ST. CROIX AT A GLANCE
The Colonial architecture and charm of Frederiksted…white sand beaches and a variety of water sports…plantation houses and sugar mills that dot the countryside…a relaxed and unhurried lifestyle…an American Paradise in the Caribbean.
Old world ambiance…relaxing slower pace combined with abundant flour, fauna and uncrowded palm fringed white sand beaches.
The largest of the three U.S. Virgins, St. Croix offers a wide variety of activities to include diving, sailing, snorkeling at famous Buck Island National Monument, parasailing, windsurfing, gambling at the Divi Carina Bay Hotel, historical museums, duty-free shopping, exceptional dining and three golf courses.
Rolling hills and tropical vegetation, frequently dotted with historic plantation houses and the picturesque ruins and restorations of sugar mills. The vivid history of the island may be enjoyed by hiking, on horseback, walking tours or simply exploring independently.
The beaches of St. Croix are beautiful sugar white sand and best of all, they are often uncrowded. The two principle towns of Christianstead and Frederickstead offer wonderful opportunities for duty-free shopping and interesting and charming architecture.
The villas on St. Croix are best recommended for more independent travelers who do not require a household staff, although some maid service is generally included.
An unhurried lifestyle that is perfectly conducive to a relaxed vacation. St. Croix offers both the familiar and the exotic. A sense of pastoral beauty, colonial history, spectacular beaches and a soothing relaxed pace all combine to make St. Croix a highly desirable island. This is the largest of the United States Virgin Islands, 82 square miles in area.
Golf, swimming, sailing, snorkeling, tennis, horseback riding.
St. Croix Airlines:
Caribbean Star Airlines
St. Croix Approximate flight times:
NY to St. Croix:
Miami to St. Croix:
St. Croix Airport Transfers:
The Alexander Hamilton Airport is located midway between Christiansted and Frederiksted in the southern part of the island.
Clients of Villas Caribe will be met upon arrival by one of our local representatives either at the airport or a nearby location depending upon the villa chosen. Our local representative will then escort clients directly to the villa, let them in, give them the keys and generally get them acclimated.
St. Croix ATMS:
The island offers ATMs at bank branches, transportation centers, shopping centers and other convenient spots throughout the island.
St. Croix Area Code: 340
St. Croix Baby-Equipment Rentals:
Car seats, cribs, high chairs, playpens, strollers, cots and bed rails are all available for rental for additional fees, which generally vary per item. Rates subject to service charge/delivery charge & an 8% government tax.
St. Croix Banks:
Banks on St. Croix are open 9 AM-3 PM Mon.-Thursday and from 9-4:30 PM on Fridays. Most of them have ATMS.
St. Croix Beaches:
St. Croix offers some stunning white sand beaches.
Buck Island National Reef Monument:
Part of the National Park system, the island is protected and the snorkeling includes underwater trails, which are just fabulous. The island is reached by boat only with departures from Christiansted or from the Green Cay Marina on the north shore.
A northshore beach that offers great scuba diving and snorkeling. The Cane Bay Wall is less than 200 yards out. The beach, also, offers beachside restaurants and bars as well as watersports facilities. One of the islands most popular beaches.
On the East End Road, water sports are offered and there are bars and restaurants as well at the Chenay Bay Beach Resort.
An East End beach that is generally impossible to reach without a four-wheel drive vehicle. Secluded sands for sunbathing calm waters for good swimming and a barrier reef for snorkeling.
Located on the island’s west end/south of Frederiksted is a long and pretty but isolated beach. The area has no facilities and the area is a designated wildlife refuge, which is protected as a nesting environment for marine turtles.
Sprat Hall and West End Beach Club:
Both offer long stretches as well as facilities and water sports rentals.
Tamarind Reef Beach:
Located east of Christiansted.
St. Croix Boating:
Glass bottom boat tours are popular as well as theme cruises where passengers are able to swim, dance and party on the deck of a huge ship.
St. Croix Budgeting/Costs To Rent A Villa on St. Croix:
In addition to the weekly rental rate for a villa on St. Croix, the additional costs involved include but are not limited to the following:
Groceries & beverages
Tip for the maid, if included.
St. Croix Cancellations:
Cancellation penalties are incurred and will vary depending upon the specific villa chosen. Upon confirmation with our company, a written cancellation policy will be issued along with the written invoice for the booking. Generally, cancellations incur a minimum of a 20% penalty on the gross weekly rental rate of the villa and a $100 administrative fee if cancelled up until 45 days prior to arrival. No refunds within 45 days of arrival.
St. Croix Capital:
Charlotte Amalie, which is located on nearby St. Thomas.
St. Croix Car Rentals:
We highly recommend that clients rent a vehicle for their stay on St Croix.
Clients will find a variety of agencies on the island to include some of the following:
St. Croix Check-in/Check-out times:
Check-in time is generally after 3:00 PM and checkout time is 12:00 noon.
St. Croix Chef Service:
We have several excellent chefs who are available to our clients for just one special dinner or for all of their meal preparations during their villa stay. Sample menus are available and we generally will put the chef directly in touch with our clients so that they can discuss their dates, times, menus, dietary restrictions and grocery shopping with him or her. Each chef requires an advance deposit for both the grocery shopping and their cooking services. A chef’s pricing is based on the number of guests, type of meals requested etc. Please keep in mind that the U.S. Virgin Islands is a U.S. Territory, so the usual U.S. minimum wage applies and chefs will likely cost more than on most other West Indian Islands. Once you’ve arranged your chef, please let Villas Caribe know so that we can be sure to provide them with access to your villa prior to your arrival so that they can pre-stock groceries etc.
Ambrosia Personal Chef Service:
Ms. Terry Chretien
Phone: 340.773.6174 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terry is, also, a licensed massage therapist who will be glad to come to your villa to provide a totally relaxing massage.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme:
Ms. Jeanette Wright
Phone: 340.713.0187 or e-mail email@example.com.
St. Croix Climate:
Warm & sunny with temperatures between 75 F and 90 F year round. During the winter, the nights are slightly cooler and so it might be a good idea to bring a cotton sweater.
St. Croix Communications:
The villas all are equipped with telephones and guests will be advised of the particular phone number of the property prior to departure.
St. Croix Customs & Duty-Free Allowances:
U.S. Citizens duty-free allowances:
Departing citizens whose stay is in excess of 48 hours may return taking back items, free of duty, articles totaling up to US $1,200 (based on the retail value of the items in the country of purchase). A family of four, then, would be able to bring home $4,800 in duty-free items. Additionally, you may bring home up to 4 liters of liquor per adult or 6 liters if the 5th bottle is either Cruzan Rum, Chococo or Southern Comfort, all of which are made in the U.S.V.I and are duty-free.
Loose precious gems (diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphire) are completely duty-free no matter what the cost (as long as the stone is loose and not in a setting). Additionally, there is a duty-free allowance of 5 cartons of cigarettes and 100 cigars. All items that are produced on the island (fashions, perfume, straw hats and jewelry) are customs except as well as original art and unset gems.
St. Croix Currency:
The US Dollar.
Major credit cards and traveler’s checks are widely accepted as well.
St. Croix Deep-Sea Fishing:
Vast arrays of big game fish live in the oceans surrounding St. Croix.
Several different companies on the island offer guided St. Croix fishing excursions with a focus on big game fish like marlin, kingfish, wahoo, swordfish and yellowfin tuna.
St. Croix Departure Tax:
St. Croix Deposits:
A 50% deposit is required to confirm a reservation.
Reservations made within 60 days prior to arrival during the winter season and 45 days prior to arrival during the summer/low season must be paid in full.
St. Croix Diving:
The island has several great dive sites and at Buck Island National Reef, visitors are likely to spot lots of barracuda and parrot fish.
Diving is permitted directly off Cane Bay, which has a spectacular drove off. Both North Star and Salt River on the North shore are accessed only via boat but offer the ability to float downwards through a canyon filled with colorful fish and coral.
St. Croix Driving:
Driving is on the left, British style. A U.S. driver’s license is valid for 90 days on the Virgin Islands and minimum-driving age is 18 years old. Please note that many car rental agencies will not rent to anyone under the age of 25 years.
St. Croix Dress:
Due to the islands conservative heritage, there is a dress code of conservative clothing. Light cotton dresses and light jackets and ties for formal wear and typical tropical wear during the day.
St. Croix Documents for arrival onto St. Croix:
U.S. citizens entering ST. Croix should be in possession of a certified birth certificate with raised seal and a photo I.D. or a passport.
St. Croix Electricity:
110 volts/50 cycles-same as in the U.S.
No adapters necessary for visitors from North America but European visitors will require one.
St. Croix Estates & Plantations:
St. Croix was colonized by the Danish and built the Danish West Indies into a thriving sugar cane and trading islands. Slaves were imported to work the large number of sugar plantations.
British in the 1600s and is home to many lavish estates and mansions that brim with history. In the past, these homes were often owned by the operators of sugar plantations. Today these beautiful estates and plantations provide interesting history lessons and are frequently situated in the most picturesque locations on the island.
Estate Mt. Washington:
Extensive ruins of an old sugar plantation surrounded by fruit orchards.
Estate Whim Plantation:
A restored handsome Great House, sugar mill and other sugar plantation structures located near Frederiksted.
One of five Danish forts in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Ft. Christiansvaern is built on the site of an old French fort called Ft. St. Jean. It was used by the military until 1878 and has since served as both a courthouse and police station. Visitors will find canons, soldier’s cells and a military museum.
Dating back to 1760, the site of the emancipation of the slaves in 1848.
A historic building in Christianstead offering a beautiful example of Danish colonial architecture.
St. Croix Ferry:
From November until early May, ferries run between St. Thomas & St. Croix.
St. Croix General Information-Government & Standard Of Living:
St. Croix (and all of the U.S. Virgin Islands) was purchased from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million and remains an unincorporated territory of the United States. Although Virgin Islands do not have a vote in the U.S. national elections, they vote for their own governor, lieutenant governor and the members of the legislature. Additionally, they elect their representatives in Washington who lobby on their behalf.
St. Croix Hiking:
A variety of hiking opportunities exist on St. Croix.
The St. Croix Environmental Association:
Offers guided walking tours of the island.
Caribbean Adventure Tours:
St. Croix History:
The history of the Virgin Islands started with Christopher Columbus’ second voyage in 1493. He sighted St. Croix first which he named Santa Cruz and claimed it for Spain. He then proceeded to sail further North where he found the other islands and christened them “Las Islas Virgenes” or the Virgin Islands. Sir Francis Drake, an English navigator and infamous plunderer of Spanish galleons, sailed through the sea passageway separating the British and American Virgin Islands and which is today known as the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The famed Englishman reportedly watched the Spanish Armada sail by as his ships in the sanctuary of Magens Bay.
In the 1660’s, various European powers (Holland, France, England, Spain, Denmark & the Knights of Malta) all wanted to possess the Virgin Islands but in 1671 it was Denmark that clearly ruled St. Thomas. Denmark established the first permanent settlement there and by 1718 they expanded to St. John. A fort was constructed in Coral Bay on ST. John, one of the safest harbors in the Caribbean. In 1733, Denmark purchased St. Croix from France and united the three Virgin Islands of today. Throughout the 18th century, the islands prospered with sugar plantations and St. Croix became a major emporium until 1848 when Denmark abolished slavery. The United States bought the islands in 1917, as part of a military defense strategy for $25 million but it was not until 1927 that the residents were granted U.S. citizenship.
St. Croix Horseback Riding:
Several companies on the island offer guided tours that lead visitors through spectacular scenery.
Paul & Jill’s Equestrian Stables (phone 340.772.2880) offer trips through the rain forest, along the coast and even moonlit rides.
St. Croix Language:
The official language is English spoken with slight Caribbean lilt.
St. Croix Local Hazards:
Black Sea Urchins
Manchineel Trees-beware of the little green apples that fall from this tree, as they are poisonous to eat and toxic to touch. Do not even seek shelter under one of these trees during a rain, as you will get blisters.
St. Croix Location:
St. Croix, just 40 miles from St. Thomas, is the largest of the United States Virgin Islands, 82 square miles in area. There are two distinct towns to visit: Christiansted and Frederiksted.
St. Croix Nightlife:
Nightlife is extensive and varied providing a variety of entertainment options for every taste from historic dinner shows to romantic cruises to fine dining as well as nightclubs and gambling at the Divi Carina Bay Casino.
St. Croix Pre-stocking:
While the villas on St. Croix generally do not include staffs (cooks), for visitors that will be arriving late in the day or evening, we recommend that they have the villa pre-stocked with some arrival beverages and snacks. This service is available for additional charges.
St. Croix Population:
St. Croix Restaurants
St. Croix boasts a wide selection of restaurants, all of, which are easily accessible to St. Croix villa rental clients. While enjoying your St. Croix rental villa vacation, we highly suggest you sample some island cuisine at any of the St. Croix restaurants listed below. If you have further questions regarding St. Croix restaurants, please contact Villas Caribe and a Caribbean villa rental specialist will be happy to assist you or click here to visit our entire selection of St. Croix villa rentals.
Caribbean cuisine prepared by a world-class chef has consistently kept this elegant spot among the best St. Croix restaurants. In Christiansted. Note: no lunch on weekends. Tel: 340-692-9440
Surprisingly, this family-owned favorite is the only St. Croix restaurant serving Danish food, including eel, frikadeller meatballs, and roast duck. In Christiansted. Note: does not serve lunch. Tel: 340-773-2346
The wine selection at St. Croix restaurants doesn’t get any better than this contemporary steakhouse. Try the rum-soaked sourdough pudding for dessert. In Christiansted. Note: does not serve lunch. Tel: 340-692-9922
The Mahogany Room
Both the International menu and views shine here, one of many fine St. Croix restaurants located within hotels and resorts. In Estate Davis Bay, North Shore. Reservations are a must. Tel: 340-778-3800
Locals and visitors alike have long made this authentic Caribbean eatery a favorite among St. Croix restaurants. In Frederiksted. Tel: 340-772-5855
St. Croix Security Deposits:
The majority of the villas do require a security deposit to be paid along with payment for the actual villa. Damage deposits are full refundable to clients within 30-45 days of their departure, provided there is no breakage, damage, missing items as well as no additional cleaning of the villas left abnormally dirty as well as no long-distance calls charged to the villa telephone and not other charges incurred before, during or after the stay still outstanding.
St. Croix Shopping:
St. Croix offers a variety of shopping experiences from art galleries to those searching for exceptional jewelry. The duty-free merchandise is offered at prices 20%-40% less than in the U.S. or Canada. Popular items include watches, cameras, perfume, fine jewelry, liquor, china and leather goods with no sales or luxury taxes.
There is no sales tax in the USVI and shoppers can take advantage of the $1200 duty free allowance per person. Rum is obviously, another great buy on the island and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been producing the exceptional Cruzan Rum since the 17th century.
St. Croix Sights & Wonders:
Buck Island National Monument:
Ranked as one of the most unique spots in the entire Caribbean, it is a wooded and uninhabited island of approximately 880 acres-176 of it land and the other 704 of clear waters and coral reefs. A nature preserve it is administered by the U.S. National Park Service and offers an underwater snorkeling trail and some of the best snorkeling in the entire Caribbean. The island has walking trails, nice white sand beach and picnic areas with grills. The island is reached only by boat with departures fro Christiansted or from the Green Cay Marina on the northshore.
Cruzan Rum Factory:
Tours are available of the distillery including a Cruzan rum drink.
St. Croix Aquarium:
A non-profit marine education center that has aquariums and touching ponds with shells and starfish.
St. George Botanical Gardens:
A 16-acre park built on the ruins of an old sugar plantation that operated from 1733 until 1917. The ruins include an old rum factory, a blacksmith shop, cactus garden and a gift shop.
Estate Whim Plantation Museum:
A restored sugarcane plantation and old greathouse complete with period furniture and various plantation structures.
St. Croix Sports:
Cycling Golf, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Sports Fishing, Diving, Parasailing, Sailing, Tennis, Kayaking and Windsurfing are all available on the island.
St. Croix Staff:
The villas on St. Croix generally only include limited maid service. Each property has the frequency of service listed in its detailed written description on our website at www.villascaribe.com. Please note, however, that additional maid service as well as cook/chef service may be arranged for additional fees.
Tipping of the staff:
It is appropriate to tip the villa’s housekeeper (if included) approximately $2-$4 per guests/per day for excellent service. If you have food and drinks left over in your villa when you depart, you can also leave these for the maids.
St. Croix Snorkeling & Diving:
St. Croix offers exceptional close in snorkeling directly off it’s spectacular white sand beaches.
St. Croix Tennis:
The majority of the large hotels and resorts on the island have tennis courts that may be booked even if you are not a guest.
The Buccaneer offers eight courts (two lighted for night play) plus a pro and full tennis pro shop-phone: 340.773.2100.).
Club St. Croix offers three-lighted courts-phone 340.773-4800.
Carambola has four courts/two lighted phone 340.778.3800.
St. Croix Time Zone:
St. Croix falls in the Atlantic Time zone, which is one hour ahead of US Eastern time. The island does not observe daylight savings time.
St. Croix Topography:
The island is 23 miles long and includes a lush rainforest. The rainforest is located in the west and the eastern sector of the island has a completely different look-an almost desert like appearance complete with cactus.
St. Croix Tourist Board Contact Information:
USA/New York Office: 212.582.4520
USA/Los Angeles Office: 213.739.0138
St. Croix Water:
The water on the island is pure and safe to drink from the tap.