Dont be in a hurry!
Cruzians appreciate visitors greeting them with a smile and Good Morning, Good Afternoon or Good Evening BEFORE making requests or asking questions. It is not wise to try and rush someone, jump a queue, etc. as you will then be put at the end of the line. If going to DMV take a book, DVD, or something to occupy you, including a handfan if possible, as you may expect a long waiting period of anywhere from 1 hour - 5 hours. If you pester them at the window your number will go to the bottom of the pile. My favorite thing about Christiansted is the very friendly people who simply smile and say Be Happy! Very laid back.
The snorkel trips are great to Buck Island, but although the hotels have lovely beaches there is no good snorkelling unless you go to Buck Island.
Food...best tip...buy it at Gallows Bay supermarket. The prepared foods are yummy.
Lots of hills here so if you want to get around rent a car and drive on the left. Scary at first but you'll get used to it. Drivers have courtesy also and toot horn to say thank you. Snorkelling at Buck Island and watching the sailboats from Christiansted harbor.
It is customery to greet people with "good morning" "good afternoon" and "good night".
Crucian people tend to be reserved but as soon as you greet them and smile they will warm up to you right away.
St. Croix Aquarium
Expanded with many new exhibits, including one of "night creatures." In all, it houses some 40 species of marine animals and more than 100 species of invertebrates. A touch pond contains starfish, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, and pencil urchins. The aquarium allows you to become familiar with the marine life you'll see while scuba diving or snorkeling. It's open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 4pm.
St. Croix US Virgin Islands my home
"The least known virgin..."
When most travelers think of the US Virign Islands the first thing to come to mind is the cruise ship mecca of St. Thomas. St. John is very well known also for it's beautiful National Park and beaches. Many travelers do not realize that there is another island which is twice the size of St. Thomas. I am speaking of St. Croix, the island that I have lived on for over 10 years. St. Croix offers a combination of island culture, history, and outstanding watersports (like snorkeling, SCUBA, and sailing). There is a quaint shopping area in downtown Christiansted and an abundance of wonderful restaurants.
See St. Croix from a whole different angle...
"HORSEBACK RIDING ON ST. CROIX"
If you like seeing new places, especially off the beaten path, grab your camera and cowboy hat because we have an adventure for you. Experience St. Croix's tropical forest from the inside-out, eat fruit right off the trees, and see the ocean from atop a breezy hillside. Paul Wojcie and Jill Hurd, owners and managers of St. Croix's oldest and finest horseback riding stable, invite you to explore a different side of St. Croix.
Paul and Jill's Equestrian Stable and Farm is located 1 1/2 miles north of Frederiksted, off Rte. 63, close to St. Croix's Tropical Forest. Both beginner and expert are welcome. Trails criss-cross the valley of the tropical forest, winding across country pastures, or through a forest of indigenous trees. Some culminate on green hilltops, revealing the town of Frederiksted, the blue Caribbean waters, and a myriad of intriguing plants and trees.
Just relax and hold on to the reins. Let Paul and Jill (and a horse, of course) do the rest. Reining, trotting, and cantering lessons are included for beginners. If you haven't tried horseback riding before, now is your chance.
Which was just my argument when I tried to convince a friend, who had never even petted a horse, to join me for an afternoon at Paul and Jill's. After some preliminary hemming and hawing, and a brief phone call, we were on our way to Frederiksted. Arriving at Paul and Jill's Equestrian Stable, the sweet smell of ripe fruit wafted through the car windows and awakened my senses. Wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers, we grabbed our camera and headed for the farm house.
We showed up a little early to allow my friend to get comfortable with the horses, but no one appeared. Where was Jill? Where were the horses? Where was the barn for the horses? We were at the right place, weren't we? After a few moments of self-doubt, we spied Jill, like a pied piper, leading a herd of her "big babies" up the driveway toward us. Paul showed up moments later to help saddle and otherwise prepare our horses.
They explained to us that since the horses are not kept in a barn or stable, but rather kept free in a huge pasture, Jill has to go through the mission of locating, haltering, and then bringing the horses up to the saddle room where Paul helps to get them ready for riders.
Introductions were made, business was done, other riders arrived and we were set up to go. We mounted up, got comfortable with our steeds (mine was "Mr. Macgregor") and made our way, single file, into the lush rainforest.
"And away we go!"
Jill, a life long resident of St. Croix, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the local flora & fauna. She pointed out a Tamarind tree, whose fruit is used in steak sauce and other seasonings. We rode under a rain tree, whose massive canopy of photosensitive leaves fold up at night and on rainy days. She pointed out Almond trees, Mahogany trees, and humongous termite nests.
A mongoose crossed our path (or was it an iguana?). The horses either didn't notice or didn't care. Out pace was pretty much dictated by the varied terrain. We trotted up some short inclines. Flat ground lent the opportunity for a little gallop. Jill was careful to consider the experience of each rider.
And so, for the next hour and a half, we covered 4 or 5 miles of God's green earth, arriving back at the house by some mysterious circumnavigation. The fun and learning didn't stop when the trails did; we would soon find out that plenty more awaited us. After dismounting our horses, we followed Jill for a walk through the orchard. As she guided us through, she explained the common name, local name, medicinal uses, as well as other uses of the fruits. We even got to taste them!
We sampled Sugar Apples, Sour Sop, Custard Apples, Bread Fruit, Papaya, and Golden Apples. If you like Mangos, you will like Ambarilla, or locally known as, the Golden Apple. When ripe, it has firm, sweet flesh with a bright orange outer skin and one large seed in the center. Guava, one of my favorites, is commonly used throughout the Caribbean in jams and jellies.
The Carambola, or Star Fruit, is sweet and delicious.
As our stroll concluded, we thanked Jill for a day which saturated each of our senses and expanded our appreciation of St. Croix.