Sunset on St John

The U.S Virgin Islands vs. the Rest of the Caribbean islands

December 9, 2021

There are many islands in the Caribbean that offer a great time to those wanting a tropical vacation. From those seeking some peace and quiet to those looking for a party scene, to those looking for an escape for the entire family, there is an island that will suit your needs. The US Virgin Islands are a gorgeous vacation destination, but how does it compare to the rest of the Caribbean? Let's find out, shall we?

What are the U.S Virgin Islands?

The U.S Virgin Islands (USVI) are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are not technically part of the mainland but are still considered to be territories of the United States. The territories are made up of the islands of St. John, St Thomas, and St Croix and their islets. 

The islands have long been an attractive tourist destination for anyone wanting to stay on vacation for more than just a week or two because they offer so many different types of activities. 

Why Should I Visit the USVI?

The USVI is known for its white-sand beaches and clear water which you can see right down to the seafloor! The rest of the Caribbean has some gorgeous beaches as well, but most of them don’t hold a candle to the pristine beauty of those found in the USVI (read more about the best time to visit the USVI here). 

St. John

St. John is the smallest of the three islands that make up the USVI, but that doesn't mean that it's any less scenic or has a shortage of fantastic things to do. Luxury Villas and hotels on the island place you close to world-class beaches with underwater snorkeling trails and sunken boat tours. 

Picture-postcard-perfect Trunk Bay in St. John is part of Virgin Islands National Park, and its beaches with their offshore coral reefs are considered one of St. John's most magnificent and well-preserved attractions. 

St. John is also known for its hiking trails that feature panoramic views and trails that are perfect for jogging or for just taking your time and exploring the area at your own pace. Additionally, it has a most excellent variety of restaurants to choose from.

St. Thomas

St. Thomas is the site of the territories' capital, Charlotte Amalie, which is one of the top shopping destinations in all of the Caribbean. The main town square features many different shops that specialize in jewelry and watches, but there are also other stores to choose from for those looking for high-quality souvenirs or just something else off the beaten path! 

Plus, St. Thomas has so much history associated and provides vacationers with plenty to do whether you want a luxurious resort experience or are looking for some non-stop fun in one of their casinos, nightclubs, bars or other nightlife hotspots! The island also has some fantastic beaches that are known for their powder-soft white sand.

St. Croix

St. Croix is the largest of all three USVI islands, which means that there's a lot to do! From golf courses and horseback riding adventures to museums and historical landmarks, St. Croix has it all for those wanting some variety in their stay on vacation. 

The island is also known for its beautiful and dramatic shoreline with rocky cliffs, historic sugar plantations, national wildlife refuge and secluded coves that are the perfect escape from the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life! 

If you’re looking for some local flavor with an upscale twist, head to the town of Christiansted where you can enjoy great Caribbean food and an even better atmosphere.  

Don’t leave the Christiansted area without visiting Point Udal though. The Point is about a half-hour drive from Christiansted’s center, and this scenic spot features a rocky and impressive Millennium Monument Sundial, which overlooks glorious, crashing waves and rolling hills. More adventurous people can make the hike down to the pristine beach below.

What about the Rest of the Caribbean islands?

The USVI is beautiful, but it's not alone in its beauty. The other Caribbean islands have quite a bit to offer as well. Here is a little bit more about them, so that you can make a decision about where to take your trip. 

The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands, like the USVI, are known for their beautiful beaches. The USVI has some really nice snorkeling and diving opportunities, but with sites, such as Eden Rock, Devil’s Grotto and Cheeseburger Reef, the Caymans beat them in this area hands down. 

In comparison, you have St. John, which has a laid-back and quiet vibe that is part of its allure. Additionally, Cruz Bay in St. John has many nice restaurants and several bars, and you have the advantage of being able to easily hop on day trips and island-hop by either private charters or by ferry to St. Thomas, St. Croix and the beautiful British Virgin Islands.

The Dominican Republic

In many ways, the Dominican Republic is comparable to the USVI. However, it has a much different vibe to it. In addition, the DR is very close to the USVI, which makes it a great option if you are on the mainland and want something nearby but not in the same country. 

The DR is known for its resorts and beaches that suit all types of travelers, from those seeking some peace and quiet to those looking for an action-packed vacation with lots of water sports. You can find both seclusion and excitement at the same resort. 

The Dominican Republic is also becoming the premier spot in the Caribbean for golfers and boasts 26 high-end golf courses to choose from. The terrain in the DR consists of savannah, rainforests and highlands and features the Caribbean's tallest mountain Pico Duarte


Jamaica is a popular island destination for those wanting to party and have fun, as well as those looking for some more relaxing activities. 

You’ll find tree-house-styled bungalows in the jungles of Negril, which is also known for its diving and snorkeling sites, along with all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay. 

The Caribbean country has beautiful beaches that are wonderful for swimming or snorkeling, but it also offers many resorts with lots of nightlife opportunities. 

Jamaica also has great cultural diversity and warm, welcoming people— the majority of which speak Jamaican Patois. It also has city and beach beats where you can rock to the beat of groovy reggae and calypso music.


The island country of Aruba has beautiful beaches with clear blue water that stretches for miles on end. Unfortunately for snorkelers, the water isn't good for snorkeling purposes because it's not very calm. 

Aruba locals are very friendly, and if you want to go shopping and see some of the most beautiful resorts in the world, the country has those as well. The country also has a vibrant, hopping Caribbean nightlife that serves club revelry in excess if that's your thing. 

Additionally, Aruba has an incredible amount of history behind it, which you can learn about by visiting one of its many museums. If you're looking for a more active vacation with plenty of activities such as water sports and a hopping nightlife, then Aruba is the vacation for you.

St Maarten/ St Martin

St Maarten/St Martin is a country that’s dually governed in one part by the French and the other by the Dutch. There, you can find anything from luxury resorts to more budget-friendly options. 

Many Caribbean getaways focus on a laid-back experience with the tranquil beach and a quiet sunset that goes with it. However, St. Martin and St. Maarten are pretty feisty, and you'll find a raucous nightlife at the clubs among the beautiful beaches. 

The 37-square-mile locale is popular with vacationers who like to party hard, eat well and shop until they drop in between trips to the beach.

St. Lucia

If you're looking for a romantic getaway, then St. Lucia may be just what the doctor ordered. This island country has some of the most beautiful rainforests in all of the Caribbean islands combined with a rich culture that includes voodoo history and plenty of great things to do. 

The food in St. Lucia is influenced by both French and Creole cuisines, so you'll get to taste some unique dishes that are delicious.

British VI 

The British Virgin Islands are a British Overseas territory while the U.S. Virgin Islands are a territory of the United States, meaning you will find the culture and customs of the two island groups similar but distinctive. 

Is the USVI better than the BVI? That depends on what you want out of your vacation. For instance, the BVI is known for being more relaxed and sort of laid back, whereas the USVI is considered more family-friendly overall. 

Nevertheless, you’ll encounter friendly locals, luxurious accommodations, delicious food and no shortage of entertainment and leisure activities no matter which island paradise you choose to visit.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is another popular destination among visitors to the Caribbean. You can find anything from salsa dancing to casinos to grand shopping in Puerto Rico which are sure to please visitors of all stripes. 

That said, it’s this island country’s unique twist on nightlife that may be of particular interest if you're looking for something different than your traditional club scene. You can find legendary Flamenca Beach clubs like El Cielo Beach Club and many others with a carnival type of atmosphere that allows you to get your groove on. 

And if you're looking for something a little more low-key, then San Juan has some of the most stunning casinos in all of the Caribbean islands with views that will make you feel like James Bond himself is about to walk through any minute.

So if you're looking for a fun nightlife experience that's different from the typical Caribbean resort vacation, then Puerto Rico may be what you need to recharge your batteries after suffering through one too many quiet evenings on the beach drinking piña coladas in between dips in the water. 

The USVI vs Rest of The Caribbean

Lifestyle and nightlife are the biggest differences between the USVI vs. the rest of the Caribbean. As far as luxury stays, friendly locals, nightlife, good restaurants, shopping, snorkeling and gorgeous tropical views, the USVI checks all the boxes. Likewise, if you're looking for peace, quiet and relaxation while enjoying activities with your significant other or your family, the USVI is sure to please. 

Should I visit the USVI?

Yes, and for plenty of reasons. Let's sum up the key points to US Virgin Island travel and stays: 


  • St. Croix: If you are looking for a vibrant nightlife and exciting vacation with lots of things to do and see, St. Croix might be the perfect place for you to cut loose. You do not need a passport to travel to St. Croix or any of the islands in the USVI.
  • St. Thomas: St Thomas has many luxurious resorts, so if you're looking for the comfort, enjoyment, good food, bars and entertainment that comes with your stay, this might be the place to visit. 
  • St. John: Couples are sure to enjoy St. John, whether they are honeymooning, having a wedding, or just getting away for a stay in a romantic, luxurious villa. Families will also find its national parklands with pristine beaches and plenty of room to roam an attractive vacation spot. 

Looking for a more permanent vacation home in the Virgin Islands? Explore St. John Homes or The Saints.

Come Stay at The Hills, St. John 

The Hills, St. John is a 22-villa destination that focuses on all the best things about being in paradise. Located in beautiful and exciting Cruz Bay, you'll find the St. John vacation of your dreams. Come stay with us and enjoy a luxury vacation experience while exploring everything the USVI has to offer visitors from around the world! 

St. John, USVI truly has something for everyone to enjoy. If you would like to book a stay or just find out a little bit more, please contact us at +1 800-727-6610 or kindly fill out our online form and a travel representative will quickly be in touch. 

©2024 The Hills. All rights reserved.
By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. We use cookies to provide you with a great experience and to help our website run effectively.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram