Antigua and St Maarten are located in the Northern region of the Caribbean and are both attractive destinations for your dream Caribbean vacation.
In this article, we complete a deep dive into the similarities and differences between Antigua and St Maarten to help you decide which location is better for you.
As general rule, Antigua is the destination of choice for visitors interested in beach hopping to numerous white sand spots and seeing the iconic Devil’s Bridge. Alternatively, St Maarten is ideal for a visitor who is looking for a vibrant nightlife and to experience jet blast at Maho beach.
Read on for more attributes of Antigua and St Maarten. This article was written by a Caribbean national.
Antigua Vs St Maarten – Which Island Is Bigger
Antigua is the slightly larger of the two islands with a landmass of 169.9 square miles with the highest point of elevation being Boggy Peak which stands at an elevation of 1,319 feet.
On the other hand, St Maarten is much smaller at 13 square miles.
Furthermore, St Maarten is a unique destination in the Caribbean as it shares its landmass with the French island of St Martin.
Antigua Vs St Maarten – What Are The Official Currencies
The currency used for financial transactions in each of these destinations differs.
The official currency of Antigua is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. This currency is also shared by seven other Caribbean Islands with the central bank located on the island of St Kitts.
Contrastingly, the official currency of St Maarten is the Netherlands Antillean Guilders or Florin. The Antillean Guilder exchange rate to the US$1 to $1.80 ANG. The Guilders is also the official currency of Curacao.
Despite the difference in currency, US dollars is accepted everywhere on both islands.
ATM machines in St Maarten dispense US dollars. US coins are also accepted only in St Maarten.
Antigua Vs St Maarten – Is It Easy To Hop To Other Islands
St Maarten provides better opportunities for seeing other neighboring destinations via ferry services which makes it affordable for budget travelers.
Makana Ferry Services provides services to nearby islands of St Kitts, Saba and St Eustatius.
There are also sea transportation services to St Barths and Anguilla.
Alternatively, there are only ferry services from Antigua to its dependency territory Barbuda.
Access to the neighboring British Overseas territory of Montserrat is via small aircraft.
On special occasions, L’Express Des Isles has high speed ferry charter services to Antigua from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
Once you arrive in Guadeloupe, the same ferry services have onward connections to St Lucia, Martinique and Dominica.
Antigua Vs St Maarten – Which Destination Has Better Beaches
If you are a beach bum and your main motivation is to beach hop and explore white and pink sand locations, Antigua is the perfect destination for you.
Antigua is the Caribbean island known for having 365 beaches, one for each day of the year.
Due to the large number of beaches in Antigua, it is easy for visitors to find locations that are uncrowded which is suitable for persons seeking privacy especially during the peak of the tourism season.
The island of Barbuda is also blessed with a beautiful pink sand beach between Spanish Point and Palmetto Point.
Additionally, Barbuda is home to the longest beach in the Caribbean being Low Bay Beach.
On the other hand, St Maarten only has 37 beaches and thus visitors have less beach options to choose from.
One of the favorite and well-loved beaches is Mullet Bay Beach. This beach has white sand, clear turquoise waters and great landscape.
Moreover, St Maarten is known globally for Maho Beach or Airplane beach as it is also called.
This beach is world renowned as airplanes approaching the Princess Juliana Airport fly at an altitude of less than 100 feet.
Individuals from all over the world usually flock to this spot to take pictures, make videos and experience the thrill of jet blast.
Antigua Vs St Maarten – Which Island Is Better For Shopping
If shopping is your priority while visiting the Caribbean, St Maarten is the destination that you should choose.
Front Street in St Maarten is like heaven for a shopaholic with endless stores selling a variety of clothes, perfume, electronic equipment and jewelery. Most importantly, these are all untaxed.
On the contrary, Heritage Quay and shops at the V C Bird International Airport are the main areas for duty free shopping in Antigua.
The variety and options are limited when compared to St Maarten.
Antigua Vs St Maarten – Which Destination Has Better Nightlife
For persons who love to party and have a range of entertainment options, St Maarten is the destinations to visit. Hands down!
The island has a variety of options to choose from movie theaters, restaurants, casinos, night clubs and discos. There is something available for everyone.
Lotus Night Club is one of the leading spots for dancing and partying on the island in Simpson Bay.
Ocean Lounge Bar in Philipsburg is another venue that attracts visitors as well as business professionals with live music, wine, cocktails and a delicious tapas menu.
Contrastingly, Antigua offers a much slower pace of life.
Shirley’s Heights Lookout is a well-known spot in Antigua on Sunday evenings for entertainment. There is usually a live band with drinks and food available for purchase.
Some of the other popular nightlife spots on the island are The Lime and Tryst Nightclub, Bar and Restaurant.
Antigua Vs St Maarten – What Are The Unique Things To Do
Devil’s Bridge National Park, Antigua– this is one of the most majestic spots on the island.
Over a number of years, the powerful Atlantic waves have created a beautiful natural arch which is an excellent spot for photographs.
Cole Bay Hill, St Maarten– this location is one of the places for breathtaking views of the island.
From Cole Bay Hill, visitors can see both the French and Dutch sides of the island.
Also, one can see neighboring islands of Saba, St Eustatius and Anguilla. This is also an excellent location for photographs.
On a whole, Antigua is an exceptional choice for individuals who love exploring the island’s many beaches and hopping to neighboring Montserrat. Alternatively, St Maarten is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is duty free shopping and island hopping to Anguilla, St Kitts, and Saba.
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