St. Croix's rich culture and history, along with its beautiful beaches and world-class recreational activities, create an experience unlike any other in the Caribbean. Since the day Christopher Columbus first arrived at Salt River on St.Croix more than 500 years ago, sugar and rum have shaped the island's life and land. Fifty-four sugar mills, each with imposing windmill towers and factory chimneys, still rest in the shadows of stately eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century homes. Located on the west end of the island, Estate Whim Plantation is just one example of these "greathouses." With acres of rolling green hills, St.Croix's plantation estates also bore crops of okra, cabbage, corn, and other vegetables still prominent in Caribbean cuisine. As the sugar industry declined after the 1960s, tourism became the most important industry on the island.
Christiansted and Frederiksted, the two main towns of St. Croix, flourished as commercial ports during the eighteenth century and nineteenth century. Distinct architecture reflects the seven flags--Spanish, Dutch, British, French, Knights of Malta, Danish, and American -- that have flown over the island. Today, visitors to St. Croix can enjoy a number of indoor and outdoor activities, from fine dining, shopping, and a casino, to golf, scuba diving, and horsback riding.