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Both Curacao and St Maarten are two Dutch Caribbean islands with St Maarten being the preferred destination for tourists to the region.

In this article, we compare and contrast these islands to help you arrive at a clear conclusion on which destination is ideal for their upcoming Caribbean adventure.

As a general rule, St Maarten is ideal for a visitor who is seeking a bubbling nightlife atmosphere, white sand beaches and to experience jet blast at Maho beach. On the other hand, Curacao is suitable for persons who prefer a quieter destination with white sand beaches with turquoise waters.

Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Caribbean Islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean national familiar with both destinations.

Curacao Vs St Maarten- Which Destination Is Bigger

Curacao is significantly bigger than St Maarten being 171 square miles. The capital city is Willemstad known for its unique and colorful architecture.

Alternatively, St Maarten is only 13 square miles and is a unique country in that it shares it landmass with the French Caribbean island of St Martin which is 37 square miles.

Curacao Vs St Maarten- Which Destination Has Better Beaches

Both islands are blessed with gorgeous beaches with white sand and clear water.

One of the favorite and well-loved beaches in St Maarten is Mullet Bay Beach. This beach has white sand, clear turquoise waters and great landscape all around.

Mullet Bay Beach is a good option for beginner snorkeling as you can see fishes near the shoreline.

There are no full restrooms but there is a port-a-potty available and usually there is a crowd on weekends.

Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent and local foods can be found at Rosie’s Snack Bar.

Great Bay Beach is another popular option for cruise passengers as it is one of the beaches in St Maarten near the cruise port.

It is located in the heart of the downtown capital Philipsburg and is about 3km from the cruise port.

You can access this beach by walking. It takes about 20 minutes to arrive at this location.

Contrastingly, if your priority is shore diving then Curacao is the better destination.

Some of the popular beaches on the island include playa piskado which translates to fisherman’s beach where you get to swim with sea turtles in Curacao.

In addition, you can swim with dolphins at Jan Thiel beach.

Curacao Vs St Maarten- Which Is Better For Duty Free Shopping

If your priority is duty free shopping, then St Maarten is the better of the two destinations.

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.

You can find selection from international brands such as Gucci and Versace.

International businesses such as Little Switzerland have a presence on this street which offers the best names in watches and jewelery design from Omega and Breitling.

The duty free shopping is much limited in Curacao with the best place to visit being Mambo Beach Boulevard.

Curacao Vs St Maarten-Which Island Has Greater Threat of Hurricanes

St Maarten has the higher threat of natural disasters of the two destinations due to its location in the hurricane belt.

Consequently, St Maarten has experienced its fair share of destruction due to hurricanes the last major one being Irma in 2017.

Contrastingly, Curacao is located outside the hurricane belt and therefore the risk of a hurricane making landfall in Curacao is extremely low.

Furthermore, the island does not receive a significant amount of rainfall. Thus, there is a greater level of assurance that your days in Curacao will be filled with sunshine.

Nevertheless, if you are visiting the Caribbean during the hurricane season, it is extremely wise to consider travel insurance in the event of natural disasters which could cause travel disruptions.

Curacao Vs St Maarten- Which Destination Has Better Nightlife

St Maarten has the more vibrant nightlife of the two islands.

The island has a variety of options to choose from movie theaters, restaurants, casinos, night clubs and discos. There is something available for everyone.

On the other hand, there are also fantastic entertainment options available in Curacao.

There are many restaurants and casinos that visitors and locals on the island enjoy such as Mambo Beach Boulevard for restaurants and beach clubs.

Another favorite of visitors and locals alike is St Tropez.

Curacao Vs St Maarten- Is It Easy To Visit Other Countries

St Maarten provides better opportunities for island hopping as its international airport is important to the smaller neighboring Dutch islands of Saba and St Eustatius.

Makana Ferry Services offers high ferry services to both of these islands in additional to the English Speaking island of St Kitts.

Furthermore, there are also ferry services available to nearby St Barths and Anguilla.

As stated above, St Maarten shares its landmass with French Caribbean island of St Martin.

Therefore, visitors who love French cuisine can easily drive across to the French side and experience this all while visiting St Maarten.

On the other hand, there are no ferry services from Curacao to the other Dutch Caribbean territories.

Nevertheless, Insel Air provides daily non-stop flights from Curacao to both Bonaire and Aruba.

Curacao Vs St Maarten- Unique Things To Do In Both Destination

Shete Boka National Park, Curacao– located near Christoffel Park, this area provides amazing views of the rugged terrain of the island.

There are 10 pocket bays which provide a safe haven for sea turtle conservation.

Fort Willem, St Maarten- this hiking trail offers sweeping views of Great Bay harbor, neighboring islands and Oyster Bay.

It takes about two hours to complete and is suitable for an intermediate to advanced hiker.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, St Maarten is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is duty free shopping and enjoying the thrill of jet blast at Maho Beach. Alternatively, Curacao is perfect for individuals seeking a more tranquil destination with amazing white sand beaches.

Need More Information?

The aim of our website is to provide helpful content to individuals seeking to relocate or travel to the Caribbean.

We welcome you to continue exploring for more articles on St Maarten, Curacao and the rest of the Caribbean using the search bar located on the top of this page.

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