Christiansted: One of two towns on the island, and a National Historic Site, Christiansted was once the Capital of the Danish West Indies, and was founded in 1734. The architectural quality of the town is remarkable, with cobblestone walkways shaded by large arched galleries. The Danes discovered how to adapt 18th Century-style buildings in the West Indies to reduce heat, maximize breeze, and withstand tropical storms. Trey ceilings let warm air rise in the days before ceiling fans and air conditioning, and cross ventilation is enhanced by rectangular shaped buildings. In fact, even today, many buildings and homes on St. Croix are not air conditioned thanks to this ingenious pratcical design. The buildings were constructed from cut coral blocks (look closely, you'll wonder how they were ever harvested!) and Danish brick brought as ballast. Thick walls keep the interiors cool, and courtyards and arcades provided shaded retreats. Narrow streets were wide enough for the mule carts of the 1800s! This area, once prestigious residences and mercantile shops of the wealthy Danes, today forms the shopping and restaurant district. Ongoing interest continues and plans are underway for the historic restoration of old buildings on the outskirts of town.
Frederiksted: Victorian Gingerbread, wide streets, and a picturesque waterfront the full length of the town make Frederiksted one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Freedom City, as it is known, has a rich history. Smugglers and pirates of the mid-1700s necessitated the construction of Fort Frederik in 1752. The city was destroyed by fire in 1758, and rebuilt in the Victorian style of the era. Time seems to have passed the city by, but the beautiful park, and open air vendors mart comes alive on the days the sleek cruise ships dock at the new pier. On those evenings, Harbour Night turns Strand Street into a festival, with mocko jumbie stilt dancers, steel pan bans, and street vendor offering local food and drink. Navy ships and subs from the US and foreign fleets dock here often for R&R and frequently give tours of the vessels.
ARRIVAL: Because St. Croix is part of the U.S. Virgin
Islands, U.S. Citizens traveling to and from
the 50 states as well as the territories of
the United States do not need a passport
when arriving in the U.S. Virgin Islands
from the U.S. or returning to the U.S.
Non- U.S. Citizens are generally subject to
the same requirements as traveling from the
home country to/from any of the 50 states.
For more info, check the U.S. State
CLIMATE: Sunny, year-round
temperatures range in the 80's during the day, 70's most nights
with summer somewhat warmer. Easterly trade winds blowing gently
across the islands keep the humidity low. Most island showers
are quick, tropical, over in minutes. Average annual rainfall is
50 inches with September and October less dry than the winter
months. As there are few wells, residents collect rainwater from
rooftops into household cisterns. Salt water distillation plants
help the supply. Accordingly, water is precious and cost;y so conserve.For St. Croix Weater: Click Here
TIME: Atlantic Standard, one hour
ahead of Eastern Standard in the winter, same time as Eastern
Daylight in the summer.
WHAT TO WEAR: Island dress is casual, but bathing suits,
short shorts and unbuttoned shirts in town or grocery shopping
are frowned upon. Boutiques can fill in or add to your holiday
wardrobe. Simple cottons are preferred year round. Men seldom
wear ties or jackets. Nobody bothers with raincoats, nor is
there much call for sweaters, even at night. Wide-brimmed hats,
however, are often required sun protectors.
WHAT TO BRING: Not a lot (see above). American travelling
irons, hair dryers, razors do not require adapters.
LOCATION: St. Croix lies 18 degrees
north latitude and 65 degrees west longitude, close enough to
the equator so that twilight comes quickly with, almost always,
a brilliant sunset. The Virgin Islands are part of the Antilles
chain which forms a long curve from the Bahamas near Florida to
Trinidad, off the coast of South America. St. Croix is
surrounded by the Caribbean Sea.
VIRGIN ISLANDERS: Virgin Islanders are a friendly people
but they are reserved. A smile and "good morning" go a long way
to starting the day off right. Everyone speaks English, or a
lilting version thereof. Defined linguistically as Creole,
commonly called Calypso, it is spoken throughout the West Indies
with speech variations from island to island. Creole began in
the early days of the slave trade and was influenced by
Portuguese, French, Dutch and English mixed with African.