US Virgin Islands vs Puerto Rico


The beautiful Caribbean is a hotbed of tourist activity, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a unique experience from each Caribbean destination. Two trendy places to visit are the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. They have some similarities and differences to note before deciding where you should plan your next tropical getaway!

General overview

The U.S. Virgin Islands is a group of islands in the Caribbean located east of Puerto Rico. The main island is St. Thomas, a popular tourist destination since the mid-1900s. It’s home to many resorts and golf courses, but there are also plenty of natural attractions like beaches and hiking trails to explore on your own time as well.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located south of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean between Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. The majority population speaks Spanish; however, English is also spoken widely across all areas.


  • U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico use the U.S. dollar.


  • Puerto Rico is a Spanish-speaking territory.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands, on the other hand, typically use English.

Passport Requirements

  • U.S. Citizens traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico do not need passports.
  • Foreign nationals are required to carry a passport to enter the territories.

Getting there

For this article, we’ll focus on the airports in St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The international airport for St. Thomas is located at Cyril E. King Airport (STT). At the same time, San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) serves as Puerto Rico’s primary gateway to the world. Both airports have daily flights to and from the mainland United States.


The U.S. Virgin Islands are known for luxurious accommodations, while Puerto Rico has more affordable options. Both destinations offer fantastic resorts, but the U.S. Virgin Islands tend to offer more luxury amenities that you won’t find on the same level in Puerto Rico.

On the other hand, Puerto Rico is known for its all-inclusive resorts, which can be great if you spend as little time as possible planning your vacation and want to eat and swim all day!

Beaches / Excursions

This is one category that’s a tie. Both Puerto Rico and the USVI are known for their beautiful beaches, and both have many excursions available to visitors. However, there are also some differences between these two destinations regarding beach time and activities.

If you’re looking for a quiet getaway with your significant other or family members, we recommend visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands St John Beach. It’s not precisely private—there are other people around—but it does have a more secluded feel than some of its competitors on the island. There’s also plenty of shade if you want to avoid the sun!

The most popular beach in Puerto Rico is Playa Maunabo, located on the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico near Ceiba just outside Maunabo. It has fine white sand that stretches across miles of shoreline, perfect for long walks.

Planning a trip to the Caribbean can be a little overwhelming. After all, there are so many destinations, each with advantages and drawbacks. Some goals have beautiful beaches but lack a vibrant culture, while others have a rich history but poor beaches.

If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean, your best bet is to consider both destinations. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are lovely destinations with distinct personalities yet share many similarities. Both offer beautiful beaches, excellent weather, and a wealth of cultural activities that will give you plenty of things to do while visiting their shores.


The good news is that no matter where you end up, you will have a great time. If you’re looking for a place with beautiful beaches and plenty of cultures, then these two destinations are worth considering.

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