Jodi and I have been to Ironman 70.3 St. Croix several times each, so we have plenty of experience to share with you. Plus, we were able to hook up with some locals to give you the inside scoop of things to do and places to eat. It’s a fun race on a beautiful island, so how bad can it be. Well, just ask the triathletes and they may say something different – 2 words – THE BEAST!!!! While they all complain about this 600-foot climb on the bike, it is also one of the draws to the race; they can say they tamed The Beast……The race does also boast one of the best pre-race Carbo Feasts during Jump Up (more on this later) and subsequent Awards Banquet, with its beach barbecue at the Divi Carina Bay Resort. Actually, I don’t know of any other Ironman 70.3′s that have the banquet.
St. Croix offers a wide variety of water attractions and sports, along with historical ruins, a rich cultural history, and of course, local art and shopping. While there are 2 main towns on the island, Christiansted and Frederiksted, the race takes place in Christiansted, so that will be our main focus. One note, they drive on the left side of the road on St. Croix. It does take a bit of getting used to – just remember left in your head, especially when making turns…..
THINGS TO DO
- A trip to St. Croix would not be complete without visiting Buck Island, only 1 of 2 underwater national monuments in the United States. You will need to take a boat to get there, as it’s 2 miles off St. Croix. Big Beard’s Adventure Tours and Caribbean Sea Adventures both offer full and half day sailing and snorkeling trips – gorgeous coral reef. Turtle Beach, on the island, is renowned as one of the prettiest beaches. You can pack a lunch and have a relaxing day.
- Water sports – You can take your pick here from kayaking to scuba diving to paddle boarding to kite surfing. Try Freedom City Surf Board Shop in Frederiksted, along with Teres Veho for a little paddle boarding and lunch or Kite St. Croix for equipment and lessons.
- We’ve touched on snorkeling trips and water sports, but I wanted to give you some great snorkeling locations and beaches. Seek out Sandy Point, Isaac Bay, Annaly Bay, Cane Bay Beach, Chenay Bay Beach, and Jack’s Bay. Northstar Bay has direct access to The Wall – a world-famous dive site where you can also snorkel. Many of the beaches are populated by nesting turtles and birds.
- Take a drive to Point Udall, the easternmost point in the U.S. It has the Millennium Monument and Sundial created for the New Year in 2000. Along the way, stop and see the Very Long Baseline Array Telescope, one of ten others in the world and have a picnic at Cramer’s Park, which is popular with the locals.
- Want to see the island in ways rarely experienced by visitors – from towering tropical forests to pristine shoreline hideaways? Then, go 4-wheeling with Tan Tan Tours. Full day, half day, and custom tours are available. Hardly any hiking is involved, so may be a great thing to do before the race!
- For a bit of culture, visit Fort Chirtianstavearn, a Danish fort built in 1749 and is right at the heart of the race.
- Even though the race is called Captain Morgan, you may want to take a Cruzan Rum Distillery tour in Frederiksted. Samples at the end for all. Yo, ho, ho……
- If you feel like going horseback riding, make sure to take an Equus horseback riding tour. You can journey up the hills or along the beach.
- If you feel like hiking, try the 2mile hike from the Carmbola Beach Resort to the Annaly Bay Tide Pools. If can be slippery and steep in places, so bring appropriate gear and literally, watch your step. Both the hike and the tide pools offer great scenery. If you are driving, you can turn left before the guardhouse at the resort and find parking just ahead. It is a rocky beach and not white sand.
- A spa treatment anyone? Check out Renuatum Spa for a calming experience and then enjoy one of their smoothies made with fresh coconut milk.
- Jump Up is a carnival-like party held in the streets and along the boardwalk of Christiansted. It will be held on Friday night, May 2, and as I mentioned above, will be the site of the Carbo Feast and shouldn’t be missed. You can wander around, browse in the stores that stay open late, watch and listen to authentic Caribbean entertainment, and dine in a dozen local restaurants set up for the Carbo Party – guest tickets are sold at registration. It has become one of the island’s favorite social events for both locals and visitors alike. The streets are closed down and the party begins at 6 p.m. and goes until about 10 p.m. You will also find many vendors on the streets, offering food and drink, arts and crafts, fine hand-crafted jewelry and much more.
- This race does include a St. Croix Kids Cross Fit Challenge for ages 5-15 on Saturday, May 3, and relay races and a Sprint Triathlon on race day for those so inclined. Be sure to check out the Ironman website for details.
- The Buccaneer Resort is one of the nicest on the island. You can access their Mermaid Beach even if you’re not staying there for the parking fee. Very nice, quieter beach with a restaurant for lunch.
- While you may not be coming to St. Croix to shop, you do have some un-touristy choices and we have a few favorites.
- Without a doubt, Jodi and I have done some serious damage at ib designs. Plus, I’ve bought many pieces for gifts over the years. This gem of a jewelry store offers gorgeous items; many one-of-a-kind, at all price points, from local artists, and custom work. You need to check out their chaney pieces, which are made from broken pottery found on the island and dating back to the 1700′s. No two pieces are alike. Most of what I bought tend to be my go-to jewelry. You can’t go wrong. Seriously.
- Try Asha’s for an eclectic array of items from all over the world and Shay’s for women’s clothing and accessories. Scuba is perfect for t-shirts.
Well, this should keep you pretty busy during your stay. If you need more details, be sure to check out Visit St. Croix and maybe even do a little island hopping if you have time and while you’re in the area…..
Next Up: Food & Fun, Part 2 – our favorite places to eat followed by The Sport of Spectating, which will tell you how best to enjoy the race and see your triathlete.
- THE TRIWIVES