History and General Information
Croix is one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are considered
an unincorporated U.S. territory. The beautiful island of
St. Croix is the largest of the 3 inhabited US Virgins Islands
(St. Thomas and St. John are the other two) and is 84 square
miles. In fact, it is about three times the size of St.
Thomas, however, it only has a population of about 60,000
residents, about the same as St. Thomas. This gives visitors
to the island a lot more breathing room! Saint Croix has
flown seven different flags. It has been colonized by Spain,
Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, the Knights of Malta,
Denmark, and the United States.
The Carib were the
last of the Native Indian people to inhabit St. Croix. The
Carib people were originally from the Guiana region of South
America. They were not the first Indians on St. Croix..
The Tainos or Arawaks came before them and the Caribs didn't
arrive on the island until the early 1400's. It was the
Carib that greeted Columbus on his second voyage through
The Caribs continued
to inhabit St. Croix for about a decade after Columbus'
visit. During this time they lived with an understanding
of mutual coexistence with the Spanish on Puerto Rico. This
understanding ended when a Spanish adventurer raided St.
Croix for Carib slaves. The Caribs then joined with the
Tainos of Puerto Rico, to fight against the Spanish. As
a result of their uprising, the Caribs were ordered to be
eliminated by the Spanish Crown. With 'legalized' extermination
and military action inevitable, the Caribs permanently
abandoned St. Croix.
Sugarcane quickly became the economic
force on the island many years. The development of the sugar
beet in Europe and abolishment of slavery undermined the
economy of the colony. Slavery was abolished after a successful
insurrection in 1848, but in 1862, St. Croix received a
shipload of East Indians that were indentured on the island
for five years. There was a labor revolt by former slaves
in 1878 when much of
Frederiksted, one of the island's two towns, was burnt
down in a labor revolt now known as the Fireburn. It was
reportedly led by four women known as the "Queens" of the
revolt, and a modern island thoroughfare is named after
"Queen Mary" Thomas.
Columbus is credited as the first European to discover the
island in 1493, landing at
Salt River on the central north coast, in search of
fresh water. He didn't find any as Salt River, as it is
now known, was just an inlet from the sea that resembled
the mouth of a river. There can be small running streams/rivers
in the rainforest, depending on how much rain there has
been, but nothing navigable. The far eastern part of the
island is more arid and you will even find cactus plants
growing up to 15 feet high on the hills. Even though
the island is only 27 miles long, east to west, the
western half is lush with beautiful green hills including
a small rainforest, while the East end is much more arid
and the hills are much smaller. There are wonderful white
sandy beaches all around the island.
Be sure to watch these videos
about St. Croix - St. Croix
are two towns on the island,
Christiansted is on the north shore of the island, just
a little east of center, and is filled with historic buildings
displaying the greatest example of Danish architecture outside
of Denmark! If you are lucky, you may be on the island for
Up" which is held in Christiansted. This
is a "carnival-like" evening, which takes place about four
times a year. Its an evening filled with steel bands, dancing,
local arts and crafts, local food, and lots of fun!
Frederiksted has charming "gingerbread" Victorian architecture
and is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, as cruise ships
began calling on the port again in 2008. Just on the edge
of town, you will find
Fort Frederik which dates back to 1700 and is the site
where Governor General Peter Van Scholten read the proclamation
abolishing slavery on the island in 1848. Today
the fort houses a museum. Frederiksted has a beautiful
waterfront that draws cruise ships and visitors from around
the globe. On the third Friday of each month, there is "Sunset
Jazz" in Frederiksted. Admission is free and families
are welcome. Both towns have
duty free shopping and
great places to eat!
Croix lies approximately 40 miles south of St. Thomas and
St. John, and is separated from them by a deep oceanic trench...the
deepest in the Atlantic basin! St. Croix has beautiful white
sand beaches with warm, crystal
clear waters and is ringed by a reef system making navigating
the waters around the island reserved for only experienced
sailors. All beaches on the island are open to the public,
however, you still need to respect waterfront property owners
as the "public" part of the beach only extends 15 feet up
the beach from the waterline, after that its private property.
plantations, from the days when slavery and agriculture
drove the economy, are scattered throughout the island.
The ruins of dozens of sugar mills are scattered all over
the island, a vivid reminder of the island's past. St Croix
also has great duty free shopping areas and a variety of
land activities and water sports,
enough to keep visitors very entertained. Among its natural
attributes are natural reserves for plant and animal life
Island Reef National Monument, with an underwater snorkeling
trail, Sandy Point National
Wildlife Refuge, a rainforest, and a
gardens. The Cruzan Rum factory is based on St. Croix
Diageo, the world’s
leading spirits, wine and beer company, completed construction
of a high capacity distillery on the island in 2010. The
new facility will produce all the bulk rum used to make
Captain Morgan branded products for the United States.
The distillery has a capacity
to distill up to 20 million proof gallons of Captain Morgan
rum per year!
Other Facts about St. Croix
currency is the US Dollar. Credit cards and travelers checks
are accepted but you will still find many places that only
accept cash. ATM machines are available all over the island.
There is no sales tax.
language is English, yet many locals also speak English
with a Caribbean twist. For instance, the 'H' is often discarded
("thing" becomes "ting", and "thanks" becomes "tanks").
Click here to Say it in
The climate is subtropical with a year round average of
about 82*F/28*C with easterly trade winds to help keep the
humidity level comfortable. Seasonal temperatures fluctuate
less than 10*F/6*C. Average annual rainfall is only 50 inches/1270
millimeters and mostly occurs in late spring and late summer,
although there will be occasional showers throughout the
year. The island is more susceptible to potential hurricanes
September - October. We only know about one major storm
that has hit St. Croix outside of the month of September.
Country Code - 1
Code - 340
- the current and wall outlets are 110V / 60Hz, like those
in the U.S.
The water in the main towns and at most
hotels is safe to drink. Most private residences utilize
cisterns to store rain water. Unless the water is treated,
bottled water is preferred for drinking. More
St. Croix is on Atlantic Standard Time zone year-round (1
hour ahead of East Coast Time).
St. Croix has many
and celebrations throughout the year, but any time is a
great time to visit St. Croix.
USVI Public Holidays
- click here
The USVI has the highest
duty free allowance in the Caribbean!
There are no customs
duties on most merchandise, and there are no local luxury
or sales taxes. U.S. citizens are allowed a
shopping quota of $1,600.00. Additionally, an unlimited
number of gift packages, worth $100 or less, may be mailed
to family and friends. Citizens may also bring back up to
five cartons of duty-free cigarettes and five fifths of
US liquor duty-free. An extra fifth can be taken if it is
an U.S. Virgin Islands product such as Cruzan Rum.
Click here for more detailed duty free allowance information
for St. Croix and the US Virgin Islands
Tax (Hotel Tax)
Virgin Islands imposes a 10% accommodations tax (Hotel Tax)
to all short term lodgings. If your stay is 90 days or less,
you will be subject to this tax. (10% as of January 1, 2012)
is on the left side of the street!
Rentals cars are all left hand drive models. You must be
25 years old to rent a car.