We were in St. Croix for the day on a cruise ship and I wanted to see as much of the island as possible. So the tour I signed up for went to Christensted - basically we circumnavigated the island. On the way to Christensted we drove along the North Shore Road - stopped at Cane Bay and again at Columbus Landing on Salt Bay. We also saw where the competitive bike rides were held. That was the picturesque sides of the island.
On the other side we went by the schools, the oil facilities (where we were forbidden to take photos), the airport, factories (even if they were for rum) and the more industrial side of things before getting back to the dock
One of the places the tour stopped was Columbus Landing which is located on the North Shore of the island, near Salt River. As the name states, this is where Columbus and his men landed when on their voyage to the new world in 1493. Besides history, it offers snorkeling, and fishing. It is quiet.
The first sign says:
"NATIVE AMERICAN VILLAGE AND CEREMONIAL SITE
COLUMBUS LANDING SITE
NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK
This site marks the only point on the United States Territory where members of the crew of Christopher Columbus came ashore on his second voyage to the New World in November 1493. It also relates to the first recorded altercation between Europeans and the native people of the Western Hemisphere, at a point on the other side of the bay known as "Cape of Arrows.". The site on which you stand was a Native American village and ceremonial site, and includes the site of the only known ball court (or batey) in the Lesser Antilles. Later after the demise of the native population on St. Croix, an earthen fort was erected, the remains of which can be seen, and was successfully occupied by European powers, including the English (1641-1645-50), Dutch (1642-1645), and French (1650-51, 1665-1733). In 1788 a Danish customs house was built nearby to thwart smuggling, and during the 1920's, Danish archaeologists carried out extensive excavations on the prehistoric village site.
This was special! It was our first, and it was just us three. Richard, our local friend, referred his friend Lumumba Corriette and had taken the tour many times before with his children. Stevi and I being novices, trusted them completely. 3.5 hours at sun up in gorgeous St Croix on a perfect day! The tour included up and down STEEP hills (please wear the appropriate shoes!), through the mountains, on the sea coast, colonial ruins, and moist forest (not a true Rain Forest). Learned so much from herbalist and naturalist Lumumba - from flora, fauna and local history and medicine, to very interesting conversation about living! Little did we know, although we were beginners, Lumumba didn't give us the beginner's hike. I guess he thought us to be the strong women we are and challenged us to literal NEW HEIGHTS! The highlight was the tidal pool half way through for a very much needed and refreshing break! And at the end, very tired after the up hill climb, we enjoyed natural smoothies.
We took a tour of the Cruzan Rum Distillery (photo 2)
Tours are 9 am to 11:30 and 1 pm to 4:15 (closed Saturday, Sunday and holidays)
Adults are $4.00 and children (6-18 years) $1.00
There is a gift shop.
How Rum is Made (4th picture)
1) Sugar cane molasses is received from the Caribbean Sugar Plantation (5th picture)
2) Molasses is diluted with rain water.
3) Yeast cultures are added and fermentation begins
4) Fermented alcohol is distilled.
5) Distillate is put into oak barrels
6) Barrels (photo 3) age for two to twelve years)
7) Charcoal filtered and diluted to 80 proof
8) Rum is bottled.
The pier has so much underwater life growing on the pillars and living around the area! If you scuba dive it is shallow at around 20 feet so it lasts a loooong time!
Day dive you'll see all the beautiful colors and bright fish swimming around.
Night dive you'll see moray eels, crabs, lobsters, and so much more!
There's many local dive shops that dive the pier twice a day.
With several bars and restaurants featuring marina views, the Christiansted boardwalk is a popular place with locals and tourists alike day and night. For delicious fish tacos and homemade chips and salsa, try Angry Nates. For thirst-quenching microbrews and live music, hit the Fort Christian Brew Pub.
A minute ferry ride ($3 round-trip) takes you from Kings Wharf to Protestant Cay, a tiny triangular island featuring a pleasant sandy beach, restaurant and bar, and excellent views across the water of Christiansted and Fort Christiansvaern.
The Christiansted National Historic Site showcases several restored and preserved buildings built by the Danes in the 1700s. The unmissable bright yellow buildings on the town’s east side include Fort Christiansvaern, the Old Danish Scale House, and the Danish West India and Guinea Company Warehouse.
On a par with the snorkeling is the beach on the west side of Buck Island. The fine golden sand and crystal clear turquoise water make this place pure magic. The only negative is that the beach isn’t quite large enough to accommodate all the tourists on particularly busy days.
The snorkeling off Buck Island is excellent. Despite numerous hurricanes and heavy tourist traffic, the coral reef surrounding the island is still in good shape. A ban on fishing around the reef also has led to a major recovery in the number and diversity of reef fishes, which, ironically, now present the greatest threat to the coral. Most day trips and half-day trips to the island include an hour or so of snorkeling as part of the package – time and money well spent.
Just a mile-and-a-half offshore from St. Croix and in the middle of an 880-acre marine sanctuary, a trip to Buck Island is a quintessential St. Croix experience. Several operators run tours to Buck Island from Christiansted, with half-day tours costing in the $50-65 range and full-day tours costing $85-90. Snorkeling gear is provided, and all tours include time for snorkeling and relaxing on the beach.
Personally, I think that the snorkeling is better in St. John and was better in the Cayman Islands (but that was about 10 years ago and it may be different now).
However, there is decent snorkeling that can be found at:
The far left (south) side of the beach by Cottages by the Sea. The further down you go, the better it seems to get - (go past the condos).
Cane Bay seemed to be overrated to me. To see anything at all you need to go further out...but there still isn't much to sea.
Issacs and Jacob Bay didn't have a whole lot of life to them. Dead coral that I'm sure was once beautiful and not an abundance of fish.
Surprisely, the beach at the Buccaneer had snorkeling on the right side of it. There was a alot of rock ledges that underwater life gathered around.
Columbus Landing - Don't bother.
Butler Bay (I think) has some alright snorkeling...if you can figure out where it is.
This was another place we visited. This is a large (12 acres) sugar cane plantation which is the oldest in the Virgin Islands - it dates from the 1800s. The Great House (photo 3 of the outside) is filled with reproductions of colonial furniture, and has three-foot-thick walls made of stone, coral and molasses. There is also the original sugar processing plant, and various mills (photos 1, 3 and 4). This makes a good visit to go along with the Cruzan Rum Factory where you see what they did with the sugar cane.
May - October Open Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am - 3pm
November - April Open Mon - Sat 10am - 4am
Tours conducted Every 1/2 hour
Naturally, there is also a store to buy gifts and souveniers.
Students or Seniors with ID $5
Ages 6-12 $4
Under 5 and Landmark Society Members Free
The museum has ramp access into the Greathouse and is handicap accessible into the restroom.
For a small fee, you can pick and name a crab (or more than one) and there are good prizes if your crab wins.
They did the races at the Divi Carina (outside by the bar). But they also have them elsewhere on the island as well.
This was originally the home of a Danish merchant, but the Royal Danish Government bought it in 1771. They joined it with the house at the corner of Queen Cross Street in 1826 to make it the seat of Danish West Indies government.
4126 La Grande Princesse, (formerly Cormorant Beach Club and Hotel), Christiansted, 00820, Caribbean
Good for: Families
Group of 15 staying 10 days. Our rooms were as far apart as you could get them on this large, hilly...more
442 Strand St., Frederiksted, St. Croix, 00840, Caribbean
Good for: Couples