Turks vs. St. John

Old Jul 14th, 2007, 09:02 PM
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Turks vs. St. John

My husband and I have never been to the Carribean but would like to go in August. We are trying to make last minute plans since we had a trip to europe fall through. I have narrowed down our choices to St. John and Turks & Caicos, both sound quiet and lovely. We are likely going to spend just a week there and prefer beaching it or hitting the pool over a lot of site seeing. However I do like that St. John seems to offer day trip possibilities in case we get bored at the beach. Any insight that seasoned Carribean travelers can offer is most welcome!
stacieD is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2007, 09:09 PM
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my top 2 are also TUrks vs. St. John, i am booking St. Johns over Provo because it is a smaller more accessible island, it offers better off shore snorkeling and marine life. Also, the beaches of both are beautiful and St. Johns has more geography. My cousin just left tonight for a wedding in St. Johns I will update you on how it looks.

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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 09:44 PM
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Pick the T&C's if you want a flat, arid, scrubby island with little natural vegetation and plan to stay on the beach all during your stay as there's not much else to do on Provo (the main island in the T&C's where most resorts are located) except go out to eat and visit a few trinket shops.

Pick St. John if you want a great combination of palm tree lined beaches, lush hills with lots of flora & fauna, great off-beach snorkeling, hiking trails in a National Park, a little shopping and a selection of fine restaurants as well as access to several neighboring islands like St. Thomas for duty free shopping, Tortola for a BVI experience, great diving, sailing and other watersports.
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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 04:43 AM
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We stayed a week at Turks and Caicos in January, several years ago. I was glad to come home to a snow storm. That is how bored I was by the end of 7 days. It is a gorgeous beach beautiful color clarity but I also like to shop. I saw very little shopping, with the exception of the airport when we left. I would choose St. John in hearbeat. Plus you can even go to St. Thomas for a day if you like.
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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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I love both. They are completely different from each other.

T&C has the best beaches in the world. Neon turquoise water, bright white sand, miles and miles of beaches. It has some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean, with them having some of the best settings you will find anywhere. A great choice of places to stay, with no bad place to stay. There is construction in some spots, as T&C is the latest "IT" place. There are tons of excursions to do if bored: You can have a Gilligan's Island excursion with a secluded beach with food, drinks, umbrellas and lounge chairs-you won't believe this stunning beach is all yours! You can take kayak adventures through mangroves looking for flamingos, you can take jet ski safaris. You can parasail or banana boat ride. You can take excursions that take you snorkeling out to reefs, iguana island, dive for conch, and snorkel for sand dollars. You can hang out in Tiki Bars in Blue Hills where they dive for conch in front of you-lunch doesn't get fresher than this! You can rent a high clearance car and adventure to Malcolm's Beach. You can go on a sunset cruise on a catamaran. You can take a picnic to Sapadilla Bay, where the water is so shallow, it feels like a pool. You have excellent snorkeling off the beach in some areas. You can take day trips to surrounding islands-Middle Caicos for caves and cliffs, Grand Turk for a colorful sleepy town the way the Caribbean used to be, North Caicos for flamingo watching. No cruise ships on Provo, no venders or hagglers on the beach-pure relaxation.

St. John is hilly and scenic. The beaches are smaller and in coves. For a hilly island, the water is pretty turquoise. While cruise ships don't technically stop in St. John, they come over from the other islands. There are crowds, so good people watching. There is good island hopping, either by sail trip or ferries. You could even split the vacation with Virgin Gorda, which has the Baths-huge boulders on the beach that make a stunning backdrop. The British VI's have cool beach bars/shacks which add character.

To sum:
Beaches: T&C wins
Scenery: St. John
Restaurants: T&C
Excursions: tie (They are just different from each other)
Cruise ships and crowds: St. John (not bad like other islands, just not as quiet as T&C)
Caribbean vibe: St. John
Snorkeling/diving: tie

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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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blamona's summary is right on the spot. We've been to both, St. John 2x, T&C 3x. St. John was beautiful but we love T&C more for a totally relaxing vacation. Because it is a small, flat island, it is much easier to drive around. One thing that gives T&C the edge over St. John for us is that the majority of the accommodations are on a gorgeous beach. I want to be able to walk back and forth to the room/villa while lounging around the beach. In St. John, Caneel is the only resort that is right on a beautiful beach. The Westin has a great pool, but the beach compared to the other beaches is just ok. St. John is great if you want to go beach hopping. For us, the less steps to the beach, the better.

Either choice, I'm sure you will love it.
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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 11:08 AM
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St John - I was not impressed with any of the hotels there-but we stayed in St Thomas. St John is pretty- if you go you must not rent a car to beach hop- you must rent a dingy boat for the day. That was so great and did not even know it was an option until we were on vacation- you get to spots that are hard to get to by car and good snorkeling-just don't get caught in BVI waters as we did.
Also- Tage on St John is an excellent restaurant-we were lucky to eat there when it was new-but really had an amazing meal and good service.
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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 04:19 PM
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living on the west coast, those are the only 2 islands i've been to so far in the Caribbean as they are 2 of the most stunning:
T&C: http://travel.webshots.com/album/236969243JlwyzB
StJ: http://travel.webshots.com/album/555450780Bynsas

for just beaching and pooling, then T&C is much better. especially considering that there's only 1 resort (Westin) with a respectable pool on the island, whereas T&C has many oceanfront resorts with nice pools. i also agree with the comments of T&C having better dining options.

but if you're more adventurous and want more activities, then St John wins hands down (it's nowhere near a tie): hiking (T&C is flat), multiple beaches and plentiful from-shore snorkeling options (T&C only has 2), sugar mill ruins, proximity of other very interesting islands (St Thomas for shopping, Virgin Gorda for the Baths, Tortola and wonderful Jost Van Dyke for gorgeous White Bay and the Soggy Dollar Bar).

in either case, you're likely to have a wonderful first experience in the Caribbean.
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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 06:27 PM
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We started with St. John for our 2st trip, and my problem is that I feel that we cannot top the experience. My husband wants to move on and try another island, but I am having trouble thinking that anything could possibly be better. We hiked some of the wonderful challenging trails, had good food, snorkeled in some of the very best waters, went to a different beach each day with each providing a totally different experience varying from lush green to very dry with cacti, and we had a villa with a private pool to die for with a gorgeous sunset view of Cruz Bay. What could be better? Actually, after the 1st few nights, we opted to grill dinner at the villa each night so as to enjoy the beautiful sunsets and private pool. We can eat in a restaurant any old time, although we usually ate lunches out.

If you are not nature people and just like beaches, you may not be impressed with St. John any more than any other island.

A good book to read about St. John is called "St. John Off The Beaten Track". It was the deciding factor for our 1st trip to the Carribean.

We are taking our 2nd trip this coming October, and having a horrible time deciding where to go. I simply would enjoy going back to St. John!
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Old Jul 16th, 2007, 10:41 AM
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IMO, I think it's not a fair question on this board. There are so many STJ afficionados that I don't think T&C can be properly represented. Then, on the other hand, STJ incites so much enthusiasm, that in and of itself can give you an idea. Our friends honeymooned in T&C, but now can't seem to stop going to STJ. Maybe this is a disease you'd better not risk. That's right, STAY AWAY... go to T&C if you don't want a lifetime of obsession!
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