St Thomas and St Croix are the largest islands of the US Virgin Islands group (USVI).
They share very similar landscape, cuisine and currency which can make it tough for a vacationer to decide which slice of paradise will suit his needs.
As a general rule, St Thomas is better for travelers who are interested in duty free shopping, island hopping the Virgin Islands and enjoying parties and nightclubs. Alternatively, St Croix is perfect for a visitor who wants a more peaceful environment and interested in visiting point Udall.
Read on for further details and explanations on how these two magnificent US Virgin Islands compare. Contribution to this article was made by individuals who visited both islands on vacation.
St Thomas Vs St Croix: Which Island Is Bigger
St Croix is the bigger of the two islands being 84 square miles with the highest point of elevation, Mount Eagle standing at 1,088 feet.
On the other hand, St Thomas is 32 square miles.
The highest point of elevation in St Thomas is Crown Mountain at an elevation of 1,556 feet.
St Thomas Vs St Croix: Entry Requirements & Access
Being US Virgin Islands, US citizens can access both St Croix and St Thomas without a passport.
Nevertheless, the difference lies in the fact that the airport in St Thomas is international while the one in St Croix is for domestic flights.
The Henry E Rohlsen Airport is a domestic airport that is located six miles from the capital city in St Croix named Christiansted.
This airport receives daily inter island flight along with cargo and military airplanes.
Travelers from Canada and Europe are able to access direct and non-stop flights into Cyril E King International Airport for travel to St Thomas.
However, travelers to St Croix will need to consider an additional flight or a ferry ride from St Thomas.
St Thomas Vs St Croix: Which Island Is Safer
Both islands are relatively safe, however based on statistics St Thomas is slightly safer. Despite being the larger of the two islands, St Croix has the smaller population.
According to The Virgin Islands Consortium, based on a US census as at April 01st, 2020, the population of St Croix was 41,004 while the population of St Thomas was 42, 261.
This means that St Thomas is more densely populated.
According to the St Thomas Source, since the pandemic there has been an increase in crimes within the US Virgin Islands.
The territory recorded 49 homicides in 2020, two on the island of St John. There were 27 in St Croix and 20 in St Thomas respectively.
Visitors to both islands should exercise due care and diligence. Ensure that valuables are properly secured.
St Thomas vs St Croix: Which Island Has Better Nightlife
St Thomas is the island with the more exciting nightlife primarily due to the fact that it is the commercial hub of the USVI.
Generally, there are more restaurants and bars on St Thomas than St Croix with Red Hook, Frenchtown and Haven Sight areas being hot spots.
These are located near to each other so it is easy for individuals to bar hop.
St Croix also has some popular spots for nightlife. These include Cloud 9 Ultra Lounge and Rhythms.
St Thomas Vs St Croix: Which Island Is Better For Duty Free Shopping
The winner when it comes to duty free shopping is St Thomas. 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 and a number of medium to high end stores.
In addition, to some of those previously mentioned, Coach and Bulgari have retail operations at Yacht Haven Grande.
There is duty free shopping available in St Croix but the selection is not as wide as St Thomas.
Baci duty free is one of the locations in St Croix where you can find precious stones.
Tropical Bracelet Factory and Rouge Duty Free are some of the other duty free options in St Croix.
St Thomas vs St Croix: Which Island Has Better Beaches
Both islands have fantastic beaches but one advantage that St Thomas has is its proximity to St John.
The distance from St Thomas to St Croix is 72km while the distance from St Thomas to St John is only 10.44 km.
Trunk Bay Beach in St John has won many awards globally.
It is is the most iconic beach and is usually what you will see in photographs for the US Virgin islands. For snorkeling enthusiasts, there is an underwater trail.
In St Thomas, two of the most visited beaches are Magens Bay Beach and Coki Beach.
Located on the Northern end of the island, Magens Bay Beach is the island’s most popular with both locals and tourists alike.
The water is usually very calm which makes it perfect for small children.
Another well-loved beach on the island is Coki beach. In terms of snorkeling, Coki beach is one of the best options in St Thomas.
This beach is perfect for beginners and individuals new to snorkeling.
St Croix on the other hand also has great beaches with Sandy Point Beach being one of the most popular.
Sandy Point Beach is a long beach and has been rated one of the best beaches in the US Virgin Islands. It is 3 miles long however there are no facilities such as beach chairs and umbrellas.
This beach is also a nesting place for turtles and as such is closed for about 5 months of the year for turtle nesting season.
St Thomas Vs St Croix: What Are The Unique Things To Do
Unique Things To Do In St Croix
Explore Ham’s Buff Lighthouse- is a fantastic spot for incredible views.
This lighthouse was designed and built by the Danish sometime between 1913 and 1915. In 1917, the Danish West Indies was sold to the United States of America.
Visit Point Udall- is a location of significance in St Croix as it is the most eastern point of the United States.
The Millennium monument was erected in the year 2000 as this is the first place that the American soil experiences the sunrise.
Ziplining- this scenic activity allows visitors to enjoy the rainforest in Carambola valley, St Croix.
Unique Things To Do In St Thomas
Visit Coral World Ocean Park– This Park is an amazing way to see and learn more about sea life in St Thomas.
There are activities available for all ages such as educational shark and sea lion tours.
In addition, you can enjoy kayaking with the dolphins while at the park. This location is perfect for multi-generational families.
Visit Mountain Top & Drake’s Seat– These two areas are must visit spots to take in the panoramic views of the island.
Mountain top is 1500 feet above sea level and provides a stunning view the other Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. From mountain top you can see a total of 20 islands.
Explore Fort Christian– This is one of the key landmarks located in the capital city of Charlotte Amalie and is the oldest structure in the US Virgin Islands.
Built between1672 to 1680, Fort Christian has a red exterior with a Victorian clock at the front. A tour explores the history of the Danes and slavery. The admission fee is $10 for non-locals.
Climb 99 Steps- is another key feature that stands out in Charlotte Amalie.
These steps were constructed from bricks brought to the island from Denmark and are used to connect the streets in the city.
At the end of 99 steps is Blackbeard Castle which is another must visit historic site while on the island.
On a whole, St Thomas is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is going the beach, snorkeling, island hopping to other Virgin Islands and duty free shopping. On the other hand, St Croix is perfect for a visitor who wants tranquility and to enjoy beautiful natural scenery.
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