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Biking St. Croix
By Theresa Russell
St. Croix conjures up images of crystal clear azure water, sandy beaches and cruise ships. While a cruise ship may be a great option for exploring the Caribbean, cruising around St. Croix by bicycle gives an up close view of this laid back, fabulous island. Whether you decide to explore on your own or with a guide your first stop should be St. Croix Bike and Tours in downtown Frederiksted. Mike, or his father, Mike, will fix you up with a bike and direct you to some great on or off-road cycling areas, or lead you personally on a tour..
The guided tour starts in downtown Fredericksted, the less touristy and smaller town on St. Croix. Mike makes frequent stops along the way to point out the typical Danish architecture, to review the historic past of the island or to identify the diverse flora seen along the way. By the end of the tour, bougainvillea, frangipani, hibiscus and tamarind will be added to your plant sighting list as well as such interesting features as sugar mills, volcanic beaches and historic churches. Although this particular guided tour only covers a total distance of 12 miles, it will stretch into a full half-day, because of all the information stops along the way.
For those seeking to venture out on their own, the island's compact size means that you can explore a variety of terrain and scenery without having to venture too far. The island itself is about 28 miles long and four miles wide. The southern end has a desert-like atmosphere with cacti dotting the landscape. The north coast offers a bit more challenging terrain with a coastal road that undulates along the shores offering magnificent views of the Caribbean. Similarities between parts of New Zealand's South Island or California's Big Sur attract visitors to this spectacular and rugged shoreline.
This part of the island is where Columbus landed in 1493.
To experience the different areas of the island, base yourself at one of the delightful small inns scattered about the island. Personal suggestions for the Fredericksted area include the Sea View Farm Inn. This secluded inn especially attracts honeymooners or those looking for a low key, yet comfortable respite. Right next door, Bandanas, an open air restaurant serves outstanding steaks. Near Christiansted, Innparadise, perched high on a hill, offers spectacular views of the sea. The affable hosts offer a very warm welcome to guests at this bed and breakfast. For the northern end of the island, The Cane Bay Reef Club enjoys an excellent position, directly on the sea, the waves lapping right outside the balcony of the fully equipped kitchenette suites. Bogey's, a bar and lounge within the building, offers reasonably priced meals, including a free Friday night buffet.
For an exotic cycling tour, head to your island! Remember to keep left as they drive here on that side of the road. And don't forget to enjoy the steel bands, excellent snorkeling and local cuisine.
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