Monday 24 February, 2020

6 things to see and do in St Croix

The Millennium Monument at Point Udall, St Croix

The Millennium Monument at Point Udall, St Croix

The largest of the US Virgin Islands, St. Croix has a lot to offer within its 210 km2. Pristine coastlines, stellar views, a rich culture, and a well-preserved history combine to deliver a wide array of diversions for visitors to experience and enjoy. If time is of the essence, however, and you only have a handful of days on the island, here are six things to do in St. Croix.

Experience the Crucian Christmas Festival

If you’re in St. Croix for the Christmas season, you’ve hit the jackpot. The island hosts its annual Crucian Christmas Festival from December into January and it is not to be missed! The month-long observance pays tribute to centuries’ old traditions and includes free live performances, pageants, several food-focused fairs, J'ouvert processions, and costume parades. The entire island is consumed by the celebrations, with events taking place in both the east and the west, so it’s virtually impossible not to get caught up in the festivities. So why not “take a wine” at the Festival Village and take a jump with a troupe?

Quadrille dancers preparing to hit the road.

Eat...Everything, Everywhere

St. Croix has developed a reputation as a foodie destination - with good reason. The island’s dining establishments serve up an impressive range of dishes that reflect its diverse ethnic composition. Menus feature everything from traditional island cuisine to international fare and they can be sampled everywhere, from casual takeout establishments to fine dining restaurants. Don’t pass up the opportunity to make good use of your meal times - savour the flavours of beans and rice with a side buttery soft cassava; sample a hot cup of conch chowder; bite into a johnny cake and wash it all down with a generous glass of coquito (a milky drink similar to ponche de creme). You may need to take a long nap after each meal, but that’s all par for the course. 

Chicken being prepared at La Reina Chicken Shack

Spend a (half) day at Buck Island

One minute is all it takes for you to fall in love with Buck Island, but one day spent on and around this emerald rock is what I’d recommend. It’s soft white sand, clear blue waters, and lush green forest look like they were snatched straight out of a postcard but it’s all very real. Private operators like Big Beard’s Adventure Tours offer twice-daily tours that allow you to lounge on the sand, swim at the beach and explore the landmass that comprises a mere 1% of the entire 19,000 acres of Buck Island Reef National Monument. The excursion wraps up with snorkeling at the reef, where you can experience close encounters with over 250 species of marine life, including towering coral formations, kaleidoscopic schools of fish, and elusive sharks. 

Buck Island

Walk around the “Twin Cities”

Whether you’re into architecture, history, culture or food, St. Croix’s towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted have more than enough to entertain you. Take a stroll through either town and you’ll encounter streets lined with colourful, Georgian and Victorian buildings. Every other block seems to possess an edifice or artifact that holds historical context. All around you cultural elements and symbols such as the Crucian Gold bangles are easily spotted. And you can hardly walk two steps without stumbling upon a dining establishment serving up mouth-watering cuisine with all the best local flavours.

A church in Christiansted

Visit Fort Christiansvaern

A well-preserved example of Danish military architecture, Fort Christiansvaern also serves as a reminder of the island’s colonial past. Built in the 18th century, the seven-acre compound is now a national historic site within the US National Park Service. Once a line of defense against enemy invasion, the fort features, among other things, a powder magazine, soldier’s barracks, a dungeon, and a battery of artillery that, ironically enough, was never fired in armed conflict. Self-guided tours of the fort are facilitated by a handbook which highlights details of all elements of the fort and access is granted once you pay a recommended donation of US $7.

Fort Christiansvaern

Take in the view from Point Udall

Not surprisingly, the most eastern point in the United States exists not on the mainland, but in one of its territories - St. Croix. Located atop a cliff at the most easterly tip of the island, Point Udall offers a spectacular panoramic view that stretches on for miles. A clearly marked path leads down to the beach, presenting an ideal opportunity for hikers in search of an easy trek. While The Millennium Monument, a large sundial installed in 2000 to mark the start of the new millennium, serves as an intriguing point of interest for all visitors to the Point. 

The Millenium Point at Point Udall

St. Croix is truly a unique destination with an endearing vibe and alluring physical features (both natural and manmade). It goes without saying that there are innumerable things to see and do on the island but we hope this list gets you off to a solid start! 

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