Our visit to Saint Croix was hosted by the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. All opinions expressed are our own and are based on our experience.
The island of Saint Croix is the perfect place for a quick trip to the beautiful Caribbean. Beaches, rainforests, and multicultural food are all yours to discover there. And U.S. citizens don’t even need a passport to visit.
The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint Croix covers 176 square miles. Cultural influences from Spain, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Malta, and the U.S. give the island its rich and diverse flavor.
The island’s tourism slogan, “Saint Croix: a vibe like no other,” is 100 percent accurate. Saint Croix’s welcoming multicultural community makes you feel at home from the moment you arrive. The friendliness of the Crucian people is overwhelming. From your first sample of Cruzan Rum at the airport, you are welcomed into the island family. Everyone, it seems, has a cousin in Saint Croix — and on the island, cousin is another word for “friend.” It won’t be long until you meet a few cousins of your own.
How To Get There
Several airlines offer flights from the U.S. to Saint Croix, including direct flights. Once you’re on the island, you can rent a car to explore Saint Croix and even do some island-hopping if you choose. Just remember that on Saint Croix, people drive on the left side of the road. If you don’t feel like driving, taxis and ride-sharing options are readily available. Keep in mind that you’ll be on island time in Saint Croix, which means nobody’s rushing. Plan accordingly, relax, and take your time getting around.
Where To Stay
There are lots of accommodations to choose from in Saint Croix. You’ll find luxurious resorts, bed and breakfasts, villas, Airbnbs, and even campgrounds to suit every budget and style.
Resorts And Hotels
Beachfront resorts and hotels offer beautiful sunrises and sunsets among their amenities.
The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort, the most well-known resort on the island, has been greeting guests for more than 70 years. Sporty types will love the tennis courts, 18-hole golf course, and kayaking and snorkeling opportunities. The resort boasts three beaches, with one one set aside as a quiet spot to relax, read, and sip a tropical drink.
The room-service menu is great, but we loved the sprawling breakfast buffet. There’s something extra special about a fabulous breakfast in the gentle sea breeze.
The resort’s deluxe oceanfront rooms offer spectacular views. Our private balcony was the perfect place to sip coffee and our favorite Harney & Sons tea in the morning and enjoy a refreshing cocktail at sunset.
This delightful Saint Croix resort is a family-run business and a member of the Historic Hotels of America.
The Sand Castle on the Beach is a welcoming boutique beachfront resort. From its perfect location near the historic town of Frederiksted, you can easily enjoy both the beach and the town.
If you’re looking for a contemporary and fashionable spot, you’ll love The Fred. This adults-only hotel is a bit smaller and more intimate. It boasts a terrific beach view and a trendy courtyard pool scene.
For adventurous and sustainable accommodations, check out Ridge to Reef Farm. Stay on the farm and get as involved as you’d like. Take hands-on lessons on working the fields, or just enjoy the slow pace of this island farm in the mountains. You can volunteer or not — it’s up to you. Food lovers can experience many Saint Croix culinary specialties from spade to plate. Options include tent camping as well as shared and private cabanas.
Where To Eat And Drink
The abundance of great food on Saint Croix makes deciding where to eat a daily pleasure. The island vibe is mellow and laid back, allowing for relaxed meals and time to relish every bite.
A great fine-dining option is Savant. The sparkling lights on the patio and romantic ambience immediately transport you. We loved the creative cocktails like the Ruby Red Martini. The cocktails are strong, however, so be prepared to relax and take it easy! We couldn’t wait to try some of the local seafood. The crispy skin snapper with roasted cauliflower was a flavor explosion.
Beach Side Cafe
Nothing says “island vacation” like a meal on the beach. For an unpretentious yet lovely setting, head to Beach Side Cafe. We still fantasize about the sweet Caribbean lobster and beef filet we enjoyed while listening to the waves lapping on the shore.
Frontline Bar & Restaurant
For a hyper-local experience, try breakfast at the Frontline Bar & Restaurant. It looks like a hole in the wall, but the line out the door tells you that this is a must. Walk up to the counter, order “one breakfast,” hand over $10, and wait. You’ll get a platter full of Johnnycake, boiled eggs, chicken wings, green salad, fish salad, and bread. It’s a real island breakfast, and the locals gobble it up.
Le Reine Chicken Shack
This popular spot for rotisserie chicken is near the airport, so it’s the perfect stop on your way in or out. They sell hundreds of them, nicely spiced with island flavors. Don’t skip the tasty sauces or great sides like Johnnycakes, cassava, plantains, rice, and beans. It’s fun to share your experience with the locals, who can’t wait to tell you their stories and have a few laughs.
Saint Croix’s food and drink scene is always evolving, and there are new restaurants opening all the time. Be sure to check the calendar on the tourism website for events like Taste of Saint Croix and the Saint Croix Food and Wine Experience.
Mutiny Island Vodka
For something really different, check out the new Mutiny Island Vodka, which specializes in vodka made from breadfruit. Where else will you find that?
What To Do
Go To The Beach
Lounge in the sand, play beach volleyball, snorkel, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard at one of the island’s sandy beaches. More secluded hideaways like Shoys Beach are perfect for a quiet swim in calm waters or a meditative walk along the beautiful shore.
Tour Christiansted And Frederiksted
The 18th- and 19th-century homes in Christiansted provide great insight into Crucian heritage. For a deeper dive, check out Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism. Their tours provide in-depth looks at Crucian architecture, nature, arts and crafts, and agriculture. If you love to shop, you’ll find many places in Frederiksted to browse for local treasures and deals.
Visit The Rainforest And National Parks
Nature lovers can experience the lush rainforest of Saint Croix. This dense wonderland filled with mahogany and birch trees, ferns, and vines is an exciting part of natural Saint Croix. Hiking, birding, and horseback riding are all great ways to enjoy the natural landscape.
The winding Mahogany Road has lots of local interest, too. Find local mahogany goods at the Leap, taste bean-to-bar handmade chocolates at Mahogany Road Chocolate, or purchase a sweet treat at Nidulari Homestead and Artisanal Bakery.
For more time in nature, visit the Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge, the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, or the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge. At the Saint George Village Botanical Garden, you can learn about conservation and explore more than 1,500 native and exotic plant species.
Discover Local Arts And Crafts
For a neat local treasure to bring home, look for the iconic Saint Croix hook bracelet, available from many vendors. The hook points either away or toward the heart to indicate the wearer’s relationship status — single or taken.
The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts and many other galleries feature works by island artists. You’ll also find shops with local fashions, souvenirs, and jewelry. We found a lovely beach dress for a low price that we enjoyed wearing during our visit.
Snorkel On Buck Island
One of the most beautiful national parks in the Virgin Islands is the Buck Island Reef National Monument just a short boat ride from Saint Croix. Big Beards Adventure Tours will tailor a fabulous experience for first-time and experienced divers alike. They teach newcomers the basics and help everyone navigate the reef. The reef is truly beautiful and full of colorful fish. Even as absolute beginners, we had so much fun. We finished by sipping rum drinks and discussing all the fish we saw. We can’t wait to do it again!
Check Out A Gas Station Party
Sound crazy? In Saint Croix, when the sun goes down, the gas stations turn into nightclubs. Each one is different and has its own vibe. They serve beer and food, including barbecue you’ll smell when you arrive. You’ll meet plenty of locals and go home with new friends and cousins.
The best thing about Saint Croix is that there’s something for everyone. Lively scenes, relaxing hideaways, great food and drinks, and incredibly friendly people abound. The only challenge will be getting it all in during a visit.