Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico?

Old Sep 21, 20, 10:38 am
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Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico?

If you have been to both and you can only pick one.... which would you chose and why? And how would you compare the British to the American Virgin Islands? Finally which island would you choose/recommend? Thanks

also anyone been to Grand Caymen islands?

Last edited by pjacqueimo; Sep 21, 20 at 10:45 pm
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Old Sep 25, 20, 1:21 pm
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I have been to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. John, and Virgin Gorda for many vacations as well as Tortola and the smaller BVI islands on multiple day trips.

This is like comparing apples and oranges and watermelons. It depends on what you are looking for in a vacation.

Puerto Rico is a large island with diverse landscapes. We like to stop over on PR on our way to the Virgin Islands. Old San Juan is a wonderful walled city loaded with fantastic historical buildings. We have stayed there twice and will go back again. We have also stayed out by El Yunque and hiked in the mountains. The beaches along the stretch between San Juan and Rio Grande area are fine but not the type I prefer. We really enjoy Puerto Rico. Lodging is reasonable and there is so much to explore. We have plans to rent a house or condo there for several months during our semi-retirement years.

St. Thomas has an airport, many beaches, lots of shopping and a strong tourist infrastructure in place if one likes an active vacation - ziplines, sailing, boat excursions, lots and lots of shopping, etc. You can also find beachfront accommodations in all price ranges.

St. John has no airport, you must take a ferry or private water transfer from St. Thomas. The majority of the island is National Park and aside from a snack stand at Honeymoon and Trunk beaches, all other beaches are undeveloped, meaning you take your own chairs, food, beverages, etc. What beachfront options are available, and there are very few, will start at well over $1,000 for two people and goes up from there. Rental homes are in the mountains and you rent a vehicle for getting around. Cruz Bay has some small hotel rooms and a few condo complexes. Its a lively little town with lots of restaurants, bars and local shops. We have repeatedly returned to STJ for 25 years.

Virgin Gorda BVI is similar to STJ - it is very quiet and the beaches are undeveloped. There are a few more walk-to-the-beach lodging options. We adore VG and spend more time there as STJ has become more popular. We like renting a large beachfront house on VG, something that isn't possible on STJ.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by pjacqueimo View Post
If you have been to both and you can only pick one.... which would you chose and why? And how would you compare the British to the American Virgin Islands? Finally which island would you choose/recommend? Thanks

also anyone been to Grand Caymen islands?
The prior poster gives a very good overview. My preference in St. John.

Grand Cayman is nice with excellent beaches but very flat, whereas the VIs and Puerto Rico are mountainous, leading them to have a much more interesting landscape.
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Old Oct 30, 21, 5:59 pm
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Iíve been to all three many times. They are all very different. PR is very historic but also offers world leading health facilities. Itís also a big cruise centre. BVI has tropical beauty with no crowds. If you donít sail/boat you wonít totally appreciate what it has ho offer. USVI is more urban and too American for my taste. Although St.John & St. Croix are very nice and relaxed. Cayman is civilized & classy. Expensive but great dining & accommodations. And golf

Spend some time researching and youíll get a feel which is best for your tastes. Iíve enjoyed all three at various points in my life.

hapoy to answer specific questions.

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Old Apr 19, 22, 6:49 am
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Some good answers above to offer some perspective. From another viewpoint, we lived in the Caribbean for 5 years - on both the sea and on land, travelling up from Grenada all the way to the Bahamas. Living in the BVI's, on Tortola and Virgin Gorda for 2 years then on St Thomas for 1 year, gave us a greater insight into 'island life' with frequent trips to Puerto Rico, St Johns and many of the smaller islands like Peter Island, Cooper Island and The Settlement too. We're fan of PR with the Spanish feel, it has a lot of choice but perhaps too big for a real getaway feel. STT always seemed too crowded for us with the frequent cruise ships almost much doubling the island population on a daily basis. A similar impression was left by our time in the BVI - UNTIL you got away from Tortola. Then it became our best destination of the three; but as someone already mentioned, it is possibly best appreciated as a sailing zone - bliss. But all subjective; you need to try them out for yourself!
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