We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

St John vs Virgin Gorda

Weatherford, Texas
Level Contributor
246 posts
1 review
Save Topic
St John vs Virgin Gorda

I have read….. researched and obsessed… but would still love input from the pros. We (husband and I) traveled to STJ last summer and loved it. We have a May trip planned with our children (11,8, and 6) and grandparents staying at Casa Bueno.

We would love one last hurrah before school starts back (probably end of July) and are debating between another trip to STJ or Virgin Gorda. Ideally, we would space it out, but schedules just don't allow for travel at other times during the year at this point.

So the question is… which one?… St John or Virgin Gorda. We would make this a more economical trip and have been looking at Coppermine Cottage on Virgin Gorda or Mango Villa on St John.

We love snorkeling and are not "foodies" . Our ideal day would be to get up early and grab a quick breakfast (granola bar), then hit the beach. Have snacks/lunch we pack for our day out at the beach. Hit a happy hour for a simple inexpensive meal, then head back to our home base for relaxing, board games or swimming. We would be traveling with our children, and here are some of the pros/cons I see at this point:

St john/Mango Villa-we know we love the island, all 3 bedrooms are air conditioned, we could explore new hiking trails, beautiful, we know we love the snorkeling, we have some favorite happy hour spots picked out, seems to be in a remote location

Virgin Gorda-something new, cottage has a pool, this cottage is a slightly less expensive than the St John Mango Villa (including ferries for each, car rentals), area seems really good, 1 of the 2 bedrooms has air conditioning

Thanks so much for your help on this!

Weatherford, Texas
Level Contributor
246 posts
1 review
Save Reply
11. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

Thank you all so so much for the help. It's so reassuring to get these helpful tips from others who have "been there done that"

The flight were looking at booking arrives at STT via Spirit Airlines on a Tues at 3:08 PM . We would take Speedys from Charlotte Amalie at 5:00 pm to Virgin Gorda. Coming back the following Tues we would take the 6:30 am ferry (Speedys) from Virgin Gorda to STT. Can anyone see loopholes in these plans. I think a contingency plan (flight delayed beyond making the 5:00 ferry) would be to have an inexpensive hotel in mind on STT and then take the earliest ferry to Tortola the next day (this would be a Wed… so no direct ferry) and then ferry to Virgin Gorda.

On another note, can anyone confirm or refute continuing services from Virgin Gorda to Anegada on the public ferry? It seems that I may have read that past June its uncertain… HOWEVER, I've looked at so may things lately I may be mistaken.

Thank you all so so much!

ACB
Rhode Island
Destination Expert
for Virgin Gorda
Level Contributor
2,765 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
12. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

Ferry to Anegada from VG is still functional. ..thank goodness.

I am not a fan of Spirit Airlines. Here is what Consumer Reports has to say about them:

On the other end of the spectrum, Spirit Airlines received one of the lowest overall scores for any company we’ve ever rated. “Spirit is the only no-frills airline left with fares that can be 90 percent less than other carriers’,” says George Hobica, founder and editor of Airfarewatchdog, which tracks airline deals. But it also charges a wide array of fees, including $10 to $19 to book a flight; $3 for a soda, a juice, or a bag of M&Ms; and $35 to $100 per carry-on bag.

The schedule you have created seems quite functional.

Weatherford, Texas
Level Contributor
246 posts
1 review
Save Reply
13. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

Thanks so much ABC!… I hear ya on Spirit. I've never flown w/them but for our family of 5 the price difference is significant (even with added fees).

ACB
Rhode Island
Destination Expert
for Virgin Gorda
Level Contributor
2,765 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
14. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

I understand, jen19fish. Those young'ns do increase the travel cost!

Weatherford, Texas
Level Contributor
246 posts
1 review
Save Reply
15. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

After reading more reviews on Spirit… I am seriously reconsidering… yikes! Either way…thanks so much for all your help.

British Virgin...
Level Contributor
780 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
16. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

Keep checking airfares, and don't forget all the usual advice: look Tuesday morning, clear your cookies, etc. Don't know your home airport, but you should be able to find something on one of the big carriers. Do you have Miles? Do you have status that gives you free baggage, upgrades, etc.? A year ago we flew out of STT on Delta and upgraded to Business/First for relatively little, which gave us extra free baggage and free meals. That may not be important to you, but with research, you may find a deal that works for your family. Try Kayak and ITA Matrix, if you haven't already.

Also, have you considered a crewed charter or bareboat with captain out of STT? July is low season, so there may be some good rates. That would cover your lodging and inter-island transportation, and you could determine your own schedule. You could cook your own meals on the boat, thus cutting restaurant bills. You would be able to see all kinds of places you would otherwise struggle to see. There would be no end of snorkeling options, and your kids would love all the activities.

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
350 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
17. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

Been to both STJ and VG – loved them both. Since you are returning to STJ in May it seems like a no-brainer to try VG in July. However, with just 7 days of vacation are you willing to give up 2 full days due to travel?

“If your plane is late your contingency plan is to find an inexpensive hotel in STT.” I would also have a contingency plan if the ferries are late or not running. I’ve read horror stories on the ferries and that is why some (not all) people opt to spend a night before and after on STT when visiting VG. Speedy’s is the most reliable, but keep in mind the ferries are on island time.

Although we didn’t have any major ferry complications Speedy’s was a little late from Tortola to VG and they were also a little late when we departed VG. Give yourself ample time to catch your flight back home and keep in mind you go through customs when arriving STT at the ferry dock and then customs again at the airport.

Weatherford, Texas
Level Contributor
246 posts
1 review
Save Reply
18. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

Thanks so much for the tips…

Mngolfergal --thanks for the info on the ferry. And Latifolia.. I'll keep watching! We booked our upcoming May trip w/Amer. Airlines last Oct. and I haven't seen the same rate since then. We may decide to just wait and be patient… even though that isn't the "fun" answer : ) I really don't think I want to "test" Spirit Airlines after reading some of the stories.

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
1 post
26 reviews
Save Reply
19. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

Spirit is fine, but keep in mind that you'll need to pay for carry-on, not just checked bags. Checked is actually cheaper than carry-on. Seats are really close together, and legroom is only sort of comfortable for those without really long legs. I flew to STT 2 years ago on Spirit. I prefer any other airline. :) But sometimes it's important to get somewhere tropical for an affordable price, and the means of transportation is just part of your story! There were lots of kids on the flight... affordable for families!

Weatherford, Texas
Level Contributor
246 posts
1 review
Save Reply
20. Re: St John vs Virgin Gorda

Thanks for the info!... The part that most concerns me is not bring assigned seats with my children.... And @ $10 per person per leg of the flight that = $200

We're still considering flight options... But we do have accommodation reservations : )