Imagine the largest seagoing vessel you have seen is a dugout canoe. Then, one day you see this:
That’s exactly what happened in Salt River Bay in November 1493. But that fateful meeting between Columbus’ sailors and the Taino indigenous war party at Columbus Landing, was far from the beginning of the history of the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve.
“Every major period of human habitation in the Virgin Islands is represented: several South American Indian cultures, the 1493 encounter with Columbus, Spanish extermination of the Caribs, attempts at colonization by a succession of European nations, and enslaved West Africans and their descendants. More than a dozen major archeological investigations since 1880, together with historical research, reveal this remarkable story. Few places engage the imagination so completely, drawing visitors into the spirit of the place and its beauty and sanctity.” — according to the US National Park Service website for the St. Croix park.
The only Tainan ceremonial ball court or plaza found in the Lesser Antilles is at Salt Bay River. Both ceremonial and recreational, the ball game originated in Mesoamerica. The ball court was excavated by a Danish archaeologist, Gudmund Hatt in 1923. – also from the US National Park Service website
Today, Salt River serves visitors and locals alike as an entry point to the Caribbean sea for fishing, kayaking and oceanic exploration. The area is home to the Virgin Islands most well-known “bio bay” locations. Kayak tour operators like Caribbean Adventure Tours lead amazing guided kayak tours day and night. The evening tours feature the bio bay – where millions of tiny organisms light up underwater as your kayak glides atop.
To get there from Christiansted, follow the Northside Road (Rte 75) West to Sidney Lee Road/Northshore Road (Rte 80) and turn right. Follow Rte 80 until you see a marina on your right, turn right and the marina and Caribbean Adventure Tours are inside the marina on the right or you can proceed to Columbus Landing and the National Park Service visitor Center by proceeding straight past the marina entrance. Note: the National Park Service Visitor Center is open part of the year by appointment only. Explore the online information before setting out on your historical adventure!
Remember, wherever you may roam on our lovely island of St. Croix, take only photos & leave only footprints…
Contact Us if you need a ride!