Which Island Is Right For Your Virgin Islands Vacation?

Virgin Islands Vacation


When you look at a world map, the Virgin Islands don’t appear numerous–but did you know there’s about 60 islands that make up this chain? Some are U.S. islands, and some are British, but all of them are really different in terrain and personality. The real question, when you decide to visit these amazing islands, is what kind of atmosphere, vibe, and experience do you want to have on your Virgin Islands vacation? Despite how close they are together, they’re dramatically different.

Planning ahead is the key to your Virgin Islands vacation, and half the fun, so take a little time to do your research. A few hours on line will help you find the perfect Virgin Islands vacation for you.

It’s important to keep in mind that United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands vary in characteristics, and knowing the differences in the Virgin Islands is critical. For example, if you want to golf, a remote island with nothing but sand and beach bars is probably not gonna work for you. In that case, you need a more “metropolis” island–one with a golf course! That reduces your choices to St.Thomas or St.Croix–which are totally different experiences in themselves. The choices for your Virgin Islands vacation go on and on!

Peter Island Resort Pirates Paradise AdventuresThe difference in American and British cultures and lifestyles are obviously imprinted throughout the Virgin Islands. The USVI, except for St. John, offers the familiar hustle-and-bustle of the mainland United States, including malls, restaurants, high end boutiques, and fast-food chains. In contrast, the BVIs (and St. John in the USVI) are more relaxed and far less commercial. Except for a few posh hotels and resorts, they’ve somehow manage to maintain the rustic Caribbean appeal.

If you’re interested in shopping, dining, nightlife, and the hotel resort scene; with a little sun-loving and snorkeling on the side, the USVI, particularly St.Thomas and St. Croix are your destination. St. John is very different though–it shares the tranquil and laid-back vibe that you find in most of the BVIs, but is still a US territory. There are no chain stores, no huge malls, no sprawling developments. In fact, only about 5,000 lucky soles call this place home. Thanks in large part to millionaire mogul Laurance Rockefeller who once owned a large part of the island and donated it to the the National Park Service, the island is protected from growth and commercialization, yet is still very close to St.Thomas–about 8 minutes by boat.

The British Virgin Islands run the gammet-from unparalleled luxury to complete isolation. Tortola, being the most populated island, still has limited shopping, nightlife and dining when compared to main US Virgin islands. It’s more of a destination for boaters and yachties, to which it has been aptly dubbed as the “Cruising Capital of the Caribbean.” On Virgin Gorda, Peter Island and Scrub Island, you’ll find deluxe, luxury resorts. Laid back beach bars, restaurants and tropical, more local accommodations are found on islands like Jost Van Dyke and Anegada.

Black Beard off Great St James 2The United States and British Virgin Island comprise about 60 islands combined. By planning ahead, knowing what kind of vacation you want to have and keeping in mind that each island has its own unique personality, you’ll have the perfect Virgin Islands vacation!

Virgin Islands vacation

About the author

Leigh Woeller

Leigh Woeller is a happy wife, proud mom, occasional writer and co-owner of Pirates Paradise Adventures, a St. Thomas, VI based day boat charter company. Raised on the West Coast of the good old USA, her dream is to live full time "off grid" in the Caribbean with her husband and dog...immediately after their youngest son heads off to college.

in Beaches, Other, Virgin Island Boat Rentals