Category Archives: St. Croix

How to Experience the 2017 Solar Eclipse in the Caribbean

2017 solar eclipse in the caribbean

Partial solar eclipse, 2012. Image courtesy of Takeshi Kuboki.

In case you haven’t heard, the first total solar eclipse since 1918 to sweep across the U.S. is coming up on August 21, 2017. A solar eclipse happens when the moon temporarily blocks any part of the sun—solar eclipses only last a few minutes, but are spectacular to watch. What if you live outside the path of this year’s eclipse, though? Accommodations inside the path are growing increasingly rare. Rather than fighting for the last room at a roadside motel, you might consider watching the 2017 solar eclipse in the Caribbean. You’ll find fewer crowds, more little luxuries and, well, we have beaches—when’s the next time you’ll be able to view a stunning solar eclipse on the white sands of a beautiful beach?

The direct path of the eclipse passes just north of the Caribbean as it leaves the U.S. The northern Caribbean islands will all experience a solar eclipse at a magnitude around 0.8—the scientific way to say the moon will cover about 80 percent of the sun in those locations.

Our best-positioned resorts are Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on St. Maarten and Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort on St. Croix.  They’re the closest to the eclipse’s direct path. August 21 is approaching fast, so be sure to make your reservations soon! Viewing the 2017 solar eclipse in the Caribbean is sure to be unforgettable. We’re excited to share this fascinating, unique experience with you and your loved ones.

Remember: you should never look directly at the sun. Even during a solar eclipse, the sun can permanently damage your eyes. Space.com recommends buying a pair of eclipse glasses for each person in your party, or creating a pinhole camera (easy instructions are here).

Sea Turtle Season on St. Croix: Here’s How to Enjoy It

turtle season on st. croixTurtles love St. Croix! Every year from April through September, sea turtles lumber ashore to lay their eggs on just about every beach on the island. A few weeks after the mother leaves the nest, dozens of baby sea turtles hatch from their shells and make a break for the sea, to live the rest of their lives out in the ocean. Turtle season on St. Croix is a rare opportunity to witness the life cycle of these amazing creatures.

Leatherbacks, hawksbills and green turtles all live in the Caribbean, and St. Croix is one of their common nesting grounds. If you’re on St. Croix this summer, it’s easy to join in local efforts to protect sea turtles and watch the beaches for nesting or hatching activity.

Turtlewatch with SEA

turtle season on st. croix

Courtesy of GoToStCroix.com.

The St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA) offers its members a chance to go on a turtlewatching trip with marine biologist and educator Jen Valiulis. Once you join the organization, be sure to sign up right away—space goes fast.

Upcoming 2017 Dates

June 29 – Leatherback Hatchling Watch 5:15 p.m.
July 26 – Leatherback Hatchling Watch 5:15 p.m.

These dates are only available to SEA members. Join for as low as $35 per person and get yourself on a future turtlewatch. Use this membership application and email sea.educator@gmail.com, or call 340-773-1989.

Group Turtlewatching

turtle season on st. croix

Courtesy of GoToStCroix.com.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers the Sandy Point Turtlewatch program to St. Croix community groups and youth groups. Groups must have at least 15 and no more than 30 participants. This program runs five nights each week (Tuesday through Saturday) from April 15 through July 31.

To schedule turtlewatching for a group, use this link or call 340-690-9452.  If you have any questions about the program, you can email sandypoint.turtlewatch@gmail.com.

If You See a Turtle in Distress

If you see a turtle struggling, stuck in the brush, acting strangely, injured or on a road, it’s important to call someone who is familiar with the species and is equipped to give it proper help. On St. Croix, those people to call are the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rescue (STAR) network. This group of dedicated volunteers are “on call” to assist with reports of sea turtles in distress. You can reach them at 340-690-0474.

Protecting Sea Turtles

turtle season on st. croixAll sea turtles are classified as either threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. There are serious penalties for harassing, harming, capturing or collecting sea turtles or their eggs. When it’s turtle season on St. Croix (and all year round), you can do your part to protect these wondrous animals by keeping in mind a few common-sense guidelines from GoToStCroix.com:

• If you encounter a dead sea turtle or a live, debilitated turtle, please call STAR at 340-690-0474;
• Report any suspicious or criminal activities related to sea turtles to STAR or the Virgin Islands Police Department at 911;
• Operate boats at safe and responsible speeds;
• Always keep dogs on a leash when on a beach;
• Keep beaches clean by disposing of trash properly;
• Turn off lights close to beaches to avoid disorientating nesting sea turtles and hatchlings; and,
• If you encounter a nesting sea turtle, keep your distance, turn off all lights and do not disturb.

Turtle season on St. Croix is a special time to witness the wonders of nature. Summer is a great time to bring your entire family to the island for fun and awe-inspiring environmental education!

Exploring Buck Island from St. Croix

exploring buck island

St. Croix’s Buck Island, USVI. Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.

Just off the coast of St. Croix lies Buck Island, a small, uninhabited patch of land that also happens to be a national monument. The National Park Service protects the island and the surrounding reef, which sees about 50,000 visitors per year. Snorkelers enjoy exploring Buck Island and swimming its underwater trail—one of only three in the United States. Turtle Beach, on the west end of the island, has picture-perfect white sands and turquoise waters, perfect for relaxing. It was voted one of the world’s most beautiful beaches by National Geographic readers.

Exploring Buck Island can be difficult to do on your own. In order to preserve the vibrant marine life of its coral reef, it is only accessible by boat. If you’re staying at Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort on St. Croix, however, this natural wonderland is just a short boat ride away. Family-owned and -operated Buck Island Charters is the only chartered tour company that takes visitors to Buck Island on sail power alone, and it’s been doing so since 1968.

exploring buck island

Sun on the water off Buck Island. Photographer Ellen Sanpere. Courtesy of NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

It’ll be smooth sailing aboard one of their two trimaran sailboats, the Teroro II or the Dragonfly, with Captain Carl or Captain Heinz at the helm. They’ll treat you to a personalized tour of Buck Island National Monument that includes sailing, snorkeling and hiking.

The half-day trip aboard the 42-foot Teroro II departs the Green Cay Marina at 9 a.m., returning by 2 p.m. at the latest. The cost is $75 per person; for children ages 11 and under, the cost is $55 each. Children ages two and under are free.

“Weather permitting, we sail to the underwater trail first and spend an hour there snorkeling,” says Captain Carl. “We provide all the snorkel gear and excellent instruction with a guided tour through the marine garden and time to do your own exploring. We then sail over to Turtle Beach and spend about one-and-a-half hours there. You can go on a self -guided hiking and photo tour, or snorkel some more, or just enjoy the beach.”

The 38-foot Dragonfly is also available for private charters, for those interested in a more customized experience. The Dragonfly can accommodate groups of up to six people, with a charter rate of $570.

Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit, beach towel, sunscreen, hat or cover-up, water shoes, camera, bottled water and anything else you’d like to eat or drink during the trip.

Captain Heinz and Captain Carl are a father-son team that have been sailing the St. Croix waters for more than 30 years. They enjoy sharing their local knowledge with visitors and would love to have you aboard!

To reserve your spot on Captain Heinz or Captain Carl’s next excursion, call 340-7218-3161 or email teroro@msn.com. Both are U.S. Coast Guard certified and National Park Service approved. For more information on Buck Island Charters and exploring Buck Island, visit www.gotostcroix.com/heinz. Rates and trip details are subject to change.

3 Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Trips on St. Croix

day trips on st. croixWhen you’re staying at Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort & Casino, you may want to spend your entire vacation relaxing by the pool, but if you decide to venture beyond the resort, there are plenty of unique day trips on St. Croix to satisfy your taste for exploration and adventure.

Drink with Pigs at Mt. Pellier Hut Domino Club — Yes, it’s true. You can share nonalcoholic brews with the two resident pigs at this charming, tucked-away restaurant and bar. Journey to the rainforests on the island’s west side for this quirky experience. The pigs will greet you from the safety of their pens, and if you offer up an O’Doul’s, one of them will cheerfully accept it, chomp down on the can and enjoy a cold one with you. The restaurant and bar is open seven days a week.

Hike the Annaly Bay Tide Pools — If you’re an outdoorsy type, try hiking the two-mile trail between Carambola Beach and the Annaly Bay Tide Pools. The path winds through the stunning rainforests along St. Croix’s northwestern coast. Be sure to stay hydrated and bring snacks. You’ll be rewarded with a beautiful array of natural tide pools that you can swim in (but don’t forget your water shoes to guard against the rocks!).

Kayak Salt River Bay at Night — Experience the breathtaking natural phenomenon of bioluminescence on a guided nighttime tour of Salt River Bay. Salt River Bay is home to millions of microorganisms that give off light when the water around them is disturbed. It’s mesmerizing to watch the water light up like a glow stick when you dip your kayak paddle into it.

There’s no shortage of fantastic day trips on St. Croix! Share your favorites in the comments below.

Caribbean Islands You Should Visit Right Now

Whether you’re looking for an indulgent getaway or a taste of authentic Caribbean culture, there’s no time like the present to visit the islands. The Caribbean Journal has compiled a list of nine islands that are ideal for spring travel—some well-established tourist destinations, some on the rise.

Barbados, Bonaire and St. Croix all receive shout-outs. Barbados makes the cut for its luxury reputation as “the English-speaking St. Barts;” Bonaire, for its friendly yet trendy culture; St. Croix, for its rising foodie scene. You can see the full list here.

Taste of St. Croix: Foodies, This Is Heaven

Taste of St. Croix at Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach ResortIt’s not too late to reserve your spot at one of the most prestigious culinary events in the Caribbean. Foodies know that in early April, it’s best to be in St. Croix for the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience. This three-day gustatory extravaganza is nestled in one of the sunniest and most charming parts of the US—right in the heart of the US Virgin Islands, so you won’t even need a passport. It annually prompts noted chefs and food and wine lovers to go dashing to the island. St. Croix is at its most festive and hospitable then and vacation packages abound. Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort & Casino offers the ideal location because it plays host to the festival’s premier opening event: The Taste of St. Croix on April 6, 2017.

Imagine sampling authentic regional fare, celebrity chef creations and special vintages from wineries around the globe on a starry, breezy, beachy night just steps from your balcony or patio. That’s precisely why the Taste of St. Croix is a sell-out year after year, and therefore requires a bit of advance planning to score a ticket.

Divi Carina Bay has made it easy for 2017. Their Taste of St. Croix package offers a special discounted rate of $167 per person per night* that includes a free ticket for each registered guest to Taste of St. Croix (a $95 value). With the resort’s three on-site restaurants and plenty of fun activities and amenities, you’ll also enjoy all the benefits of an all-inclusive resort. (Divi Carina Bay is the only all-inclusive resort on St. Croix.) Book your stay and Bam! You’re going to the biggest party on the island all year, with lots of on-site options for relaxing before and after. Foodies, you’ve made it to culinary heaven.

*Rate is based on double occupancy.