St. Croix, is the largest of the United States Virgin Islands, we are located in the Caribbean Sea and preceded by Puerto Rico. The U.S. Virgin Islands are an unincorporated U.S. territory, composed of four main islands (St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas, and Water Island) surrounded by minor cays and islets. St. Croix is a beautiful 86 square miles. The island is 22.7 miles long and 8 miles at its widest point. The island has two historical towns Christiansted and Frederiksted. The territory’s capital Charlotte Amalie is located on St. Thomas. The islanders are referred to as Crucian or Cruzans. We are an English speaking island with a unique dialect known as Crucian Creole or Patois. Spanish and French Patois are also spoken by a portion of our islanders.
St. Croix (also known as Santa Cruz, Ay-Ay) was originally inhabited by two native American tribes, the Arawaks and Caribs (of which the latter the Caribbean is named after). Columbus during his travels to the New World in 1493 landed on a part of the island known as Salt River Bay. St. Croix and Puerto Rico are the only places currently under U. S. flag that Columbus laid eyes on. The first battle between Europeans and American Natives took place at what is now the Salt River National Park.
The island has flown 7 flags throughout its history: Spain, Holland, England, Knights of Malta, France, Denmark, and currently the United States. Slavery was officially abolished under Danish rule, by Governor Geneneral in the town of Frederiksted during 1848. Thirty years later former slaves rioted due to unfair labor conditions in the “Fireburn” of 1878. The town of Frederiksted was set on fire and surrounding areas along Centerline Road also known as Queen Mary Highway.
The Danish ceded the islands then known as the Danish West Indies to the United States on March 31, 1917. Many of the island’s historical sites are protected by the National Park Service and the local government.
Geography & Climate
St. Croix has a diverse terrain and is described as being lush and green on the northwestern side, while dry and arid on the easterly side of the island. Point Udall is the easternmost point under the U.S. flag, and as such our island are among the first to welcome in the New Year. Our average day time temperatures range in the 80’s, dropping to the 70’s at night. The island benefits from easterly trade-winds, keeping the humidity moderate. Average annual rainfall is about 50 inches, with tropical showers and storms lasting short periods. Occasional tropical storms and hurricanes are expected but no major hurricanes have hit the islands in recent years.
No passports required for U.S. Citizens! Major airlines such as American Airlines, US Airways, and Delta make regular trips to St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX). Smaller airlines such as Cape Air, Seaborne Airlines, and SeaFlight travel between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Ferry service by VI SeaTran carry travellers back and forth between St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Virgin Islanders drive on the left side of the road, a part of our European heritage. Major rental companies such as Avis and Budget are located on the island. Taxis for hire are also available, rates are determined by the destination as opposed to a meter. Public transportation is available on the VITRAN and shared taxis that travel between the island’s two towns at a cheaper rate.
St. Croix, like many other Caribbean islands uses tourism as its primary source of revenue. However, unlike its sister island St. Croix is home to various industrial businesses namely: Hovensa Oil Refinery, Vialco, Cruzan Rum Distillery, and Diageo Distillery. Hovensa is the second largest oil refinery in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest employer on the island. Gas prices on St. Croix are significantly lower than that of the continental U.S. and neighboring islands. The island has one main hospital Juan F. Luis Hospital, two community clinics, and a wealth of doctors with various specialties.
Christiansted is the official shopping district on the island with a variety of stores and boutiques for all budgets. Sunny Isles Shopping Center and the Sunshine Mall also have a variety of retail stores found in the U.S. as well as local businesses. The island has a variety of stores mostly located on major roads. All shopping is duty free and as a U.S. territory we accept American currency, debit, and major credit cards.
St. Croix has a variety of options when it comes to your stay ranging from beachfront resorts, villa/condo rentals, timeshares, and comfy inns. All are located within a short radius to amenities such as swimming pools, golf courses, fitness centers, spas, recreational facilities, and dining. The territory’s only casino is located at the Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino.
Dining, Events, & Nightlife
An island of diverse people and cultures. St. Croix has a plethora of local delicacies, fine dining, seaside restaurants, bars, and nightspots. Local, American, and International cuisine are easily found. Most places accept major credit cards. Reservations are generally preferred.
A variety of events are held throughout the year see the web links below for event schedules. Some of our well known events include the Crucian Christmas Festival, Agrifest, Jump Up, A Taste of St. Croix, the Ironman Triathlon, Mango Melee, and so many others.
Locals bars and nightspots are found throughout the island with entertainment by talented musicians, bands, traditional quadrille dancers, mocko jumbies (stilt dancers), fire eaters, and glass walkers. The possibilities are endless!
Weddings & Honeymoons
With an island as beautiful and unique as ours St. Croix is a romantic paradise. Marriage applications are handled by the Territorial Court. Blood tests and waiting periods are not required. Licenses must be picked up during business hours. Weddings take place at churches, historical sites, beautiful gardens, beaches, and even under the sea. First class wedding planners and professionals are available for all size events.
Take a video tour of St. Croix below (courtesy of GotoStCroix.com):
For more information on St. Croix feel free to visit the following sites: