Sure, the U.S Virgin island of St. Croix is very well known for its endless pristine beaches and crystal clear blue waters. But beyond the beach, lies some of the most amazing restaurants, captivating historical sites and all around friendly people. St. Croix, the largest of the four US Virgin Islands, is divided into two sub-districts Christiansted and Frederiksted.
Christiansted is a picturesque town featuring cobblestoned sidewalks, 18th-century pastel colored buildings (many constructed by African slaves), historic churches, and a beautiful waterfront with shopping and several restaurants. Frederiksted is about 20 miles from Christiansted. It’s a smaller waterfront town with Victorian style buildings and includes a main port for cruise ships. Locals refer to it as Freedom City, because it was an emancipations site for slaves. Overall, St. Croix is affordable, easily accessible and family friendly yet undeniably romantic. And, there’s no passport required. Here are a few hot spots to include on your itinerary.
The Buccaneer is a large old world style luxury hotel with panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea, open-air dining and beachfront rooms with a small patio. The hotel, nearly 70 years old, offers a super friendly staff, a delicious breakfast buffet, and a slew of amenities such as an 18-hole golf course, 8 tennis courts, fitness center, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking tours, and snorkeling.
The Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa is another hotel option located at the north end of St. Croix. But take note, the hotel is nestled on a more secluded part of the island. The Renaissance St. Croix, a brand owned by the Marriot chain, offers large bungalow style rooms with a small sunroom, full kitchen, living room, and walk-in shower. It also includes a spa, scuba diving, and snorkeling activities right off the beach.
When it comes to authentic Caribbean food, Harvey’s, a top local spot on the island, should not be missed. Must try dishes include pot fish, goat stew and conch. 40 Strand Eatery is another delicious locale with exceptional service, and a diverse menu full of flavorful options such as—beet salad, gourmet macaroni and cheese, pork belly, smoked pork chops, cheese grits and lobster risotto. Leave room for dessert and try the pecan pie, which is sinful yet amazingly delicious. For great tasting healthy food options, check out Ital in Paradise—the fried lentil balls with passion fruit dipping sauce are a must. They also have a range of health juices such as soursop juice, golden delicious peanut blended shake.
Of course, we know the Caribbean is home to the ever-popular rum runner recipe, but not all cocktails are created equal. If you’re looking for a great bar experience, head to Zion Restaurant to visit Frank Robinson, a mixologist and culinary artist. Simply give him a rundown of your favorite flavors, and this guy can customize signature drinks infused with a variety of exotic ingredients such as guava, hibiscus, and moringa. You can follow his culinary adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
When you’re not eating and drinking your way through the island, you’ll want to explore the rich melting pot of Danish, Spanish and African influences around the island. St. Croix is home to 17th-century sugar plantations, and many old sugar mills can be spotted around the island. To learn about the rich history take a walking tour of the Christiansted historic site. Fort Christiansvaern, a Danish colonial military style building constructed in 1749, was built to protect the colony from pirates, storms, and slave revolts.
Stroll past the Steeple building, a well-preserved church (built in the 1700’s) where Alexander Hamilton worked. Then visit the Government House, a beautiful yellow Danish style mansion with a grand staircase, beautiful woodwork, and chandeliers. Currently, the building is used for office space and many social and cultural events.
You didn’t really think we could exclude a trip to the beach from this article did you? Buck Island, a secluded beach with some of the best spectacular underwater coral gardens in the Caribbean, is another must–see hot-spot. With unbelievable snorkeling, you can expect to see stingrays, barracudas, lobsters, turtles, sharks, and a ton of Caribbean fish.