Happy New Year from Puerto Rico!
Happy New Year from Puerto Rico!
Beautiful island of Icacos, only a few miles off the shore of northeastern Puerto Rico.
Join us at this beautiful beach near Georgetown, Grand Cayman for a video view of the awesome snorkeling – perfect even for young ones.
Here are 20 great reasons to take your family to visit the beautiful island of St. Croix – no passport necessary for US citizens.
(See our shorter review at Islands.com here)
20. Cruzan Sands Villa
Paradise! That would have to be the word to describe this beautiful villa we were staying in for the week. The Cruzan Sands Villa proved to be the perfect spot for our family as we quickly adapted to the island life of St. Croix. The villa is nestled on the north shore of the island near Salt River Bay and is luxury at its finest; beautifully furnished, secluded yet conveniently located, spacious and comfortable. Scott and Dana from www.cruzansands.com were more than generous hosts, making us quickly feel right at home. (they also have some amazing villas on Turks and Caicos where they live). If you are traveling to St. Croix in the near future, this is the place you want to stay!
19. Chef Juliana
Flying all the way from Texas, we arrived rather late and were so happy Scott had put us in touch with local islander Chef Juliana to prepare some authentic island cuisine. As we arrived, Chef Juliana had a fabulous meal ready and waiting. Seriously, this food was amazing! Pork ribs that practically fell off the bone, chicken skewers, chicken sliders, beef pates, mac n cheese (island style, served in a shell; yep, the kids loved it), fruit tray, berry cobbler, chocolate parfaits and fruit punch! Be sure to look her up if you are traveling to the island. She’s available to stock the villa and make customized meals at reasonable prices.
18. Beach at Cruzan Sands Villa
Seriously could this villa get any cooler? Try adding a beach for your backyard! Just a few steps off the back porch and you’ll find yourself on a beautiful, secluded beach – no homes or villas to the left or right of Cruzan Sands. With the beach as our backyard, we spent hours enjoying true tropical relaxation. The water was perfectly calm and peaceful each day making it ideal for the kids.
18. Beach at Cruzan Sands Villa -cont.
Just a short walk down the beach from Cruzan Sands is Columbus Landing, the beach and rocky point where Christopher Columbus first landed when discovering the island in 1493. This was quite fascinating for the kids since they had been reading about Columbus in school.
17. Reef Snorkeling at Villa
Right off the beach outside the villa is a beautiful and vibrant reef, perfect for snorkeling. We spent several afternoons spotting brightly colored fish and finding purple sea biscuits the size of dinner plates. The convenience of going from “home” to snorkeling within seconds is just plain awesome.
17. Reef Snorkeling at Villa -cont.
The girls quickly made friends with a young local resident and had a blast exploring the ocean together. I’m always amazed at how quickly children can bond and become best of friends. I was reminded of this as I watched them all hugging each other goodbye and discussing when they could meet again – after only having known each other for all of one hour!
16. Swimming pool at Cruzan Sands
After spending hours playing on the beach, it was refreshing to relax in the beautiful pool right outside the doors of the villa. Having our own private pool was fabulous! The girls could swim while the baby napped and mom and dad could take an evening swim after all the kids were in bed! If this is island life at a villa, I could definitely get used to this.
15. Bush Tribe
We met up with Ty McRae from Bush Tribe (http://www.bushtribe.com), an exciting eco adventure company located within minutes of Cruzan Sands (another plus for the villa). If you are looking for any type of adventure on St. Croix, Ty is your guy! Bush Tribe offers kayaking, snorkeling and hiking tours among many other outdoor excursions. Ty has been living on the island for years specializing in outdoor education and focusing on children’s outreach programs. He offers a wealth of knowledge and information about the island’s history, plant and animal life. This guy is the real deal!
14. Rainforest Hike
The first adventure we had with Ty was a hike through the rainforest. Ty notices every detail and stopped frequently to answer the many questions he was peppered with by my two curious girls. After filling their pockets with treasures, rocks and even centuries old pottery shards that they found along the way, the girls helped Ty pick mangoes and berries to go along with the coconut water he had waiting for us at the end of our hike.
14. Rainforest Hike -cont.
At the end of the hike, the girls got to decorate bamboo sticks that had been carefully chosen and cut for them. The process and history for making the bamboo sticks was full of island mystery and culture. Fire is used to drain the oils out of the sticks to preserve them longer and create designs. The girls loved this unique island experience! Ty was so great with the kids; make sure to check out all that Bush Tribe has to offer.
13. Nighttime Kayak Tour with Bush Tribe
The Bioluminescent Kayak Adventure was hands down the highlight of our trip. If you are ever in St. Croix you do NOT want to miss this, and Ty is the guy to take you. This was truly an indescribable experience! An inlet off of Salt River Bay is home to a unique effect of bioluminescent creatures and organisms that light up and glow when the water is stirred around them. When we got in to swim for a few moments, our whole bodies glowed as we moved about! The water was so beautiful and enchanting. Simply amazing!
12. Snorkeling at Buck Island
A trip to Buck Island is also a must when visiting St. Croix. We enjoyed a relaxing boat ride with Captain Miles Sperber of Caribbean Sea Adventures (http://www.caribbeanseaadventures.com) out to Buck Island one afternoon. With two young daughters of his own, he was very patient and helpful with the kids, which was a good thing since our baby spent most of his time onboard eating snacks and spreading crumbs all over the boat. He even offered to hold the baby for us while we all went out and snorkeled together. Now that’s going the extra mile!
12. Snorkeling at Buck Island -cont.
The reefs off of Buck Island are incredible! Some of the best snorkeling we’ve ever seen can be found at these reefs. We saw many beautiful and vibrant fish and enormous coral along the underwater trail. Captain Miles was very patient helping the kids with their snorkel gear and made the experience so much better with his friendly, personal and laid-back island approach.
11. Turtle Beach at Buck Island
The opposite side of the island holds one of the most breathtaking beaches we’ve ever seen. The island is a national park and a turtle sanctuary and so the island is uninhabited and private. We had a great time exploring with the kids, building sand castles and watching them frolic in the waves. The island feels like an untouched secret paradise!
10. Cane Bay
The beach at Cane Bay came highly recommended by many and we were not disappointed. We spent a wonderful afternoon snorkeling over the beautiful reefs, only 20-30 feet from the beach – very easy for young kids to enjoy. Snorkeling much further out though, I came to a 40 foot drop off that quickly slopes to a 3,000 foot drop off! And if you want to experience this famous dive site known as “the wall”, check out ex-pat Hal Rosbach’s dive shop (www.canebayscuba.com) right across the street from the beach at Cane Bay.
9. Eat @ Cane Bay
This open-air restaurant is a favorite to many on the island, both local and those visiting. After experiencing the gorgeous views that overlook the beach and bay and chowing down on delicious grilled burgers, we could see why. There is an incredible authentic island feel to this restaurant, so you won’t want to miss it.
8. The Palms – Caribbean Night
We also heard from many islanders that we had to experience the Caribbean tradition of Mocko Jumbies – locals dressed in costume and on stilts. We enjoyed Caribbean Night at The Palms near Christiansted one evening, where we feasted on a fabulous buffet, enjoyed live reggae island music, and were treated to dancing Mocko Jumbies and a fire juggling performance. The kids were speechless for nearly an hour (possibly a first) as they sat watching in awe the performance in front of them.
7. Sandy Point
Sandy Point is a quiet, picturesque beach located at the far southwest end of the island – gorgeous white sand beaches spread out as far as you can see. We arrived one afternoon just in time to watch a rain storm coming in; serene and majestic.
7. Sandy Point -cont.
With only a handful of people down the beach from us, we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We chased crabs up and down the beach and splashed in the waves before heading back to rejuvenate at Cruzan Sands.
6. Sunrise at Point Udall
The easternmost point of St. Croix (and the United States, including territories) provides an incredible view of Buck Island and some of the southern and northern coastlines. And if you are crazy enough to get the kids packed up and drive across the island at 4:30 in the morning, you can be the first people in the U. S. to see the sun come up. Despite the difficult early trek, seeing this beautiful sunrise together as a family – priceless. The sky slowly lit up with bright pinks and yellows before the sun came bursting forth to usher in another beautiful day.
5. Isaacs Bay
Isaacs Bay is a beautiful beach but a little hard to get to; a 20 minute hike from Point Udall. Be sure to wear sunglasses (we had an eye injury from the tall grass), closed shoes and jeans, but still bring your swimsuit, snorkel gear and plenty of bottled water. The trail is not too long or strenuous, just difficult if you’re getting scratched up in your flip flops and swimsuits.
5. Isaacs Bay -cont.
Once you finish the 20 minute hike, you’ll come out to a nice, quiet beach at Isaacs Bay. The reefs come up right to the beach and are full of beautiful fish. Although we couldn’t stay here long due to being ill-prepared, it would have been a fabulous place to spend a day. We definitely want to return and spend more time enjoying this spot.
4. Fort Christiansted
Although this is a small fort in historic downtown Christiansted (worth a visit all its own), it is packed with history – which we love! The kids and I spent an afternoon exploring every nook and cranny.
4. Fort Christiansted -cont.
We locked each other up in the dungeons and holding cells imagining what it might have been like many years ago. The holding cells had carvings on the wood floors that were drawn by prisoners. There were also many furnished rooms on display to get a good glimpse into what life was like in the 1700’s.
3. Whim Plantation Museum
There is some fascinating history near Fredericksted at the Whim Plantation Museum, the oldest sugar plantation museum in the Virgin Islands. The great house, sugar factory ruins, and a restored windmill are open to explore. If you enjoy history, you won’t want to miss this.
2. North Shore Drive (Highway 80)
One of our favorite things to do on the island was drive the North Shore Road from Salt River Bay to Davis Bay. The road hugs the coastline along rolling hills to start but then passes through lush, jungle with vines hanging down to the road, tranquil beaches and bays (like Cane Bay), authentic island restaurants overlooking the ocean, quiet little seaside towns and past plantation ruins and an old sugar mill sitting on top of a grassy knoll. This 30 minute drive has to be one of the most gorgeous stretches of road anywhere in the world; it’s like St. Croix’s “Road to Hana” (Maui, Hawaii’s famous north shore coastline drive).
1. Beach at Davis Bay
At the end of the North Shore Road you’ll find a spacious beach at Davis Bay; a great place for a family to enjoy an afternoon or an evening walk to soak in the rays from a glorious island sunset. You won’t need a camera to capture the moment here; the beauty of this island coast will be permanently etched in your memory as a mental postcard of your amazing vacation on St. Croix.
We’ve moved to an island!!!!!
Headed to St. Croix this summer? Be sure to stop by this amazing beach, Sandy Point, at the far south west end of the island. I’m missing all these shades of blue today! 🙂
This article has some absolutely stunning pictures of some amazing “crystal clear” water locations around the world. Anyone been to any of these spots?? Pretty much all of these are on our wish list… 🙂
Click here or below for the article:
Here is our video overview of Cozumel and the Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort and Spa. This place is seriously AMAzing! One of our favorite family destinations by far. Gorgeous beaches with plenty of room for privacy and amazing snorkeling right off the beach! The snorkel spots are perfect for beginner snorkelers, or just a relaxing afternoon… and the food is to die for! 🙂 Quesadillas were a favorite for our kiddos. Check out the links below for more info on Cozumel, Mexico!
Happy wet and rainy Tuesday! We’re not complaining, we love the rain!! Gives us a chance to pull out the rain boots. That doesn’t happen often in Texas! 🙂
Jumping off of waterfalls in Jamaica? Yes please!
Hello blog! School IS what’s been going on around here. As I’ve mentioned before, I homeschool my little girls.
This keeps me super busy in between our traveling. As much as I enjoy social media and blogging etc. my children and their education comes first and it frequently keeps me completely occupied! 🙂 Thus the explanation for the occasional month of silence. We are busy with life and school.
Many people think I’m crazy for homeschooling and say there’s NO way they can do it etc… Well let me tell you, if I can do it, anyone can! 🙂 I love teaching my children and get completely wrapped up in the lessons, planning and scheduling. I do know homeschooling is not for everyone and a quick disclaimer here: I DO NOT CARE IF YOU HOMESCHOOL OR NOT!!! 🙂 Honestly, I don’t. This is just the decision we’ve made for our family since it works best for us. I don’t judge you, think you’re less of a parent or whatever for your choice to homeschool or not homeschool and appreciate it if you can do the same for me. 🙂 My kids have just as many friends that aren’t homeschooled as they have that are. This is just what has worked best for us and our family at this particular season of our lives.
Sooo… that being said, here’s a quick peak into some of what our school days look like (pics from through the last few years). Since we are really homeschooling way more than we are traveling of course. 🙂
This is what my dining room or school room table looks like each morning.
This little boy has been helping me set school out each evening his whole life! 🙂 He loves “helping”!
Learning about different types of clouds and charting which types we see.
Observing the process of butterflies growing.
So, although we would love to be traveling all the time, these are the type of things our usual days are filled with. 🙂 We will however be traveling again in the near future, so stay tuned to hear all about it!!
Cane Bay Beach. Loved this place! Fabulous snorkeling! After swimming out over shallow waters with beautiful coral for a couple hundred yards I came to a 40 foot drop. This area is home to bigger fish dancing in and out of enormous coral. SO beautiful! Snorkeling is one of my all time favorite things to do. I floated slowly over this enchanted under water world soaking in each breathtaking and unique little detail. Just a ways past the 40 foot drop off you come to a completely black 3,000 foot drop off. One peek at the edge of that was enough for me and I swam back to the beach to join my husband and children.
Directly across the street from the beach is the best burger spot on the island.
eat @ cane bay has super yummy food, a relaxing atmosphere and a gorgeous view!
Also right across the street is this fabulous little dive shop. Cane Bay Dive Shop was started in 1990 and offers scheduled or unscheduled dive tours 7 days a week.
Although we didn’t have time to dive with them on this trip, we enjoyed talking to the friendly staff and taking down information for our next visit to St. Croix. If you are visiting the island and are interested in some great dives this is definitely the place to go!
After watching the children frolic in the waves under a beautiful sunset another day in St. Croix came to a close. Cane Bay did not disappoint!
See our St. Croix post at www.islands.com here…
More to come on what to do in St. Croix and where to visit, including best beaches…