St. Thomas or Puerto Rico?

Old Jun 3rd, 2002, 05:48 AM
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St. Thomas or Puerto Rico?

Cant decide which one to stay longer at. We had orginally planned to do 7 nights in PR, but then thought I wanted something a little more truly carribean, more casual-- we have been to st, maarten and aruba-- and also wanted some better shopping. We were thinking 6 nights in STT and 2 nights in PR. What do you think about this?
Old Jun 3rd, 2002, 07:31 AM
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Better shopping is in St-Thomas (duty-free) but both are very nice.I only spent 1 day in each (not enough) while on a cruise in Feb. 2002.
The Historical Walking Tour in St-Thomas and the Fort San Cristobal in San Juan are recommended.
Old Jun 3rd, 2002, 08:00 AM
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Take it one step further and spend your time on St. John. (You can easily take a ferry back to STT for shopping.)
Old Jun 3rd, 2002, 10:49 AM
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Better to spend most or all of your time in STT. Puerto Rico is nice if you're going up in the mountains or countryside. San Juan is very urban with a lot of noise and traffic. You'll get more Caribbean 'flavor' by going to STT.
Old Jun 3rd, 2002, 12:05 PM
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We're planning a trip next year to Puerto Rico and the plan is to stay at several places around the island to enjoy the various beaches and towns. By the way, you can get an idea of the ten best beaches by going to (puerto rico is fun). We're renting a car and thinking of staying at Guenica, Rincon, island of Vieques, inland at a coffee plantation parador-- La Hacienda Juanita and then San Juan (10 days). So you could have a great time around PR-and the paradors are not expensive-- there are less expensive resorts outside San Juan that are very nice but we would splurge in San Juan.
Old Jun 3rd, 2002, 12:21 PM
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Also more information on P.R. at (travel and sports).
Old Jun 4th, 2002, 01:54 PM
Chef Jason Girard
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While St. Thomas is certainly a good place to shop, it is also a very stereotypical and commercialized Caribbean island. If you want a TRULY VIRGIN island experience, there is a small ilsand call Culebra, just between Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. You can reach it via ferry from Fajardo, PR. It's an amazing place with the most amazing beaches you'll ever see. Less expensive and completely non-comercialized. It's a throwback to 1950s Virgin Islands. I would suggest 2 nights in St. Thomas (believe me, it will be PLENTY), 3 in OLD San Juan (great shoping there, too) and 3 in Culebra (take a snorkeling/scuba excusion and don't miss Playa Flamenco -- the most beautiful beach on Earth).
Old Jun 5th, 2002, 11:08 AM
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I have traveled to both destinations and both have their own strengths. Puerto Rico has a great deal of nightlife, clubs and casinos. St. Thomas seemed much more quiet and tropical to me. Shopping was very good in both, particularly jewelery. I would agree that you should just do a couple nights in Puerto Rico and the rest in St. Thomas.(Unless you are single or looking for nightlife, then go with San Juan!)I was much more impressed with the beaches in St. Thomas and St. John as well.
Old Jun 5th, 2002, 04:45 PM
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Flamenco Beach in Culebra has been rated one of the best beaches in the world by Discovery.Com-Travel Channel. Puerto Rico is not just San Juan--there are a lot of areas that are interesting and a lot of beaches to choose from.
Old Jun 5th, 2002, 05:05 PM
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I can't comment much on St. Thomas, because I only visited it as a day-trip from St. John. It seemed OK, but I expected a lot more in terms of shopping and unique small boutiques (couldn't find them). I know that thinking back on it, I would have prefered to spend that day in St. John.

For a 1-week trip Puerto Rico has a lot mpre to offer. San Juan has casinos, shopping, great restaurants and nightlife. Outside of San Juan you find more of a caribbean destination. As others have mentioned Flamenco Beach in Culebra is drop-dead gorgeous. I also like the smaller towns in the southwestern part of the island. I have taken the snorkeling tours (twice) that sail to the cays off Fajardo, and it's a great day-trip. The El Yunque rainforest is another great day-trip, as is the visit to the Camuy Caverns. You could even spend 1 night in one of the small Paradores in the center of the island and go spelunking. There's a lot that you can do in Puerto Rico, especially if you split your time (2-3 nights in San Juan) and the rest somewhere else on the island.
Old Jun 7th, 2002, 06:36 AM
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I think your plan is great. I definitely recommend a day trip or 2 to St. John. The gre at thing about both St. Thomas and St. John is that all beaches are public. You can go to any resort and use their beach. A good way to feel like you are staying at a resort without having to pay a bunch.

I can recommend an excellent place to stay in St. Thomas. Check it out on line it is called Bella Vista Bed and Breakfast. It is walking distance to Charlotte Amalie-main shopping area, and you can walk to the ferry to St. John. I stayed there and want to go back everyday. The Inn Owners will become automatic friends.
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 07:37 AM
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WE just got back from Puerto rico- My advise go to Culebra We have been to St. Thomas and St. Martin, If you go to Culebra you can get a fligt to St.Johns for the day When we were in Puerto Rico we visted the forts and the rain forest wich our kids loved but we all loved Culebra it is not like St.Thomas or other carribean island that are comercailized it is awesome the beaches are beautiful and private we were on a beach with just one other family and another beach with maybe 2o people you can get a lot of info if you just type in Culebra on your home page lots of sites go to Culebra online and go to their forum. They do have some small shops no culebra but not any jewelry shops it does all depend what you are looking for in a vacation if you want peace and quiet and don't mind staying in a resort that isn't all luxury culebra is the place for you the snorkleli8ng is great our kids snorkled right from the beach even our 5 year old we all want to go back in the future
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 10:53 AM
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We would definitely recommend Puerto Rico. This island has so much to offer like museums, galleries, shopping, casinos, beaches, nightlife, rain forest, historic fort, mountains, golfing, excellent restaurants and great hotels.
Old Jun 15th, 2002, 04:33 PM
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We love both. The first couple of people gave good advice.

More nighlife and gaming in PR. ST is for beauty and swimming. Both are great. ST has cleaner beaches. Forget S. John unless you want to do nothing which you can do in ST.
Old Jun 19th, 2002, 08:25 AM
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Just spent 9 days in Puerto Rico. Went to Vieques for the Bioluminescent bay, which is spectacular. Did not care for the accomodations. Went to Rincon, did a horseback ride on the beach and diving. Stayed in Dorado, where we went to El Yunque (La Mina Falls), Old San Juan, and the Rio Camuy Caves. The island is beautiful. The beaches were not the best, but we don't sit on the beach for long. I don't think many other islands have so many natural wonders to see and activities to do. We drove the whole island and loved it.

I have been to STT and I think the beaches would be its strong suit. I'm not convinced the shopping isn't all hype, regarding the prices.

I haven't been, but would like to try relaxing on the beaches of STJ.

The one downside to doing multiple destinations, unless your cruising, is that your packing up and driving, flying, ferrying, renting cars... You can lose time that could be spent enjoying it. Driving around the island of Puerto Rico was actually part of the fun for me. As long as your stopping to see the sites and smell the hibiscus.

Sounds like you have the best kind of dilema, how to spend time in the caribean. Have fun.
Old Jun 19th, 2002, 10:28 PM
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They're both HORRIBLE places! Don't waste your money at either!!
Old Jul 21st, 2002, 09:44 AM
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Visited STT in 1996, planning my first trip to PR this year. Loved the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort in STT. A little pricey, but it's all-inclusive, so you don't waste time figuring out where to eat. Shopping in STT is okay but overrated - you can do it all in half a day. Side trip to St. John is nice - plan to spend a day taking a taxi tour of the national park - about $20pp, taxis are all lined up at the ferry dock and they'll hail you! You can ask the taxi driver to drop you off for some snorkelling at Trunk Bay (you may need to bring your gear), then get another taxi back to the ferry dock.

Magen's Bay in STT is nice. Calm, clear water. Coki Point Beach is also a fun experience - they feed the fish, and you can snorkel with the fish swimming all around you trying to get the food.

STT is the most touristy of the Virgin Islands. If you're looking for a "truly Caribbean" experience, you won't find it there. It's a great place, and I highly recommend it, especially if shopping is your cup of tea (it's not mine). St. John and St. Croix both provide a more relaxed atmosphere and have some nice shopping areas (without the hype and the cruise ship crowds). PR is a huge island in comparison to the USVI - lots more variety. If it were me, I'd spend 4 nights is STT and 4 nights in PR. That's plenty of time in STT to get the flavor of the island, and it will give you more opportunity to hit the highlights of PR.
Old Jul 21st, 2002, 10:26 AM
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I've been to almost all the islands in the carribbean. Shopping is great in STT (could easily go broke...). But the island of STJ is wonderful. I would stay in STJ and boat to STT when you want to shop. PR is a party town, I remember stepping over the bums at night. But staying in PR and going to the island of culebra sp? is wonderful
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