The last time I vacationed in Mexico, the one excursion I wanted to try was ATVing along the beach. I thought it would be so cool to ride past the ocean, wind blowing in my hair and explore all that Mexico had to offer. Well – it never happened and I’ve been itching to get on an ATV for the past few years. So, when Gecko Island Adventures opened in Frederiksted I was beyond excited and wasn’t going to let anything stop me from exploring St. Croix – from the back of an ATV!
The GoTo team, including a friend and a husband, took the 10 am Saturday morning tour through the rain forest. I’d had friends take this 2 hour tour already and they raved about the views, the history lesson, and the fun they had driving the ATV’s. Our tour guides Seth and Arlan were terrific and greeted us as we checked into Gecko’s shop in Frederiksted. The shop in itself is so cute built around existing tree trunks – stop in and check it out (and ask about their hot sauce). Seth gave us a safety briefing and went over the general guidelines for the tour then outfitted us in goggles and helmets. Sherese, being the fashionista of the group, made sure her helmet matched her shoes. Gecko provides the helmets and goggles and all of us wore pants and close-toed shoes for the tour.
The tour and the ATV’s are designed for riders with no ATV experience, but ATV pros won’t be disappointed. There is plenty of time and space to let loose and get dirty. The tour departed from Rainbow beach and we made our way up the Frederiksted coast, wind in our hair, taking in the view. If you are familiar with St. Croix traffic, especially along the coast, you know to keep an eye out for other cars, horses and bikers (cyclists and motorcycle riders). Now you can add ATV’s to that list.
Our first stop was the Butler Bay estate where Seth explained the history and importance of the sugar plantations on St. Croix. The ride was pretty smooth as we headed up into the hills of Frederiksted and the views of St. Croix’s west side were stunning. At one point I could see the lighthouse in front of me and to my back were the blue hues of the Caribbean Sea.
We made it to the top of Mt. Stewart, overlooking the Northshore and Carambola and stopped for a few photos. Then it was back on the machines as we headed to Bodkin Sugar Mill. Hidden in the hillside, sits one of the remaining sugar mills on St. Croix. The mill was built in 1808 and is still in pristine condition and the window looked out to the valley bellow.We were running a little late and needed to make up a little time, which translated into getting to ride faster, which I was excited about. Unfortunately (for me at least), I still hadn’t gotten dirty. There were a few mud puddles on the way down the mountain and I took them on at full speed.
We had a few more stops to make and a few more photo ops, which also included history lessons from Seth. We drove through the rain forest, along Creque Damn Road (again, drivers: watch for ATVers) and finished the tour back at Rainbow Beach. The tour was so much more than I expected. I thought we’d drive around the rain forest, maybe stop for a photo op or two, but I didn’t expect the commentary and history lessons from Seth. From the information on St. Croix’s flora and fauna to the history of the plantations, Seth knows his St. Croix history and is proud of the island he calls home.
We made it a day in Frederiksted and had lunch along the waterfront and walked around a bit talking about our favorite parts of the tour. I was thrilled because I was finally got to go ATVing and because I was able to do it on St. Croix, on the island I call home. I’ll definitely be back as this is my new “not-to-be-missed” St. Croix attraction.
– GoToStCroix.com Editor
Rain or Shine, It’s Always Off-Roading Weather! Visit historic ruins and breathtaking views on an off-road experience not accessible with your rental car. Drive one of our ATV’s on a guided excursion along mountainous trails above the north shore and descend through the Sub-Tropical Rain Forest of St. Croix. Our tour last approximately 1 1/2…