St. John or Costa Rica?

Old Mar 4th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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St. John or Costa Rica?

Hello, all,

We're hoping to head south for an active beach vacation this May. We're looking for beautiful beaches, good snorkeling, good hiking and a choice of other outdoorsy activities, as well as a location that has decent restaurants and some sort of night life (nothing wild and crazy, but we don't want to just sit in our room after sunset). Basically, we want quality beach time, but we'd go crazy spending an entire week doing nothing but laying on the beach.

Out of all the Caribbean islands, we've narrowed it down to St. John, mostly because of the Virgin Islands National Park and because it seems to be a perennial favorite here on this board.

We were pretty set on St. John until we realized that we could go to Costa Rica for a lot less money, thereby possibly extending our trip by a couple of days. I haven't researched CR as much as I have SJ, but it seems like CR also offers the good beaches and good hiking that we're looking for.

Airfare isn't much of a factor, as the cost to fly from Atlanta to each of these destinations is pretty similar. (And anyway, we're hoping to use frequent flier miles.) Air travel time, though, is in St. John's favor...

Any suggestions here? Thanks!!

(p.s. I'm also posting this message on the Latin America board.)
Meredith is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 08:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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For starters, you'll want to research CR a little more. It's a country, while StJ is a single destination.(though you can also visit StT & the BVI too)

The park on StJ means things will stay pretty low-key. The beaches are great and the snorkeling is even better. You'll see all kinds of sea life, including fantastic coral, and you'll do it in crystal-clear water. I don't think anyone would choose CR if those 2 things were at the top of their list.

But CR would probably be the pick if you were looking for more diversity in the scenery, the geography, the types of adventure you can find. StJ has nothing like the rainforest, cloudforest, volcano, jungle, beaches & water too.

This is not a serious choice...You'll have a great time either way. Do one now and another later.
LeProf is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 08:48 AM
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I am a huge Costa Rica fan , but u will not find a lot of snorkeling .... Just about everything else though !!! Fabulous place ! Faith
faithie is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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Surprised to hear CR is much cheaper than STJ. May is off season in the USVI's and you can do accomodations pretty reasonably if you forgo the Westin or Caneel.

STJ seems like a great fit for your needs. If you stay in Cruz Bay area, you'll have the good restaurants & some nightlife that you seek. The island is fantastic for hiking & snorkling. You can do day trips to the BVI's easily as well.

We love STJ. Highly recommend it! Trish
tpatricco is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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Costa Rica is a LOT more reasonable than the Caribbean , food and lodging , and beer , and wine , and transportation .....
faithie is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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Wow. I'll have to investigate some CR trip options. We did STJ for 10 days last May for about $3,000 for two adults from NJ including, air, villa rental, car rental, food, drinks, activities...

I'd be impressed to find a similar trip in CR.

Thanks faithie!
tpatricco is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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We had done a ton of research for St.john and Tortola , actually tickets were booked for Tortola when at the last minute we changed to Costa Rica . I was able to see a big difference in costs , more bang for your buck in central america ! We stayed in a great basic place , million dollar view , balcony , fridge , kitchenette , air co. , 3 pools , for 60.00 (plus taxes )per night off season with 2 adults 2 kids . An "incredible" meal for the 4 of us , with appetizers , main course , drinks , and wine would be 60.00 u.s. This can be done cheaper , but we were splurging !!! Breakfast is about 2-3$p.p. , but this can all be done a LOT cheaper .... Local buses are super at .23 cents a pop ! Not bad ....
faithie is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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Airfare to CR or STJ being equal, you can find bargains in St. John during May. It's the start of summer (low) season and prices drop by 1/3 - 1/2. St. John is by far THE place to go for world-class beaches and the best snorkeling. There are only 2 hotels on St. John - Caneel Bay and the Westin. Both quite pricey. There are over 1,000 private villas on St. John. You get your own house instead of a hotel room, frequently for less than the cost of a hotel! Plenty of nightlife, too, with performers nightly at venues across the island.
VIslander is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 04:16 PM
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Thanks to all for the advice. We have decided to stay with our original plan - we're going to St. John! Those prices in Costa Rica are awfully tempting, but St. John has everything we're looking for in this trip. But Costa Rica will definitely remain on our list!
Meredith is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 04:20 PM
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I can vouch for the fact that choosing amont the villa choices for St. John is overwhelming. I have narrowed it down to about 20!!
cartera is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 04:49 PM
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I am sure you have made a great choice , between 2 such beauty spots u cant really go wrong ! Have fun ! Faith
faithie is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 07:06 PM
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I was having the same debate for June...STJ or CR, because of cost. After much research I was advised that it is not really safe to be in CR right now. We chose Gallows Point in St. John and can't wait!
Carol47 is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 09:44 PM
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"After much research I was advised that it is not really safe to be in CR right now."

What exactly is unsafe about CR 'right now'? The influx of tourists? LOL
tully is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2005, 04:36 AM
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I would be interested in the safety issues as well . We just returned with our children and had checked the travel safety websites as we do for all destinations , and all was well both on the web-sites and in Costa Rica ?? Curious ...
faithie is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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Carol can you help us out with this safety issue as I was leaning to CR myself this summer?
Cooper is offline  
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