This article originally appeared in Delta Air Lines’ 2012 Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America Travel Guide. It has been extracted from its original format. To read the full travel guide, visit the digital edition.
The relaxed, breezy feel of St. Croix keeps travelers coming back to its boutique hotels for a taste of small-town Caribbean life. The local community here is tight-knit and extremely welcoming to visitors, who often feel that they’ve discovered a home away from home. They also discover a world of nature that is mostly untapped, particularly beneath the sea. At Buck Island National Reef Monument, snorkelers paddle along an underwater trail to see spotted eagle rays, sharks, turtles and schools of tropical fish who live among its reefs. Plaques posted along the way, explain to newbie snorkelers just exactly what they’re seeing. Visibility here is commonly 100 ft., so snorkelers have a clear view of everything swimming around them. Divers, on the other hand, will want to head to St. Croix’s northern side, to descend along walls stretching to depths in the thousands of feet. Davis Bay is a particular challenge, featuring the Puerto Rico Trench which stretches downward as deep as 12,000 ft. Back on land, St. Croix has only two real towns—Christiansted and Frederiksted. Christiansted is home to a wealth of history, especially at the Christiansted National Historic Site where 18th and 19th century colonial structures like Fort Christiansvaern, the Danish West India & Guinea Company Warehouse, and the Steeple Building have been preserved. The National Park Service plans to restore the entire complex to the standards of the 1800s. Frederiksted boasts plenty of its own historic sites, including Fort Frederik, built to protect the island from pirates in the 1700s; St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, dating to the 1840s; and the 19th century Apothecary. Frederiksted also boasts the Cruzan Rum distillery, founded in 1760 and still distributing its many varieties of rums on a large scale to the Americas and beyond. Tours of the distillery operate on weekdays.
- Best time to go:
November to May
- Fun fact:
Actor Kelsey Grammar and artist Camille Pissarro call the U.S. Virgin Islands home
- Getting there:
Delta flies from Atlanta to St. Croix
- Entry documents:
- Must-try local food:
“Fungi,” a dish of cornmeal and okra often served with fish
- Best buys:
Designer goods, local crafts
- Information please:
United States Virgin Islands—visitusvi.com