A private beach. A private bay. An unbelievable price. There’s a lot to love about the Cruzan Sands Villa, and we’re just getting started. Islands’ intrepid mother of three, Holly Wakefield, shares why it delivers for any-size clan. And starting at $78 per person per night (with a group of eight for one week), we’re not arguing with her.
This is home. OK, we just called it that for a week, largely thanks to the Cruzan Sands Villa’s private perch near Salt River Bay. Three bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a big deck and pool — there’s even an additional one-bedroom guest villa. But for us, the highlight was no neighbors. Our very own paradise to kick back, or explore the island’s active areas just a few miles away.
With the ocean so close, who needs a pool? Turns out, we did. My girls could swim close by while our youngest napped. My husband and I could take evening dips (within range of our baby monitor) long after they all went to bed. A pool by the beach? Perfect.
Just a few steps off our back porch at the Cruzan Sands Villa and off we went. No homes to the left or right. A calm bay perfect for the girls. Snorkeling, shell-collecting, sand-castle making — the simple life at its best.
Driving is rarely a trip’s highlight, but here it was. Our villa was just removed enough to ease us onto St. Croix’s roads and coax us to explore. This is the view along the North Shore Road as we headed to Davis Bay. Jungle vines brushed our car’s roof and gave way to sweeping views of seaside towns. The 30-minute drive felt like St. Croix’s take on Maui’s winding road to Hana, though thankfully shorter.
It took some doing to pry ourselves from our villa, but we eventually met up with Ty McRae from Bush Tribe, an eco-adventure company just minutes away. Ty offers kayaking, snorkeling and hiking tours, and he specializes in children’s outdoor programs. The girls loved the hike, almost as much as they loved Ty.
The photo doesn’t do this experience justice. Night kayaking in an inlet off Salt River Bay, not far from our villa, was our trip’s highlight. Ty was our guide, though he didn’t need to do much leading. Bioluminescent organisms lit up around us as our kayaks rippled the water. We even jumped in. Every movement, no matter how subtle, caused our bodies to glow.
Locals told us a snorkeling trip to Buck Island was a must — especially on calm days. So we hopped aboard with Capt. Miles Sperber of Caribbean Sea Adventures. Just a 40-minute ride with a friendly captain — it was an easy getaway. But would Buck Island’s snorkeling trump the reefs outside our villa?
The reef off Buck Island topped any snorkeling experience we’ve ever had. Giant coral and staggering sea life lined the island’s famous underwater trail. And like Buck Island itself, the reef is protected, something we appreciated from the moment we jumped in. Capt. Miles played a part in it all too — offering to hold our baby so we all could snorkel together.
With our own beach outside our villa, finding another one would seem anticlimactic. But Buck Island is a national park and a turtle sanctuary. It’s uninhabited. This was our favorite beach of the trip.
The beach at Davis Bay was another favorite, especially for sunsets. An evening walk to soak in the rays, our girls playing along the shoreline — there was little need for a camera to take it all in. Even sweeter, when the sun set, it simply meant it was time to head back to our Cruzan Sands Villa home.