Travel

Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Written by Luke Schneider

Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to travel to many destinations involving different cultures, food, and experiences.

From sandy beaches to delicious restaurants, the island of St. Croix has it all. The island has a very rich history. Dating back to the late 1400s, Christopher Columbus visited the island on his second journey to the New World. He called the island, Santa Cruz, which means Holy Cross. As some of Columbus’s explorers set out to explore the island, they had to retreat due to the native people (The Caribs) combating them. The Caribs continued their presence on the island even after Columbus’ visit. The Spanish had created a pact with the Caribs, and they gained each other’s trust. However, some of the Spanish raided the island to take the Caribs as slaves. After the Caribs joined forces with the Tainos of Puerto Rico, the Spanish condemned the island and it was abandoned. Even though Columbus landed on St. Croix, the first people to establish and settle on the island were Dutch, English, and French. In the end though, the French would claim the island as their own and French West India Company saw the opportunity to profit off the island’s abundance of sugar. The island of St. Croix became one of the wealthiest by selling sugar to the world. In 1917, the island was purchased along with St. John, and St. Thomas by the United States, making them territories.

I visited the island in 2018 and I had a very memorable experience. The trip began in the still cold month of April, and I could not wait to be in the Caribbean sun. After a drive to Chicago, I flew to Miami where I had a layover. During the layover, I read about the history of the island and I could not wait to see the buildings from the 1600s that still remained. After a two-hour flight from Miami, I was finally on the island. Even though it was about 9:30 PM, it was still about 75 degrees. Much different from the 50 degrees I was used to back home. Since Saint Croix is a United States territory, there is no customs. I was able to get my bags, and walk almost directly to the van that picked me up. I was tired at this point, but eager to see the island and to have a new experience. After a 30-minute ride from the airport, I arrived at the Buccaneer Resort which is situated about 10 minutes outside of Christiansted.

The resort was breathtaking, as it was a sugar mill for a plantation. The beach at this resort was spectacular with a beautiful reef, kayaks, and snorkel gear all available. The resort had different areas of residence. Some of the residences included family cottages, deluxe ocean front rooms, Great House suites, and luxury beach side double rooms. I stayed in a deluxe oceanfront room. It was very comfortable and very spacious. Throughout my time on this lovely island, I quickly saw what made it so special. The shops that line the streets are all unique, and there is a large variety of restaurants. One of the coolest things in the town is Fort Christiansvaern. This is a fort that was constructed with yellow brick in the 1700s. Out of the five remaining Dutch forts, Christiansvaern is the best preserved. The fort was built to fight off pirates, and to stop a slave uprising, even though there were no formal battles that took place inside the fort. After the Dutch military left the fort, it was used as a jail and for religious purposes. Everything that was in the fort is still intact and very well preserved, such as the canons that defended the island against attackers. The fort is now a part of the United States National Parks Service and tours are available, or you can walk around freely. The fort is a must see attraction. Another highlight of the island is the Buck Island Reef and beach. This is one of the best beaches in the world. With white sand and crystal clear water, the reef is visible from the shore, and fish are abundant everywhere. St. Croix has everything that someone looking for a tropical vacation would have. The restaurants, beaches, and sites are all amazing and this is definitely somewhere I would recommend to visit.

(Fort Christiansvaern) Picture by: GoToSt.Croix.com

 

 

 

 

About the author

Luke Schneider