The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix is characterized by its rich cultural diversity. The island lies entirely in the Caribbean Sea, with all the beauty and warmth of a tropical destination. Pastel buildings and charming shops can be seen in the historic towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted, while the island’s clear blue waters, powdery sand and rolling green hills remain just as they were when discovered in 1493.
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Travel from major hubs like Atlanta, Miami and Fort Lauderdale makes getting to the island easy. For a memorable vacation, enjoy amazing scuba diving sites, renowned golf courses and world-class dining options. Experience the unique culture of the island through its arts, crafts, music and more during a variety of festivals and cultural events.
Here are nine things travelers shouldn’t miss while visiting St. Croix:
Buck Island Reef National Monument:
It’s a 5.5-mile trip by boat from the harbor of Christiansted to Buck Island. The monument includes more than 19,000 acres of both submerged and dry lands. Buck Island is known for pristine beaches, home to several endangered and threatened species including hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles. The reef’s coral grottoes are a favorite for snorkelers.
Learn to Scuba Dive
St. Croix is known around the world for its amazing dive sites, so what better place to learn to dive? Many experienced, Coast Guard-certified dive operators can make this dream a reality. Avid divers can complete five different dives in a single day.
Crucian Heritage and Nature Tour (CHANT):
Discover the unique heritage, culture and traditions of the country by taking a guided tour in Frederiksted. Prices vary.
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge:
This wildlife refuge provides a nesting habitat for three species of federally threatened and endangered sea turtles: hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles. The two miles of continuous sandy beach, with its deep near-shore water access and the lack of a fringing reef, provide particularly ideal conditions for leatherback sea turtles to nest. Many birds also call Sandy Point their home. Located on the very west end of the island.
Located in the heart of Christiansted on Company Street, this jewelry store has been in business since the 1960’s and is known for creating the iconic hook bracelet worn by islanders and visitors for decades. The horseshoe design representing love and unity is worn in different ways to signify your availability romantically. If the hook is facing away from your heart, then your heart is free and open to love. If the hook is facing in toward your heart, then your heart already belongs to another. The hook jewelry is worn around the world and unites those who wear it.
Sion Farm Distillery and Restaurant
Take a tour of the distillery and taste the world’s first and only vodka made from breadfruit, MUTINY Island Vodka. Breadfruit’s legacy began in Tahiti, then had a role in the most famous mutiny in history, and ultimately fed the populations of the Caribbean. A study by the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Breadfruit Institute promotes it as a superfood from a high- and long-yielding tree that has many culinary uses. Award-winning chef Todd Manley found breadfruit to be a true representation of his adopted home of St. Croix and uses it throughout the restaurant’s menu.
La Reine Chicken Shack:
This is the island’s best-kept secret located on Route 75 off of Centerline Road. On any given day the restaurant will roast 250-300 chickens but they are known for so much more. Try the stewed oxtail, peas and rice, roast pork, mutton and a mouthwatering selection of other dishes. Johnny cakes are a must order.
A Moko Jumbie Performance
This variety of stilt dancing was brought to the St. Croix shores by enslaved Africans and maintains an important place in the cultural heritage. Performers are traditionally dressed in colorful clothing and masks. Many African tribes look at mokos as healers or guardians. Performances can be seen at cultural fairs, street parties and at special Caribbean Nights sponsored by hotels.
This National Historic Site, located in downtown Christiansted on Church Street, was built around 1749 and is one of the best preserved fortresses constructed by the Danes. Once serving as an island courthouse and prison, the fort is built in a star shape around a small courtyard and contains several small dark dungeons. (Entry fee is $10 per person.)