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St. Croix History and General Information

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St. Croix is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The territory is considered an unincorporated U.S. territory. St. Croix is by far the largest of the 4 U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, Water Island and St. John are the other three). At 84 square miles, St. Croix is about three times the size of St. Thomas, however, it has about the same population as St. Thomas. St. John and Water Island are tiny in comparison. 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 islands.

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.

Christopher Columbus is credited as the first European to have discovered the island in 1493. He landed at what is know known as Salt River, which is on the central north coast. He was searching for fresh water but didn't find any because a river, 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 a bit more arid than the west end. You will see a lot of cactus plants, with some growing up to 15' high on the rolling hills.  Even though the island is only 27 miles long, east to west, the western end of the island has lush green hills that rise up much higher than on the east end and even includes a small rainforest. There are pristine, white sandy beaches all around the island.

Be sure to watch these videos about St. Croix - St. Croix Videos

Christiansted street.There are two towns on the island, Christiansted and Frederiksted. Christiansted is on the north shore of the island, just a little east of center, and has many historic buildings. Christiansted has some of the best examples of Danish architecture to be found outside of Denmark! If you are lucky, you may be on the island for "Jump Up",  which is held in the streets of Christiansted. This is a "carnival-like" evening, which takes place about four times a year. It's an evening filled with steel bands, dancing, local arts and crafts, local food, and lots of fun!  Frederiksted, which is much smaller than Christiansted,  has lovely "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 was established in the 1700's, and is noteworthy because this is where then Governor General Peter Van Scholten read the proclamation abolishing slavery on the island in 1848.   Today the fort is the home of 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 an evening event called "Sunset Jazz". Admission is free and families are welcome.  Both Christiansted and Frederiksted have fun shopping and delicious places to dine!

St. Croix is about 40 miles south of St. Thomas and St. John. They are separated by a deep oceanic trench...the deepest in the Atlantic basin, which drops down to over 10,000 feet! St. Croix has wonderful 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 high tide waterline, after that it's private property.

Whim Plantation great house.Historic plantations, remnants of a time when slavery and agriculture were the mainstays of the island's economy, are located all over the island. The ruins of dozens of sugar mills are scattered all over the island, a vivid reminder of the island's past. As you explore the island, you will notice that the original plantation's names are still used to define each small area of the island. 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 including Buck Island Reef National Monument, with an underwater snorkeling trail, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, a rainforest, and a botanical gardens. The Cruzan Rum factory is based on St. Croix and 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 produces 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!

Driving the roads on St. CroixMap of St. Croix

Although we are a U.S. territory, we drive on the left side of the road! All cars, including rentals, are left hand drive models that you would find in the States. In order to rent a car on St. Croix, you have to be at least 25 years old, have a valid drivers license and proof of insurance.

Maps of St. Croix and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Visit our maps page for maps of St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands and their location in the Caribbean

Other Facts about St. Croix

Because it is a U.S. territory, the currency used on St. Croix is the U.S. Dollar. Credit cards are accepted by most St Croix businesses, however, there are still quite a few small businesses that only accept cash. ATM machines can be found at most banks, and many gas station convenience stores also have ATMs. There is no sales tax on St. Croix, so combining that with duty free discounts can get you some pretty good prices on jewelry, watches and liquor.

Say It In Crucian! A Complete Guide to Today's Crucian for Speakers of Standard English.The most spoken language is English, yet many locals also speak English with a Caribbean twist. For example, the 'H' is often discarded in words with a "th" so a word like "thing" will be pronounced "ting", and "thanks" will be pronounced "tanks"). Click here to Say it in Crucian. Spanish is also widely spoken on the island.

St. Croix's climate is subtropical The temperature averages 82*F/28*C year round. and to helping with The humidity level is kept comfortable most of the year because of the pleasant easterly trade winds. The temperature varies less than 10 degrees between the summer months and the winter months. Summer highs will likely be in the the 86-89 degree range with the winter months having daytime highs of 82-84 degrees.  With only 50 inches/1270 millimeters of annual rainfall, which occurs mostly in late spring and fall, the island gets just enough rain to keep it green most of the year and offer plenty of sunny days! The island is more likely to see a hurricane in September / October than any of the other months during hurricane season. We only know about one major storm that has hit St. Croix outside of the month of September.

U.S. Virgin Islands use Country Code - 1...just like on the mainland.

The Area Code on St. Croix is 340.

The electrical current and the style of the wall outlets are 110V / 60Hz, just like those in the U.S. You won't need to use an adapter if you are visiting from the U.S.
American-style plug with two parallel flat blades above a circular grounding pin Electrical outlet with two parallel flat blades

In the main towns, and at most hotels, the water is treated and is safe to drink. Most private residences utilize cisterns to store rain water or have water delivered by truck during drier months of the year. Unless you know the water is treated, bottled water is preferred for drinking. More

The time zone on St. Croix is Atlantic Standard Time. This time zone does not follow daylight saving time so in the summer months it is the same as East coast time. In the winter months it is 1 hour ahead of Eastern time zone.

USVI Public Holidays - click here

U.S. Customs Duty Free Allowances

The USVI has the most generous duty free allowance in the entire Caribbean! There are no customs duties on most merchandise, and there are no local luxury or sales taxes. U.S. citizens are allowed a duty-free 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

U.S. Virgin Islands Accommodations Tax (Hotel Tax)

The Us 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)

More Helpful St. Croix Information

Click here for some links to some more helpful St. Croix information.



St. Croix Sky-Cam - Aerial views of St. Croix
Aerial Views of St Croix

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Photos of a villa and condo rental on St. Croix

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