It used to be a sugarcane plantation. But now, the big island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands has transformed into a beautiful spot for scuba diving, fishing and hiking. Not as tourist-infested as St. Thomas or as untouched as St. John, the gently rolling terrain of rainforests, sandy beaches and scenic towns gives every visitor the right amount of adventure, sightseeing and leisure. Because so many locals hold jobs at the Hovensa Oil refinery south of the island, St. Croix does not depend on tourism as a main income source. But it is this "working man's" environment that gives St. Croix its revitalizing feel of edgy suburban energy amidst a tranquil Caribbean setting.
The Danish heritage of St. Croix is markedly evident in the ochre-colored architecture that graces the town of Christiansted. Visit the Christiansted Historic Site and take a walking tour of Fort Christianvaern. Savor the artistic feel of the town in its many art galleries -- D & D Studio and Fine Art Gallery and Maria Henle Gallery, to name a few. Less than an hour's drive away is Frederiksted, the other town on St. Croix. Vacationers who happen to visit the town from cruise ships will dock at the Frederiksted Cruise Ship Pier, where they can enjoy the museums, churches and markets at Fort Frederik. Off Centerline Road near Frederiksted is the St. George Village Botanical Garden where you can go for a leisurely stroll. Another must-see is Whim Plantation Museum east of the town.
Things to Do
A trip to St. Croix would not be complete without a scuba diving adventure. Some of the best spots are the Scuba Dive Cane Bay Wall and the Buck Island Reef National Monument. Watch endangered leatherback turtles at the Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge. You can also try your hand at fishing for tuna, blue marlin or other trophy fish in the waters that surround the island, but ask the locals if your catch can go straight to the frying pan as instances of poisoning have been recorded. If you'd like to try your luck at gambling, the Divi Carina Bay Casino operates at 35 Estate Turner Hole.
Restaurants and Shopping
Shops that sell liquor, jewelry and souvenirs dot Christiansted and Frederiksted. Great boutiques can be found near the Frederiksted Cruise Ship Pier. Make sure you get a taste of salted fish and pig soup in the restaurants in Christiansted. Fine dining can also be had at the Gallows Bay Area. Go fishing with Carl Holley on board Mokojumbie and eat your catch. Tour Cruzan Rum Distillery and sample the best spirits in town.
59 Kings Wharf
(Mail) Box 26160
PO Box 24713
114 Castle Coakley, Hess Road
4131 La Grande Princesse
In the Hibiscus Beach Resort