St. John vs St. Kitts vs Turks and Caicos

Old Feb 13th, 2013, 01:39 PM
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St. John vs St. Kitts vs Turks and Caicos

My husband and I are planning a vacation to the Caribbean - it will be the first time for both of us visiting the Caribbean so we are having a hard time deciding with island to choose. We have been trying to decide between St. John vs St. Kitts vs Turks and Caicos. I also looked into taking the ferry from St. John to Virgin Gorda for a day trip. We would like nice beaches, snorkeling/ diving, good seafood/ food but somewhere that isn't too touristy. We may want to hike or have tropical scenery but that isn't necessary. Suggestions would be appreciated. Thank You!
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 03:02 AM
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Maybe this will help:

Turks & Caicos (I assume you mean Providenciales, aka Provo, where 98% of the resorts are located) - flat arid island with little scrubby vegetation lacks really good "tropical scenery" except for man-made planting around resorts. Long 11 mile stretch of sugar white sand beach (think Corona Beer Commercial beache) lapped by bright turquoise waters. Not much interesting hiking. Good variety of restaurants, some good to very good walk-in snorkeling but not necessarily near resorts. Very good diving and better snorkeling accessible by boat.

St. John - quintessential tropical island, hilly with moderately lush vegetation. Lots of undeveloped land - 2/3's of the island is a National Park with plenty of hiking trails and natural beauty. Picture post card beaches of varying lengths with light golden sand, multi-hued calm waters, very good to excellent walk-in snorkeling from most beaches, fantastic diving and snorkeling sites in surrounding waters. Good selection of restaurants.

St. Kitts - lush mountainous volcanic based island that make the hills on St. John look small. Dense rain forests and volcano craters to hike, Darker sand beaches that range in color from jet black to brown to grey. Very little walk-in snorkeling and only one or two areas accessible by boat with below average snorkeling. Simply put ST. Kitts is NOT a snorkeling destination. Some interesting dive sites but nowhere near as good as around St. John or the T&C's. Old World Caribbean charm and not very touristy although with the recent influx of cruise ships the island is beginning to be "discovered". Plenty of restaurants and beach bars.

So what's the bottom line - based on what you've told us St. John might be the "perfect fit" for you.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 06:07 AM
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Thank You for the wonderful response RoamsAround. I have one question maybe you can answer, would St John be too Americanized if you are wanting a Caribbean experience? I have been reading mixed reviews. We also looked into St Lucia also but are craving the teal waters of the Caribbean.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 07:30 AM
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St. John is the least Americanized of the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are no chain restaurants, mostly local shops, and most undeveloped land, unlike many islands. There's a Westin resort, but since most of the island is a national park, you don't see as much development.

Provo has superior beaches, but it's mostly a long string of upscale resorts and restaurants along one of the most beautiful beachfronts in the world.

But if you really want to get to an island that's not heavily touristed, it's not going to be St. John or even Provo. These are all decidedly tourist destinations. Still, almost everyone in these forums will tell you that St. John is the quintessential Caribbean island and one of their favorites. Most people who visit love it, especially if they spend more time there. But if you want something much less highly touristed, I think you'd be better off visiting Virgin Gorda and doing a day-trip to St. John. (Just realize that even Virgin Gorda can be overrun with tourists on some days when big cruise ships are nearby, but they don't arrive until after 10 and all disappear by 3 or 4 pm ... but then again "overrun" is a relative term).
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 05:17 AM
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St John can be as touristy (Cruz Bay) or mellow (East End) as you choose. There are plenty of beaches to hike to or drive up and park. We spent a month there over the summer with the kids and are returning again in late March. The hiking and beaches are perfect and there are plenty of places to snorkle right from the beach. We have never been to St Kitts but did enjoy Turks - just not enough to do to return with the kids. We did a 4 day trip to Virgin Gorda 12 years ago but I prefer St. John.
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 05:58 AM
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We have been to all 3 and prefer Turks & Caicos ...we honeymooned there , feel in love with the Island and have gone back many times. Look at the Regent Palms ( our honeymoon spot) or The Somerset ( just next door, we liked the looks, stayed there our 2nd time and have been going there since) Both are beautiful...
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 02:17 PM
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I want to check out St. John and I would hope it would be a bit nicer than St.Croix. The problem is, there doesn't seem to be too many resorts to choose from. Maybe it's the fact that I want a very nice resort with a great beach and there doesn't seem to be a ton of options with "great beach." I love hiking so I appreciate all the past input about St. John's excellent hiking. Well, does anyone have a suggestion about a resort with some nightlife and options for water sports like sailing?
Thank you.
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 04:20 PM
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Go to Caneel Bay, if you can afford it - it's the best resort on the island with 7 different beaches on the property. Plenty of water sports at the property, including small sailboats. And, yes, at the risk of offending St. Croix lovers, St. john is a much nicer island.
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