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Cayman vs Virgin Islands

Milwaukee, WI
Level Contributor
7 posts
2 reviews
Cayman vs Virgin Islands

We're a family (2 parents 2 children) looking for a "late" spring break. Wanted to go to US VI. Considering Cayman for a possible cost savings. Convince me to go to Cayman. What are the major differences between these two destinations?

Rhode Island
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
Level Contributor
6,460 posts
34 reviews
1. Re: Cayman vs Virgin Islands

Cayman likely to cost more than USVI. 20% for exchange rate from US$ to CI$ (not in your favor!)

Also remember that you all are required to have passports for travel to Cayman, and if you don't already have them, you need to allow enough time to get them before traveling.

Have been to St. Thomas and St. John. I would not go to St. Thomas again; St. John was nice, but getting there involves flying to St. Thomas, then a drive across the island to Red Hook where you take a boat to St. John. The major portion of St. John is National Park; lots of hiking trails and lush landscape, very pretty, and quite quiet. Getting around requires a rental car and roads are narrow, curvy, hilly. Not a lot of restaurants.

Cayman land area flat and not lush like St. John, but very easy to drive there (even though you drive on the left); SMB gorgeous and spacious, water spectacular, wonderful scuba and snorkle ops, many terrific restauants. Most visitors to Grand Cayman stay in condos.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
2,173 posts
25 reviews
2. Re: Cayman vs Virgin Islands

There are some amazing restaurants in St. John - plenty of them! Being that St. John isn't as commercialized as Grand Cayman, there just aren't 'as many'. Your dining options will be extensive, and for all budgets. True, the driving is mountainous, but it's not very difficult to navigate and by no means is there 'traffic' like Grand Cayman gets. The center of town is lovely and quaint, and you don't get the cruise ship passengers - though you will get a few daily ferries over from St. Thomas. For as many similarities, there are vast differences. Be sure to read about them each - alot, then make your decision. You may find that in the end, you'll break even no matter which island you go.

Edited: 17 April 2010, 16:13
Trophy Club, Texas
Destination Expert
for Cayman Islands
Level Contributor
7,196 posts
24 reviews
3. Re: Cayman vs Virgin Islands

St. John is my favorite island. I think the beaches are some of the best around, if you like the secluded "Gilligan's Island" type. There is no development on the majority of beaches and they are not the long stretches of beach that go on for miles like Seven Mile Beach. Snorkeling is great as are the restaurants. It is not a place to simply plant oneself on the beach out in front of the hotel (unless you are staying at Caneel Bay), but rather a place to drive around exploring, stopping at a different beach each time. St. John is a little less expensive for dinning out and a lot less expensive for liquor and beer. Grand Cayman offers many more of the conveniences from home than a stay on St. John would as well as more structured sightseeing and activities. STJ is great for those who are comfortable doing their own thing.

Hill NH
Level Contributor
131 posts
8 reviews
4. Re: Cayman vs Virgin Islands

I love them Both.Being a diver I think GC is geared more towards that and I love Gc shore diving.Not much for shore dives on St John but some great snorkel spots.The trip over from St Thomas can also be taken on the downtown ferry so you dont have to take taxi across the island, to Red hook.Gorgeous mountains ,cliffs that drop to the ocean and quaint little town.Love hawksnest beach its quite secluded.GC has all the comforts of home No trouble driving around great beach.We are bringing our friends to Gc with us next week they have never been to Carribean and thought it would be a nice first trip.But like I said both are wonderful!

Edited: 18 April 2010, 01:27
Milwaukee, WI
Level Contributor
7 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Cayman vs Virgin Islands

Thanks for all the responses. You actually convinced me to keep trying to plan the trip to the Virgin Islands.

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, East End
Level Contributor
6,586 posts
2 reviews
6. Re: Cayman vs Virgin Islands

Like others have said the Islands are very different. I do not like St Thomas it is too built up and always seem croweded. I love St John great beaches snorkelling etc. I think it is significantly more expensive than Grand Cayman. Keep in mind on STJ you will have to drive to the beach unless you stay at one of the 2 resorts or spend big $$ on a villa withing walking distance to the beach. Even then you will want to drive to see all the different beaches. Most of the accomodations on STJ are villas.

Cayman is certainly easier to get to and get around on, I much prefer the quiiter North side or East End vs.7 mile beach. It all depends on what you want to do. If you are diving GC is the place. You really can't go wrong with either STJ or GC they are both great islands it just depends on how you want to spend your vacation and how old your kids are.

7. Re: Cayman vs Virgin Islands

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