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Life here in the Caribbean is very laid back and relaxed. But, the local culture is still relatively reserved, so common courtesy and respect are important (which is why people find St. Croix to be such a friendly place). Please take a minute to look over these helpful travel tips for planning your trip to St. Croix, including information about local etiquette, tipping, what to pack, and more.
Courtesy and basic decency are important on St. Croix, and we ask our visitors to respect the local culture. What does that mean to you? The most important things for you to note are:
- Greetings matter. You will find most people will greet you with a “good morning”, “good afternoon”, or “goodnight” – so you should do the same. Read more in our Crucian Courtesy: Give a Proper Greeting blog.
- Cover up. While the island is pretty laid back, be sure to wear a shirt (or bathing suit cover-up) and shoes while walking around town or in restaurants and shops. Island dress may be casual, but bathing suits, short shorts, no shirt and/or shirts that are unbuttoned are frowned upon while walking around town or in stores.
- Drink Responsibly. Yes, we are world-famous for our rum, but please drink responsibly. Our road conditions coupled with driving in the left lane make it challenging for visitors to drive on a good day, so please do not endanger yourself and others by drinking and driving.
What To Wear and How To Wear It
Cotton or linen clothes are preferred to avoid overheating. Of course, you are going to want to bring your swimsuits, but please bring something to wear over it when in public. Men usually do not wear ties or jackets, and nobody bothers with rain coats. ‘Resort casual’ is usually as dressy as it gets on St. Croix for men and women, so a sundress for ladies or linen slacks and a polo shirt for men is all you need for a ‘nice’ dinner. Hats and sunscreen are a must to protect you from the sun. Even if you tan easily, the sun will burn you if you’re not prepared, ruining what could be your best vacation. You may also want to bring insect repellent to fight off mosquitoes and no-see-ums, especially in the morning or evening and in areas where there are mangroves, standing water, or ponds. If you feel that you can not live with out your blow dryers, curling irons or electric razors, you’ll be happy to know that an adapter is not necessary.
Here on St. Croix we drive in the left lane, at a slower pace. First and foremost, please don’t rush! Traffic travels at a slow to moderate pace due to the condition of the roads and numerous curves, so most often people are not in a hurry. Local drivers are generally courteous, so please return the courtesy as you make your way around the island. The honk of a horn on St. Croix is almost always a ‘hello’ or an ‘I am giving you the right-of-way to pull out’. Also, do use your cellphone while driving. Not only is this a punishable offense, but you endanger yourself and others by texting or talking while driving. Read more in our Life in the Left Lane blog.
Cell Phone Service
If you can’t pull yourself away from the hustle and bustle of stateside life, St. Croix can accommodate you. Our local area code is 340. AT&T and Sprint are the only major cell phone service providers, as well as a few regional carriers such as Viya. If you are a Verizon customer, you may find that your signal and service are limited unless you are in the main areas of Christiansted. You may want to check with your cell service provider before traveling to ensure your network coverage and because you will incur additional charges.
Internet Service and Wifi
Wifi internet access has become much more common as many coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels have installed wireless networks as a courtesy for paying customers. So, bring that smart phone, tablet, or laptop, and find your favorite spot to check in with “the real world”. Get your work done, turn on the auto-reply, and then unplug so you can enjoy your time on St. Croix.
U.S. Postal Service
We are part of the U.S. Postal System with first class mail, priority and express mail being your best bet. On St. Croix we have six post offices to serve you. There are two in Christiansted, Gallows Bay, Kingshill, Sunny Isle, and Frederiksted. While it is possible to use UPS, FedEx and other courier services for your important packages (overnight and second day), it is HIGHLY recommended that you instead send to or from St. Croix using the U.S. Postal Service’s Express Mail service. As a U.S. Territory, the USPS considers us a zone in the USA system. UPS and FedEx will charge international shipping rates that may be 4 times higher than USPS. You can send first class mail and postcards using the same postage you would use in the mainland U.S.
You will find that people in the service industry on St. Croix are very friendly and will go out of their way to ensure your time on St. Croix is memorable. A big tip is a way to thank someone for their outstanding service. Not giving a tip is a very strong way to let someone know they did not provide good service. However, people in the service industry make their money mostly from tips as their hourly wage is usually low. We have put together some guidelines for tipping on your vacation- from the airport shuttle to housekeeping and everything in between. Remember this is just a guide. If you feel like giving more, please do, our service people certainly work hard and deserve to know that you appreciate their good service. Here are the basics:
- Transportation :
- Shuttle Van or Bus Driver: $2
- Taxi or Limo Driver: 10-15% of total fare
- Valet or Parking Attendant: $2
- Skycap at Airport: $2 for one bag, plus $1 for each additional bag carried
- Airport Terminal-to-Terminal Shuttle Drivers: $2-$3
- Accommodations :
- Bellhop: $2-3 for carrying your bags to and from your room
- Housekeeping: $2 per day. Some hotels will proved an envelope for you to leave a tip in each day. Place envelope on a dresser or pillow each day.
- Deliveries to Room: $2
- Doorman: $1-$2 for hailing a cab (more if it is raining or other bad weather)
- Concierge : $5-$20 for acquiring next to impossible dining reservations, tours or entertainment
- Pool/Beach Attendant: $2-3 dollars for helping with water activity equipment/towels
- Dining :
- For table service : 15% to 20% of the total bill. If you have used a discount or received any free items, you should tip on the amount that your bill would have come to if you would have paid full price. Also, if you’re with a large party or placing many special requests, you should increase your tip appropriately.
- For bar service: 10%-15% of check is standard. However, if the bartender gives you any complimentary drinks you should tip about half the value of that round.
- For buffet dining in a restaurant: 10% is generally standard
- Personal service from the wine sommelier: 15%-20% of the wine bill
- Maitre d’: $5-10 for special service provided (getting you that perfect view or beach side table!).
- Charters & Tours :
- Dive Service: If you decide to tip based on the price of the dive, a tip of 10-15% of the price. If you decide to tip on a per dive basis, the general consensus seems to be $5-$10 per tank per diver. However, both of these are just guidelines, use discretion based on the type of service provided.
- Fishing Charters: It’s the captain and crews job to find the fish and help you reel them in. If they do a good job, a nice tip says a job well done. If they filet your catch for you to take home, even better! A base tip to start from is usually 15% of the charter cost.
- Sailing Charters : Generally 15%-20% of charter cost.
- Island Tours: Generally 15% of tour cost is average. Remember, you can use discretion based on how good the tour and your tour guide were. If you had a really good time and your guide did an awesome job, feel free to tip them more than the average.
- Additional Tips : If you stay at a table for more than two hours, add an extra 5%-10% to your tip. If you are there for that long, it means the waitperson has lost an opportunity to seat more people at that table and can loose up to 30% of their tips. Please be considerate when traveling with children or pets. You will require special services that will be added to your room bill upon check out. Additionally, for sitters or dog walkers, a tip of $3-5 is appropriate. Most restaurants have a policy of ‘No Separate Checks’. If it is absolutely necessary for separate checks, add an extra 5%-10% for the service person to divide the bill for you.