Saint Croix, in the beautiful United States Virgin Islands, is a wonderful place to visit and explore. Here's a list of things to see and do - continued from my previous article on the subject, Places To Go.
Kayak secluded waters
Virgin Kayak Tours in Cane Bay will guide you to outstanding eco-tourism in some of St Croix's most interesting waters.
You can paddle (or pedal!) their Hobie kayaks on an assortment of tours. I recommend the one which takes you through Salt River Bay to a mangrove lagoon as the sun sets and the skies darken. Egrets settle through the still evening air to roost in the mangroves, frogs sing in one long chorus of "here I am!". Once there, you'll see the fascinating bioluminesence as your paddle dips into the water. Then you'll find a deep spot, and Bryan will tell you to jump right in - and you'll make "light angels" as your body's movement activates billions of microscopic, glowing dinoflagellates.
Call 340-514-0062 to learn more.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
"Ku hoe he'e nalu!" Stand up paddleboarding started in Hawaii, but it's taken St Croix by storm.
There are two opportunities for visitors to try SUP on St Croix - on the West End there's Freedom City Surf Shop, just north of the Fredriksted Cruise Ship Pier (convenient if you're visiting for the day from a cruise), and on the East End there's Kitesurf/Paddlesurf Saint Croix.
Either way, you'll get a fantastic workout while gliding on our peaceful, calm waters.
Call Freedom City at 340-227-0682, and Kite St Croix at 340-643-5824.
One of the hottest watersports in the world, kiteboarding is firmly established on Saint Croix. Kitesurf Saint Croix is just a few doors down from us and Bill is really Good People.
Staffed by PASA-certified professional athletes, you can opt for a full course over three days that'll get you up and skimming the waves in all the beauty of the East End Marine Part.
Call Kite St Croix at 340-643-5824.
If you're one of the millions of people who enjoy swinging a stick at a defenseless, innocent little white ball, St Croix has three different courses to challenge your play while satisfying your craving.
Start with nine holes on the East End at The Reef. My golfing pals tell me The Reef is fairly unchallenging, a good way to spend a couple of hours.
Next, head a bit west to the Buccaneer Resort's full 18, which is said to be challenging and a great joy to play.
Finally, step up to Carambola Resort's Robert Trent Jones-designed, award-winning 18 to top it all off.
Best of all, you don't need to schlep your clubs, either, because all three courses offer rentals. Carambola's rentals are Taylor Made!
Alternately, you can be like me and restrict yourself to Divi Carina Bay Resort's 18 holes of mini-golf and call it a day.
Historic Site Tours
Saint Croix has a vibrant history, showcased by our many historic sites. The Saint Croix Landmark Society maintains several sites, notably Estate Whim and The Lawaetz Family Museum.
Estate Whim gives you a guided tour of the preserved great house, as well as self-guided tours of the outbuildings and grounds. Snack on a traditionally-prepared Johnny Cake from the summer kitchen while you wander. If you have Crucian ancestry, Whim has an outstanding research library with extensive geneological resources and knowledgeable staff to help you navigate them. Call the Landmark Society for more information and an appointment - 340-772-0598.
On the West End in the rain forest, the Lawaetz Museum lets you tour an 18th-century Danish colonial homestead, complete with ruins and vibrant gardens. The Lawaetz family is still prominent on Saint Croix.
Being "the rural Virgin", Saint Croix is fond of its horses. There are opportunities to ride on the island, so saddle up!
Ride through the rain forest or along the West End beach (or both!) with Paul & Jill's Equestrian Stables. Beginners are very welcome, and they'll make you feel right at home. Jill is a native Crucian with a wealth of knowledge about the local environment.
On the North Shore, "Cane Bay Cowboy" Stephen O'Day of Equus Rides will guide you along Cane Bay Beach before winding up into the hills. You'll probably go into the sea, so come prepared to get wet!
Either way, reservations are wise, because the daily rides fill quickly. Call ahead!
Paul & Jill's - 340-772-2880
Equus Rides - 340-513-4873
Hit the Beach!
One of the countless wonderful things about Saint Croix is there's no such thing as a private beach. That's the law! Of course, you can't just traipse across somebody's lawn to get to a beach. But once you're there you can go up to the high-tide line and enjoy it. Fun fact!
There are a variety of outstanding public beaches all over the island. A list would be an article in itself, so here are a few highlights:
Cane Bay beach is popular with underwater enthusiasts and snorkelers. There's a variety of reef life to see, and you can walk your SCUBA gear a few yards out, then submerge and swim to The Wall, one of the world's top diving destinations.
Rainbow Beach, north of Fredriksted, is a gorgeous white-powder strand popular with locals on weekends. That's why there's a bar or two near at hand for refreshment.
For the more advernturous, Jacks and Isaacs Bays are only accessible after a 15-20 minute hike through the arid scrub of the island's East End. Once you're there, the beaches are magnificent, the snorkeling excellent (we recently saw the biggest stingray any of us had ever seen), and the seclusion comforting.
Regardless of which beach you choose, remember to secure your valuables. Thieves know that beachgoers often leave their cars unlocked. Keep your phone and wallet well out of sight.
Shop 'til you drop!
Shop 'til you Drop!
Let me state at the outset that Saint Croix is not like Saint Thomas. We're not a massive tourist trap. ;) Nevertheless, we have some pretty good shopping! Whether you're looking for eclectic local art and craftsmanship or standard duty-free options, there's something for you.
Don't forget: US citizens are allowed up to $1600 worth of merchandise duty-free. You can also take home six bottles of liquor, provided at least one is a bottle of our fine Cruzan rum! That ought to tide you over until your next visit.
Christiansted Town is where the action is. Walk up Company Street, then cut over to Strand Street, and you'll hit the major points of interest. There are some gems hidden up stairs and on side streets, so explore! Long a haven for artists of all types, Christiansted will yield everything from pottery to glassware to jewelry to photography.
Take home an original "Crucian hook" bracelet from Sonya's on Company Street, and browse the art photography prints by famous St Croix native son Fritz Henle and his family at Henle Studios a few blocks up. For duty-free options, hit Baci Duty-Free on Strand Street.
That's it for now!
When I find more interesting tidbits from Saint Croix, I'll write more articles. Follow me to fun in the sun!