Puerto Rico and St Thomas are both US overseas territories. As dependencies of the United States of America (USA), the US dollar is the official currency.

Additionally, one drawback of being residents of these countries is that persons do not have rights to vote in the United States Congress and cannot cast electoral votes for President.

As a general rule, Puerto Rico is suitable for visitors seeking a vibrant nightlife atmosphere, white sand beaches, visiting historical buildings and enjoying Bioluminescent Bays. Alternatively, St Thomas is ideal for persons interested in island hopping, white sand beaches and duty free shopping.

Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful US Caribbean territories compare. Contribution to this article was made by individuals who visited both islands on vacation.

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas: Which Island Is Bigger

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

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

On the other hand, St Thomas is 32 square miles with the highest point of elevation being Crown Mountain at 1,555 feet.

St Thomas is a part of the group called the US Virgin Islands which consist of about 50 islands and cays.

The other main islands in the US Virgin Islands group are St Croix, St John and Water Island.

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas: Entry Requirements

Both are US overseas territories and as such no passports are required for entry by US citizens.

Individuals from different countries will need to get the proper US visa for entry as Mainland USA.

From St Thomas, it is easy to access the British Virgin Islands (BVI) via ferry service. US citizens require a passport to enter the BVI.

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas: Does The Language Differ?

Despite being US overseas territories, the official language of the two islands differ.

The official language of Puerto Rico is Spanish due to the fact that the island was previously an overseas province of Spain.

As a result of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the USA. St Thomas on the other hand, is English Speaking.

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas: Does The Islands Have Uber?

The island of Puerto Rico has Uber service while St Thomas does not. However, service is limited to the area of San Juan.

There are no ride-sharing apps in St Thomas. There is public transportation called Vitran.

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

St Thomas provides much more opportunities for island hopping via ferry services.

St Thomas is the main hub for commercial and economic activity for the USVI. 

Additionally, from St Thomas there are ferry services directly to the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Kindly note that US residents require a passport to enter the BVI from St Thomas.

Ferry service from Puerto Rico is limited to select days each week from San Juan to Santo Domingo.

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas:  Which Island Is Better For Shopping

If duty free shopping is a main item on your vacation agenda, St Thomas is the destination to consider.

Each visitor to St Thomas including children is allowed $1600 each of duty free purchases back into the USA.

Brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Little Switzerland, Diamonds International and Bebe have a presence on the island.

Yacht Haven Grande is a premium waterfront development which features a marina where a number of high end retail operations are situated.

Likewise, the mall of San Juan is the best location for high end and luxury shopping in Puerto Rico.

There are several upscale brands such as Armani Exchange, Coach, Versace, Carolina Herrera and Bulgari.

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas:  Which Island Has Better Beaches

If white sand beaches are your main vacation motivation, St Thomas is the better of the two destinations.

Magens Bay Beach is a spectacular one mile stretch of white sand with turquoise waters which is the most popular beach on the island.

It is located in the Northern region and is perfect for swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding.

Furthermore, St Thomas has easy access to one of the most photographed beaches in the USVI which is Trunk Bay St John. This beach is ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

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.

There are many amenities at this beach which includes camping area, changing rooms, bathrooms and life guards.

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas:  Which Island Has The Better Nightlife

Puerto Rico is the more superior destination when it comes to nightlife. It is a larger island and hence has more entertainment options.

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

On the other hand, St Thomas is much more laid back and tranquil when compared to Puerto Rico.

Some of the must visit places on the island include The Box Bar, The Jungle Night Club and Duffy’s Love Shack.

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas:  Activities & Things To Do On The Islands

San Cristobal, Puerto Rico- this historic fortress is located in Old San Juan and was built from 1634 to 1765.

This structure spans 27 acres and was pivotal in defending the island against foreign interference.  San Cristobal was designated a UNESCO heritage in 1983.

Bioluminescent Bays, Puerto Rico-there are two bioluminescent bays being mosquito bay in Vieques and La Parguera in Lajas.

These bays glow at nights and in 2006 mosquito bay earned the title by Guiness World Records as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world.

Pirate Treasure Museum, St Thomas– this is an excellent attraction suitable for adults and children.

This location features Virgin Islands shipwrecks and relics and the tour is extremely interactive.

Visit Water Island, St Thomas– this is the fourth largest US Virgin Islands which can be visited in one day.

While there, you can enjoy Honeymoon Beach which is a gorgeous location with amenities such as restaurants on its shore.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, Puerto Rico is perfect for visitors seeking entertainment, white sand beaches and swimming in Bioluminescent Bays. On the other hand, St Thomas is perfect for persons interested in island hopping to the BVI, white sand beaches and duty free shopping.

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