After spending five days in St. Croix, I realized the air down there is just different. St. Croix is a part of the America Caribbean and is actually the biggest of the three main islands that make up the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). It's also probably the most underrated island in the Caribbean. The cruise industry has made St. John and St. Thomas the popular travel islands, but I'm here to tell you that the real gems live on St. Croix.
Besides the warm breeze and the liquid sunshine moments, there's something magical in those clear blue waters that makes everything about this island in the Caribbean Sea the easiest plane ticket you will ever purchase. From the absurdly polite Crucians (aka the locals) to the best gosh darn fresh lobster I've ever had, there's a trillion reasons why I need a vacation home there.
But here's five reasons why you should visit.
While I love the opportunity to collect those passport stamps, no one loves the hassle of traveling abroad. This was literally one of the easiest trips I've ever taken. It's a U.S. territory, which means you only need a driver's license and a birth certificate. And the time in St. Croix is only one hour ahead of my time zone — when it's not Daylight Savings Time — so there's no jet lag!
When I left the island, my palate just wasn't the same. I swapped my breakfast mantra — two crispy slices of bacon and scrambled cheese eggs — for saltfish and johnny cakes (think a fried donut minus the hole). If you happen to take my advice, you have to find your way to Christiansted, St. Croix. Nestled on a small and narrow block, you'll find the aroma of Harvey's. I promise you that this eating experience will surely awaken your palate. Be sure to try their most famous island dish: pot fish and fungi (to some it's considered the unofficial dish of USVI). Pronounced foon-ji, it's cooked into a thick, smooth mash with cornmeal, okra and water and has the texture of mashed potatoes.
It's nearly impossible to leave St. Croix without a piece of your heart still yearning for its unique culture. You will want to pack an extra carry-on or leave room in your suitcase, because the festive flair of St. Croix is hard to resist. Be sure to stop by Itiba Beauty to capture a little bit of the island's authentic scents. Also, USVI has some of the best tax-free, duty-free shopping in the Caribbean. There's no shortage of deals to be found, from art to jewelry to bottles of rum.
Cruzan rum is a good reason to visit St. Croix. No trip is complete without a tour of the distillery where their local spirit is made with lots of love. People from all over the world travel here to take a look inside at the sugar cane distilling and bottling procedures, including me! The tour ends with a tasting (please don't call them shots!) of their famous cocktails and a chance to grab a couple of bottles to take home.
The natives are talkative, opinionated and direct, but they also represent a place where manners and "Good mornings" still count. Anything you need to know about the island rests in the hands of the locals. From the beaches and reefs to the recreational water sports, you should make friends with a Crucian for the answers to a fun-filled vacation. When you do visit, be sure to search for the USVI's most famous chef, Digby Stridiron. The magic in the kitchen that he creates is a must-eat!
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