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The Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico and St John are both territories of mainland United States of America.

Nevertheless, they could not be more different in terms of look and feel and therefore will appeal to two varied groups of travelers.

In this article, we cover the similarities and differences between Puerto Rico and St John to help you make a prudent decision.

As a general rule, Puerto Rico is suitable for persons who want to experience the iconic bioluminescent bays as well as a lively nightlife atmosphere. Alternatively, St John is ideal for persons seeking a quiet, laid back island with an interest in hiking and unspoiled white sand beaches.

Read on for more attributes of Puerto Rico and St John. This article was written by a Caribbean national.

Puerto Rico Vs St John: Which Island Is Bigger

Puerto Rico is the larger of the two islands being 3,515 square miles with the highest point of elevation is Cerro de Punta being 4,390 feet.

Puerto Rico is an archipelago that consists of 143 islands, cays and islets.

Due to its size, Puerto Rico can offer a visitor a wider range of excursions and experiences such as shopping, rainforests, waterfalls, caves and historic architecture.

On the other hand, St John is only 19.6 square miles and is part of the US Virgin Islands Group which consists of about 50 islands and cays.

Therefore, it is a better destination for a traveler who does not want a wide range of amenities and activities.

The other key islands which are part of the US Virgin Islands are St Thomas, St Croix and Water Island.

Puerto Rico Vs St John: Entry Requirements

Both islands are overseas dependencies of the United States of America and as such no passports are required for entry and exit.

Furthermore, the US dollar is the official monetary currency used in these territories.

Therefore, it is seamless for travelers from the United States to integrate upon arrival on the islands.

Puerto Rico Vs St John: Which Island Is Easier To Access

Access from major international cities in the US and Europe is easier to Puerto Rico than St John.

This is due to the presence of an international airport in Puerto Rico.

Alternatively, there is no airport in St John.

Visitors to the island usually arrive via the Cyril E King Airport in St Thomas. Access to St John is only by ferry service.

Puerto Rico Vs St John: Can You Hop To Other Islands

St John is the island that provides greater island hopping opportunities.

If a passenger ferry is not available directly from St John, individuals can commute to St Thomas or charter a private boat to other islands.

Ferry services are available to St Croix, Water Island and the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

US citizens are required to have a valid passport for entry and exit into the BVI.

Puerto Rico Vs St John: Which Island Has Better Nightlife

If you are looking for a party and vibrant nightlife atmosphere, Puerto Rico is the place to visit.

Puerto Rico is one of the hot spots for entertainment in the Caribbean. There are several night clubs, bars and lounges in the city.

Some of the places to visit include La Factoria, La Cubanita, Club Brava and Club 77.

La Placita de Santurce is a popular nightlife spot to meet locals on the island to eat relax and salsa dance in Puerto Rico.

Alternatively, being a small island night life on St John is laid back with the main spots for entertainment located in Cruz Bay.

Reggae bands are the main form of entertainment with other live performances.

Quiet Mon Pub, The Tap Room and Dog House Pub are some of the well-loved places for entertainment in St John.

Puerto Rico Vs St John: Which Island Has Better Beaches

If you are seeking white sand beaches that are unspoiled, untouched and surrounded by nature, St John is the better destination.

Trunk Bay Beach is the most iconic beach in St John and is usually what you will see in photographs for the US Virgin islands. 

For snorkeling enthusiasts, there is an underwater trail.

Cinnamon Bay Beach is also a popular spot by locals and visitors to the island for swimming and snorkeling in St John.

This beach is the longest white sand spot on the island. This is the only beach where camping facilities are available.

Alternatively, if you are passionate about kitesurfing Puerto Rico is the better destination.

Isla Verde on the island has the perfect wind conditions that supports beginner to advanced skill kiteboarders.

Furthermore, Puerto Rico also has amazing beaches with Flamenco beach being one of the best on the island.

This location is gorgeous and calm which makes it perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Puerto Rico Vs St John: What Are The Unique Things To Do

Unique Things To Do In Puerto Rico

Laguna Grande, Puerto Rico– located near San Juan in the Fajardo region, this is one of three bioluminescent bays on the island.

Kayak tours are available to this amazing lagoon that lights up at nights. Swimming is not allowed at Laguna Grande.

There are also bioluminescent bays at Mosquito Bay and the Vieques Bio Bay.

Unique Things To Do In St John

Visit Mongoose Junction- is a shopping mall located in Cruz Bay built incorporating the vegetation and Danish history of St John.

At Mongoose Junction you will find a variety of shops which includes art gallery, delis, jewelery shops and more.

Explore Annaberg Plantation Ruins- St John was a producer of sugar in the 1780’s and Annaberg plantation was one of the 25 factories on the island.

The ruins are protected by the Virgin Island National Park and a key feature that stands today is a windmill. A historic must see if you visit St John.

Hike-With two third of the island being a National Park, there are numerous hiking trails of varying difficulties. Ram Head Trail is one of trails with a moderate difficulty level but features glorious and scenic views.

On the other hand, if you are interested in seeing historic markings and carvings, the Petroglyph trail which is relatively easy and short which is along the Reef Bay Trail is one that you should explore.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, Puerto Rico is ideal for individuals who enjoy kitesurfing as well as kayaking at one of the three bioluminescent bays. On the other hand, St John is suitable for persons desiring white sand beaches with turquoise waters and hiking various scenic trails.

Need More Information?

The mission of Around The Caribbean is to provide our readers with accurate information written by Caribbean nationals to help you make an informed vacation decision.

Feel free to explore more content on Puerto Rico, St John and the rest of the Caribbean using the search bar located at the top of this page.

We believe the following articles linked below may also be helpful.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba (Which Vacation Is Better)

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas (Which Vacation Is Better)


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