St. Croix is a Water World Paradise in the Caribbean
Oh, St. Croix! You’re the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, but somehow you have a way of making it feel as though you were a tiny little town. Some may call you the “Big Island,” but I just call you perfection. If you’re traveling to St. Croix, and are hoping to mix in a bit of water activities, beach life, and some culture, then you have found the perfect destination. Being the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, at just 84 square miles, it is far from being overcrowded, and unquestionably offers up some of the best vibes in the area.
An Island of Beauty, Art, Music, and Natural Wonders
The island has a fascinating history that dates back centuries to the time of indigenous people, but in 1493, Christopher Columbus landed here with some troops and were attacked by the local Kalingo tribe. Power shifted, and in came the Spanish, the Dutch, the Knights of Malta, Great Britain, and then France. To make a long story short, and without giving a complete historical breakdown, the island changed hands numerous times, and in 1916, Denmark sold it to the island of St. Croix, who in turn sold it to the United States; hence the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This back and forth selling and conquering had a great effect on the island, and as a result, the island now has one of the most compelling and interesting cultures in the region. A trip to the island will present you with distinctive artwork, amazing music and festivals, and traditional stilt dancers called Mocko Jumbies who were once thought to chase away bad spirits. The music is lively, and anywhere you go, you’re sure to find a mix of calyspo and reggae, and varieties of steel pan bands playing infectious salsa vibes. It’s a party in Paradise, and good golly miss molly, this place is a must visit for anyone throwing around vacation ideas for beach party atmosphere.
Rum, rum, did somebody say rum? If that’s your poison (or even if it’s not), you’re in luck! Some of the most interesting and absolutely delicious adult beverage that you may possibly consume in the Caribbean is manufactured on the island of St. Croix. Do yourself a favor and get yourself some Cruzan Rum, take a stroll down the white sandy beach, and become of foodie in this island paradise. You may want to cruise on over to Rhythms at Rainbow Beach to discover the home of the “Lime in the Cocunut.” Located just within a 10 minute walk from the Cruis Dock in Frederiksted, this beach front establishment provides great food, great entertainment, and the perfect sport to kick off a jet skiing or snorkeling adventure.
Nobody will think you’re crazy if you decide to belly up to the bar and kill an entire afternoon. Afterall, the view from the outside deck looks directly out at the water, and chances are the sun will be warm, shining, and the waters will be waiting. Of course, it’s not all about the boozy beverages, there’s also a number of local drinks made from Seamoss that’s worth a try. Made from seaweed and then boiled down and mixed with spices, it’s not for everyone, but it should be for you. Some other local favorites that must be tried and consumed: passionfruit juice, pumpkin punch, banana punch, bush tea, and soursop punch.
If water sports such as snorkeling or diving are not your thing, then it’s important that you make it your thing on this trip. A visit to St. Croix without visiting Buck Island Reef National Monument would be a crime, a sin, and every other over-the-top type of lunacy that one could imagine. The 176 acre reserve is roughly 1.5 miles to the northeast of the island, and delivers an absolute paradise to anyone from beginning snorkel adventurers to export dive masters.
There’s plenty to explore, as the 4,554-acre reef provides some of the most stunning underwater sights on the planet. Follow the underwater trail, and admire the more than 250 fish species that call this submerged spot home. Once back on land, head on over the western part of the island, and discover what National Geographic has voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world; Turtle Beach. Its turquoise blue waters and white sand beaches will make you shake your head and pinch yourself to wake from this paradise dream.
While the most stunning beauty of St. Croix is beneath the surface of the water, there’s still much to see and do while on land. Touring some of the sites such as the Christiansted National Historical Site, the Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge, the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, San Point National Wildlife Refuge, and Point Udall are all notable sites that are well worth a visit.
St. Croix is such a fascinating and beautiful place, that it’s impossible not to have a dream vacation. Step out of your comfort zone and drink or eat something you’re not accustomed to. Sit back and watch some of the traditional dances, get lost in your dreams and get lost on island time. Sample some of the local Caribbean food that’s unlike anything you have ever tried. Due to the interactions of Europeans and indigenous Indians, the flavor profiles are complex, unique and vary immensely from one place to another.
If you’re into barbecue, well then you are in luck. The indigenous were masters at barbecue, so it’s still a huge staple and a large part of the customs on the island. One thing that must be remembered when you’re on the island is that time does not truly exist here. Time is just a made up idea that tells people when they need to be somewhere, and when they need to be back from being somewhere. Hide the watch, hide the phone, and explore this incredibly beautiful place at a slow and relaxed pace. There’s no need to do too much, just make sure that you get out there and do it. Even sitting on the beach, or at the local establishments will make you feel like you’re living the dream. Now go out there and live it!