Here are answers to some frequently-asked questions about renting a house at Moonhole:
How to reserve a house
Once you select the dates for your stay we will send you a rental agreement and booking confirmation. We require a US$750 deposit to confirm a reservation. Your deposit is applied to the rent. The balance of the rent is due when you arrive. Your deposit becomes non-refundable 30 days in advance of your arrival date. We accept Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and checks drawn on U.S. banks for rental payments and other charges. We process credit card charges through a secure U.S. merchant services provider. Booking directly with us is the most economical way to reserve a house.
The rent for a house includes the services of a dedicated cook/housekeeper six days per week. For parties of four or more persons we generally have two of our staff on duty. The house is equipped with linens, towels, beach towels, sheets, pillows, mosquito nets over each bed, and a fully-equipped kitchen with a refrigerator/freezer and stove/oven.
What about food. meals, beer, wine and spirits?
Our staff will stock your house with basic supplies, do the daily shopping, and prepare three meals per day for you (unless you request otherwise). Our cuisine is West Indian with a Continental flair, featuring fresh fish, curries, local fruits and vegetables, salads, freshly-baked breads and delicious desserts. Lobster is available in season.
We bring in fresh produce from the main harbor every day or two. We buy fruits and vegetables from local open-air vendors and seafood from local fishermen. Knight’s Trading is our favorite local grocery store. Doris Fresh Foods in Port Elizabeth stocks imported foods and gourmet items. Vintages, next door to the Gingerbread Hotel, offers a good selection of imported wines.
If you have special requests or dietary requirements, please let us know before you arrive.
Costs of food and beverages will vary, depending on the type of fare you request and the number of meals you take at Moonhole. Guests typically incur charges ranging from US$25 to $40 per person per day. These charges are payable in cash or by credit card prior to your departure.
Our commissary maintains an inventory of food, beer, soft drinks, spirits and a limited wine selection.
Meal times are somewhat flexible; our regular schedule is breakfast at 9, lunch at 1 and dinner at 6:30. Our staff go off duty at 7:30 unless the guests release them earlier.
We plan meals in advance, so please let your housekeeper know at least a day in advance if you plan to be away for meals. You are welcome to shop for yourself at the commissary or the many stores and markets on Bequia. You are also welcome to prepare your own meals, but our housekeepers are great cooks, so don’t miss out on their talents!
What’s the best way to get to Moonhole?
From the U.S., Canada or Europe, most of our guests fly first to Barbados or St. Lucia, then take either SVG Air direct to Bequia – www.svgair.com - or LIAT to St. Vincent – www.liat.com. Most international flights into Barbados arrive early enough in the afternoon to enable you to catch the last flight on SVG Air to Bequia. Guests arriving in St. Vincent via LIAT can take either the Bequia Express ferry – www.bequiaexpress.com - or the Admiral ferry - www.admiraltytransport.com - to Bequia. The crossing takes only an hour. Ferry schedules change often, so check their websites or give them a call on the day before you plan to depart!
We discourage guests traveling through St. Vincent from planning to arrive on the last (usually 6 p.m.) ferry to Bequia. It’s preferable to overnight in St. Vincent and take an early ferry the next morning.
Please let us know your travel itinerary at least a week prior to arrival. We will send a taxi to meet you at the Bequia airport or the ferry landing in Port Elizabeth. Once you reach Moonhole members of our staff will meet you and carry your luggage to your house.
The staff will prepare dinner for you on the evening of your arrival. Please discuss with your housekeeper what you wish in the way of meal times, food and beverages during your stay.
On the day following your arrival, please introduce yourself to Winifred Kydd, our Managing Director, and Abigail Williams, her assistant, at the Moonhole Office. They can help you with plans for excursions, charters, scuba diving, sightseeing and dining around Bequia. Our website has links to the Bequia Tourism Association, Dive Bequia, and other sites.
Solar power and lighting
Our houses have solar power (110 Volt - same as in the U.S.) capable of powering lights and recharging phones, computers and batteries. They can't handle high-wattage appliances such as hair dryers, which can only be operated from the mains power (AC or DC) in the Moonhole Office. Most of our houses are also equipped with rechargeable solar lights and flashlights. If you like to read at night we recommend that you bring a portable book light. If you are planning to be out after dark, be sure to take a flashlight with you to light your way.
Protecting the Environment
Moonhole is a 30-acre bird, wildlife and marine sanctuary. Please protect our environment and do not litter. No hunting is allowed. Fishing is permitted, but non-citizens are prohibited by local law from spear-fishing. Please keep only those fish you will eat and release the rest of your catch. Ask a member of our staff to point out to you to the better places to fish.
The Beach and the Moonhole Bight
The sandy beach on the south side of the peninsula is ideal for swimming. There are comfortable chaises and a hammock on the Moonhole beach. All houses are equipped with beach towels. Please take only the beach towels to the beach.
The sea on the Moonhole beach can be choppy during windy weather. On even the windiest days, however, there are calm spots for swimming to the east along the Adams Bay beach. Children are permitted to swim only under the supervision of adults. We do not provide lifeguard services. Snorkeling along the beach and the reefs on the south side of the peninsula is good on calm days.
Snorkeling in the Moonhole Bight (on the north side of the peninsula) is excellent. There are many varieties of tropical fishes and coral reefs to enjoy. At the west end of the shoreline there is a flat ledge where you can get in and out of the water easily. Entry into the water can be treacherous if waves are surging into the Bight. On your first adventure, please ask a member of our staff before attempting to swim or snorkel in the Bight.
Beaches in the Grenadines are public up to the “high water mark” so we permit curiosity seekers and local residents to walk along the beach and swim at Moonhole, but they are not allowed to explore the remainder of the private compound. Local law prohibits nude sunbathing.
Walking around Moonhole
Our guests enjoy the many paths that wend through the Moonhole compound. Our staff can provide you with a trail map. Please do not stray from the well-worn paths, as walking on loose rocks (especially near cliffs) can be very dangerous. Be careful on all paths, particularly after rain, as the paths can become very slippery. Please take special care to assure the safety of your children. There are steep drop-offs from the decks of some houses and paths. Children can lose their way on the paths, so we recommend that they always be accompanied by adults when exploring.
Moonhole is private. Most of the houses are privately owned; others are owned by Moonhole Company Limited. Please do not enter houses or buildings other than the house you have rented, even if they appear to be unoccupied, without the permission of the owner. If you are invited to visit another house, please be sure to ring the bell before entering. Our staff and security guards have instructions to bar uninvited visitors from entering the Moonhole compound. If you wish to invite one or more guests to visit you during your stay at Moonhole, please give advance notice of their arrival to a member of the staff and accompany them at all times.
Residents of Moonhole tend to retire early. Please refrain from playing loud music or otherwise causing disturbances.
The Original Moonhole House
The original Moonhole house beneath the rock arch is currently closed to the public due to rock falls and may now be viewed only from the sea. Please do not attempt to enter it by land.
Please make every effort to conserve water, especially during the dry season. We collect all our water from the sky and store it in large tanks inside the walls and underneath the houses. Each bathroom has a fresh water shower and portable “solar showers” which can be filled, placed in the sunlight to heat the water, and then carried to the privacy of a bathroom for a hot shower. Please make sure to turn off taps in the kitchen and bathrooms, as water is a precious commodity on Bequia. Our houses have Britta water filters for filtering drinking water, but if you would like bottled water for drinking, please advise your housekeeper.
Each house has its own septic tank system. They are very effective but can clog up if improper material is flushed. Please deposit toilet paper and feminine products in the wastebaskets provided in each bathroom.
Winter and spring months are generally the drier, windier and cooler months on Bequia. Beginning in late June we tend to experience periodic rain showers, but June and July are also great months to visit. In mid-summer the rainy season usually begins, bringing out orchids and other flowers.
Our daytime temperatures consistently average between 24C (75F) and 30C (86F) throughout the year. A "chilly" evening in winter might see a low of around 21C (70F) and in the summer months the temperature will occasionally reach 32C (90F). The trade winds moderate the temperature most of the year, while the famous “Christmas winds” bring stiffer steady breezes and lively seas in December and January.
Bequia is situated at 13 degrees north latitude and lies south of the path of most hurricanes. Tropical storms have infrequently afflicted the area. The stone structures at Moonhole have weathered storms without major damage in the past. If a named tropical storm or hurricane approaches, the Saint Vincent government declares Bequia to be in a "Tropical Storm/Hurricane Warning area," and these conditions prevent or delay your arrival, we will either reduce the rent by U.S.$200.00 for each day that a storm prevents you from gaining access to the house, or extend the term of the rental by the same number of days.
Getting around Bequia
We encourage our guests to use the services of local taxis and, particularly, several taxi drivers who live nearby Moonhole and are always on call. Rental cars are also available on Bequia. If you would like to rent a car, please ask us for recommendations. Driving is on the left. You’ll need to apply for a local driver’s license if you rent a car. Vehicles are not allowed inside the Moonhole property, but we provide parking outside the Moonhole entrance.
Sightseeing and excursions
There are many things to do and see on Bequia and the other islands of the Grenadines. On Bequia Princess Margaret Beach and the calm beaches at Lower Bay and Friendship Bay are great places to spend a day. Strolling the Belmont walkway along the shore in Port Elizabeth will take you past many restaurants and shops. The Old Fort on Mount Pleasant (call ahead) offers spectacular views. A drive out through Hope Bay, Spring Plantation, Park and Industry is a good way to experience the varied terrain and vegetation of Bequia. Visit the Bequia Tourism website - www.bequiatourism.com - for a weekly calendar of events and live music.
On St. Vincent (the “mainland”) the chief attractions are the beautiful Botanical Gardens, the lush Mesopotamia Valley, Wallilabou Bay (where “Pirates of the Caribbean” was filmed), Baleine Falls, the Soufriere volcano (make sure to go with a guide!), the Vermont Nature Trail, and the Montreal Gardens.
Sailing and fishing
Crewed sailing and deep sea fishing charters are available on Bequia. We can help you with arrangements. Some of our guests have sailed with local youth sailors aboard the “Iron Duke,” a 100-year old 28-foot whaleboat. Others have enjoyed day trips to the Tobago Cays, Isle a Quatre, Mustique, Canouan, and Union Island. In the high season, the Friendship Rose, a gaff-rigged schooner that once served as the main ferry to Bequia, takes day sails to the Tobago Cays and Mustique.
Fishing along the shores and offshore Bequia is very good. Catches include African pompano, barracuda, red snapper, wahoo, mahi-mahi, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, tarpon, swordfish, black fin tuna, yellowtail, jack crevalle, and a large variety of reef fishes.
Humpback whales pass by Bequia in February and March. A small cadre of fearless whalers still set out in open boats, using only sail and oar, in hopes of capturing them.
Divers rate Bequia among the very best places for diving in the Caribbean. There are more than 30 excellent and easily accessible dive sites around Bequia, including three at Moonhole alone. Bequia boasts two professional PADI dive shops, each fully equipped and offering year round instruction at all levels. We recommend Dive Bequia (www.divebequia.com).
Bequia has many hiking trails and guided hiking tours can be arranged. Hikers must take special care not to come in contact with “Brazil wood,” a relative of poison ivy!
There are many great restaurants on Bequia. Our favorites include Fernando’s Hideaway, Tantie Pearl’s, Mac’s Pizzeria, Gingerbread Café, L’Auberge, De Reef, Frangipani Hotel (Thursday night jump-up), Sugar Reef, Bagatelle, and Toko’s Step-Down Bar & Grill. For a complete list with phone numbers, go to http://bequia.net/bequiarestaurants.html.
The Bequia Easter Regatta takes place during the Easter week each year. Local fishing boats compete fiercely for top honors and prizes. The Regatta also attracts visiting yachts from far and wide to participate in racing and cruising classes. Visit the Bequia Sailing Club website for details – www.bequiaregatta.com
Carnival in SVG, known as “Vincy Mas,” takes place in late June and early July. The schedule of events is at www.carnivalsvg.com. Bequia has its own carnival celebration in late June.
Bequia Fisherman's Day (held on the first Saturday after Vincy Mas) is an annual fishing competition with prizes and cookouts featuring fresh fish from the waters that surround the island.
Christmas and New Year’s are the most popular time of all on Bequia. Many yachts congregate in the harbor. Bequians celebrate the Vincentian tradition of "Nine Mornings" during the nine nights before Christmas. Music, singing and revelry take place up and down the island in a countdown to Christmas. Christmas Day and Boxing Day are national holidays. On “Old Year’s Night” (New Year’s Eve) yachts shoot off their flares as part of the fireworks display and parties go on until dawn.
Your rent does not include gratuities to the staff. We encourage our guests to give generous gratuities to the housekeeper, cook, and other staff who provide services. We recommend a gratuity to the staff in the range of 15% to 20% of the rent.
Bequia has a small, rudimentary hospital and outpatient clinic. Some prescription medications are available in local pharmacies, but only on the order of a local physician. You should bring with you any medications you require. There is a first aid kit at the Moonhole office. In the event of emergency, please contact a member of our staff to summon help or to make arrangements to get you to the hospital.
We have a security man on duty at Moonhole at all times. There is a safe in the Office where you can store your valuables.
We have free wi-fi, a land line telephone and fax machine in the Moonhole Office. Wi-fi is also available in the Gallery above the office even when the office is closed. Internet access and computer rentals are available at several locations in the harbor. U.S. and European cell phones work well in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, but if you plan to use your cell phone, please consider purchasing an international data plan from your wireless carrier to avoid unexpected (and potentially exorbitant) charges from your carrier!
Moonhole Office and Commissary
The Office is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9a.m. to 1p.m. Saturday and is closed on Sundays. To reach the Office take the path to your right after you pass through the Moonhole entrance. The commissary stocks basic foods, wine, liquors, beer and soft drinks. We bring in fresh produce for homeowners and guests.
Through our private charity, Moonhole Friends, Inc., and our U.S. sponsor organization, Resources First Foundation, we support education, healthcare, conservation and environmental protection efforts in the Grenadines. Contributions to Resources First Foundation are deductible for U.S. income tax purposes and you can earmark your donation to support worthy causes on Bequia at www.resoucesfirstfoundation.org. Contributions to Moonhole Friends, Inc. provide assistance for emergency needs of the people of Bequia, including our staff and their extended families. Contributions to Moonhole Friends can be made at the Moonhole Office or by mail to P.O. Box 30, Port Elizabeth, Bequia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.