St John or Tortola

Mar 19th, 2010, 07:09 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 9
St John or Tortola

I am also planning a vacation to the virgin islands next year with my husband and 11 year old son. We are looking at villas in tortola and in st. John . We have found 2 that both cost about the same. Which is the nicer of the two islands? We really love beautiful beaches and wild life. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Also is there a big difference in the cost of provisions between the two? This is a big decision for us as
we have never been to the VI's and are having trouble making a decision. Thanks, Jayce
jayce is offline  
Mar 19th, 2010, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 212
Both islands have good supermarkets and costs are about the same, if I recall.

St. John has better beaches in my opinion, and they have a nature trail there.

But what goes for Tortola is that you could take ferries to visit Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke, which we had thoroughly enjoyed as well. It is also a slightly bigger island too.

I hope this helps.
foodiechan is offline  
Mar 19th, 2010, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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In all fairness, I haven't stayed on Tortola, only day tripped there.

St John fan here. The North Shore Road holds a beautiful beach practically around every curve. You can still day trip to Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda via the ferry from St John. Lots of wildlife and is mostly unspoiled as it is 2/3 National Park. Here is an informative website.
brenandg is offline  
Mar 20th, 2010, 09:01 AM
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Thankyou so much for the advice! I am leaning toward st. John now. I did not realize that the ferry on st. John goes to the Baths.Thanks
jayce is offline  
Mar 20th, 2010, 08:41 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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How long is your visit? My husband and I visited last year and split our time between Tortola and St. John. (4 nights on each)We were able to enjoy both islands as well as Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke(day trips)without feeling like we were living out of our suitcases. We loved the accomadations at Long Bay Beach Resort on Tortola and Gallows Point on St. John. Whatever you do, do not miss the baths!!! Also, if you can get to Jost Van Dyke I thought White Bay was possibly the most beautiful place I'd ever been. If you go make sure to visit Foxys and the Soggy Dollar Bar. This was my second trip and I'm so glad I revisited these mainstay places. Also, check out the Bomba Shack if you make it to Tortola. Wherever you end up you will have a great time. Happy travels!
belarus is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 07:10 AM
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Check out our trip reports and photo album. Both are good destinations! You will enjoy!

If you could spend a whole day in Virgin Gorda do try to make it to either the Bitter End Yacht Club and/or Saba Rock. You will need to take a water taxi out there but it was worth it. Just one of those one of a kind experiences.

Have a painkiller for us at the Soggy Dollar! Love that place.
foodiechan is offline  
Mar 29th, 2010, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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I lived on St Thomas and practiced law there in 2007/2008..ST John is considered the jewel of the was said-2/3 of the island is a national park..I have been to both more than once and most would probably pick St John..Unbelievable views and beaches..nice nature and historic trails.It is also easiest to access as you can take a large jet to St Thomas and just a short ferry ride to St John.And on certain days ferries do go to the Virgin Gorda Baths..a nice day trip..The are a number of nice condos close to Cruz bay at reasonable prices..You can rent a jeep/or SUV at several lots in walking distance to the ferry dock.(Rmbr to drive on the left).For insider tips on the Virgin Islands check out my website on Virgin islands travel: Have a great can't go wrong with St John..
virginislandtraveler is offline  
Mar 30th, 2010, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 8
Tortola is much less "developed" and a littel harder to get around. St John is more crowded and has more beaches and better developed hiking trails. You may want to consider staying at Coconut Coast Villas near Cruz Bay. Check them out at or trip advisor. Great value and ocean front with a small pool and a hot tub and grill. Plus a laundry room!
Coconutguy is offline  
Apr 16th, 2010, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 80
For beaches and wildlife, St John gets the nod. It has the edge in both quantity and quality, particularly in snorkeling from shore.

Tortola does offer easy access to JVD and VG for day-trips and offers a distinctly different cultural feel. STJ feels a lot like the States, BVIs feel like a west-indian island.
dtstahl is offline  
Apr 16th, 2010, 03:28 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,771
Another hands down vote for St. John. You have a lovely island with excellent snorkeling and lovely beacges. In Tortola there are several nice beaches but on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best tortola is a 2.5-3.0 and St. John is a 6-7 based on whether you go on a snorkel tour boat with 12-15 people to the waters off Caneel Bay around Hawks Nest, Turtle Bay and if possible watermelon Key *the best but not right near Caneel but around St. John). Also if you want to eat out a bit you have many more choces though the pricesare more bu I would guess 15%. A lunch at Caneel Bay Resort while expensive with access to their beaches and snorkeling is a great experience, in my opinion.
StanKase is offline  
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