St. Croix

Though it's the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, a St. Croix vacation is a exercise in solitude. For years, the island has competed with the more popular St. Thomas as a tourist destination. And for years, it has lost. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, unless you are a merchant trying to make your living on St. Croix. The tranquility of the island is palpable, and you are free to swim and dive St. Croix with little worry about having to fight crowds that have become all too common in the Caribbean. Whether you want to relax, do some fishing or go on a deep sea dive St. Croix can be a wonderful addition to any travel itinerary.

St. Croix
St. Croix

St. Croix Virgin Islands is based mainly around its two major cities, Frederiksted and Christiansted. There is very little to do in the former city: mainly a port for cruise ships, the town itself is centered around a small fort that displays a small array of memorabilia from when it was in use. The rest of the city is utilitarian sprawl, with little to offer the casual visitor. Many a St. Croix hotel has risen up here, only to find visitor interest to be severely lacking. What this overlooked city does provide, however, is a good base to access the largest beach in the entire United States Virgin Islands - the aptly named Sandy Point, a few miles south of Frederiksted. White sand and prime spots for snorkeling and swimming greet each new visitor, and it also one of the most popular places for St. Croix fishing. For those with a taste for the region"s famous pirate elixir, the Cruzan Rum factory is nearby, offering daily guided tours.

Things are different on the other side of the island. On the northeastern coast lies one of the crown jewels of the entire Caribbean, and the epicenter of any St. Croix vacation - the charming city of Christiansted. Here you can stay at the finest St. Croix hotel, gamble at the finest St. Croix casino and travel just a few miles to the Salt River Bay National Historical park or the Visiting Buck Island Reef National monument. The latter even has an underwater nature trail, and is serviced by the popular Dive St. Croix agency, the leading provider of scuba and snorkeling tours on the island. Though beaches are the biggest draw of any St. Croix vacation, many are taxing to get to, which is why the nearby Cormorant Beach Club and Tamarind Reef Beach are so popular - shuttles can be taken from most every St. Croix hotel in the area.

Top image: jskybe (flickr)
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