Donna, a former webmaster of our website, experienced everything St. Croix has to offer. She wrote this article so you may use her vacation as a tool to plan your own fabulous vacation!
“I recently had the privilege of visiting St. Croix for the first time and wanted to share my experience. Never having visited an island before, I had no idea what to expect. Being the webmaster of this website, I was familiar with the pictures I had been given. But to experience this island in person was an experience I will never forget. It is my hopes that in reading this, I can assist you in planning a vacation to exceed your wildest dreams!
My first impression upon landing in St. Croix was of complete surprise. In my mind, I expected a flat island, with a beach and a few hotels. Unfortunately, we flew in at night, so I wasn’t able to get my first glimpse of this beautiful island from the sky. So I was very surprised to see that we landed in a very busy small city, with no high rises with neighborhoods dotting the hillsides. Our taxi drive from the airport to Christiansted was a little nerve racking because there, they drive on the left, which took some getting used to.
Once we arrived at the Holger Danske Hotel, we quickly checked into our room, for we were anxious to begin our exploration of the island. The hotel was exactly as the pictures showed. Located right in the heart of Christiansted, directly on the boardwalk, we were in the perfect location to see and experience everything that the area had to offer. Our room was lovely with a king size bed, a kitchenette, and a nice, private balcony overlooking the mountains. We didn’t plan to spend much time in our room, we had an entire island to explore, and were very anxious to do so.
Our first step: Angry Nates. Angry Nates is the restaurant attached to the hotel. Known for its international cuisine and friendly atmosphere with live entertainment on the weekends. The salmon was prepared to perfection and the drinks even better. The group of locals and tourist round the bar were very lively and friendly. You can view Angry Nates website here.
Our next stop was a walk down the boardwalk. On the left of the boardwalk is a busy harbor with dozens of large boats and ships. It was a beautiful site to behold in the moonlight, as the picture here shows. During the daylight hours, the action never stops as boat after boat comes in from a day fishing and charters going out. You can also watch the seaplane take off and land bringing visitors to and from the other islands. On the right of the boardwalk are hotels,restaurants and bars. On our stroll back to the hotel, tired from a long day of travel, we were drawn to the live music outside Angry Nates. We had the pleasure of listening to Rob Paper, one of the many local celebrities on the island. With a voice like James Taylor and a heavy influence of the Grateful Dead and Bob Marley, he was one of the most gifted guitar players and singers I have ever heard. My only regret is that we didn’t find out where he was playing again, we were just too tired to stay for more than one set. Here is his picture and in case your wondering who you are listening to: none other than Rob Paper himself! He’s definitely a treasure worth exploring!
DAY 1: After an early breakfast at Angry Nates, we set off exploring Christiansted. Our first stop was Fort Christiansted National Park. Located just off the boardwalk the rich history and the beauty of this location is wonderful. The day was a little overcast as you can see in the pictures. But the temperature was 83 degrees and for us coming from Buffalo, NY, it was just perfect!
Off the boardwalk is the town of Christiansted. Quaint streets lined with cobblestone sidewalks, some dated back hundreds of years. The first thing I noticed was the cleanliness of the streets and sidewalks. No littering, no graffiti and no smell of garbage anywhere.( Later found out that this was the same for the entire island) Specialty shoppes, souvenir shops and jewelry shops all have something to please everyone. And in between, tucked away in little alleys are the most quaint little open air restaurants with food to satisfy every pallet. I loved discovering and exploring this part of Christiansted because you could continuously discover hidden delights. The natives, the Cruzans, are the friendliest people with constant smiles and southern hospitality.
DAY 2: Rented a car and drove to Sandy Point Beach. This is about a 20 minute drive to a beach and game preserve that is literally almost deserted! If you see a handful of people on this beach at all, that’s a lot. Starving for the beach and the sun, we were in our glory! This is a place to go to recharge your batteries, or even rekindle the flames of romance! The water was 83 degrees and smooth as crystal clear aquamarine glass. Not a hotel or building in site in either direction. Take a picnic lunch and cooler full of the local beer Caribe. You can rent snorkel or scuba gear in town to experience some of the best diving on the island. This is a day I will always cherish. I can’t say enough about the beauty I have experienced! As for romance, well, the picture speaks for itself.
Second stop for the day was Paul & Jill’s Equestrian Stables for a tour of the island on horseback. Never having sat on a horse in my life, I was more than a little skeptical but was determined to see every inch of this island and where we went, deep in the rain forest, only horses could travel. I have to make known that it was a huge comfort to me to learn that on St. Croix there are no snakes! Learning this helped me to relax and enjoy the ride. For 2.5 hours we road through the rain forest and concluded the tour on the beach. Our hosts were so gracious. This is something the whole family would enjoy!
DAY 3: Got up early and started our own driving tour of the island. Stopped at the Buccaneer Country Club for a fabulous brunch. Whether you play golf or not, this place is a definite must just for the view alone. The clubhouse is on top of the mountain, overlooking the ocean with breathtaking view and wonderful food. After a beautiful scenic drive, we ended our day at the Chenay Bay Resort. Located just a short distance from the hotel, this spot features a wonderful open air restaurant and bar with a gorgeous white sandy beach.
Our next stop was to drive to Point Udall. The eastern most point of the United States, this popular tourist attraction is located up a winding road that runs high along the water front with panoramic views of the ocean below.
Final stop for the day: Divi Carina Casino. After losing my money on the slots, we headed for the Divi Carina Bay Beach Club. Beautiful beach with a restaurant and bar right on the sand.
DAY 4: Got a cooler and snacks for a 1/2 day boat trip to Buck Island National Park. This island takes about 20 minutes by boat to get to and is surrounded by spectacular reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving. Our host was Big Beard and the boat was a huge catamaran. First stop was on the calm side of the island where the water was a breathtaking emerald color. This gave us all a chance to get some snorkeling lessons if needed or just enjoy snorkeling and swimming in calm waters. After a half hour, we headed for the other side of the island where the water was a little rougher, but the reefs and the fish were also bigger. It was comforting to learn also that there has never been a shark attack on St. Croix. So relax and enjoy this spectacular island! We ere especially blessed on the ride back to be accompanied by dolphins!
DAY 5: Took a ride to Carambola Golf Club for lunch and golf. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., this 4000 acre course will humble even the professional golfers! Breathtaking views, plenty of water and sand with a tropical scene all around. Even though this course is in the middle of the mountains and not on the water, this course is our personal favorite. Even if you don’t golf, the ride there is worth it for the scenery and food alone. The conch was fabulous as well as the tuna. Don’t leave without visiting Wendy in the pro shop!
DAY 6: Tan Tan Tour: This is a half day or full day jeep ride up to the highest mountain tops, down to the tidal pools and everything in between! You will go where only a 4 wheel drive vehicle can go with a tour guide keeping you entertained and educated all along the way. Got some spectacular pictures and memories to last a life time. You will not get a more thorough tour of the island than this. We chose the 1/2 tour that ended with lunch at the Domino Club where we go to see the beer drinking pigs. Don’t worry, they only get non-alcoholic beer.
Ended this perfect day lounging at the pool of the Holger Danske Hotel and happy hour at Angry Nates.
DAY 7: Salt River Kayak Tour: See where Columbus discovered the island. This started out to be a serene river tour where our tour guide kept up a continual educational banter of the flora, vegetation and history of the area. I was worried that paddling the kayak would be too much for this frail body of mine, but it was very easy. Traveled through some open water to a lagoon. This was a half day tour and well worth being able to see another part of the island.
DAY 8: Rented jet skis from Island Flight Adventure Tours. This was a 2 hour guided tour that went almost from one end of the island to the other. On the way back my husband snorkeled while being pulled by a rope. We stopped at Chenay Bay resort for drinks and sun.
Our next stop was the Cruzan Rum Factory. This was a guided tour through the factory that ended with a rum tasting at the bar. My personal favorite: Cruzan Rum Cream. You can take home a 6 pack, duty free, which we did.
That evening was the Christmas boat parade. The sea plane had been flying people in all day from the other islands to enjoy this annual festival. There were 20 boats in the parade, all decorated with Christmas lights. We watched the parade from the pool balcony of the Holger Danske Hotel where we had the best seats in town! After the parade was over, we took a walk down to the end of the boardwalk where there were Christmas carolers and “jump ups” dancing. The jump ups are people in colorful costumes walking and dancing on stilts. This is an island tradition that is a pleasure to see. The history behind this tradition is that the slaves used to do this as part of their religious celebration, which was forbidden by the slave owners. To get away with this, the slaves disguised this as a festival, covering their faces so that the slave owners would not recognize them. To this day, several times a year you will see the jump ups dancing and celebrating on the streets of St. Croix! This night, the carnival atmosphere was very uplifting and put us in the holiday spirit.
FINAL DAY: For our final day, we drove to Fredericksted to enjoy a day at the beach. Just a short distance away from Christiansted, Fredericksted has the #10 best pier diving spot in the world, with beaches that are literally deserted. With snorkel gear and a cooler we were ready for a full day in the sun. Ended up at the Sunset Grill for lunch with live entertainment on the beach. I loved this spot. Workers raked the beach to keep it clean with lounge chairs available to use. The water at this end of the island was calm as turquoise glass! This is a favorite spot of snorkelers and scuba divers.
My job was to experience all that the island had to offer so that I can better market the Holger Danske Hotel and the island. I discovered that St. Croix is the hidden jewel of the Caribbean. Totally undiscovered and completely unspoiled by commercialism. In today’s world of fake, commercial paradises, St. Croix is the real deal!”