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St Croix vs. St John vs. Puerto Rico?!

Old Jan 14th, 2016, 12:34 PM
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St Croix vs. St John vs. Puerto Rico?!

Hi everyone! My boyfriend and I are looking to book a vacation in late February/March to either the USVI or Puerto Rico. I've been to the Bahamas (Eleuthra) and have been wanting to go back there or to St. Lucia, but we are limited to US territories (my boyfriend doesn't have a passport). The main goal for the vacation is to relax and find our own little slice of paradise surrounded by incredibly beautiful, secluded, pristine beaches with crystal blue waters that feel untouched. I also love mountains/nature reserves, so that would be nice to have around, though not critical. We aren't interested in touristy/resort-y spots with lots of people and activities, though we'd like access to a few restaurants or perhaps a farmer's market (we can rent a car if needed).

St. John looks amazing, though it's expensive and we aren't sure we can squeeze it. St Croix also looks great and a bit more affordable (from what I've read, St Thomas sounds like it's more about luxury resorts and a bit more crowded, which doesn't really appeal to us for this trip). I also think that Puerto Rico looks great (Culebra and Vieques in particular, but open to suggestions on the main land too). We are looking at Airbnbs and have a max of about $200/250 per night on accommodations.

The pictures all look so beautiful, but would love to hear thoughts from anyone who has been to any of these places on what you think would best suit us! Or, if another place (within US territory) comes to mind, would love to hear suggestions! Ideally, we'd love a place where it's not too difficult to get to and preferably we'd only need one flight and maybe a ferry ride to get there.

Thank you!!

-Emily
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Old Jan 14th, 2016, 12:42 PM
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Not all of St John is expensive. There's Cinnamon Bay that offers tent camping and cabins and is right on the beach. Not knowing your home airport not sure if you can make it in one flight (into St Thomas) and then yes one ferry ride to St John.
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Old Jan 14th, 2016, 02:27 PM
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Of the three places mentioned, I have been to St. John.

Because most of the island is a national park, the beaches are all pretty much pristine and natural. We were there last September, and saw the Cinnamon Bay cabins, which had just closed for the off season. They looked something like screen shelters with beds, but I could not see exactly what all was inside. It would definitely be a step up from tent camping.

We went to several beaches and all had fabulous snorkeling. Just amazing--there's even a snorkeling trail at Trunk Bay.
That was the most developed and also the busiest beach, due to groups coming in from cruise ships to snorkel.

You would want a car for sure in St. John. We reserved one from a company on St. John. We took the ferry from St. Thomas and the rental company picked us up at the dock in St. John. Very easy.
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Old Jan 18th, 2016, 02:49 PM
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I've been to Eleuthera, Vieques and Culebra. I liked them in that order as far as beaches go. They are very similar IMO in that you can usually find a secluded beach and many times have it to yourself. The water in Eluethera is prettier than in PR, IMO.... The colors in the Bahamas are just unbeatable. The people in Eluethera were the friendliest of any islands I've been to. Most residents of Vieques and Culebra could care less if you are there. It's difficult if you don't speak Spanish. I speak minimal... Don't get me wrong, I met some great people in PR and still message them from time to time. Just trying to compare the two. Both made me feel like I was in another time. I liked both Culebra and Vieques but Vieques is my fav. I've been twice and feel like I have a good feel for the island. Lots and lots of beaches in Vieques. Most of my fav are in a wildlife preserve and there are no beach vendors or bathrooms. Very very easy to find a beach to yourself. Culebra is home to Flamenco beach. One of the most famous in the world. It was super wavy when I went, I prefer calm water. It was pretty but I much prefer the beaches of vieques. Some days the beaches we visited on Vieques, the water was a little cloudy. You could certainly see your feet tho. If your into nature walks and what not, Culebra and Vieques were certainly suit you. Wild horses run all over Vieques and there is a really cool bioluminescent bay there. Invisible creatures in the bay light up underneath the moonlight. Never been but my friends did and they loved it. There are abandoned military bases and other reminients of the military presence. My group explored them as well. There is also a rain forest that you pass on your way to the ferry you will need to take to get to either of the 2 PR islands. Although the ferry is a whole other post. It's usually a mess.... I usually fly from San Juan. Quick 20 minute flight on a tiny plane. Last time I checked, 35-100 each way depending on where you fly from. Been a couple years tho. You will need a rental car for either. Just let me know if you have any questions. Happy to help.
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Old Jan 21st, 2016, 08:52 AM
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Eleuthera is hard to beat. Also been to St John. St John is great with beautiful beaches but not sure I would call the beaches on St John untouched or secluded. The last time we were there we certainly shared 'our' beach with several others. I know on Eleuthera its quite easy to have a gorgeous strand all to yourself. On the other hand, St John is more hilly and has some amazing hiking trails and fantastic snorkeling. My guess is St John is the closest to what you are looking for.
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Old Jan 21st, 2016, 02:45 PM
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Thanks everyone for the feedback! After all of that, we actually decided on St. Croix. We get the most bang for our buck in terms of accommodations (compared to St. John) and think it will give us the atmosphere we're looking for. We're staying on the East End of the island, which I hear is beautiful and more secluded. Any tips are welcome! Thanks again. - Emily
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Old Jan 24th, 2016, 01:45 PM
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You will enjoy St. Croix. We stayed at the Renaissance Carambola and loved how it was away from everything and so picturesque. Don't miss going on a Tan Tan jeep tour, lots of fun! Of course, you also don't want to miss snorkeling at Buck Island.
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Old Jan 26th, 2016, 10:27 AM
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We stayed at The Buccaneer on St Croix and loved it.
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