USVI vs Hawaii
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My husband and I are planning our 20th wedding ann. and we are trying to make a decision between USVI or Hawaii. We love the beaches of St. Thomas and St. John. We love to snorkel and hang out by the water pretty much all day. We are not party people. Just looking for a few rays of sun and beautiful beaches. We have never traveled to Hawaii and we are not sure if the number of hours on the plane are worth the trip...... Any help would be appreciated.
I've been to both places and love each of them. I've stayed on Maui, and to me Hawaii seems more cosmopolitan with a Japanese influence. The USVI seems much more laid back with a funky Caribbean feel to it, much more casual.
Beautiful beaches both places, great snorkeling. Hawaii is much more expensive.
This is only my humble opinion but hope this helps,
My wife and I have been to each. We did a cruise of the hawaiian islands two years ago and it was the best vacation of our lives. We really injoyed our time in the USVI also, so much we are going back with the kids next month. If price was not an issue I would do a Hawaiian cruise.
Have been couple times to STT/STJ (once cruise "sampler", then back for 2 weeks, included side trip to BVI), also to Hawaiian islands (several day each - Kauai, Big Island, Oahu) - loved STJ and all of the Hawaiian islands. (We also love to snorkel, beach; not party.) SInce you have been to USVi - I won't name all of the positives there. We almost did a Hawaiian cruise, but technical difficulties prevented - and we were VERY glad that it didn't work out. We did have to work harder to see the islands (travel arrangements, etc.), but the added time and freedom at each location was absolutely worth it. Each of the islands is very different in geography and activities/sites (including fantastic snorkling). I didn't see a huge price difference beyond the higher airfare to get to Hawaii, but would depend on the types of things you choose. That said - our next trip is back to STJ (also for 20 yr Ann - coincidentally)! But, we're also hoping to get back to Hawaii. For me personally, I like to see different places - so you could choose Hawaii and make the comparison yourself! OR, another idea - back to STT/STJ, but add a side trip to BVI's to see something new in that way?
Honestly, I don't see how you could go wrong with these choices - have fun!
we live here in STT and have been to Hawaii four times. I think that the USVI has it all over Hawaii. You can be in many different cultures here and generally the water is about the same. But that is just my opinion.
Thanks for your help!
Any suggestions on where to stay in STT or SJ?
Hi, We were in Oahu exactly one year ago,spent a frantic week there with 12 friends, on the go constantly to see everything, then alone on Maui which wasn't what I pictured, we spent most of our time in the car going some where as opposed to already being there! Does that make sense? Hi-lites were seeing the stealth bomber coming in while at Pearl Harbor and the incredible whale watching in Maui, they were coming up under the boat! We had a 9 hour direct flight out of Chicago which is brutal,all flights coming back were over night so we up-graded to1st class.
The people are very friendly and happy! I would be too,if I lived there. One night we came back to our room while they were in there leaving our nightly treats,my husband gave her 3 bills,shortly after that she returned and said "one of the bills was a $100, I don't see that happening in the USVI!
But, I missed STT and the beautiful water there, so my husband sent me,our daughter and 2 grand kids there last March for 8 days,now I did come home from that trip relaxed and felt like I had a vacation!
The biggest difference, is the size of the Hawaiian Islands,they have rush hour, Inter-states (think about that one) Hi-rise buildings and the state bird is the building crane.
Its comes down to what you want,if it's romantic settings,uncrowded beaches where you can safely go in the water and relaxation then its in the VI's!!!!!!!
My husband has a seminar next month at Clearwater Beach FL, so we decided to add on some days and go to Disney World 1st and take the grand kids (7&10) and Mommy with us. When we told them where we were going to take them ,they had stunned looks on their little faces,they would much rather be in ST Thomas! We have started something!!!!!
Last year we had a beautiful condo at Sapphire Beach and and would defiantly stay there again!!! and now I am sad we won't be back for a while!
Ia Molly, where are you? We are in Bettendorf.
Lolly I am just north of you in Dubuque!
Cohio, the way I travel sometimes depends on the special deals that sites like Travelzoo and Kayak publish every Wednesday. If you dictate a trip for a certian destination on certian dates you will most likely spend 2 to 3 times what you would spend if you leave your dates and destinations open.
My husband and I flew roundtrip from Chicago to Italy in November. Our stay included 2 nights Rome, 2 nights Florence and 2 nights in Venice. Breakfast was included at all of our hotels and high speed Eurostar train service between our Italian cities and all for $699 per person. I just got back on Monday after spending the weekend in San Francisco with friends to welcome the Chinese New Year and all for $130 for my round trip ticket. These were the base prices that were offered and I can't recall what all of my taxes and fees were so I know that it was a little more money.
With all of that said, this weeks deals are once again incredible I don't think that I can talk the hubby into another trip so soon. Here are the great deals that tempted me though:
Travelzoo had a four night Caribbean cruise for $249, unfortunately it didn't include the Virgin Islands.
Roundtrip airfare to Ireland with a 7 day car rental for $349.
Airfare only to Costa Rica for $302.
All inclusive getaway to the Dominican Republic including airfare for 6 nights for $599.
Most of these getaways have additional charges from different departure cities. I also can't reccoment any of the cruise lines, car rental companies or hotels because I haven't been to any of those listed. I usually check out Tripadvisor to see what the current reviews are for each of the businesses.
Last but definately not least, the Virgin Islands is the most beloved destination for me. We bought property there 2 years ago, In addition to all of our other travels we have traveled back to STT at least 6 times in the last 12 months (can you believe that I can't even keep count anymore, must be getting old), a lot of it was renovation work but we have come to love all of our new friends and all of the quirkyness of "our island" as best said by my two youngest children.
Best of luck choosing a destination!
We have visited both Hawaii and the USVI. Our trip to Hawaii was a cruise so I cannot truly compare the two locations. We loved both but given the choice I would choose the caribbean over Hawaii even if the price and travel time were the same. The differences that stood apart the most were the atmosphere (culture and people) and the water. The caribbean we find is more laid back. The water in Hawaii was (how do I say this) more treacherous because of the extreme depths close to shore. The caribbean offers calmer water and less chance of dangerous currents. I have also found the sea life to be more abundant in the caribbean but it may have seemed that way to me because I have spent more time in the caribbean and have had the time to find the gems there. I don't think you can go wrong with either destination though.
We went to Maui for our 25th anniversary and to STJ for our 30th last year. Both are fabulous--so similar in some ways, so different in others. The terrain and culture are more varied in Maui. We would love to visit either place many times again. Because you have been to USVI but not Hawaii, I say you must see Hawaii at least once. Yes, the plane ride is long, so stay for at least a week.
I've been to both also - I prefer USVI much more than Hawaii. Long trip to Hawaii - and yes it is much more expensive (I was there about 11 years ago and a 6-pack of Coke was around $4). Honestly, I don't think the plane ride to Hawaii is worth it. What's great about the USVI is that you can travel to the British Virgin Islands for days trips. If you are not partiers - try Virgin Gorda for a day -- the "Baths" are really something to see. I've been vacationing in STT for the past 6 years and love it. We stay for 14-16 days. I don't think I'd go back to Hawaii again - mostly because you spend 2 days travelling. It's just my personal opinion, but I prefer STT/STJ more than Hawaii.
I have been to both, and strongly prefer the VI. If you like a more laid back attitude, then the VI is for you. I did enjoy Hawaii, and found lots of great places and people there too, but having done both, it's overall a much more economical trip to the VI in my opinion and the lifestyle and attitude is much more to my liking.
I think on this board the replies will mostly be in favor of the VI; you would likely get a different response on a Hawaii board! We have been to Maui, St. John, and Kauai in the last 3 years, and loved them all. (We are going back to STJ this year - it holds a special place in my heart.)
We travel with our kids, so we're not looking for wild nightlife either. My general impressions: Virgin Islands for warmer water, small islands/easier to get from one side to the other. Kauai for incredible hiking - absolutely lush and gorgeous, and some beautiful long trails with amazing views in Waimea Canyon and the North Shore. Both have great snorkeling. Kauai it's easier to find a condo or house right on the beach, but it's a longer drive from one part of the island to another. Unlike others posting here I found STJ to be pricier, at least in terms of lodging, but you can find budget up to luxury accomodations in either place.
Time of year makes a bigger difference when visiting Kauai, in terms of where to stay. Winter = large swells on North Shore so stay on South Shore; Summer = large swells on South Shore so stay on North Shore.
Maui represents almost every microclimate depending on where you are. Our favorite parts were Hana (remote, lush, beautiful hikes with water falls) and Wailea (great beaches, but also lots of big resorts which is not so much our style.) You could stay way down in Makena (south of Wailea) if you want the beautiful south weather and beaches with less crowding than Wailea.
There are beautiful beaches to be found in each location. All in all I don't think you will be disappointed in either Hawaii or the VI!
I have been to Hawaii (Oahu, Maui, Big Island)10 times and STT, STJ and BVI 3 times. I wrestle with this question everytime we go. If Hawaii was closer that would be my number one pick. However we can rent one heck of a place on STT or STJ which makes the trip incredible. We usually rent Villa Jamie which is just fabulous. We could not afford any place near that nice in Hawaii. If money is no issue I'd pick Hawaii (Maui). Good luck! Both are wonderful!
So nice to hear from you! When you coming down again?
Villa Jamie sure is nice huh? Doing a p/u for that villa today (depending on the weather)!
I often see spelling mistakes on these forums and know we all type fairly quickly as we respond BUT I think Lolly's statement that she would 'defiantly' stay at Sapphire again is just priceless!! Thank You Lolly, that should teach them to stop the Sunday beach music.
I have never been to Hawaii so cannot add anything.
Have you made a choice yet? If not I'm voting again for Hawaii. Don't let anyone fool you. Hawaii can be just as relaxing as STJ. Its all what you make it.
If you have never been to Hawaii then you should see the Hawaiian Islands. It is way different than USVI. The islands are much bigger and have every type of weather and micro-climates. I lived on Oahu for 5 years on the North Shore, it's quite a scene with big waves, movie stars and incredible beaches. The water is cooler and it rains more often but Oahu has everything. Honolulu is a big city with lots of traffic but offers incredible museums, concerts, sports and arts.
The culture is somewhat commercialized but still very interesting. It is a huge trip with a 2-3 day adjustment period to synch into the time zone so go for at leat a couple of weeks. Avoid the Waiani area. Yes it's beautiful but full of homeless and crack heads. Do it then come and relax in the VI.