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30-somethings traveling to USVI / STJ or STT?

Houston, Texas
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2 posts
20 reviews
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30-somethings traveling to USVI / STJ or STT?

Dearest TA comrades: I earnestly seek your insights and advice regarding the USVI. I have not yet traveled in the Caribbean and am looking at the USVI as a vacation destination for late spring/early summer 2013. Below is a bit about me, what I'm looking for in a vacation, and questions. Thanks in advance for your time and expertise!

Me: An early 30-something gal traveling with her boyfriend. Both relatively well traveled who enjoy a balance of relaxation and adventure.

Budget: Around $2,500 to $3,000 per person for airfare, accommodations, etc.

Likes: Relaxing by the beach/pool, sailing, hiking, snorkeling, dining at a mix of casual and upscale restaurants with good food/drinks, nightlife (yes to bars and live music / no to clubs, glow sticks, and fist pumping), experiencing local culture.

My questions:

1) For a first timer to the USVI and given the above information, should we focus on STJ or STT?

2) I'm leaning toward staying at a hotel/resort. Recommendations on either island?

3) Should we rent or forgo a car/SUV for either destination? And if yes - which companies are best to work with?

4) Which beautiful beaches should we visit?

Thanks again,


Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
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6,197 posts
6 reviews
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1. Re: 30-somethings traveling to USVI / STJ or STT?

Yes, you should rent a vehicle no matter which island you choose. Taxis charge per person and add up quick. Neither island is really walkable. There are no sidewalks or shoulders and the roads have lots of twist & turns.

There are only to resorts on St John. The Westin (on a man-made beach) and Caneel Bay which is $$$$ but beautiful. There are many resorts on St Thomas. Most people who stay on STJ stay in a private villa with a killer view or condo. Many villas have a pool and/or hot tub, but I personally have never found the need for a hot tub. 2/3rd's of STJ is National Park, so there are very few accommodations on the beach.

Visit as many beaches as you have time for. I haven't found one yet that I didn't like. The snorkeling from shore is better on STJ, beacuse you have more choices.

Low season starts in April, it just depends on who you are renting through. Usually mid April though, and you will save quite a bit over high season rates in March.

You will find night life on both islands. STJ of course has less. No clubs, but casual bars that are fun and music on some nights.

Do some research on the St Thomas & St John forums of the most frequently asked questions. Then come back with more questions. Happy planning!

More hiking on STJ.

Columbus, Ohio
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605 posts
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2. Re: 30-somethings traveling to USVI / STJ or STT?

Hi Emily!

Welcome to the USVI forums! DH and I are in our mid 30's - and enjoy many of the same things you've listed above and either STT or STJ would be an excellent choice for your vacation. As Bluewater has already said - read on the forum and read up on each of the islands and what they have to offer. STT is busier, larger - more hustle and bustle than STJ. STJ is extremely laid back, a little smaller and both "towns" do not even begin to compare to "town" on STT. STJ is IMHO the best island for the adventure/relaxation that you are looking for, and off shore snorkeling is more frequent and easier to find than on STT - a little bit more to see as well.

We tend to stay on STT, in Red Hook for a couple of reasons. First, on STT you'll find more availability of beach front accommodations than on STJ. Second, STT, overall tends to be less expensive as well - from lodging to food and groceries. As an example, DH and I can easily do dinner - with a drink or two a piece on STT for $50 (on average)...about what we would spend at home. On STJ, we find that our average dinner is about $75 (again, on average) for the same type of food - at comparable places. We typically take the rental Jeep from STT to STJ for a day or two to explore and beach hop on our own. The last couple of years though, we've added 3-4 days to the beginning or end of our STT week by staying in reasonable accommodations on STJ. We've eco-camped at Concordia and stayed in a Boutique Hotel in Cruz Bay - enjoyed both experiences.

Absolutely rent a car. We always splurge on a Jeep, because we enjoy sitting up higher, getting off the beaten path to some of the beaches and the open air experience you can get from a Jeep. Depending on where you end up staying - a standard car may be just fine for you. We rent from Budget, on STT at the airport - but historically, most people hate Budget and they get some pretty nasty reviews on here. A lot of people rent locally from Amalie or Dependable, or if you're staying on STJ, rent from someone on STJ. As long as you don't rent from Hertz on STT - you can take the car barge from STT to STJ.

My favorite beaches vary from year to year - and depending on what I want to do and the mood I'm in. We just open the map every morning and decide what direction we want to go, start at one beach and work our way around.

3. Re: 30-somethings traveling to USVI / STJ or STT?

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