St Thomas and Grand Cayman are Caribbean islands that are dependencies of large countries.

St Thomas is an overseas territory of the United States of America (USA) while Grand Cayman is a dependency of the United Kingdom (UK). English is the language spoken on both islands.

Our goal in this article is to provide you with a comprehensive review of both islands highlighting where they are different to help you plan the Caribbean adventure of a lifetime.

As a general rule, St Thomas is ideal for travelers with an interest in white sand beaches, duty free shopping and island hopping to the British Virgin Islands. Alternatively, Grand Cayman is perfect for individuals seeking to explore the Cayman Crystal Caves and white sand beaches.

Read on for more information on St Thomas and Grand Cayman from the perspective of a Caribbean national.

St Thomas Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Is Bigger

Grand Cayman is the larger of the two destinations being 75.68 square miles while St Thomas is much smaller at only 32 square miles.

Both islands are part of island groups with Grand Cayman being part of the Cayman Islands and St Thomas part of US Virgin Islands (USVI).

The US Virgin Islands comprises of four main islands totaling 133 square miles.

In addition to St Thomas, St Croix, St John and Water Islands have the greatest landmass.

There are 50 islets and cays in the USVI.

The Cayman Islands consists of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac with  the group of islands totaling 102 square miles.

Grand Cayman covers 76% of the landmass of the Cayman Islands.

St Thomas Vs Grand Cayman- Does The Landscape Differ?

St Thomas is hilly and mountainous in appearance. The highest point of elevation in St Thomas is Crown Mountain at a height of 1,556 feet.  

On the contrary, Grand Cayman is incredibly flat with the highest point being about 70 feet above sea level. Therefore, the island is low lying.

St Thomas Vs Grand Cayman- Entry Requirements

As part of the USA, citizens do not require a passport to enter St Thomas. On the other hand, US citizens require a passport to enter Grand Cayman.

UK citizens also require a passport for entry into Grand Cayman.

St Thomas Vs Grand Cayman- Is It Easy To Island Hop?

The island of St Thomas offers exceptional opportunities to visit other US Virgin Islands via ferry services.

There are daily boat rides available to the major islands of St Croix, St John and Water Island.

Furthermore, there are ferry services available to the nearby British Virgin Islands (BVI).

However, US Citizens require a passport for entry into the BVI.

Unfortunately, there are no inter-island ferry services available from Grand Cayman to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

St Thomas Vs Grand Cayman- What Are The Official Currencies

The formal currency used on both islands differs. St Thomas as an overseas territory of the USA also uses the US dollar for all financial transactions.

Nevertheless, Grand Cayman has its own currency as well as its central bank named Cayman Islands Monetary Authority despite being an overseas territory of the UK.

US dollars is widely accepted across the island with change usually given in CI ( Cayman Island) dollars.

St Thomas Vs Grand Cayman- Is Duty Free Shopping Available?

St Thomas is the island known for superior duty free shopping in the Caribbean.

One major benefit enjoyed by US residents is that each individual including children is allowed $1600 each of duty free purchases back into the USA.

Major brands and labels have a presence on St Thomas which includes retail operators such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Little Switzerland and Diamonds International.

Along the same lines, Coach and Bulgari also have retail stores in St Thomas.

Duty free shopping is also available in Grand Cayman with Kirk Freeport being one of the areas to visit for retail stores.

Brands such as Gucci, Penha, Chanel, Dior and Clinique all have a presence on the island.

St Thomas Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Has The Better Nightlife

Both islands are comparable when it comes to nightlife.

Entertainment on the islands generally involves nightclubs, restaurants and bars.

Red Hook, Frenchtown and Haven Sight regions are the best places for nightlife.

These are located near to each other so it is easy for individuals to bar hop.

In relation to Grand Cayman, Globe Night Club, Lillies and The Lodge Cayman are some of the hotspots to check out for entertainment.

St Thomas Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Has Better Beaches

St Thomas is the better island when it comes to beaches. The most famous beach on the island is Magens Bay Beach which is located in the northern region of the island.

This beach is perfect for swimming and snorkeling and is suitable for individuals of all ages. There is a fee to enter and this price is higher for non-residential persons.

Along the same lines, Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman located in the capital city of Georgetown is a gorgeous stretch of white sand which is six miles long.

The beach is public and it is free for both locals and visitors to enjoy. In recent years the beach has reduced in several areas due to environmental factors.

Nevertheless, it is still beautiful and be sure to visit if you choose to go to Grand Cayman.

St Thomas Vs Grand Cayman- Outdoor Activities To Do On The Islands

Phantasea Tropical Botanical Gardens– St Thomas– nature lovers will enjoy visiting this beautiful oasis that features numerous species of flora and fauna.

From this location, you will enjoy panoramic views of Tortola, St John and Magens Bay.

This garden is about two acres in size and a tour is approximately one hour. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase.

Cayman Crystal Caves, Grand Cayman– this unique attraction is located to the north of the island.

The tours are all guided and take approximately 90 minutes to explore three caves and the tropical rain forest area.

Stalactite and stalagmite crystal formations are all visible.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, St Thomas is better for travelers who are interested a bustling nightlife atmosphere and visiting the Phantasea Tropical Botanical Gardens. On the other hand, Grand Cayman is ideal for individuals seeking to bask on white sand beaches and visiting the iconic Cayman Crystal Caves.

Need More Information?

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Feel free to browse for more content on St Thomas, Grand Cayman and the rest of the Caribbean using the search bar located on the top of this page.

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