St John vs St Croix: Battle of the Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands is blessed with three beautiful islands: St Thomas, St John, and St Croix. My husband and I explored all around St John and St Croix, which gave us a sense of what made these two islands unique. Each island has its own individual culture and attractions, so first-timers often ask which island is best. The answer all depends on your interests and what kind of traveler you are. I hope our experiences will guide you in figuring out which is right for you … St John vs St Croix.
St John vs St. Croix: Beaches
Trunk Bay Beach in St John USVI
St Croix also has some beautiful beaches like Cane Bay, Isaac Bay, and Rainbow Beach, but they were not spectacular as the ones in St John.
Rainbow Beach in St Croix
Winner: St John
St John vs St Croix: Food
I think most will agree that St Croix has some of the best food in the U.S. Virgin Islands! From fine restaurants to food trucks to local eateries, St Croix offers up some of the best island food. One of our favorites was La Reine Chicken Shack, where we had the best BBQ chicken! St Croix even holds an annual foodie festival called the Taste of St Croix, hosted by celebrity chefs.
La Reine Chicken Shack in St Croix
BBQ chicken, baked macaroni, & baked beans at La Reine Chicken Shack
Do not get me wrong. St John also has some amazing places to eat as well, but St Croix definitely wins the food category. One of our favorite meals in St John was the grouper reuben at Miss Lucy’s. Weird combo, yes, but it works and it is incredible!
Grouper reuben at Miss Lucy’s in St. John USVI
Winner: St Croix
St John vs St Croix: Ambiance
St John overall is a little more “touristy” and is denser than St Croix. It can get quite crowded at the popular tourist attractions. That is one reason we loved staying in Coral Bay in St John, which felt more relaxed and had a fun “hippie vibe” compared to the busier parts of the island.
In contrast, St Croix is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands and is more spread out and felt less crowded. You really feel the “island culture” while driving around in St Croix and interacting with the locals.
St John vs St Croix: Snorkeling sites
St John has NUMEROUS top-notch snorkeling sites, which can be mostly accessed offshore! No tour boat is required. Expect lots of turtles, schools of Blue Tang, stingrays, beautiful coral, and even nurse sharks! Check out my St John Snorkeling Guide for all the 11 sites we discovered.
Turtle at Francis Bay in St. John USVI
Schools of blue tang at Haulover Bay North in St. John USVI
St Croix also offers some unique snorkeling sites but just not as many as St John. One of our favorite sites was snorkeling under the pylons at Frederiksted Pier, which were coated with brightly colored orange, red, and yellow coral and all kinds of little sea creatures. Another must-visit St Croix snorkeling site is Buck Island. One of the highlights was encountering a huge school of Jacks while snorkeling the underwater trail.
Beautifully coral coated pylon at Frederiksted Pier St Croix USVI
Close up of school of Jack Fish at Buck Island in St Croix
Winner: St John
St John vs St Croix: Cost
In general, we found vacation rentals in St Croix to be cheaper than St John.
Grocery store prices were also cheaper in St Croix than in St John. We went to four different grocery stores in St John: Starfish, Dolphin Market, Calabash, and Love City. Starfish was the largest of the three but still small. It offered the best prices in St John but was still quite expensive.
Starfish Market in St John
When we were in St Croix, we got all of our groceries at the main supermarket, Plaza West (now known as The Market). Surprisingly, they were not very expensive and offered a lot of great local produce at an affordable cost. We also noticed they get quite a few bulk Costco items. They even had my favorite Kirkland organic strawberry spread.
Local produce at Plaza West in St Croix
Bulk Costco items at Plaza West in St Croix
Winner: St Croix
St John vs St Croix: Topography & Properties
St John was incredibly picturesque with all of its curvy roads and hills. Many vacation rentals are perched high up in the hills, allowing for some amazing panoramic views. We loved waking up every morning to an incredible view over Coral Bay from our St John villa.
Our St John villa in Coral Bay, St John
Coral Bay, St John as seen from our villa rental balcony
In contrast, St Croix was relatively flat. Although it does not offer dramatic views like in St John, you can still expect some amazing views. We stayed in Cane Bay in St Croix in a villa that was perched on a cliffside over the ocean. Pretty spectacular! Check out my article on where to stay in St Croix for more details.
Our villa rental in Cane Bay, St Croix
The sunset as seen from our villa rental in St Croix
Another advantage St Croix offers is its beachfront properties. It is difficult in St John to find accommodations right on the beach. This is not the case in St Croix!
As you can see, you can’t really say St John is better than St Croix or St Croix is better than St John. It comes down to what you are looking for on a vacation.
If you want perfect pristine beaches, amazing panoramic views, top-notch snorkeling sites, and DIY adventure, St John is your island.
If you are looking for more island culture, delicious cuisine, beachfront properties, and a wide variety of attractions, then start booking that villa in St Croix.
We loved both islands for all of the above reasons!
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Are you Team St John or Team St Croix?
Let me know in the comments below!