Touring the island is quite an adventure, since it’s 82 square miles.
Rental cars are available. You can also rent a taxi/tour car and have the guide show you the island. The cost varies; it depends on the number of hours. Your guide will know where to take you, what to see, and where to have lunch (which is extra) outside of town.
Through your hotel you can arrange for a twilight sail or a cocktail cruise or a Buck Island cookout and much more. Sightseeing tours can also be arranged through your hotel. Ask for literature to find the range of programs offered.
Sites to Look For:
Estate St. George Botanical Garden
Consisting of lush woods and rich land, the Garden covers 16 acres and contains ruins of a 19th-century sugarcane village and rum factory including workers’ homes, manager’s house, a bake oven, stone dam, a blacksmith’s shop and foundations of a watermill. A small admission fee is charged.
Buck Island Reef
Here is the only United States National Monument (we call it a “National Park”) that is underwater. The Park itself covers over 850 acres including the island proper, with a sandy beach, picnic tables and barbecue pits. The reef has two major underwater trails — Turtle Bay Trail and East End Trail. Numerous boats operate off the dock in Christiansted; your hotel has specifics.
A very nice place to relax the day away during the weekdays. The Park has a beautiful beach and picnic area. On weekends the park is transformed into a outdoor bar atmosphere with DJ’s and music.
Cruzan Rum Distillery
Out on West Airport Road you can visit the distillery and see them making Virgin Islands rum. The tour includes a walk through the plant by long, flat sections of kegs, up ramps past the distilling, through fumes as intoxicating as the rum itself, to bottling and labeling. Check at your hotel for visiting hours.
Eastern End of the Island
You’ve gone as far as you can go in the United States on the easternmost point of St. Croix, Point Udall. The spot is barren, but beautiful. Bring your camera.
“Eye to the Sky”
Less than a mile from Point Udall, the National Science Foundation has funded the installation of a giant $5-million-dollar antenna — 82 feet in diameter. This 260-ton dish will be used to explore the unknown universe. Visit the site, where guides will explain that the antenna is identical to nine others around the U.S. Together, the ten make up a single radio telescope, sharing their data over the Internet.
As you head towards Frederiksted, you’ll come upon Creque Dam Road and the 15 acres of the Rain Forest. The dam itself is 150 feet high. You will also go along Mahogany Road, which is lined with beautiful mahogany trees, yellow cedar, and Tibet trees (also called “mother’s tongue” because of the pods that rustle in the wind). The air is filled with the scent of many of our island fruits, and also the call of mountain doves. The Forest is private property; the owners have graciously consented to let visitors tour.
St. Croix Leap
Also in the Rain Forest, you will find a group of talented woodcarvers. You can order wood sculptures and chairs and tables all made from local mahogany and have them shipped to your home.
Here’s where Columbus first arrived in the Virgin Islands in November 1493 on his second voyage to the New World, with 17 ships and 1500 men. He called this island Santa Cruz.
A restoration of one of the finest greathouses from the late 1700s. There’s the main house, windmill, watch house and bathhouse, cookhouse and apothecary; also a museum and gift shop. This is one of St. Croix’s showplaces. Small admission fee.
Christiansted has been called the picture-book harbor of the Caribbean; a natural reef just offshore assures a haven for yachts and smaller pleasure craft.
A Historical Tour of Christiansted Ask for the “Walking Tour Guide” at the Division of Tourism. Be sure to bring your camera, for places to visit include:
Built in 1774 to protect the town’s harbor, the handsomely restored Fort has battlements to photograph and dungeons to visit. Small admission fee.
Impressive and imposing, a beautiful example of Danish architecture, this structure dates back to 1747. You can go inside, and walk up the majestic staircase to the magnificently appointed Ballroom.
If you’re putting together a picnic, here’s the place to visit. The people of the island bring their fruits and vegetables to sell here. You can get mangos, papayas and many other delicious things.
Here is where you’ll find a small museum of Arawak and Carib artifacts, and a display on the workings of a sugar plantation. There also is an interesting chronology of the African people’s history in the Virgin Islands; and the history of the diverse architectural styles throughout the centuries. The Old Customs House is being used as an Art Gallery for art exhibits all year round.
You’ll also want to visit some of the lovely old churches in town, including the Gothic St. John’s Anglican Church and the hugeMoravian Church (the oldest of their sect under the American flag).
Here’s where many cruise ships dock, approaching the palm-fringed town from the open sea. Frederiksted is known for its continuous shoreline.
What to see:
The first foreign salute to the U.S. flag was given at Fort Frederik in 1776. At the Fort on July 3, 1848, Governor General Peter Von Scholten emancipated the slaves in the Danish West Indies. The Fort has been restored in brick red and white, to the way it looked in 1840; the Fort actually dates back to the 18th century. The restoration includes the courtyard, the stables, the old soldiers canteen where tobacco and beer were purchased, and the old garrison, is an art exhibit area. Open daily Monday through Friday.
The Old Danish School
In the middle of Prince Street, it was designed by the well-known Danish architect Hingleberg in the 1830s.
St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church
At the corner of Prince and Market Streets, it was built of coral stone in 1842.
Other historical churches include:
Just one block across on the corner of Market Street is a historical place that still lives today. It has been here since the earliest days of Frederiksted in 1751.
All photos on this page are ©Carol Lee 1998