St Croix and St Martin are both incredible islands to consider for an upcoming Caribbean vacation.
In this article, we explore the similarities and differences between these islands to help you make a prudent decision for your vacation.
As a general rule, St Croix is perfect for a visitor looking to relax in a peaceful environment with exceptional beaches and spectacular snorkeling on Buck Island. Alternatively, St Martin is ideal for a visitor who loves food and island hopping to Anguilla, St Eustatius, St Barts and Saba.
Read on for further details and explanations on how St Croix and St Martin compares. This article was written by a Caribbean National familiar with both islands.
St Croix Vs St Martin- Which Island Is Bigger
St Croix has the larger landmass of the two being 84 square miles. It is also the largest of the four main US Virgin Islands.
The other main islands that comprise of the US Virgin island group are St Thomas, St John and Water Island. The highest point of elevation in St Croix is Mt Eagle which stands at 1,088 feet.
On the other hand, St Martin is only 37 square miles and the highest point of elevation being Paradise Peak or in French Pic Paradis which stands at 1,391 feet.
St Martin is a unique island because it shares its landmass with the Dutch island of St Maarten. St Martin is the larger of the two sides with St Maarten being only 13 square miles.
St Croix Vs St Martin- Entry Requirements & Access
As an overseas US territory, US citizens do not require a passport for entry into St Croix.
On the other hand, US visitors to St Martin require a passport as well as proof of a return ticket.
St Martin has greater access for major international cities than St Croix whose airport is only for domestic flights.
The Henry E Rohlsen Airport is a domestic airport that is located six miles from the capital city in St Croix named Christiansted.
This airport receives daily inter island flight along with cargo and military airplanes.
Visitors from Europe and outside of the USA will need to enter into St Thomas via the Cyril E King Airport.
Alternatively, travelers to St Martin arrive at the Princess Juliana International Airport which is in St Maarten which is the Dutch Side.
From there, individuals can drive across to St Martin which is the French side.
St Croix Vs St Martin- Can You Hop To Other Islands
Both islands provide excellent opportunities for island hopping.
From St Croix, ferry services are available to St Thomas and St John as well as the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Kindly note that US citizens require a passport for entry into the BVI.
Alternatively, St Martin also offers fantastic island hopping opportunities. From St Martin, there are ferry services available for Anguilla and St Barts.
Additionally, there are ferry services available on the Dutch side, St Maarten to Saba and St Eustatius.
St Croix Vs St Martin- Which Has Better Beaches
Both islands have fantastic beaches. Orient Bay is a popular beach for both locals and visitors on St Martin.
Orient Bay Beach is excellent for water sport activities such as snorkeling and many individuals prefer it for swimming and sunbathing than Great Bay Beach.
Orient Bay Beach is the most popular beach in St Martin, so expect there to be a crowd.
There are several beach bars such as Waikiki Beach, Kakao, Perch Bar & Grill, Bikini Beach and Kontiki Beach in this area.
Alternatively, Sandy Point Beach is one of the most popular beaches in St Croix. Sandy Point Beach is a long beach and has been rated one of the best beaches in the US Virgin Islands.
It is 3 miles long however there are no facilities such as beach chairs and umbrellas.
This beach is also a nesting place for turtles and as such is closed for about 5 months of the year for turtle nesting season.
Rainbow beach is also another popular beach on the west end of St Croix. It is known for its calm waters and soft white sand.
Beginner snorkelers will love this beach for its amazing wildlife and shallow waters.
One major advantage that St Croix has is its easy access to one of the most photographed beaches in the Caribbean being Trunk Bay, St John.
This beach is known for its blue and turquoise waters and has over a quarter of a mile of white sand with underwater snorkeling trail.
There is an entrance fee as well as amenities such as beach chair rentals, restrooms, beach bars and life guards.
Contrastingly, St Martin may be more suitable for thrill seekers. St Martin has easy access to one of the most iconic beaches in the Caribbean, Maho Beach on the Dutch side of the island.
Also known as Airplane beach, 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.
Great care must be exercised as persons have died in the past due to the effects of the jet blast.
The beach itself has suffered significant erosion due to the jet blast. As such there is little vegetation.
St Croix Vs St Martin- Which Has The Better Nightlife
Both islands are very quiet and laid back destinations. Therefore, travelers in search of peace and tranquility will enjoy either St Croix or St Martin.
However, one advantage that St Martin has is that it shares its landmass with one of the most vibrant locations for nightlife in the Caribbean, St Maarten.
Some of the popular spots include the Red Piano.
Church on Mondays is a famous band on the island that performs at this location with the centre of the room being a Grand Red Piano.
Lotus Nightclub is another hot spot for those who enjoy parties.
Therefore, visitors looking for tranquility but still a bit of excitement may opt for St Martin as they can enjoy the best of both worlds.
St Croix Vs St Martin: Which Island Has Better Cuisine
Hands down, St Martin is the gourmet capital of the Caribbean with Grand Case being a town known for its fine restaurants and bars.
From Grand Case you can get a view of the Anguilla. Foodies can enjoy items such as croissants and French pastries, johnny cakes and several types of street foods.
Popular restaurants in Grand Case include The Villa Restaurant, Le Cottage and Spiga Restaurant. Be sure to try several of the lobster dishes on the French side.
Alternatively, St Croix is also known for its exceptional culinary experience with one of its premier annual events being the St Croix Food and Wine Experience.
This event showcases celebrity chefs both locally and internationally and gives visitors an experience to enjoy the diverse cuisine on the island.
St Croix Vs St Martin: Does The Languages Differ?
The official language of both islands differs. As an overseas territory of the United States of America, the official language of St Croix is English.
Contrastingly, as an overseas territory of France, the official language of St Martin is French. Nonetheless, is English widely spoken in St Martin.
It is not uncommon on the island to hear Dutch since St Martin shares its landmass with St Maarten and also Spanish due to the multi-cultural nature of the island.
You may also seldom hear Papiamentu which is widely spoken on Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
St Croix Vs St Martin- Does The Currency Differ?
The currency of both St Croix and St Martin is different. As an overseas territory of France, the best currency for St Martin is the Euro which is managed by the European Central Bank.
Bank notes are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro dollars. Coins are available in 1 and 2 Euro dollars and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent pieces.
On the other hand, as a dependency of the United States of America, the official currency of St Croix is also the US dollar.
St Croix Vs St Martin: What Are The Unique Things To Do
Unique Things To Do In St Martin
Explore Loterie Farm– located on the French side, this paradise is perfect to relax and reconnect with nature.
While at this sanctuary, one can enjoy drinks, the pool, great meals and tree top adventures.
Visit Tintamarre Island– this small remote island also called Flat Island can be reached via a boat shuttle from St Martin.
Visitors and locals usually frequent the island to enjoy the beach and relax. The beach is beautiful and perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
There are turtles in this area so you may swim with them while there.
Visit the Scenic Fort Louis– this is a perfect attraction for history enthusiasts and for those who love panoramic views.
Located on the French side, Fort Louis offers scenic views of Marigot and even Philipsburg and Simpson Bay.
The access to the Fort is via steps and it is an uphill climb. Nevertheless, it is not a stringent hike.
Unique Things To Do In St Croix
Explore Ham’s Buff Lighthouse- is a fantastic spot for incredible views.
This lighthouse was designed and built by the Danish sometime between 1913 and 1915. In 1917, the Danish West Indies was sold to the United States of America.
Visit Point Udall-this is one of the most significant things to do in St Croix as Point Udall is the most eastern point of the United States.
The Millennium monument was erected in the year 2000 as this is the first place that the American soil experiences the sunrise.
Explore Buck Island- this is a small uninhabited island about 1.5 miles off the Northern coast of St Croix.
Buck Island is a must do activity during your visit and it is the home to the Buck Island Reef National Monument.
Tours are available for a full or half day. There is an underwater snorkel trail and white sand beach called Turtle Beach.
This beach is also an award winning spot, voted by National Geographic as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
On a whole, St Croix is perfect for a visitor who wants explore the pristine and white sand of Turtle Beach and snorkeling on Buck Island. Alternatively, St Martin is an exceptional choice for a traveler who loves food and wants a laid back vacation while relaxing in nature at Loterie Farm.
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