You’ll find that life on St Croix is much different from that in the United States.
Not only in our “laid back” lifestyle, but in many other areas as well.
From the way we construct our homes, to cost and availability of goods, there are many factors that make life here different that what you may be accustomed to.
Many of us love these “island charms” and have moved here for those specific reasons…
Some folks come expecting life much like in the states and leave disappointed…so know before you go 🙂
We recommend at least one “pre-move” visit…at least a few weeks..
Explore the island, the stores, etc to get a feel of what it’s like to live here.
St Croix enjoys an almost year round 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Over the course of the year, the average temperature only fluctuates 5-6 degrees.
Winter temperatures rarely fall below 75 degrees F.
It is humid…we are a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea and it IS humid.
The offshore breeze keeps it cool, so often times you really don’t realize how humid it is.
It is VERY important to consider this when choosing a home.
If you are not positioned to capture the breeze, you will be using a lot of A/C energy.
In general extensive rainfall is rather infrequent.
When it does rain, whether it’s a sprinkle or a downpour, it usually quickly passes through the area.
Rainfall is anticipated during the months of August through November.
It is during these months that there is a higher possibility of a full day of rain, or several days of rainy weather.
In general, the East End is hotter and dryer ( looks much like Arizona ) while the West gets more rainfall and is more lush.
The northwest corner of the island is a sub-tropical rain forest ( think Brazil )
Life in the islands is slower then in the mainland.
Many daily task and operations work on “Island Time” which means slowly and without haste.
There is no such thing as “fast food”…you will wait.
A trip to BMV (motor vehicles registration ) or WAPA ( the power company) could be an all day affair.
It can be aggravating and endearing at the same time…
You need to be able to relax and roll with it…
Remember the nice thing is that no one is expecting YOU to be in a rush either…so slow down, relax and enjoy….
Time spent waiting can be used to interact with neighbors, meet new friends and in short, to slow down and enjoy life !
Shopping & Dining
Q: Am I going to find the shops and products I am accustomed to using?
A: Yes…and no
If you are moving from an area where you are used to having many stores to choose from and big selections of brands and products… you will be in for some adjustments.
You WILL find many brands here that you would find in stateside grocery or other stores…but not the stores themselves.
We have K-Mart…we do NOT have Wal-Mart or Target.
We have Pueblo and Plaza Extra as our large grocery..we do NOT have Ralph’s, Super G, Von’s, etc.
We DO have a Cost-U-Less which is similar to a BJ or Sam’s Club warehouse type store.
We also have small shopping centers with some U.S. shops like Marianne’s, K-mart, Radio Shack, Foot Locker, Champs, Rainbow, AT & T and Office Max.
Since it is basically always summer… finding swimwear,shorts and flip-flops is pretty easy.
However, finding dress clothes can be a challenge although there ARE some very nice boutiques in Christiansted.
But no worries…most everyone else is wearing “off the rack” K-Mart as well 🙂
If you must have something fancier for a special occasion, you can always visit Puerto Rico for a shopping weekend or stock up on cloths when visiting the U.S. mainland.
You can also mail order..some U.S. stores will ship to the U.S. Virgin Islands and some will not.
For those that do NOT, you can ship to VI Cargo in Miami and they will bring it here for you.
For home repair, we have a number of small hardware stores and a large Home Depot on St Croix.
You will find no shortage of furniture stores…there are plenty of those.
Restaurant options are different than what you may be used to.
There is no shortage of fantastic restaurants, however most will be local, privately owned establishments…and they are the BEST !
Christiansted has many great dining choices and there are many more across the island.
Food trucks tend to have a bad name in the states, but HERE they are a great place to get some great Cruzan cooking !
You will find several “fast food” type places such as Wendy’s, McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, and Domino’s Pizza.
Our Construction Quirks
Many homes on St Croix have an apartment, either attached or detached.
Apartments can be used an additional source of income, living quarters for a “caretaker” or a place for extended family, live in relatives, etc.
It can also be a perfect place for an in home office or “man-cave” 🙂
Very few places on St Croix have access to public water. Only near Christiansted or Frederiksted will you find piped in water.
Most home hold their collected water in a cistern
A cistern is a large storage tank ( usually concrete) located underneath or to the side of a home.
Rainwater is collected from the roof and piped down various downspouts into the cistern.
Should there be a dry spell, or you otherwise run out of cistern water, you can purchase it by the truckload from various suppliers.
Garages are rare on St Croix…
You will find some with carports and many with no vehicle protection at all.
Snow and ice is obviously not an issue here so the benefits do not outweigh the cost of construction for many owners.
If you want to protect your vehicle from the sun, a carport is a much more cost effective approach.
You WILL find some wood constructed ( stick frame ) homes on the island,however concrete block is most prevalent type of construction.
Concrete construction offers a much higher level of protection from hurricanes than stick frame.
Should you find a stick frame home that interests you, be sure to get an insurance quote..insurance premiums tend to be higher for stick frame structures.
When choosing a home in the islands, be sure to check for storm shutters.
Shutters are not just for decoration here…
Shutters attached to the houses in the states tend to be for aesthetic purposes, ours are for storm protection.
There are a variety of products available for storm protection, including roll down shutters, panel shutters, accordion shutters and fabric shutters. You may also want to look into hurricane impact glass.
The most common flooring material on St Croix is ceramic tile.
Coming from the states, you may be used to carpeted floors in your home.
Carpeting is seldom used in this tropical climate due to issues with moisture and humidity levels.
A carpeted room REALLY needs to be air conditioned to control the humidity or you will have excessive mold and mildew accumulate under the carpet.
Due to the high cost of electricity, this is not practical for most people.
Most homes you view in St Croix will only have showers the baths…many will have an outdoor shower as well.
Very few houses have bathtubs. They simply take too much water to fill and water can be a precious commodity during a dry spell.
Unlike in the U.S.,having a bathtub does NOTHING for your property value.
Most houses, with the exception of those connected to city sewer, utilize a septic tank.
Closer to town, you may have sewer as an option, but most likely you will have a septic system.
Depending on your proximity to the ocean,you may be required to have a sewage treatment system instead of a septic system.
Look carefully at the square footage of the homes you view…
It can be deceptive and you could be looking at a lot more square footage than you think.
Most homes in St Croix are built so as to enjoy our year round warm temperatures..
We spend a good deal of time outdoors, so our homes generally have a LOT of outdoor living area such as decks, patios and galleries ( partially enclosed porches )
These areas are considered a part of the total living area ( or Total Square Footage )
They are not reflected in Interior Square Feet, so be sure to check for Total Square Feet.