10-4, except Sunday. Modest entrance fee. Allow at least 45
minutes to visit.
St. George Village Botanical Garden
The gardens were developed around a 16-acre estate, which
included the ruins of a 19th-century sugar cane village.
You'll see parts of the great house, the factory where rum
was made, a lime kiln, a stone dam, blacksmith and
saddlemakers shops, the bakery and a cemetery. Be sure to
see the historic garden where cassava, sweet potatoes, corn
and other crops grown here before Columbus are cultivated.
The entrance road off Centerline Road (about four miles
from Frederiksted) is lined by an impressive row of towering
royal palms. You will be amazed at the flora and tropical
vegetation that grows on St. Croix, especially if you've
driven to Point Udall (East End), which is so dry that cactus
grows there rather than palm trees. The Gardens open at
7:30 and close at 3:30 daily. Fee.
The Rain Forest
The island offers tremendous variety in vegetation. The
eastern tip of the island is arid and desert-like. Cactus is the
dominant vegetation. In the northwest section of the island
there is a tropical rain forest. It covers 15 acres, much of it
private property. You can drive through part of the forest on
Route 76, which is paved. The towering mahogany, kapok
and yellow cedar trees are intertwined at their peaks and
thick vines combine to block the sunshine. The ground cover
is lush, sprinkled with wild lilies and other flowers. You'll
see wild parakeets and mountain doves. To explore the rain
forest more intensely, you can follow Route 763, but it is un-
paved and deeply rutted. If you don't have a
four-wheel-drive vehicle, you might consider hiking this
path, or joining a horseback trip along it. There are streams
running through here, with clear running water that is very