The Virgin Islands is an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea's Leeward Islands that is divided in two; to the east and north are the British Virgin Islands, to the west and south the US Virgin Islands.
In 1917, the Virgin Islands were sold by Denmark to the US for $25 million in gold. US interest in the islands resulted from both US and Danish involvement in World War I. The US feared the island would fall into German hands and be used as a base for attacks against its interests in the western hemisphere. In return for the islands, the US backed Denmark's claim to Greenland.
Although the US Virgin Islands remain under the US flag, they are an unincorporated territory with a non-voting delegate to the US House of Representatives. Residents are US citizens, but have no vote in national elections and generally do not pay taxes to the US Internal Revenue Service, though taxes are paid using US law to the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue.
At 45 by 11 kilometres, St Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands. It has flown the flags of seven countries Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Malta, Denmark and the United States. Each has influenced the customs, character, language and architecture of the island.
Even with today's modern conveniences, St Croix retains an old world charm. Its pace is slower and people really do stop to smell the frangipanis!
Average temperature is around 30°C and there is just sufficient rainfall to keep the ixora, hibiscus and bougainvillea in bloom. Cooling tradewinds make it a blissful place to be.
St Croix has two main towns, Christiansted and Fredericksted. They flourished as commercial ports during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and their architecture reflects their varied past.
Christiansted has cobblestone walkways shaded by large arched galleries. Streets were wide enough for the mule carts of the 1800s. The Danes adapted 18th-century-style West Indian buildings to reduce heat, maximise breezes and withstand tropical storms.
Trey ceilings let warm air rise and rectangular-shaped buildings enhance cross ventilation. Most are built from cut coral blocks and Danish brick taken in as ballast.
Frederiksted, said to be the most beautiful town in the Caribbean, is Victorian gingerbread with wide streets and a beautiful waterfront running its full length.
Generally known as Freedom City, it has a great history of 16th-century smugglers and pirates, the reason for the construction of Fort Frederick in 1758.
Fire destroyed the city in 1758 and it was rebuilt in the Victorian style of the era. The beautiful park and open air vendors' mart spring to life when cruise ships dock at the pier and on those evenings, Harbour Night turns Strand Street into a festival.
Many Virgin Islands traditions were brought by African slaves. One of the most incredible is stilt walking, known as mocko jumbie. It is based on a religious belief that the dancers could frighten off the evil spirits which damaged crops.
There has been a long line of mocko jumbie dancers since the early 1700s and along with the pan drum bands from Trinidad, they create a spirited atmosphere. If you're really keen, there are plenty of chances to take lessons.
Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino is on 305 metres of white sandy beach on the south coast of St Croix, between the two main towns.
It has 180 beachfront accommodations in low-rise buildings, centred around an open-air lobby. There are also 20 one-bedroom deluxe ocean-view two-storey villas in small clusters on a hillside overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
All rooms have a sitting area, in-room safe, private terrace or balcony with ocean view, wet bar, mini refrigerator, microwave, coffee-maker, bar ware and private bath with shower, hair dryer and make-up mirror.
Starlite Bar and Grille serves breakfast and dinner and Dockside Café and Deli serves lunch, snacks and dinner in a colourful market-style setting just metres from the beach.
Coffee, tea, pastries and ice cream treats are served in the Seaside Coffee Shop.
Divi Carina Bay Casino is the USVI's first and only. It livens up as the sun sets and features the most-preferred casino games, high limit and high roller jackpots, blackjack, Caribbean Stud, craps, roulette, Texas Hold 'Em, three card and video poker. There are hundreds of slot machines in various denominations and free entertainment in the Showbar.