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Barbados and St Lucia are highly esteemed vacation destinations in the Southern Caribbean. The distance between the islands is 174 kilometers.

As a general rule, Barbados is better for travelers who are interested in beaches and entertainment. Alternatively, St Lucia is ideal for a visitor who loves an island with green and lush natural scenery with interest in activities such as the hiking the famous Piton and visiting a drive in volcano.

Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Caribbean islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean National who visited both of these islands in excess of twenty times.

Barbados Vs St Lucia: Which Island Is Bigger

St Lucia has the bigger landmass of the two islands being 238 square miles. Barbados is only 166 square miles.

Both islands are a single island state meaning that they have no dependencies.

The head of state of St Lucia is His Majesty King Charles III whereas Barbados became a Republic on November 30th, 2021.

Barbados Vs St Lucia: How Does The Landscape differ

Barbados is flat in topography and the soil is limestone based whereas St Lucia is mountainous, hilly and lush in look and feel.

Visitors and digital nomads living in Barbados may find it easier to navigate the roads when compared to St Lucia. Due to its hilly terrain, driving in certain areas in St Lucia may present a challenge to a newcomer.

Barbados Vs St Lucia ( Which Vacation Is Better)

Barbados Vs St Lucia: Can You Hop To Other Islands

St Lucia is the island that offers better opportunities to island hop. From St Lucia, visitors can get a ferry to the French Caribbean Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Also, ferry service available to the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. St Lucia and Dominica shares the Eastern Caribbean Dollar as its currency.

Contrastingly, there are no passenger ferry services available from Barbados. Individuals wishing to island hop can do so via a regional airline.

Barbados Vs St Lucia: Does The Currency Differ?

Both islands have different currencies.

The official currency of St Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar which has been pegged to the US (United States) 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.

On the other hand, the official currency of 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 Barbados’s own local central bank.

The US dollar is generally accepted at most business places on both islands.

As with other countries, businesses at times may be skeptical accepting notes of higher denominations. US notes that are worn or torn may be rejected.

Barbados Vs St Lucia: Which Island Has Better Beaches

If beaches are your priority, then Barbados is the better of the two destinations.

Oistins and Miami beaches are well loved by visitors to Barbados.

On the other hand, St Lucia being more volcanic based tend to have darker sand beaches.

St Lucia also has beautiful beaches with Sugar beach being one of the popular ones on the island.

From there, you can get an awesome view of the famous twin peaks, The Pitons.

Barbados Vs St Lucia: Which Island Is Safer

Both islands are safe destinations and are suitable for solo female travelers.

According to the US Department State, Overseas Advisory Council based on a 2018 crime report per 100,000 citizens, St Lucia recorded 21 murders and 4 kidnappings.

Barbados for the same period recorded 10 murders and 3 kidnappings.

Despite being safe destinations, visitors should exercise similar care and due diligence as in any other country.

Secure valuables in a safe place and avoid leaving computers and electronic gadgets unattended.

Barbados Vs St Lucia: Which Island Gets More Tourists

According to Tourism Analytics, Barbados received 1,399, 759 cruise and stop over visitors 2019. On the other hand, St Lucia received 1,276,751 visitors during the same period.

Without visitors on the island, according to, Barbados is the most densely populated island in the Eastern Caribbean.

Therefore, visitors to Barbados should anticipate malls, markets and attractions to be more crowded.

Barbados Vs St Lucia: Which Island Has The Better Nightlife

Both islands do have great entertainment among the Southern Caribbean islands. Nevertheless, Barbados has the slight edge when it comes to nightlife.

There are a broader range of restaurants, golf courses, clubs, casinos and other forms of entertainment especially on the South Coast.

Contrastingly, St Lucia also has a variety of restaurants and bars especially in the Rodney Bay area.

Both islands have a Fish Fry weekly. Every Friday with the exception of during the Holy Weekend (Easter) Gros Islet, St Lucia comes alive with a band and seafood.

Vendors sell barbecues, seafood and a number of different local dishes. One can also purchase various hand crafted items and souvenirs at this event.

In Barbados, Oistins also provides a lively venue for visitors and locals to meet and relax on the beachfront. 

Barbados Vs St Lucia : What Are The Unique Things To Do

Unique Things To Do In Barbados

Harrison Caves- This a must visit attraction if you visit Barbados. Visitors can view stalactite and stalagmite formations.

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- Both islands have picturesque cities but Bridgetown and its Garrison has 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

Unique Things To Do In St Lucia

Climb The Piton Mountains- the piton is an incredible twin peaks that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage site since 2004 located at the south of the island.

The Gros Piton is 2462 feet while the Petit Piton is 2619 feet. The Gros Piton is the designated hiking trail while the Petit Piton is rarely climbed.

Visit The Drive In Volcano- The sulphur springs is one of the most visited attractions on the island located in Soufriere which is the world’s only drive in volcano.

Visitors are able to enter at certain points and give themselves a mud bath. It is widely believed that these mud baths have medical benefits.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, St Lucia is an ideal choice for a traveler who wants to enjoy beautiful natural scenery famous twin peaks, The Piton as well as island hopping to the French Caribbean. Alternatively, Barbados is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is enjoying the beach and snorkeling.

Need More Information?

Feel free to browse our website for more content on the Barbados, St Lucia and the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page.

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