Category Archives: St. Croix

The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home from Each Divi Island

best caribbean souvenirs from each divi island

When you’re dreaming of a past vacation, the easiest way to relive it is to bring out a few mementos. Souvenirs can help you recall the good times and the great stories from your trip. The best souvenirs communicate something about the spirit and the personality of the place you visited. We gathered a few suggestions of great souvenirs you can bring home from the Caribbean. Each of these islands is home to at least one Divi Resort—we hope you have an opportunity to check them all out!

aruba aloe

Courtesy of Aruba.com

Aruba: Aloe products

Aruba Aloe is the oldest aloe company in the world. Founded in 1890, it’s also the only aloe company in the world that grows, harvests and manufactures its products right on-site. Its products are sold pretty much everywhere in Aruba. You can also visit the Aruba Aloe Museum & Factory Store.

Barbados: Pottery

Earthworks Pottery is worth the short trip to the Edgehill Heights section of the St. Thomas parish. Everything at this workshop is authentically Caribbean, handcrafted by local artists. It offers a range of plates, bowls and vases, available as unique pieces or as part of beautiful sets. Earthworks is also happy to ship fragile items back home if you’re worried about their survival in your suitcase.

bonaire cactus liqueur

Bonaire: Cactus liqueur

Cadushy Distillery, located in Rincon, is the only distillery on the island of Bonaire. It’s most well-known for Cadushy of Bonaire, a cactus liqueur with a cooling lime taste, the earliest entry in the distillery’s Island Liqueurs line. Sign up for a tasting and learn first-hand how the spirits are produced. Don’t forget to bring home a few bottles of your favorite flavors.

st. croix crucian love bracelets

Courtesy of GoToStCroix.com

St. Croix: Crucian bracelets

When you visit St. Croix, you’ll notice many local women wearing a unique type of bracelet. The St. Croix Hook or the Crucian Hook is a band-style bracelet with a horseshoe-shaped clasp. This clasp (or “hook”) represents true love on St. Croix. These bracelets come in a wide variety of styles, and you can find them in most local jewelry shops.

St. Maarten: Guavaberry liqueur

Although the wild-growing guavaberry can be found elsewhere in the Caribbean, locals speculate St. Maarten is the only place it truly thrives. It’s a central part of local folklore and traditional cuisine. The juice of these berries (no relation at all to guava) is mixed with rum and sugar and then aged to create guavaberry liqueur. Sample the sweet, light concoction and bring home a few beautiful bottles from Ma Doudou, a small shop just off Front Street in Philipsburg.

 

Witness “Mango Melee” on St. Croix This Month

mango melee st. croix

If you’re visiting St. Croix in July, you’re in luck. Every Saturday during the month of July, St. Croix locals celebrate tropical fruits (especially the mango) during the Mango Melee. This festival at the St. George Botanical Garden educates the public on home growing techniques and the many ways to use this special fruit. You can even taste the winning recipes from a culinary competition.

To get into the mango spirit, try mixing up this mango mojito recipe from Cruzan® Rum, the major rum producer that has called St. Croix home since the 1800s.

Cruzan® Mango Mojito

Ingredients

1 part Cruzan® Mango Rum
4 chunks of fresh mango
A dash of fresh lime juice
A splash of simple syrup
4-6 mint leaves
Club soda

Muddle mint and mango chunks with simple syrup in a tall glass. Add lime juice, Cruzan® Mango Rum with ice. Stir and top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Top Caribbean Summer Destinations for 2017

As you plan your summer vacation, don’t forget about the Caribbean! It’s beautiful part of the world year-round, including in summer. You’ll find all the familiar things you love about the Caribbean—the amazing beaches, cooling tropical breezes and delicious food—and fewer of the things you love a little less. The crowds are thinner in summer, and seasonal hotel rates are lower. Check out a few of the best Caribbean destinations for summer travel, as recommended by the Caribbean Journal: Barbados, Aruba, St. Maarten’s French side and St. Croix.

We love traveling in the Caribbean during summer. It’s the perfect time to take your kids, since they’re out of school. And with the reduced crowds, it can be that much easier to score a palapa on the beach for a day.

Is it time for your family to think Caribbean? What do you enjoy about the Caribbean in summer?

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.