St. Croix is the largest of the U.S Virgin Islands, covering 85 square miles. A popular destination for U.S. Virgin Islands vacations, St. Croix attractions include scuba diving, water sports, botanical gardens and historical architecture.
St. Croix Climate
St. Croix’s average daily temperature ranges from 77 ° to 88 ° F. Rainfall varies but mainly occurs in the western hills with totals averaging about 40 inches a year. Trade winds regularly blow across the island.
Hurricane season in St. Croix and the rest of the U.S. Virgin Islands lasts from June 1 to November 30. During this season, the highest risk of hurricanes comes around the middle of August and lasts until mid-November. While it’s unlikely that a hurricane will interrupt most U.S. Virgin Island vacations, St. Croix is well prepared to handle hurricanes should one occur.
Virgin Islands Traffic LawsBecause the U.S. Virgin Islands is a group of unincorporated U.S. territories, some travelers may assume that St. Croix’s traffic laws are similar to those of the mainland U.S. However, if you are visiting St. Croix, remember that its drivers drive on the left side of the road.
While English is widely spoken, you will also hear people speaking in Spanish and French Creole in St. Croix. Locals also speak Virgin Islands Creole, also known as Crucian.
Travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands
U.S citizens seeking U.S. Virgin Islands vacations don’t need passports, as these islands are U.S. territories. However, Virgin Islands’ travelers should carry photo I.D.s and copies of their birth certificates. U.S. visitors should also know that, although the Virgin Islands is a U.S. territory, visitors must go through customs.
St. Croix Economy
While tourism is the main moneymaker for St. Croix (and the other U.S. Virgin Islands), St. Croix is also the base of operations for HOVENSA, one of the largest oil refineries in the world.
The Cruzan Rum Distillery is also a large part of the island’s economy. In fact, touring the rum-making facility during your U.S. Virgin Islands vacation can be a fun excursion, as well as a great way to pick up some souvenirs for those back home.
St. Croix Towns
St. Croix has two main towns: Christiansted and Frederiksted. While the larger town of Christiansted has a population of approximately 3,000, Frederiksted is home to about 830. The names of both towns hearken back to when St. Croix was a Dutch West Indies colony.
Each town is unique and has its own set of distinct features to offer. If you prefer a smaller less crowded setting, center your trip in Frederiksted. Alternatively, you can visit Christiansted for a more historical, mainstream visit. For instance, the National Historic Site contains Fort Christiansvaern, a battle fortress built in 1749.
Another fascinating aspect of vacationing in St. Croix is its abundance of beautiful colonial architecture. During its long colonial period, St. Croix was colonized by the Spanish, British, Dutch and the French. As a result, its buildings reflect a cultural medley of various architectural styles.
Things to Do in St. Croix
St. Croix offers visitors many activities to do on land. Visitors can tour the ruins of a sugar cane plantation, take a tour of the rum factory or wander around the 16-acre Estate St. George Botanical Garden built in the 1800s. To see what life was like in the 1700s on St. Croix, visit the completely restored Whim Greathouse in Frederiksted.
Historically minded tourists can also visit Salt River, where Columbus landed on his second American journey.
St. Croix Water Activities
In addition to all of these unique historical and cultural spots on land, St. Croix also offers the same opportunities for water activities as any other Caribbean island. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular tourist activities in St. Croix, especially at the Buck Island Reef Island Monument, a 176-acre underwater national park. Along with its picnic areas, Buck Island offers its snorkeling visitors follow two underwater trails, Turtle Bay Trail and East End Trail, that make underwater adventures easier.
While a sunset cruise on a yacht is romantic anywhere, it’s especially luxurious on U.S. Virgin Islands vacations. Although St. Croix is the largest of the Virgin Islands, it is still relatively small in size. As a result, the island lends itself to taking sunset cruises around the island in a relatively short period of time.
Other water sports include jet boating, fishing and parasailing.
The Rainforest and Cramer Park
Close to St. Frederiksted lies a fifteen-acre privately owned rainforest that is open to the public. In this rainforest, you can see some rare species of trees, birds and frogs, as well as appreciate the rainforest’s beautifully lush landscape. After touring the rainforest, purchase mahogany woodcarvings made by local artisans, including furniture that can be shipped back to your home.
If you’re in a party mood, check out Cramer Park during the weekend. While it’s a quiet and relaxing park during the week, Cramer transforms into an outdoor party complete with DJs every weekend. This park is a good place to let loose and party with the locals!
Getting Around in St. Croix
Although rental cars are available in St. Croix, those unfamiliar with driving on the left side of the road may want to carefully consider whether or not they should rent. Another aspect to consider is the fact that St. Croix’s roads are old and narrow, making driving conditions even more difficult.
Most visitors to St. Croix use tour buses and shared vans (called Taxi Buses) to get around. Taxi buses are informal affairs: You can board one by standing by the road and waiting for one to come along. While most taxi buses run a predetermined route, they tend to run on their own schedules. So, knowing exactly when the taxi bus will arrive at a given point can be tricky.
If you prefer to get around on your own schedule, consider renting a moped. Not only will you not have to wait for a bus or taxi, but you can also navigate more easily through St. Croix’s curvy roads!