What's the difference between USVI and BVI?

Old Oct 28th, 2001, 09:17 AM
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What's the difference between USVI and BVI?

Thinking of doing a cruise because of affordability. If you had to choose one, which would you suggest? What's the difference between the 2 anyway? If we decide to get a hotel at one of them, is it feasibile to travel to the other quickly and easily for the day? What are the main attractions at each? So many questions I know, but I've searched this forum and haven't found much on it.
Please help.
Thank you,
Old Oct 28th, 2001, 04:25 PM
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That's a difficult question to answer because each of the individual islands within the USVI and the BVI are so different from one another. The USVI are made up of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. St. Thomas is a lot like a bustling American city. It has good shopping (particularly good deals on expensive jewelery and crystal), good restaurants and lots of traffic. The harbor area is very pretty and you will find lots of nice views from up in the hills. In addition there are some very good beaches. As in just about any larger city, some parts of town are not safe at night.

St. Croix is the largest of the 3 USVI and the 2nd most populated. I haven't been there past the airport, but have heard it is the most "suburban." Lots of historial sights, fewer hills and fewer good beaches. Crime can also be a problem in some parts of St. Croix.

St. John is the smallest of the three and has a population of only around 5,000. Two thirds of the island is national park. St. John is known for its fabulous beaches, great snorkeling and scenic beauty. There is very little crime in St. John. Most cruise ships do not stop here, but some ships offer excursions to St. John from St. Thomas. There really isn't much shopping.

You can travel easily between St. Thomas and St. John, or St. Thomas and most of the BVI. St. Croix is further away and thus harder to get to. I'm not sure if there's ferry service--you may have to fly.

I haven't spent much time in the BVI, but I know they are generally less populated and get fewer tourists than the USVI. Tortola has the most people, followed by Virgin Gorda and then Jost Van Dyke. The Baths (a beautiful grouping of huge boulders through which you can swim and climb) are Virgin Gorda's top attraction. I'm not really sure what Tortola's top attractions are. Jost Van Dyke has several famous swim-in bars that are frequented by sailing-types. Almost no one lives on Jost.

I don't believe any of the BVI are as beautiful as St. John, but this can be a matter of personal preference. I like lush green and mountainous islands. I think you wil find at least some good beaches anywhere in the BVI. If you prefer quieter, less touristy destinations, the BVI may be for you. Hope this is helpful.

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