US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands for Vacation? Which is BETTER for Vacation?

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US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands? If you are considering a vacation to the Virgin Islands, you would definitely face this conundrum. Both of these destinations are undoubtedly hidden beach paradises of the Caribbean that feature some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

While the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands are close to each other, they both are distinct in their own way. They both offer unique experiences and cater to different kinds of visitors. So, which is the better vacation spot for you?

The US Virgin Islands are a better choice for a vacation if you want affordable accommodation, a vibrant nightlife, a fantastic shopping scene, modern facilities, and a variety of activities. If you love unspoiled, natural beaches and wish to spend your vacation in complete solitude and exclusivity, the British Virgin Islands are a better choice than the US Virgin Islands.

ParametersUS Virgin Islands🇻🇮British Virgin islands🇻🇬
Average Cost of a Trip 
$4089 (For a couple)$5689 (For a couple)
Known for👍Beautiful beaches, fantastic shopping scene, upscale dining, vibrant Nightlife, World-class snorkeling spotsUnspoiled, secluded beaches, World-class snorkeling spots, Sailing
Beaches🏖USVI offers a diverse range of beautiful white sand beachesBVI offers Secluded, unspoiled white sand beaches
Activities🏄🏼‍♂️Snorkeling, shopping, ziplining, hiking, KayakingSnorkeling, sailing, scuba diving, hiking
Popular Tourist Attractions🏛Magen’s bay, Buck Island, Christiansted town, Trunk bay beach, Charlotte Amalie, Coral World Ocean ParkThe Baths National Park, Smuggler’s Cove Beach, White bay, Anegada island, Smuggler’s Cove Beach, RMS Rhone shipwreck
Best Place to Stay🏨Charlotte AmalieTortola

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands? Which is BETTER for Vacation?

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands: What is the Difference?🏖

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a British overseas territory. The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is comprised of more than 50 islands, but the four main ones are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost van Dyke. Each of these four main islands is renowned for its secluded beaches, lush green interiors, and laid-back vibes.

Whereas the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) is an overseas territory of the USA. The US Virgin Islands is comprised of three major islands: St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. All of these three islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world that often rank in the top 10 beaches of the world.

At the first glance, these two destinations appear to be similar. Both the USVI and BVI offer breathtaking beaches, world-class snorkeling spots, delectable cuisine, and a plethora of activities to explore.

However, when factors like affordability, vibes, connectivity, and cost of accommodation are taken into account, you will find a big difference between these two destinations. In other words, despite their obvious similarities, these two beach paradises attract very different types of visitors.

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands: Vibes🙌🏼

British Virgin islands🇻🇬

British Virgin islands vibes

There is no doubt that BVI is for true peace seekers. It is a paradise for those people who want a more exclusive experience and ultimate privacy. It doesn’t matter where you are in BVI you will always find calm and peaceful surroundings.

The British Virgin Islands are without a doubt one of the Caribbean’s least developed and most overlooked islands. The British Virgin Islands offers lots of pristine, unspoiled beaches for beachgoers and a lush green interior for nature lovers.

It is significantly less crowded than the USVI, and unlike the USVI, there are no large commercial hotels and restaurant chains in BVI. As a result, it has still maintained its natural beauty and charm. In other words, the British Virgin Islands provide a true taste of the Caribbean with a calm and peaceful setting.

US Virgin Islands🇻🇮

US Virgin islands vibe

When it comes to US virgin islands, there are three major islands that are quite distinct from each other and appeal to different types of visitors.

If you enjoy lively, cosmopolitan vibes you will love St Thomas. St Thomas is a major cruise port and the most developed island in the virgin islands. That’s why it is a little congested and better suited for those who love lively beaches as well as upscale dining and vibrant nightlife.

St John, on the other hand, offers beautiful, secluded beaches bordered with lush green rainforests. It is better suited for nature lovers looking for secluded beaches as well as beautiful hiking trails.

St. Croix, is the US Virgin Islands’ least developed island, is recognized for its laid-back atmosphere and cultural activities. If you want secluded beaches, authentic Caribbean vibes, and want to explore cultural activities of the USVI, St Croix is a perfect choice.

🏖 Suggested Read: St Thomas Vs St Croix? Which is BETTER for Vacation?

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands: Beaches🏖

British Virgin islands🇻🇬

Jost Van Dyke, White Bay
Jost Van Dyke, White Bay, Image by Mattes on Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to BVI, undoubtedly, it is the hidden beach paradise of the Caribbean. It is one of the most exclusive islands of the Caribbean. That’s why its beaches have still maintained their unspoiled, natural charm.

Beaches on the British Virgin Islands are less developed and thus less equipped than beaches on the US Virgin Islands. Furthermore, beaches on the BVI are significantly less crowded than those on the USVI.

In fact, the majority of the visitors to BVI, come here to enjoy the utmost seclusion and exclusivity of the island’s pristine beaches. BVI is indeed a heaven for true beach lovers who want a peaceful and relaxing vacation.

US Virgin Islands🇻🇮

St John Magens Bay
Magens Bay, St John island

When it comes to USVI, like BVI, it is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In fact, some of the beaches in the USVI like Magen’s bay beach and Trunk bay beach often rank in the top 10 beaches of the world.

Trunk Bay
Trunk Bay

If you want lively beaches and party vibes then St Thomas is a place for you. St Thomas has beautiful white sand beaches that are well equipped and well developed. They are usually surrounded by all the modern facilities and that’s why more suited for families.

However, if you are a honeymooner who wants secluded beaches with the romantic surrounding or you are an adventurer who wants pristine beaches surrounded by lush-green mountains then definitely St. John island is your cloud nine.

But, if you want a relaxing beach vacation with an authentic Caribbean experience, then St Croix is a better option than St. Thomas and St. John island.

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands: Snorkeling and Scuba diving🤿

Both BVI and USVI are known for their world-class snorkeling and diving sites. Both of these destinations are diving paradises due to amazing coral reefs, rich marine life, crystal clear water, and easily accessible diving sites.

US Virgin Islands🇻🇮

Buck island

When it comes to US virgin islands, we think, Buck island is the best place to go for snorkelers and divers. Buck Island is 1.5 miles from the coast of St Croix and is home to the most impressive coral reef system of the Caribbean.

This place, due to its wonderful coral reef, warm and clear water, and colorful marine life is a perfect paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving. In fact, many people believe that Buck island has the best diving sites in the Caribbean.

Apart from Buck island, St. John is another world-class destination for snorkeling in USVI. Especially, if you are a beginner snorkeler, then St. John is an excellent choice for you. Due to its super calm and shallower waters, snorkeling is quite easy in St. John as you don’t have to go far away from the shore to explore its colorful marine life.

British Virgin islands🇻🇬

Like USVI, BVI, due to its amazing coral reef systems, diverse marine life, and warm and clear water is known as a world-class destination for divers and snorkelers. There are countless diving sites scattered around in the British Virgin Islands that feature sandy bottoms, wonderful coral reefs, colorful marine life, and unbelievable shipwrecks.

RMS Rhone Shipwreck, Image by Gareth Richards on Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to BVI, the RMS Rhone shipwreck is the most popular diving site here. RMS Rhone was a Royal Mail ship that was sunk near a salt island in BVI in 1867 after getting caught in a hurricane. Today, the wreckage of this ship is a popular diving site in BVI.

Chikuzen wreck
Chikuzen wreck, Image by Albert Kok2 on Wikimedia Commons

The Chikuzen is another popular wreck diving site in BVI that is known for its sandy bottoms and colorful fish species. Also, Dog islands which are a few miles off the coast of Virgin Gorda, offer dozens of amazing diving spots.

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands: Activities🏄🏼‍♂️

British Virgin islands

British Virgin Islands activities

In the British Virgin Islands, it’s all about the sea, sand, and sun. The majority of visitors to the British Virgin Islands come to unwind in the island’s laid-back atmosphere and to enjoy its pristine beaches. It is not as developed and commercialized as the US virgin islands. As a result, most of the activities available in the BVI centered around the sea.

The British Virgin Islands are particularly known as one of the world’s premier sailing destinations. Due to the calm trade winds and moderate climate, it is considered the ideal sailing destination. Additionally, there are countless world-class diving sites dispersed around the BVI, which attracts thousands of divers and snorkelers from all over the world each year.

Baths national park in Virgin Gorda, in particular, is the best option if you wish to explore a range of underwater activities in BVI. Baths national park’s beaches are bordered by gigantic granite boulders, wonderful grottos, and secluded natural pools. It is the ideal location in the British Virgin Islands for pursuing a variety of adventure and water activities. However, it is not just for beach lovers; there are plenty of activities for nature lovers as well.

BVI’s major islands Tortola, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke are known for their lush green interior that features diverse wildlife and beautiful hiking trails, making it an outstanding vacation destination for nature and adventure enthusiasts alike.

US Virgin Islands

When it comes to USVI, like BVI, it offers beautiful white sand beaches, countless snorkeling spots, and a wide range of aquatic activities. It too offers lush green landscapes and has a plethora of adventure activities for nature lovers. However, due to high development and commercialization, the US virgin islands offer far more activities to do than the British Virgin Islands.


St. Thomas is the hotspot in all Virgin islands when it comes to activities. It is a major cruise port and that’s why is the most developed island in the Virgin Islands. It is known for its fantastic shopping scene, upscale dining, vibrant nightlife, and a wide range of adventure activities.

St. John, whose most of the part is covered under thick rainforest, is an excellent option for nature lovers. It features dozens of beautiful hiking trails, exotic wildlife, and world-class snorkeling trails.


Whereas, St Croix is known as the cultural and historical hotspot of the USVI. Apart from its laid-back beaches, St Croix is home to numerous artistic, cultural, and historical masterpieces that appeal to culture and history lovers.

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands: Accommodation🏨

British Virgin islands🇻🇬

When it comes to accommodation, undoubtedly, the British Virgin Islands are quite expensive as compared to the US virgin islands.

BVI is one of the most expensive islands in the Caribbean. In fact, it has a reputation as a playground for the rich and famous people. That’s why BVI is filled with a number of private villas and luxurious resorts that attract travelers with big budgets. In other words, it is hard to find budget accommodation in BVI.

US Virgin Islands

On the other hand, due to high commercialization and a huge influx of American tourists, there is a wide range of accommodation options available in St Thomas of USVI, ranging from budget to luxury.

It doesn’t matter if you are a budget traveler, family vacationer, or honeymooner, there are accommodation options suitable for every kind of visitor on St Thomas.

However, accommodation costs on St. Croix and St. John are a little more expensive than St. Thomas due to the limited accommodation options available. Especially St. John, as most of the land is protected, it is the most expensive island of USVI.

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands: Nightlife🍻

When it comes to nightlife, undoubtedly, USVI is a clear winner. St Thomas is the nightlife hotspot of USVI. This major cruise port is brimming with a number of bars and clubs that are usually easily accessible.

St Thomas is especially known for its lively beach bars which are known for live music and plenty of cocktails.

On the other hand, the nightlife on BVI is laid back. However, if you are going to BVI and want some nightlife then you should visit John Van Dyke island of BVI. There are some lovely beach bars on John Van Dyke island that offer BVI’s famous painkiller cocktail.

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands: Safety🦺

When it comes to safety, both US virgin islands and British virgin islands are quite safe destinations for travelers. Violent crimes are quite rare on both of these destinations.

Even petty crimes like pickpocketing and theft are also rare. However, you must remember that there is no place in the world that is perfectly safe. So, you must follow basic safety precautions while traveling to both these destinations.

US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands for Family Vacation?👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Undoubtedly, St Thomas island of USVI is the best option for a family vacation than the British virgin islands. British virgin islands are quite expensive islands. On the other hand, St Thomas has a wide range of accommodation options that are quite affordable as compared to the other Virgin Islands.

Due to high development, St Thomas has all the modern facilities available that are usually easily accessible. Its beaches are also well equipped and well developed and hence more family-friendly than beaches on the British Virgin islands.

Finally, St Thomas offers a plethora of family-friendly activities as compared to BVI. Most of the activities in BVI are focused around the sea. On the other hand, St Thomas, apart from water activities, offers the best shopping scene and nightlife in the virgin islands along with vibrant dining and plenty of adventure activities.

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US Virgin Islands Vs British Virgin Islands for Honeymoon?💘

Both British virgin islands and US virgin islands are excellent options for a honeymoon. Both of these destinations feature pristine white sand beaches, breathtaking views, and world-class snorkeling sites. Eventually, it boils down to what kind of destination you want for your honeymoon.

If you want pristine beaches with amazing shopping scenes, affordable accommodation, and vibrant nightlife then definitely St Thomas island is a better option for you.

If you want secluded beaches along with romantic surroundings, beautiful hiking trails, and world-class snorkeling sites then St john is the best option for you.

However, if you want unspoiled, secluded beaches with utmost privacy and exclusivity then undoubtedly British virgin islands are the best option for you.


Both the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands are fantastic vacation destinations. Finally, it comes down to what kind of vacation destination you want.

If you want vibrant beaches with all the modern facilities, a lively nightlife, affordable accommodation, and a variety of activities, the US Virgin Islands are a better choice than the British Virgin Islands.

If you are a true beach lover who wants complete seclusion and is willing to spend most of your time on the beach, the British Virgin Islands is unquestionably a better option than the US Virgin Islands.

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About the author
Chetan Patil
Hello there, wanderlust. I've been traveling around the world with my friend Aditya for the last three years since finally quitting my job, and life has been a thrilling roller coaster ride so far. Traveling is a spiritual experience for me, not just something I do for fun. Traveling has taught me that "the only certain thing about life is uncertainty." So, embrace uncertainty and make the most out of every moment.

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