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Grand Cayman or St. Johns?

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Ohio
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Grand Cayman or St. Johns?

My fiance and I are trying to plan our 8 night honeymoon for the end of May this year. We have narrowed our search down to the Grand Cayman or St. Johns. We are looking to stay on the beach (nice hotel or villa). We want to snorkel, duty free shop, and he wants to fish. Some night life, but since we are not teenagers we are not looking for a spring break enviroment. Suggestions on places to stay/ best beaches...Any help!!

Thanks!

Zionsville, Indiana
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11. Re: Grand Cayman or St. Johns?

Sorry if this shows up twice.

We've been to both and I think it really depends on what you are looking for.

If you want a long sandy beach to walk on, GC is your choice. If you want to explore an island with lots of short secluded beaches (and mountainous vegetation), St. John is your choice. The terrain is totally different between the two. GC doesn't have any scenery to speak of except for the beautiful beaches.

If you want to take a lot of pictures and want beautiful scenery, St. John is definitely a better option. There are lots of neat little coves to explore and the other US & British Virgin Islands in the background are quite a sight. So, if you’re looking to fill up a scrapbook with fabulous pictures, St. John would be better.

GC has a lot of restaurants to choose from. St. John is very limited. (I should clarify that we stayed in St. Thomas but took several day trips to St. John via ferry, so these are observations from touring the island and not staying on it overnight.) The lodging options are limited on St. John (I believe the Westin is the only luxury hotel; I don't remember which way it faces so I don't know if you get sunsets.) You should get good sunsets any part of the way along 7MB in GC.

Nightlife is probably really limited on St. John because it is pretty small in terms of guest population. GC isn’t exactly hopping at night but is probably a lot better than St. John.

There is some decent snorkeling in Trunk Bay on St. John. But, overall GC is much better (lots clearer), and you have the swimming with the stingrays.

If you want to spend time exploring the island, hanging out on a little beach to yourself, etc. St. John is probably a better choice. You can tour that island, hop over to St. Thomas and check out the beaches there, etc. (I wouldn’t drive on St. Thomas – roads and drivers are crazy – but you’d probably be okay on St. John (much less traffic.) When we went we did a really fun day trip to some of the British Virgin Islands (the Baths (crazy natural rock formation on the beach) on Virgin Gorda was really neat.)

If you pretty much want to sit on a pretty beach but for a snorkel trip and a fishing trip, I'd pick GC. I can't comment on fishing on St. John but I have heard it is good on GC.

For duty free shopping you're probably even either way. (You'd have to take the ferry from St. John to St. Thomas to do any there though.) Both St. Thomas & GC get tons of cruise ships so you get roughly the same assortment of stuff either place. You probably would end up spending more on transportation on a St. Thomas/St. John trip.

I should probably do some actual work so I’ll stop. In the end it just depends on what you want. For a honeymoon, though, I'd probably suggest St. John over Grand Cayman – just my opinion. It’s just a little more spectacular and I think you’ll have a little more space to yourselves. But hope you make it to both places someday!

Kissimmee Florida
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for Kissimmee
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12. Re: Grand Cayman or St. Johns?

Ohio79,

Grand Cayman is not a third world country. St Johns is.

We were in St. Johns on a cruise recently. I was seriously turned off by the vendors on the beaches. The driving is much more difficult there.

The scenery on the land is nicer and more interesting in St. Johns, but then so are the Poconos. I only snorkled in one place in St. Johns and while it was excellent, I think Grand Cayman is at least as good.

My vote is Grand Cayman. There are non-stops from Charlotte NC. From Ohio, you should have no trouble connecting in Charlotte and customs anywhere has to be better than going through Miami.

We will be there in the end of May as well. We are flying out of Fort Lauderdale. From where we live it is faster to drive to Fort Lauderdale than it is to fly to Miami from Orlando. There are nonstops from both Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Best wishes!

CTR

Hill NH
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13. Re: Grand Cayman or St. Johns?

We have been to both islands,and both are on our list of favorites but for different reasons.St Johns has some of the most gorgeous beaches we have seen on alot of islands and most are not crowded,At least not when we ushually go in May.On St John we rent a villa up on a hillside overlooking a bay and it is stunning.It is a very laid back island ,with quaint shopping centers nice places to eat and there is some good snorkeling if you drive out to watermelon cay up by the sugar ruins.Also if you take a sail boat tour the snorkeling in the british virgin islands is the bomb!And is well worth it.We love Grand Cayman also the Main beach there 7 mile beach is beautiful.Shopping is good as are retauraunts.Eden rock is a nice snorkel site as is smiths cove.We love the diving there as well.I think the draw back for some would be the cost its kinda pricey.We are going to GC this May for our 5th anniversary.But one of our next trips will be St john so its 6 of one half a dozen of the other.Hope this helps.Oh yea if you go to GC Go snorkeling at stingray city so cool!

Washington DC...
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for St. Thomas
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14. Re: Grand Cayman or St. Johns?

It depends totally on what you want. I've been to both places and enjoyed both, but I prefer St. John. After 25+ years of traveling around the Caribbean, I have continued to go back again and again to St. John.

Grand Cayman... Pros: The beaches and water are beautiful, the snorkeling is excellent. Seven Mile Beach has many places to stay from big name hotels -- Ritz, Hyatt, etc. -- to smaller condo units. Duty-free shopping in Georgetown is also good and there are many cafes/restaurants to choose from. Sting Ray City is a special experience that should not be missed.

Cons: GC is a flat island. Other than the beaches and water there is not much natural scenery to enjoy, in other words I didn't find a lot of photo ops in GC. Big cruise ships dock in Georgetown and the streets are overrun with boat people frantically filling the shops in the few hours they have ashore. Ditto for some of the cafes in town. I found the water cooler than the Virgins and not always calm.

St. John...Pros: St. John is lush and mountainous. 3/4 of the island is national park. The beaches are pristine and gorgeous. Rather than long strands filled with colorful umbrellas, there are smaller crescent-shaped stretches of white sand all around the island lined with sea grape trees and tall palms for shade. You never need -- nor would you want -- an umbrella. There are only two major resorts on the island -- the Westin and Caneel Bay. Caneel has 7 spectacular beaches right on property. No high rises. No crowds. The water is always clear, calm, and warm. There are a number of excellent villas and B&B's on the island which offer unbelievable views and total privacy. (My picks: Caneel Bay if you have the $$; Estate Lindholm if you don't.)

STJ has many excellent places to eat and I've never had a bad meal on the island. Although you have to fly into St. Thomas and take a ferry to STJ, this is not a big issue. In fact, this is one of my favorite parts of the trip. The ferry is only 15-20 minutes with lovely vistas and you feel as if you are leaving civilization altogether when you head for and arrive on STJ. The ferry between STJ and St. Thomas runs every hour until 11 pm, so this enables you to go to St. Thomas for a half day or day of shopping at your convenience and St. Thomas is the best shopping port in the Caribbean.

Cons: After more than two decades of visits, I can't come up with one.

That being said, it is entirely a matter of personal preference. What 3 things mean the most to you? Look carefully at the forums here as well as information on specific resort websites.

15. Re: Grand Cayman or St. Johns?

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