© All Rights Reserved BryanG
Saint Croix is the southernmost and largest of the United States Virgin Islands. Its Danish history is reflected in the name of the capital: Christiansted. Although there are some direct flights from the US, it is far less touristy than St. Thomas, it's busy northern neighbour from where you can take a flight or, if you fancy, a ferry to the island of St. Croix.
St. Croix lies at 17°45′N 64°45′W: the easternmost point in the United States of America is St. Croix's Point Udall. The island has an area of 214.66 km2. The terrain is rugged, though not extremely so. The highest point on the island, Mount Eagle, is 355 metres high. Most of the east end is quite hilly and steep, as is the north side from Christiansted west. From the north side hills, a fairly even plain slopes down to the south coast: this was cultivated as the prime sugar land on the Island.
The Estate Whim Plantation Museum is a striking example of the island's colonial sugarcane history. Unfortunately, today only several acres of the original 150 that made upt the Whim Plantation survive as the museum. Still, alltogether the grounds display the days when sugarcane ruled the island like it did on many other Caribbean islands.
© All Rights Reserved BryanG
Although Christiansted hosts four lively Jump Up celebrations per year, none are more famous than the St Croix community’s annual Valentine’s Day extravaganza of arts, crafts, food, and mythical mocko jumbies dressed in colorful silks and stilts. The calls of outdoor vendors and the sounds of local musicians fill the air during this upbeat Valentine’s Day celebration.
Foodies will undoubtedly enjoy this annual one-day April festival at St Croix’s only all-inclusive resort, the Divi Carina Bay All Inclusive Beach Resort and Casino. No fewer than 50 of the region’s most renowned restaurants serve their finest dishes during this celebration of St Croix’s finest culinary talent. French and Italian food is served alongside traditional Cajun, Creole, and Caribbean meals. All festival proceeds go towards the St Croix Foundation.
St Croix continues its reputation as the unofficial culinary capital of the US Virgin Islands with this annual late June tribute to the island’s most famous tropical fruit at the St George Village Botanical Garden. Although the festival grew to include other fruits after Hurricane Lenny destroyed the 1999 mango crop, mangoes continue to be this festival’s main focus. Visitors can sample several of the more than 80 different mango varieties grown throughout St Croix in the forms of mango butter, beer, wine, and even sushi. The festival also features mango cooking and eating contests.
Fort Frederik Beach and the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts are the main venues of this November jazz festival held in Frederiksted each November. Some of St Croix’s finest jazz musicians perform alongside musical legends such as Tito Puente, Jr and Pete Escovedo. Mocko jumbies, food vendors, and arts and crafts accompany these free musical performances.
Saint Croix has a very pleasant and tropical climate with generally warm and humid weather. The seabreeze makes things relatively mild though and water is never far away. Temperatures generally average around 30 °C during the day yearround and 23 °C at night. December to May is the dry season, where July to October is the rainy season, but this generally means some showers at the end of the day instead of days of rain on end. Hurricanes are possible though from August to October.
There is a ferry between Christiansted, St. Croix and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. The ferry departs from the Marine Terminals in Gallows Bay on St. Croix and in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, taking about 75 minutes to travel between the two towns. Check the Virgin Island Fast Ferry website for details about prices and schedules.
The ferry has not been in operation for years.
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.
The Cruicians pride themselves on their culinary flare. Local fish, goat, and pork are amongst their most varied dishes. Try the salted fish, stew goat, and pig "soup." Fresh seasonal vegetables are always available at road side stands throughout the year. The mango reigns over St. Croix's summer season, and is described as "the Queen of Tropical Fruit."
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.
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 (ie Clipper) that are not sold 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) as they are strong!
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.
Ask joschus a question about Saint Croix
I moved to St, Croix, US Virgin Islands nearly 11 years ago from the States and made it my full-time home. We built our home here so I'm aware of construction issues here and travel abroad which familiarizes me with traveling to and from the islands. If you have any questions about St. Croix, ask away!
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License