Barbados is an island located in the Southern part of the Eastern Caribbean while Anguilla is located in the Northern area of the Eastern Caribbean.
In this article, we provide a detail comparison of these two different Caribbean islands to help you choose which is ideal for your Caribbean vacation.
As a general rule, Barbados is better for travelers who are interested in beaches, entertainment and easier access from major international cities. Alternatively, Anguilla is better for travelers who are interested in turquoise beaches, island hopping to St Maarten and tranquility.
Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Caribbean islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean National who is familiar with both islands.
Barbados Vs Anguilla: Which Island Is Bigger
Barbados has the bigger landmass being 166 square miles.
The highest point of elevation in Barbados is Mt Hillaby which stands at 1,120 feet. The island became a Republic on November 30th, 2021.
Contrastingly, Anguilla is only 39.38 square miles and the highest point is Crocus Hill with an elevation of 210 feet.
The island is an overseas British Territory and hence not an independent island state.
Both islands are relatively flat in topography and hence visitors to them should find it easy to navigate the roads.
There is no public transportation in Anguilla, so renting a vehicle is the best way to explore the island.
Barbados Vs Anguilla: Does The Currency Differ?
The official currency of both islands differs. The official currency used in Barbados is the Barbadian dollar.
USD $1 is equivalent to BBD$2 and is also pegged to the US Dollar. The Barbadian currency is managed by its own local central bank.
The official currency of Anguilla is the Eastern Caribbean dollar. However, the US dollar is commonly used on the island for most transactions.
The Eastern Caribbean Dollar has been pegged to the US dollar since July 7th, 1976 at a rate of USD $1 to XCD $2.70.
This currency is also shared by seven other Eastern Caribbean islands and is managed through a regional central bank which is based in St Kitts.
The US dollar is also widely accepted by businesses throughout Barbados. For ease of doing business, it is advisable to walk with bank notes of smaller denominations.
Barbados Vs Anguilla– Which Island Has Better Access To International Cities
Barbados has better access to international cities.
There are several airlines from major cities in both the USA and Europe that provide direct and non-stop service to Barbados and in many cases these are daily flights from major cities.
On the other hand, the only international airline that currently has flights to Anguilla is American Airlines.
There are no flights from London, Toronto or other major international cities.
International travelers fly to Antigua or St Maarten and transfer unto smaller airlines such as Seaborne or Winair.
Barbados Vs Anguilla: Can You Hop To Other Islands
It is easier to island hop from Anguilla. There are daily ferry services from Blowing Point to both the French and Dutch side of the island nation of St Maarten/ St Martin.
From St Martin/ St Maarten, one has easy access via ferry to St Eustatius, Saba and St Barts.
There are no ferry services available from Barbados to other nearby Caribbean islands.
Nevertheless, there are regional airlines such as Liat, Caribbean Airlines and InterCaribbean Airlines that provide direct and non stop flights from Barbados.
However, inter-regional travel within the Caribbean is expensive.
Barbados Vs Anguilla: Which Island Has The Better Beaches
Barbados has over 80 beaches while Anguilla has 33 beaches. Nonetheless, if pristine and white sand beaches are your priority, then Anguilla is the better option.
One of the most popular beaches in Anguilla is Shoal Bay. This beach truly embodies Anguilla’s slogan tranquility wrapped in blue.
This beach is long strip about 2 miles with perfect pinkish white sand and clear blue waters.
Shoal Bay shares its shoreline with many hotels, restaurants and beach bars. The beach is the perfect spot on the island for diving, snorkeling and kayaking.
Other well-loved beaches in Anguilla are Sandy Ground Beach and Rendezvous Beach
Oistins and Miami beaches are well loved by visitors and locals to Barbados are the must visit beaches on the island.
Barbados Vs Anguilla: Which Island Has The Better Cuisine
When it comes to fine dining and amazing restaurants in the Caribbean, Anguilla stands out.
Anguilla definitely has some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. If you are a foodie at heart you will love Anguilla.
There are several high end restaurants on the island where the cuisine is top class.
Even lower end restaurants have excellent food. So if you are visiting the island, explore and try the many dishes at the restaurants.
Veya Bar is one of the most popular restaurants with a unique tree house setting on the island.
Barbados also has wonderful restaurants some of which include Champers, Pepenero and Fusion Rooftop.
Barbados Vs Anguilla: Which Island Has The Better Nightlife
Barbados has the more vibrant nightlife of the two islands.
There are a broader range of restaurants, golf courses, clubs, casinos and other forms of entertainment especially on the South Coast.
Additionally, in Barbados, Oistins also provides a lively venue for visitors and locals to meet and relax on the beachfront every Friday evening.
Alternatively, Anguilla is more suitable to a visitor who is looking for peace, quietness and to spend time at the beach.
There are a fewer number of beach bars and pubs in Anguilla when compared to Barbados.
Some of the popular entertainment spots in Anguilla include The Lounge Bar, Sky Lounge and The Pumphouse.
Although the island is not a hot spot when it comes to night life, Anguilla is located very near to St Maarten which is accessible via a short ferry ride from Blowing Point.
St Maarten is one of the Caribbean islands with a bubbling night life environment.
Travelers who want a great blend of tranquility, entertainment and duty free shopping may prefer Anguilla for this reason.
Barbados Vs Anguilla: What Are The Unique Things To Do
Unique Things To Do In Anguilla
Visit The Fountain Cavern National Park– this park is located in Shoal Bay East and covers an area of 14.5 acres and is the most iconic attraction on the island.
There is an Amerindian Interpretation Centre (AAIC) built with thatch roof reflecting the typical dwelling of the Taino Amerindians in Malliouhana.
The cave which is limestone was used by the Taino Indians who left stone carvings and petroglyphs. This area has two freshwater swimming pools which are used by locals.
Explore Dive Sites– Anguilla is a paradise for divers due to the presence of wrecks and artificial reefs. There are several exciting parks which include Prickly Pear, Dog Island and Sandy Island.
Unique Things To Do In Barbados
Harrison Caves- Barbados has a cave where you can enjoy a tour inside. There are stalactite and stalagmite formation.
There is a bar and a gift shop on the property for added entertainment. Be sure and wear clothes that are comfortable and walk with a change of clothing if you want to go elsewhere.
UNESCO Heritage Site- Bridgetown and its Garrison have been designated as a UNESCO Heritage site due to its excellent architecture.
These buildings were constructed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and were well preserved until today. Some of the 30 sites and attractions include:-
- Barbados Museum & Historical Society
- National Heroes Gallery & Museum of Parliament
- George Washington House & Museum
Sandy Lane Gold Cup- is one of the biggest horse racing event in the Eastern Caribbean.
The race usually occurs every March at the Garrison Savannah which attracts jockeys, trainers and thoroughbred from other Caribbean islands and around the world.
On a whole, Barbados is an exceptional choice for a traveler who is seeking a more developed island with an interest in horse racing. Alternatively, Anguilla is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is enjoying the clear and turquoise beaches, island hopping and exquisite cuisine.
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