St. John or Playa del Carmen?

Old Sep 19th, 2002, 10:19 AM
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St. John or Playa del Carmen?

Would you choose US Virgin Islands or Mexican beach, like Playa del Carmen for beautiful beaches and relaxing atmosphere, that is not too touristy?
Old Sep 19th, 2002, 11:50 AM
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We preferred St. John! Just another opinion.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 04:51 AM
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I would definitely choose St. John over Playa del Carmen, but we're not that fond of Mexico and we've been to five times (award trips with my husband's business) and would not pay for Mexico on our own. However, we travel to STJ annually (using our own money) and we absolutely love it, the beaches, snorkeling and incredible beauty of this tiny island not to mention the many day trips available to the British Virgin Islands as well.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 06:42 AM
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I happen to love both places - for different reasons. Both places have gorgeous beaches.

Playa del Carmen is increadibly touristy and the Playacar beach - while gorgeous - is very packed with people in many areas. However, further south (e.g., Akumal) is less crowded. There's a lot of cultural and historic sites you can visit in the area: the pyramids of Coba, Tulum, and Chichen Itza. You can take the ferry to Cozumel. You can shop for handcrafts in Playa and stop to have a drink in one of the cafes.

St. John was very relaxing and it may be a better fit for you. Less in the way of 'interesting' culture like Mexico - lots of US expats - but for beautiful beaches and relaxing atmosphere it is very good fit.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 07:37 AM
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I can compare only the beach at Playa del Carmen and not Playacar which might be different if that is what is being called Playa. VI beaches tend to be coves and bays and if you like long beaches Playa might suffice but you will have the restaurants and hotels encroaching on the beaches in Playa. I would guess that that is not true in Playacar but that is just south of Playa del Carmen. Playa is busier and offers lots of opportunity for traveling to the pyramids and other historical places, a different culture and a pleasant experience but the VI can and does have wonderful beaches. Loblolly, Cow Wreck and White Bay on Jost are just a taste of the beautiful beaches, gin clear water and from the beach snorkeling. The best beaches tend to be those that are less traveled and not known to most tourists. For beaches, relaxing and limin' the VI is very hard to beat and there are so many islands to choose some with spectacular beaches and, if you love sunsets, wonderful ones. Playa is very popular and does have a more touristy feel to it but it is wonderful in a very different way than the VI. I think that if you stay in Playacar you get very little feel of being in the real Mexico and it is rapidly becoming a smaller Cancun but you get great sun rises.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 07:45 AM
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thanks for the replies. seems like US Virgin suits me better. It's just that the airfare and hotels are so much more expensive that Mexico. Any charters or deals you've seen for St. Croix/ St. John? What's the average cost per person for 5 nights?
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 08:01 AM
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Based on what you are looking for, as you said, the VI's are probably a better fit for you.

For anyone interested, here is a link that shows PDC's two main beaches with pics of both.

Looks like North PDC is the way to go for fewer crowds...
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 08:23 AM
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I've been to both and would choose St. John's. Beautiful Beaches, less crowded. Playa del Carmen has nice beaches but most if not all are all-inclusive so it's a very different type of vacation. If you want to relax and not have to move from your resort, choose Playa del Carmen.

With St. John's you have the flexibility of renting a villa, small hotels, camping, several large hotels and can also visit the neighboring British Virgin Islands as well as St. Thomas.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 09:09 AM
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Actually the further north you go the narrower the beaches become. As you see the hotel that is encroching on the beach in the one with all the boats tied up and in one of the pictures with the loungers and trees, that is generally the look of Playa beaches with lots of people walking and weaving in and out the chairs because it is narrow. Also in the bare bottom baby pix. The other pictures I do not recognize other than they are not in Playa itself for sure. Too bad the pictures aren't labeled as to location. There are some resorts that are more secluded than Playacar with wonderful beaches and wondering if the picutures come from there.
Do a search for St. John beaches and you'll find lots of pictures but there is great beaches all over the Virgin Islands not just St. John. try for St. John. The Virgin Islands will be more expensive.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 11:53 AM
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I have been to both the USVI's and Yucatan coast several times and love them both. However I prefer smaller beach communities like Akumal over PDC which is just too busy for me. Akumal is quiet, laid back (maybe too quiet for some) and has a nice reef protected cove beach. As far as the price differences, there's really no way around it. A trip to St. John is going to cost more than a trip to the Mexican Riviera for comparable accomodations in the same season no matter where you look. There are some inexpensive inns right in Cruz Bay if you don't mind not being on a beach. I actually like staying in Cruz Bay as you can walk to restaurants at night and it's convenient to the ferry dock for island hopping, but you'll need to drive/taxi to the beaches during the day. What time of year are you going and where are you flying from?
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 03:57 PM
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St. John is generally the more expensive of the USVI and there are other islands both in the USVI and BVI that have some beaches just as nice or nicer than those on St. John without the high price tag. You won't find many of the allinclusive type resorts in the VIslands either so even thought you are paying for the drinking, food and activity it is not such a shock to your wallet. Some resorts offer meal plans but they tend to be the higher end exclusive ones. But it is difficult to compare costs since there are many price ranges at both locations butyou are likely to pick up a charter flight to Mexico rather than the VI's which are generally quite a bit less expensive.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 10:40 PM
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Check Continental's Cool Vacations for great package deals. From NYC area, Continental is non-stop and takes about 3-1/2 hours. Their packages usually includes airport transfers, and for 5 day trips, it's really inexpensive. Going to St. John, add another hour to your trip from the airport. Cruz Bay is the place to stay, besides the Westin, which is on the pricier side. Hope this helps.
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