St Thomas and St John are both islands that are part of the US Virgin Islands group. The other islands are St Croix and Water Island.
As a general rule, St John is ideal for a visitor who loves beaches and water based activities such as snorkeling. Alternatively, St Thomas is better for travelers who are interested in entertainment and duty free shopping with easy access to the Virgin Islands.
Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful US Virgin Islands compare. Contribution to this article was made by individuals who visited both islands on vacation.
St Thomas Vs St John- Which Island Is Bigger
St Thomas is the bigger of the two islands being 32 square miles while St John is 19.6 square miles.
The highest point of elevation in St Thomas is Crown Mountain at 1,555 feet. On the other hand, the highest point on St John is Bordeaux Mountain which is 1,277 feet.
Additionally, St Thomas also has the larger population.
According to St Thomas Source based on a census completed in April 2010, the population of the island was 51,634.
Contrastingly, according to Virgin Islands Now, the population as per census completed in 2000 was 4,197 individuals with the majority of persons concentrated in Cruz Bay.
St Thomas Vs St John- Entry Requirements
Both islands are a part of the US Virgin Island group and as a result US citizens do not require a passport to enter the islands.
The international airport for the US Virgin Islands, Cyril E King Airport is located in St Thomas.
Visitors to St John will be required to take a ferry from St Thomas to access the island.
There are ferry services and charter boat services available which visitors can easily access the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
Kindly note that a passport will be required for US citizens to enter a British territory.
St Thomas Vs St John: Which Island Is Safer
St John is the safer of the two islands.
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.
St Thomas Vs St John: Which Island Has The Better Beaches
St John has the better beaches. Trunk Bay Beach is the most iconic beach on the island 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 well-loved 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.
Magens bay is one of the most popular beaches in St Thomas and is known for its beautiful stretch of white sand.
Located on the Northern end of the island, this 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 Thomas Vs St John: Which Island Has The Better Nightlife
St Thomas is the island with the bubbling nightlife between the two.
Entertainment on the island is predominantly in the areas of Red Hook, Frenchtown and Havensight.
Bars and restaurants are located in near proximity so it is easy for individuals to walk from one to the next.
On the other hand, St John is the quieter of the two islands with most of the bars concentrated in the Cruz Bay area.
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.
St Thomas Vs St John: Which Island Is Better For A Honeymoon
Both islands do not have a large selection of luxurious all inclusive accommodation options as other Caribbean islands.
Nevertheless, St Thomas has the better options of the two.
Marriotts’s Frenchman Cove and The Ritz Carlton would be the better choices for persons considering a honeymoon in St Thomas.
Bolongo Bay is one of the other popular choices for all inclusive stays on the island. Their packages include access to watersports, drinks and food is prepared a la carte.
Contrastingly, there are no all-inclusive resorts in St John. However, there are villas, cottages, inns and resort like options available.
The Westin St John is the closest property to the typical Caribbean resorts.
There are restaurants, bars, spas and pools available. Grande Bay Resort and Lavender Hill are also other options that you should explore if visiting for a honeymoon.
St Thomas Vs St John: What Are The Unique Things To Do
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.
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 a whole, St John is a great choice for a traveler whose priority is enjoying the beach and hiking in a peaceful environment. Alternatively, St Thomas is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is enjoying the beach, duty free shopping and island hopping across the Virgin Islands.
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