I lived on my boat for quite some time in St. Thomas. I understand that conditions in St. Croix are similar. This was in the 90's but I've returned a few times since and everything seemed about the same. Here is my take.
St. Thomas is like the NYC of the Caribbean, it is very busy and attracts a number of undesirables looking to make a score.
San Pedro is getting busier but is still a layed back fishing village in many ways.
The people of St. Thomas are very unfriendly.
San Pedro residents are very friendly.
Crime is very high in St. Thomas. I with very few exceptions never went out at night. The US Navy stopped ships from allowing sailors ashore there for many years and they may still. There where major shootings and armed robberies in the Charlotte Amalie, in the tourist shopping area in the middle of the afternoon while I was there. The Cruise Ships all leave about 5-6PM and I believe that is done to protect them from the crime at night. There appears to be more corruption in the Police force than San Pedro.
San Pedro has crime but crime on tourist is quite limited and the shooting that have occurred in general where between locals over drugs. Very little crime involving tourist.
Cost of living is higher than San Pedro for housing and schooling.
The population of St. Thomas is three times that of San Pedro. St Croix is about twice. A few thousand on St. John's and a handful on Water Island where I actually stayed most of the time. (a small Island very close to St. Thomas)
We thought about living there but decided against it fairly quickly.
For an American mail; internet purchasing; telephone; banking; medical care; shopping in general; immigration hassles and transportation are easier.
The late Tim Callahan who lived in San Pedro for many years lived in St. Croix around the same time that I was there. He and I agreed that conditions where similar in St. Croix and that is why he moved to San Pedro.
This is only my opinion based on my experiences. I've been coming to San Pedro for about 10 years; own a home there and lately spend about 4-6 months a year there. Visit both for a few months if you can.
Personally I would rather live in Puerto Rico than St. Thomas or St. Croix. St. John is very nice but limited because most of it is a National Park, so actually living there is a little difficult. Hope this helps but you really need to do your own research because it is just apples and oranges you are comparing. Good Luck
PS: The Virgin Islands are in Hurricane Alley and suffer extreme storms more often than San Pedro.
Edited by ragman (04/24/14 12:09 AM)
Edit Reason: ps
Somewhere on a beach in Belize