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Posts: 2
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Topic starter

I have a long term contract assignment that originally was for STX, but now they have decided to hire someone for STT too - and I get my pick of the two assignments. Having never been (and probably won't be there prior to accepting the assignment) anyone care to discuss the pros/cons of one over the other...

Jim Queen

Posted : July 8, 2006 3:23 am
Posts: 541
Honorable Member

Well, you're going to get strong opinions on both sides, but here's mine: I prefer to live on STT. Why? I really enjoy seeing dozens of little islands in my view. I like being able to hop on a ferry or private boat and go to any of those islands almost at will.

On STX, there aren't that many little islands to look at and it takes longer to get to them.

I also like the bustle of STT and the relative ease of everyday tasks (VERY relative 🙂 ). I don't have personal experience with long-term visits or living on STX, thnough.

Posted : July 8, 2006 9:36 am
Posts: 713
Honorable Member

Jim -

Well, here's the other side of the equation weighing in - we chose STX over STT because of the lack of hustle and bustle. We also had a choice as to where to go and don't regret our decision for one second. If you are big into travel, it does present more of a challenge to live here...but there is a lot of wide open space here, the island is much larger than STT, like twice as big, with approximately the same population - so people are just spread out some more.

STX is probably more challenging in some ways, especially in the fact that an awful lot of people have never even HEARD of St. Croix...and we don't have an Office Max or Home Depot or's Kmart or die...but there are a lot of locally owned businesses that have some great stuff too.

We've only been here a year - perhaps Native Son or someone who has been here a while can do more of a comparison for you. Ric, who also posts to the board, has called STT the "City Folks" and us the "Country Mice"...or something along those lines...probably true.

From my limited experience on STT, lots of things just felt frantic to me (no offense intended to the St. Thomians!) ...but every time I go, there's a cruise ship in, so maybe that's the problem, but I could never find a spot to just "escape".

I'll balance my argument out and throw in here that we are from a rural area of Arkansas, so the city feel of STT just didn't work for us. So much depends on what you are used to and what you "need"...If you are from NYC, STT will seem very laid back to you - if you are from Possum Grape, Arkansas, even STX will feel hurried at times (especially Sunny Isle at rush hour)!

So where are you from, and what is your occupation (in a very broad sense so we don't give secrets away!)...and in your profession, can you be a "floater" between the two islands until you make up your mind? In my mind, STT and STX are two different worlds - but that's just my perspective from my window on the world overlooking the south shore...which is quite lovely today...! But Jules is right - the views on STT are you can see STT and STJ from the north shore but sometimes you have to squint...the only other island in real view is Buck Island, and no one lives there, National Park (although it makes for a GREAT day outing).

Jim - I'm getting way outside my boundaries, probably - but I would HIGHLY recommend you negotiate in a visit to the islands before signing a contract or even verbally agreeing to live and work in the islands. It simply is not for everyone. I would advise anyone under any circumstances (that isn't a trust fund baby who can fly back to the mainland every other weekend) to visit first. Even if you have to come on your own nickel, it will be worth every bit of it, I promise. A pre-move visit within 6 months of coming should be mandated by Congress or something. 🙂 Just an observation, but it seems that many people who come and go inside of 6 months are the ones who just held their breath and jumped without the (should be) prerequisite visit.

And there goes my opinion again...but a PMV is something I and most others on this board feel very strongly asked for advice, not necessarily on that topic, but I threw it in for free anyway!

Posted : July 8, 2006 10:02 am
Posts: 393
Reputable Member

Becky is right. The islands are very different. The parts of STT that I have seen are more like living in a city. There is more to do there in terms of activity. They have some stores that we don't have on STX. It seemed to me to be faster paced.
STX is quiet and layed back. If you're looking for more than beaches, diving or sailing, STX can drive you crazy. I personally love the quiet life style. It's also harder (read more expensive) to travel back and forth to the states from STX.
As is regularly recommended on this board, coming and looking at each island is almost a must. I wouldn't move to someplace in the states I had never seen before. There is a misperception that living on all the islands in the Caribbean is the same. It just ain't so. If you pick the right one, it's a great place to live. If you pick the wrong one, you will be miserable and hate island life. Good luck.


Posted : July 8, 2006 12:48 pm
Posts: 2
New Member
Topic starter

I'm a computer tech/engineer and I live in Dallas, Tx. I like Dallas, but I did spend 3 years in NYC on a contract and I hated it - Dallas is mush more to my "speed". I've read that it's housing is a little bit more expensive in STT vs STX. This is all good information though - thanks. I do plan to make a pre-move trip and I'm replacing a guy who's been there a couple years - hope to meet with him before he leaves and get an idea about the workload on the two islands, etc.

Posted : July 8, 2006 2:48 pm
Posts: 1057
Noble Member

There are other things to do on STX besides beaches and diving.

Both the landmark society and the botanical garden have a range of activities. Last weekend it was Mango Melee.

The STX yacht club as activities both for sailors and social members.

If you are a golfer STX has three courses vs one for STT.

Bike riding for the physically fit is much more doaable on STX than STT.

There are a number of triatholons and bike races every year on STX.

There are plenty of good restraunts on STX.

Take housing prices into consideration before making your decision. While STX is experience a boom, prices are still less than STT.


Posted : July 8, 2006 2:55 pm
Posts: 713
Honorable Member

Oh, Jim...I just had to laugh...Dallas is slower than NYC (where I've never been)? OMG - I don't NEED to go, then....okay, let's see if we can put this in perspective....Dallas is comparable to St. Croix like if you lived in say, San Marcos...or New Braunfels without the tourists....get really small in your thinking and you're on STX...if we were in Texas we would have farm-to-market roads, except ours aren't just turn at the flamboyant tree or the black and white cow....or take the next left after the goat farm to get to the airport....which sounds ridiculous to you now, but you will learn to give and understand such directions...and believe me, the cow is quite a marker for us...lord help us if he moves out of his assigned area....because after a year, I probably know five, maybe ten? actual street names...

Posted : July 8, 2006 3:48 pm
Posts: 249
Estimable Member

Taste of St. Croix

Starving artists festivals

Jump Up

St Patricks Day Parade

Posted : July 9, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 1
New Member

Hey, would you mind writing me at my email address and tell me what in the world are you doing in the usvi? coming from arkansas? smile.
I grew up in fayettevile,, live in austin and will be in st thomas to help run a bed and breakfast in a week as I understand, mind letting me know what i'm in for? smile. been reading some stuff on the net, but wow,, what a switch from ark to down there, how did that happen? tom

Posted : July 10, 2006 6:00 am
Posts: 83
Trusted Member


It all depends on what kind of lifestyle you prefer. As a Kentuckian now living on STX, STT strikes me as "the big city". I chose STX precisely because it is more laid back and I can relate to it as a small town guy. I grew up in a small town of 6,000 and I feel very comfortable here. There is a great public library, community theater, shopping here means that you often have to go to more than store to find what you want and you'll have to pay more than you will back home for most stuff, but hey it's not as bad as the "whiners" make out. Yeah, they don't do things here just like they do "back home". Good! That's what makes traveling and living in a unique place worth it.

STX is lesser known than STT out there in the US mainland and the rest of the world too. There's kind of an outpost-like quirkiness to the place that is endearing- kind of like "Northern Exposure" in the Caribbean. I'm glad we're not just another non-descript homogenized midwestern town dropped into the Caribbean.

You should visit first if there's anyway in hades you can. You know what you like. STT and STX are alike in some ways but in most ways they're quite different.

Posted : July 12, 2006 1:37 am
Posts: 3919
Famed Member


Welcome to the Board! Ric and I are from Louisville. Where are you from?

Linda J

Posted : July 12, 2006 8:54 am
Posts: 83
Trusted Member

Howdy mon, I'm from Harrodsburg in Mercer County, KY. I've private messaged you. Thanks for the welcome.

Posted : July 12, 2006 4:51 pm
Posts: 298
Reputable Member

Jim Queen says:
"I have a long term contract assignment that originally was for STX, but now they have decided to hire someone for STT too - and I get my pick of the two assignments. Having never been (and probably won't be there prior to accepting the assignment) anyone care to discuss the pros/cons of one over the other...

Jim Queen

"I'm a computer tech/engineer and I live in Dallas, Tx. "

Jim, I'm a software engineer, and I live on St. Croix.

St. Croix /St. Thomas is either for people who were born here and love it by default, or people who come here with a certain attitude. It is not for everybody...some people come here and can't wait to leave. IF you are a person who tends to look within yourself for peace, tranquility, and entertainment, you will probably like it here. If you need lots of external stimuli such as abundant shopping, IMax theaters, long road trips, changing of seasons, frequent visits with family and friends, and the myriad things that you have been unconsciously spoiled by in the continental United States, you will most likely be miserable in STX or STT.
People who live in the States today are accustomed to a bewildering array of readily available services. You will lose that upon moving here. Things you take for granted, like getting your car competently worked on at any number of places, will suddenly disappear. You will find yourself being overly concerned about the quality of education your kids are receiving, the quality of medical care, the availability of your favorite food items, all of the mundane things that you deal with effortlessly in the States. If you are Caucasian you will find yourself suddenly, uncomfortably, in the minority.
It takes more than earning a good salary to live here. There are many people who I know personally who live here on less than 50,000 dollars a year...just ask any teacher at Country Day School, for example. If you ascribe a lot of importance to the things, services, and conveniences available in the United States, then frankly you should not move to the islands. Believe it or not, some people actually leave because they miss watching the seasons change. You might think you hate winter now, but wait until it no longer occurs. You may have built up an entire family tradition based on White Christmases, and you suddenly take that away from your family. It can be painful. Your children will probably hate it, because they have their friends, their hangouts, their malls, and they will not have those here. It is harder for children to turn inwards unto themselves for entertainment, peace, and tranquility than adults.
You will need a higher level of housing than what you currently have, unless you are currently living as a millionaire. I have said before, your home is of paramount importance here. It must be safe, secure, and serene. You cannot spend an entire day dealing with the tards at Public Safety, WAPA, Innovative, etc., and then go "home" to "Rasta JahMan" next door raising his chickens and blasting music way into the night. Your home must be your oasis, the place you go to for release from the pressures of the day.

I don't mean to go on and on, but there are so many things that need to be said. Sometimes the husband loves it here and the wife hates it, or vice versa. I have seen people leave simply because one spouse or the other didn't care for the island.

Like everyone here says, please make a pre-move visit, and stay with a LOCAL family in a LOCAL house, if you can. Stay for at least three weeks, and during that time do stuff like apply for a driver's license, go to the banks and look at the lines and quality of service, talk to a police officer or two, shop at KMart, Plaza, Gallows Bay Hardware (STX), see if you can deal with the physical aspects. Go to LOCAL clubs, restaurants, etc.,..see if you can deal with the treatment you get. Go to the hospital and talk with a doctor or a nurse. Check the emergency services, and how long it would take for an ambulance to get to where you think you'd like to live. Look at the real estate prices in various neighborhoods...can you afford anything? Look at the rentals. Hang out at Sunset Jazz, Jump-Up, etc., and see if you can get a feel for the LOCAL happenings. Immerse yourself in it for three weeks, and see if you can deal. Visit the public schools and the private schools, and talk to teachers and administrators. Talk to some of the students, especially the ones who moved here.
Don't come with the idea that you are escaping anything...we have crime, corruption, and waste here is a microcosmic version of America, without all of the conveniences. I grew up on St. Croix, but I have lived in California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Washington State. I also spent eight years in Europe.
I wouldn't trade any of those places for St. Croix, but then that's just me.
I have friends who moved here from the States and are very happy. Some of them have adopted the teenage "whatever" as their mantra. Power outage? whatever. Only KMart, no WalMart? whatever. Phones out again? whatever. They have achieved the state of "my happiness comes from being on the island, anything else is gravy".

Posted : July 13, 2006 1:23 pm
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