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St. Croix - Island Of Opportunity

Dec 29, 2007
Having just returned from St. Croix, I'm still trying to figure out what's happening with this island. Is it dying a slow death from neglect, or swollen with opportunity & poised for serious growth? Its current state might lead one to either conclusion.

While there, I had a great time, enjoyed some spectacular scuba diving, ate excellent food at super prices, and even had time to drive most of the island looking through history and rainforests.

But the thing is, most everywhere I looked, the place seemed like it was falling apart. It reminded me of the 3 C's of rehabbing houses - Clean it up; Cut the grass; & Cover the walls. With the exception of a handful of places in Christiansted, and the Frederiksted Pier & park area, much of the rest of the island could use some serious attention.

Many roads are a nightmare, and "scenic drive" should not mean the absence of anything resembling pavement. Simply cutting the 6' tall grass obscuring oncoming traffic on most northern roads would make those steep, sharp turns far less hazardous. It would also let visitors enjoy the gorgeous views, not to mention restoring 2 full lanes for vehicles.

The island has a lot of history, but sometimes it's hard to see or even find. For example, while visiting the Whim Plantation, most of the signage describing the exhibits and past culture were either faded away, washed out, or missing entirely.

In Christiansted, I followed a map that notated the location of the house where Alexander Hamilton once lived. But arriving at that spot, found no sign, plaque, or other indication I'd arrived at the correct place. After asking several locals, one finally verified the correct structure.

St. Croix has so much going for it, that it's hard to understand why those who should be interested in its welfare don't appear to be doing anything about improving the islands image. The advertising and promotional materials found in all the usual places indicate that tourism is indeed desirable, and an acknowledged contributor to the local economy, but I got the overall sense it wasn't a particularly high priority.

This was really surprising to a first-time visitor, but the message coming across was clearly one of "what you see is what you get - take it or leave it".

I would suggest that those there, in government and other groups involved in the tourism industry, who clearly talk a good game, get serious about sprucing up their island and making it inviting to tourists.

Otherwise, the promotion noise rings hollow. They should stop doing it immediately, and just fade away entirely.

For those who may be interested in finding their own place in the sun, I have to say that St. Croix still has a lot going for it, regardless of whether it gains more prominence as a tourist destination. It's a beautiful island, and one where prices remain well below most other Caribbean destinations. You can still find plenty of places to build, or existing places to buy, without breaking the bank.

Whether the tourism industry gets its act together or not, doesn't really matter to someone looking for a good deal on property. If things stay as they are, property values will continue to grow gradually, and the island will remain much as it is.

On the other hand, it's a good time to get in, and values could increase dramatically. The islands large size (compared to many others) would allow for years of growth before it comes close to becoming densely populated.

So whether St. Croix stays stagnant or spruces up and gains attention, there's not really a down side for those looking for property.

I for one hope they get serious about fixing up and promoting the island. The handful of things mentioned earlier would be a good start, and take hardly any time to rectify.

Whether they do or not, as someone interested in scuba diving, it's still worth several trips back, just to spend time visiting the famous "Wall" along the north shore, where the reef drops off a few thousand feet down - awesome diving!
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