Barbados and St Vincent are two islands in the Southern Caribbean that are fantastic locations for a Caribbean vacation.
In this article, we compare and contrast Barbados with St Vincent & The Grenadines to help you choose which destination is ideal for your Caribbean vacation.
As a general rule, Barbados is better for travelers who are interested in a bustling nightlife atmosphere and visiting the iconic Harrison caves. Alternatively, St Vincent and the Grenadines is an ideal choice for a traveler who loves peace, tranquility and incredible mountain and valley views.
Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Caribbean islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean National who knows both islands extensively.
Barbados Vs St Vincent – Which Island Is Bigger
Barbados is slightly larger than St Vincent when it comes to landmass. It is 166 square miles whereas St Vincent and the Grenadines is 150 square miles.
St Vincent has a chain of 32 smaller islands which are called The Grenadines.
Some of the Grenadines are inhabited such as Bequia, Union Island and Canouan.
Alternatively, islands such as Petit Nevis and Tobago Cays are uninhabited.
Barbados is a single island state meaning that it has no dependencies.
The head of state of St Vincent and the Grenadines is His Majesty King Charles III whereas Barbados became a Republic on November 30th, 2021.
Barbados Vs St Vincent – How Does The Landscape Differ
The landscape of both islands is dissimilar.
Barbados is flat in topography and the soil is limestone based whereas St Vincent & The Grenadines is mountainous, hilly and lush in look and feel.
The highest point of elevation in St Vincent & The Grenadines is Grand Bonhomme is 3, 120 feet.
On the other hand, the highest point of elevation in Barbados is Mt Hillaby which stands at 1,120 feet.
Visitors may find it easier to drive in Barbados as it is flat and hence the roads easier to navigate.
Barbados Vs St Vincent – Which Island Has 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.
Contrastingly, St Vincent & The Grenadines is much quieter and laid back with mainly bars and nightclubs as entertainment.
Some of the popular spots include Drop Off Night Club and Fisher’s Bar.
Barbados Vs St Vincent – 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.
Alternatively, St Vincent and the Grenadines recently commenced operations of the Argyle International airport in 2017 which is the first international airport of the island.
This has opened up access to the island from international cities.
Currently, St Vincent is served by the following international carriers.
- American Airlines
- Air Canada
- Virgin Atlantic
- British Airways
Nevertheless, access from international cities is much limited when compared to Barbados.
As an example at the time of writing, American Airlines only flies to the island on Saturdays.
If you happen to miss this flight you will have to wait a full week to catch the next direct flight going to the destination.
Barbados Vs St Vincent – Which Island Has Better Beaches
Barbados has the better beaches than mainland St Vincent. Oistins and Miami beaches are well loved by visitors to Barbados.
Alternatively, St Vincent and the Grenadines have two popular white sand beaches on the mainland being Villa Beach and Indian Bay.
The majority of the other beaches on the island are mainly black sand due to St Vincent’s volcanic composition
However, the Grenadines are filled with incredible beaches. Salt Whistle Bay located on the tiny island of Mayreau is a treasure.
There is about 2.5 miles of powdery white sand with palm trees, sea grapes and local flowers and fauna on its shores.
Barbados Vs St Vincent – Which Island Is Safer
Both islands are relatively safe destinations and are excellent choices for solo female travelers.
Visitors can walk freely throughout towns and cities as well as take public transportation safely.
Nevertheless, according to the US Department State, Overseas Advisory Council based on a 2018 crime report per 100,000 citizens, St Vincent and the Grenadines had 31 murders, 5 kidnappings and 765 residential burglaries.
This figure was much higher when compared to Barbados which had 10 murders, 3 kidnappings and 325 residential burglaries during the same period.
Nonetheless, visitors to both islands should exercise due care and diligence as in any other islands.
Avoid leaving valuable items unattended and do not venture to secluded places especially at nights.
Barbados Vs St Vincent – Does The Currency Differ?
The official currency of both islands differs. The currency used in St Vincent is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. Contrastingly, 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.
Contrastingly, the official currency of St Vincent & The Grenadines 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.
Nevertheless, US bank notes are widely accepted in both islands. Bank notes that are worn, torn or impaired are rejected. US coins are also rejected.
For ease of doing transactions in both islands, it is best to have US bank notes of smaller denomination. Change is usually provided in local currency.
Barbados Vs St Vincent – What Are The Unique Things To Do
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.
Unique Things To Do In St Vincent & The Grenadines
Visit The Botanical Gardens– the gardens in St Vincent is located in New Montrose which is about 10 minutes drive from the city of Kingstown.
It is the oldest of its kind in the Western hemisphere and was first established in 1765. It is extremely easy to get there by taking a bus in the city centre.
This is what I did and asked the conductor to drop me at the entrance of the garden. This beautiful located is a popular venue for weddings and other events.
In addition to being the home of parrots, peacocks and a large variety of flowers, this garden has a breadfruit tree from the sucker of the original breadfruit tree that arrived in 1793 from Captain Bligh.
Visit Wallilabou Bay– this is located along the north western coast of the island and is home to where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed.
To date, there are several souvenirs and trinkets there from the movie and in addition vendors selling trinkets at this beautiful location. It is a nice casual must visit while on the island.
On a whole, Barbados is an ideal choice for a traveler who wants to enjoy an amazing nightlife atmosphere and excellent white sand beaches. Alternatively, St Vincent is better for travelers who want to experience diverse cultures and history by touring its many Grenadine islands.
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