especially at weekends. Also, we’ve noticed that language barriers are often no problem for kids.
How far is it to ….
Airport? About ten miles, on north coast of Vieques.
Ferry port? About 10 miles. Old ferry terminal was in downtown Isabella, new ferry terminal is out just beyond the airport.
Hospital? About ten miles on road into Isabella (a small hospital but they do have an emergency room).
Grocery stores? Two minutes walk. The Tienda Verde (green store) is ten minutes walk and has biggest selection in Esperanza.
Supermarket? Ten miles, one en-route to Isabella, one in downtown Isabella.
Health Food Store? There is one on a side street off the main drag in Isabella, near the post office.
Restaurants? Several within five minutes’ walk.
Pharmacy? Ten miles in Isabella. Local stores have basic soap, toothpaste, pain killers etc.
Nearest Beach? Five minutes walk (town beach or Coco beach). Nearest really nice beach (Sun Bay) 20 minutes’ walk to middle of beach, or five minutes by car.
Car Hire Place? Five miles, in middle of island, and several more on Isabella side of the island. Depending on how busy they are, they may be willing to pick you up and take you to and from their base.