- For other places with the same name, see Saint Croix (disambiguation).
Saint Croix is the largest island of the U.S. Virgin Islands (82 square miles), a territory of the United States of America. This island of rolling hills, rainforest, and picturesque towns is the home of approximately 60,000 people.
There are two towns on the island:
- Christiansted, with a 2004 population of 3,000.
- and Frederiksted, with a 2004 population of a little over 800.
English is the official language, although a local dialect called "Crucian" is spoken. Spanish and French creoles are spoken as well, not surprising given St. Croix's history of migration.
- Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX IATA). The airport is served by some major airlines and commuter flights between St. Croix and St. Thomas, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. Non-stop jet service is available from Miami, Atlanta and Charlotte.
- Ferries (VI Fast Ferry) run from Christiansted to Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas (75 minutes), with connections to St. John and British Virgin Islands.
- A cruise ship occasionally docks at the Ann Abramson Pier in Frederiksted.
The local roads are narrow and curvy and not pedestrian friendly. To get around you will either have to take a taxi or have access to a car. Taxis are large vans that often pick up several passengers at a time. If you are not along a busy route you may have to call for a pickup. Trips may be in the $10-20 range, or higher depending on how far you are traveling.
- Major car rental agencies are available. Also:
- Judi of Croix Car Rentals, +1-877-903-2123
- Skyline Car Rentals, +1-877-719-5990.
- Taxi All taxi drivers should carry a rate card with approved fares. Taxis have no meters and charge by zone. Baggage and waiting time are extra. Most will take you on an island tour for $30-$45 for two people, and another $15 per person for additional passengers. Authorized taxis have "TP" on the license plate and a dome light on the roof.
- St. Croix Taxi Association, Rohlsen Airport, +1 340-778-1088.
- Federation of St. Croix Taxi Association Inc. (Taxi, Vans, Safaris), 778-5587.
- Antilles Taxi Service, Christiansted, 773-5020.
- Caribbean Taxi and Tours, Christiansted, 773-9799.
- Cruzan Taxi Association, Christiansted, 773-6388.
- Combine Taxi and Tours, Frederiksted, 772-2828.
- Frederiksted Taxi Service, Frederiksted, 772-4775.
- Tommy's Scooter Rentals, +1 340-332-2118.
- St. George Village Botanical Garden, 127 Estate St, ☎ . George/Kingshill, Just north, off Centerline Road, near Frederiksted, . Stroll about the grounds of the former plantation.
- The rain forest in the Northwest. Include the tidal pools at Annally Bay.
- Point Udall, the easternmost territory under the American flag.
- Christiansted Historic Site, including the warehouse where Alexander Hamilton worked before he moved to New York.
- Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge to see endangered leatherback turtles.
- Whim Great House- a restored plantation.
- Salt River Bay National Historic Park, the only place in the present-day United States where Christopher Columbus (or at least a landing party under his command) actually set foot. During his visit, it also became the site of the first documented conflict between Europeans and Native Americans.
- SCUBA Dive Cane Bay Wall - Tremendous diving around the beach and the upper levels of the wall before it drops 13,000 feet to the ocean floor.
- Night dive the Frederiksted Pier - Tons of critters have taken up residence in the artificial reef formed by the town's cruise ship pier. Because the dive skirts the pier and never goes below 10m (30ft), it is a great way for inexperienced divers to see a wide variety of undersea wildlife without venturing too deep or too far from shore, while the sheer abundance of that nocturnal wildlife makes the trip out to Frederiksted worth it for more seasoned divers, too.
- Fishing - The waters surrounding St. Croix are ideal for sport fishing and record size catches are common, such as tuna, wahoo, and blue marlin. You'll need highly expert help to judge if any catch is edible – the area is plagued by an organism in the food chain that causes ciguatera poisoning.
Both Christiansted and Frederiksted have merchants offering jewelry, liquor and souvenirs, but with atmospheres more genteel than in large cruise ports. For any items that benefit from duty-free importation, prices generally rival those in Saint Thomas. (See this same topic for Saint Thomas; most advice applies, though St Croix is seldom overrun by cruise passengers.)
Local Flavors - The Crucians pride themselves on their culinary flair. Local fish, goat, and pork are among their more varied dishes. Try the salted fish, stewed goat, and pig "soup." Fresh seasonal vegetables are always available at roadside stands throughout the year. The mango reigns over St. Croix's summer season, and is described as "the Queen of Tropical Fruit." In fact, an entire festival is dedicated to it – Mango Melee.
Although Crucians still cook many traditional foods, St. Croix is rich in culinary variations stemming from the island's history and the influence of the United States and neighboring Caribbean islands, especially Puerto Rico. There is food for all tastes and occasions while local specialties are still held long in tradition.
St. Croix is home to a celebrated week-long culinary festival held each April called the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience which includes wine seminars, dinners with celebrity chefs (Kevin Rathbun, Rocco DiSpirito, Robbin Haas, Gerry Klaskala, Richard Reddington are just a few who joined the fun) and the main event, A Taste of St. Croix, showcases foods from more than 50 of the islands restaurants.
For a listing of restaurants on the island see . Great local food can be found at Harvey's (stew goat), Singh's (roti) and Norma at the Domino Club in the rain forest always has something cooking.
For fine dining, try Tutto Bene, Case Place, Bacchus, Savant and The Galleon.
Tutu Bene in the Gallows Bay area of Christiansted is a local favorite for Italian cuisine. Also in the area is Case Place, with an eclectic menu and nice atmosphere. Try Le St. Tropez in Frederiksted for authentic French fare, Villa Morales or Paquito's for Puerto Rican food and Brady's in Christiansted for native fare.
Cruzan Rum is made at a distillery in Frederiksted that you can tour. Be sure to do the tour and participate in the tasting after! Cruzan Rum is available just about everywhere, but there are certain flavors (e.g. Clipper) that are not sold elsewhere in the USA, so take a bottle back with you.
In the seaside town of Christiansted is the Brew Pub which makes several good beers.
When at local places or events, always ask if there is a local drink. Be wary of the home recipes (ie Mama Wanna) - they are STRONG!
Best watering holes are Bongos and Club 54 in Christiansted, Harbor Lights in Frederiksted, and El Sol mid island. Also try 2plus2 in La Grande Princesse and Sand Bar right on the beach in Frederiksted.
As a vacation destination, St. Croix has a lodging industry that offers dozens of resorts and hotels, covering a range of service from economy through luxury 5-star. Resorts located along the shore and away from the metro areas almost always have private beaches. Hotels located in the two cities are likely to be limited to lodging and dining. Privately owned homes, ranging from condos to villas, are available for rent directly from owners on various websites, and may be a bargain especially if traveling with four or more people. One would want to exercise reasonable caution when renting in this way.
Almost all of St Croix major tourist resorts and hotels have packages which offer sailing, fishing, snorkeling, sightseeing, historical tours, and daytrips to Buck island National Park.
Two resorts offer golf packages on their own private courses:
- The Buccaneer Hotel, Christiansted, ☎ .
- Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa (Carambola Beach Resort), Estate Davis Bay, St Croix, VI, ☎ .
It has similar risks to any large western city. Most of the crime in the "city" is occasional break-ins to cars, businesses, and homes, but hotels are typically quite safe and hoteliers are safety conscious.
When leaving St. Croix, be sure to carefully pack your rum in your luggage because you can't carry it on the plane with you. (See "Buy" under Saint Thomas for details.)
Also know that the islands are protective of the sea and wildlife. If you are taking shells or other natural things from the island, always ensure that you are following local laws and guidelines (e.g., you can take conch shells, but they have to be a minimum size), as well as national regulations for taking them back home.
Even better, take only photos of the nature and wildlife and leave the shells for the crabs and sea critters to inhabit.