Thanks so much for all of the helpful information here. I just found this forum recently, and I've been reading as much as I can find time to read!
I was reminded of an almost-forgotten dream a few weeks ago when I met a friend of a friend who had recently moved to the mainland from STJ. (He grew up there and found it wasn't a good place for him to start his career.) For a long time, I've casually entertained the idea of maybe... someday... considering... living in the Caribbean. I've vacationed on other islands (Grenada and San Salvador -- loved them) but have never been to VI. My job requires that I stay here in Phoenix for the next 2.5 years, but it's never too early to start thinking about the next step. I love it here, and I'd be happy to stay, but who knows... maybe I'd be even happier a little farther south!
So... thanks to a last-minute change in vacation plans, I'm heading to STX for a week, leaving in 3 weeks! I'll be camping at Mt. Victory and renting a car so I can check out the rest of the island.
My question is... what would you recommend doing for that week, for someone on small budget who not only wants to have a good time and enjoy a vacation, but also to get a sense of living on the island? Where to go? What to do? Whom to meet? What to see? I'm not interested in touristy stuff (although it seems like some of the "tourist spots" would be good to see at least once, for the sake of history, etc.), and my interests tend toward the outdoorsy stuff... hiking, diving, running, etc. If it makes any difference, I'm 28 and female.
Thanks so much for any advice you can give me. Sorry this is so long!
Mt. Victory is a good place to start. The West End has some nice beaches and small beach bars. For diving, check out N to the Blue, right next to Coconuts by the ball park. Nice people, small boat and shore diving also available. Also west is Whim plantation and the rum factory. The folks at Mt. Victory can point you in the right direction.
Goto Sandy Point, the beach is a national park and only open on sat and sun. Bring water and sunscreen, there is nothing there but sand and water but its gorgeous. If I could only see one beach that would be it, followed by Shoys and Jack and Issacs.
If you like to dive this is also a great island.
I really wouldnt shun the tourist stuff here, we aren't overfollowing with tourists like stt. Are shops are never crowded, the downtown streets aren't crowded, etc...
The touristy stuff here is low key and mostly worth doing, like buck island, if you enjoy snorkeling. The beer drinking pig....well you'll have to decide for yourself if that is worth $5 and the cost of beer. 😉
I hope you enjoy yourself on the island!
Sandy Point is beautiful, but I would suggest going with other people.
Hazel's Snack Shack Fruit and Smoothie Stand! I may not have the name exactly right, but close enough you can find it. Hazel makes the best smoothies on Earth. All local grown fruit and nothing else in it. It's just up the road from the beer drinking pig, which I personally could skip. They have these two hugh hogs enclosed in stalls barely bigger than they are, it stinks, and people get nervous as they are feeding them the beer, and wind up throwing the can at them. Our "guide" told us the hogs stay in the stalls all the time, that they don't like to go out. I was so disgusted with the whole thing that I didn't bother to ask her how she knows what the hogs like!
I'm sure there are those who think it's a hoot, and the hogs have a good life (better than being bacon), etc. The above is just my opinion.
Anyway, lots and lots to do on St. Croix. Check local events going on when you get here. There's usually something. "Chicago" opens at the Caribbean Community Theater on Feb. 7, and the Agricultural Fair is sometime around then. Anyone know the dates?
Thank you all for your help! Great suggestions. I just wish I had more time there! Just a quick question... what is it about Sandy Point that makes you suggest going with other people, LG?
this is an open public beach a little off the beaten path, you fall into the TTA category (Target Tourist Alone) easy pickings!
Yes, what Lizard said.
It's easy enough to meet people when you're out and go as a group to Sandy Point. You'd be much safer that way.
I'd suggest going on a Tan Tan tour--good way to get an overview of the island.
Buck Island is grate day. It seems like it can rain all day on island and not there. Kayaking salt river is a good one to. Have a groper sandwich for lunch a Sun Set Grill. It is the closest bar restaurant to mount victory. The snorkeling is good there to. Rainbow beach club and Coconuts are close to and a good way to mix it up a bit. Turtels deli has good sandwiches too. In frederiksted.