St. Croix is the Cinderella of the U.S. Virgin Islands, often overlooked, under-appreciated and sometimes slandered behind her back. Before our trip, it was described to us as ridden with a crime dump. That was harsh and unfair.
St. Croix does not have a manicured environment as you find on St. John or St. Thomas and maybe it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but any island with crystal clear waters, palm-dotted beaches and a bountiful marine life is OK by me.
Being a U.S territory with similar COVID-19 restrictions and a quick flight away, it was our choice for the first COVID-era trip. Besides, let’s be honest – very few places are welcoming Americans right now.
Although St. Croix is the biggest of the US Virgin islands, it is still an island and there isn’t much to do no matter what those long lists tell you. Best thing is to relax on the beach. But if you’re not the kind that parks him/herself in one spot and doesn’t move for 4 days, here are five best things to do and worthy to move your butt off that lounge chair.
Tour the Beaches
Being the largest of the US Virgin Islands, St. Croix offers a lot of beaches to explore. You’ll need to rent a car to get to them and use Google Maps to find them. It’s not always easy but always worth it.
We mostly stayed on the north side and visited the west side of the island. All beaches are nice, but the west side wins this competition hands down. I’ll do a more in depth post on the beaches later, but here are my top three for now.
Sandy Point – must-see beach in St. Croix. You’ll love it so much, you’ll never want to leave. It’s pristine but completely deserted. It’s also mostly closed from April till October to allow turtles to nest.
Turtle beach – accessible only by boat at the Buck Island, which also happened to have one of the only three underwater trails in the United States. It’s one of those wild beaches with no extra curriculars like vendors, bars or beach chairs. Get here early before all the boat tours crowds this place. Watch out for the picnic tables set up under the poisonous trees.
Rainbow beach – north of Frederiksted with a fun Rhythms Cafe that will feed you, rent out chairs and provide drinks.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
As mentioned earlier, Buck Island off the St. Croix has one of the only 3 underwater trails in the United States. John F. Kennedy was so taken by the beauty surrounding the island that he designated it as a National Monument. It is a wonderful place to snorkel. You can either take one of the daily boat trips, charter your own boat or make friends with the locals to take you there.
North of the island is dotted with dive sites that lead you to “The Wall” – the huge reef wall that goes all the way to Puerto Rico. We highly recommend Sweet Bottom dive shop set up on the Cane Bay beach. You can do beach dives right off the beach. For those who don’t dive there is quality snorkeling.
Charter a Boat
It gives you a different perspective seeing the island from the water. There are various companies offering boat tours and you should definitely do one. We loved guys from Caribbean Sea Adventures.
St. Croix is home to Cruzan rum and Captain Morgan distilleries and both of them do tasting tours. Unfortunately for us, due to COVID -19, the tastings were not happening. But honestly, every bar, and there are lots of them, are stocked with all flavors of rum and a good bartender will give you a tasting with a shot of history.
Cuisine in St. Croix is not one for the books, but one thing that’s plentiful, amazing, and not easily duplicated at home or any hipster restaurant in the states, is the abundance of fresh, juicy, just-caught Caribbean lobster grilled to perfection. My recommendation is to do it at Duggan’s Reef or Blue Water Terrace.
Here you have it – five best things to do in St. Croix.