Not many dive destinations can claim St. Croix's diversity. Diving here will fill your logbook with all types of wall, wreck and reef dives. By boat or from the shore-all on nitrox if you prefer-you'll see turtles ambling along, lobsters easing from their dens, octopi blushing turquoise and schools of fish in every color. Dive all day, then sleep in resorts tucked away on private coves, in downtown hotels or hillside villas. It can all be found on St. Croix. Many hotels have on-site dive centers, making it easy to grab a tank for a shore dive or sign up for a specialty course. No matter how you choose to dive, explore and relax in St. Croix, you'll surely discover what makes this distinct island so appealing.
Known as an eco-paradise, St. John is one of the greenest islands in the Caribbean. Two-thirds of
its land is preserved as national park thanks to Laurance Rockefeller, who gave the land to the U.S. government in exchange for a promise that it remain protected. There are tropical paths to hike, amazing petroglyphs to view, mangroves to explore and gorgeous beaches to walk. Beneath the waves, the scenery is equally beautiful: 5,650 acres of the national park is underwater. Known for its low-impact diving, St. John offers an amazing array of corals and sea life, including one of the only underwater national monuments-Coral Reef National Monument. So, enjoy the scenery both above and below sea level and don't forget your underwater camera!
A hub of activity above and below the water, St. Thomas is an action lover's paradise. As cosmopolitan as it gets in the Caribbean, Charlotte Amalie's streets are lined with jewelry, clothing, cigar and surf shops as well as art galleries, coffeehouses and sushi restaurants. Starting just outside the harbor, there's even more to do below the water's surface. Visit a few of the island's 14 wrecks, some as deep as 90 feet beneath the surface. You'll find the sea life just as interesting as the island above with dolphins, jawfish, angelfish, sharks, lobsters and turtles. After your dive, join the other tourists or locals at one of the many night spots for dinner, drinks and dancing. Don't worry, you can always relax on another beautiful dive or a pristine beach the next day.
Culture and Customs
The U.S. Virgin Islands is a paradise with so much more to offer than the traditional beach vacation. Visitors wishing to immerse themselves in a profound cultural experience can enjoy historical tours, culinary encounters, artisan fairs, parades, storytelling and other special presentations.
Walking tours on St. Thomas and St. Croix feature the diverse architecture, evidence of nations that colonized the islands in the 17th and 18th centuries. If you're feeling energetic, walk one of the many street steps, the most famous being the 99 steps on St. Thomas, a common way of getting to higher ground.
Your cultural journey continues with a look at the life and creations of artisans and crafters who earned a living creating functional and decorative pieces. Restored greathouses now serving as museums, like Haagenson House on St. Thomas and Whim Museum on St. Croix, preserve this past, displaying masterfully created mahogany pieces, delicate linens and original art. Local craft cooperatives, art galleries and artist colonies present the works of today's tradition-bearers. Annaberg Plantation ruins in St. John's National Park offers daily cultural demonstrations, including cooking the old-fashioned way - on a coal pot over an open flame.