PORTS OF CALL
ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands is a gorgeous tropical oasis of powder-white beaches, crystalline seas, lush rainforest landscapes and a tranquil eco-preserve. St. Croix also has an intriguing heritage that includes a Danish-built fortress.
The One Thing You Don't Want to Miss
Explore "one of the finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea": Buck Island Reef National Monument. Most of this 176-acre island is surrounded by an elkhorn coral barrier reef which serves as home for a multitude of fish and other sea life. Snorkelers will enjoy navigating the underwater trail on the eastern side of the reef. Buck Island itself is a nesting area for sea turtles, brown pelicans and frigate birds. Hike the nature trail, soak in the sunshine on the beach, or dive in and snorkel or SCUBA to your heart's content.
Other Fun Things to Do
- Take a tour of the Cruzan Rum factory and taste a significant spirit in St. Croix's history.
- Venture into the countryside to wonder at the ruins of sugar mills and plantations. Wander the Estate Whim Plantation museum, a restored Great House with 3-foot thick walls made of coral, stone and molasses - a sweet foundation.
- Take a hike through the island's rain forest. Though it's technically more of a "tropical forest" than a "rain forest," you won't be disappointed with its mango, lime, hog plum, mahogany, kapok and turpentine trees, as well as its abundant tropical birds.
Get a Taste of Local Flavor
Traditional island dishes include curried chicken, conch fritters, fried plantains and Kallaloo, a stew made with meat, seafood, okra, spices and greens. For a refreshing local drink try maubi, a beverage made from maubi tree bark, yeast, herbs and ginger root. If you're looking for a nonalcoholic alternative, try ginger beer or soursop juice.
Shopping for Bargains
Visit the shops in Christiansted and Frederiksted for china, crystal, batik, liquor, leather goods, perfume and jewelry. Peruse Folk Art Traders for local artwork, including pottery, masks and paintings. If you're looking for colonial West Indian furniture to spice up your home, visit Estate Mount Washington Antiques.
The U.S. dollar (USD) is the official currency. Traveler's checks and credit cards are also widely accepted.