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St Lucia and Martinique are two Caribbean islands located only 81.5 km from each other.

Traveling between both islands is seamless as there is an inter-island ferry services called L’ Express Des Isles that provides transportation.

This ferry service also travels to the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica. Therefore, if you are planning a Caribbean adventure it is easy to visit both destinations.

In this article, we provide a comprehensive review of both islands to help you determine which one is right for your upcoming Caribbean vacation.

As a general rule, St Lucia is ideal for visitors seeking to visit the historic Pigeon Island and the iconic Pitons. Alternatively, Martinique is perfect for visitors seeking a French Speaking island with white sand beaches and excellent diving and snorkeling sites.

Read on for further information on how St Lucia and Martinique compares. This article is written by a Caribbean national.

St Lucia Vs Martinique- Which Island Is Bigger

Martinique is the larger of the two islands in population with a landmass of 436 square miles and a population of 374,707 according to at the time of publication.

On the other hand, St Lucia is 238 square miles and the population according to the same source was 185,255.

Martinique also has the higher point of elevation with Mt Pelee standing at 4,583 feet while Mount Gimie is 3,120 feet in St Lucia.

St Lucia Vs Martinique- Does The Currency Differ?

The official currency of both islands differs. As a dependency of France, the Euro is the official currency of Martinique.

US dollars are rarely accepted by businesses on the island.

Martinique is unlike other Caribbean islands such as Anguilla and St Maarten where US dollars are treated as a secondary currency.

Contrastingly, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) is the official currency of St Lucia and this currency is used by seven other Caribbean islands.

The exchange rate of the USD to the XCD dollar is USD$1 to XCD $2.70.  US dollars are accepted readily by businesses across the island. Change is usually issued in the local currency.

St Lucia Vs Martinique- Does The Language Differ?

The languages spoken on both islands differ. English is the official language of St Lucia while French is the official language of Martinique.

English speakers are not prevalent in Martinique. Therefore, it may be prudent learn   some key words and phrases before your trip.

In St Lucia, the language patois is spoken among the natives on the island in addition to English.

This is a broken form of French still used day to day by St Lucians due to the French heritage of the island.

The French occupied St Lucia from 1651, when the island was purchased from the Caribs. In 1814, St Lucia was transferred to the English.

St Lucia Vs Martinique- Which Island Gets More Tourists

St Lucia is the island that receives more tourists of the two destinations. 

According to tourism analytics, St Lucia received 786,743 cruise passengers and 423,736 stop over visitors in 2019, a total of 1,210,479.

Contrastingly, during the same period Martinique received 556,000 overnight tourists, 285,000 cruise visitors and 78,000 day visitors as per the same source.

This was a total of 919,000 visitors for the year 2019 to Martinique.

St Lucia Vs Martinique- Which Island Has Better Beaches

If white sand beaches with turquoise waters are your priority, Martinique is the better destination.

Due to the volcanic nature of both islands, there are a number of black sand beaches.

The most popular beach on the island is Les Salines which is located on the Southern coast near the town of Sainte Anne.

This long strip of white sand is filled with coconut trees to provide shades and beautiful turquoise waters.

Additionally, there are restaurants, shops, showers, tables and benches to make your visit comfortable and enjoyable.

Le Beach Resto Des Salines is one of the main spots for refreshments near Les Salines.

St Lucia also has its share of beautiful beaches with Sugar Beach being one of the well-loved spots.

The Sugar Beach Hotel shares the shoreline of this beach and from this location one can enjoy a magnificent view of the famous twin peaks, The Pitons.

St Lucia Vs Martinique- Which Island Has Better Nightlife

If entertainment is your priority, St Lucia is the better of the two destinations.

The Rodney Bay area is located in the North of the island in the region of Gros Islet.

There are numerous bars, casinos, restaurants and night clubs in this area.

One event that occurs every week that draws both visitors and locals alike is Fish Friday.

At this event, local dishes are prepared using fish as the star ingredient.  

There is usually a local band providing live music as well as individuals selling souvenirs and trinkets.

This is an ideal opportunity for visitors to interact and meet locals.

St Lucia Vs Martinique- Activities To Try On The Islands

Pigeon Island National Park, St Lucia– this is one of the most historic landmark on the island.

This island was initially separated from the mainland St Lucia but is now joined by a causeway since 1972.

While on the island, visitors can enjoy beaches, exploring military ruins, restaurants serving mainly local cuisine and bars. There is an entrance fee for both children and adults.

Pointe Borgnese, Martinique– located near Sainte Anne, this spot is an ideal place for snorkeling and diving on the island.

While on this beach, one can enjoy a wide range of marine and wildlife.

This beach is not very popular and hence there are no amenities such as restaurants, shops and showers in the vicinity.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, St Lucia is suitable for visitors who are interested in visiting the historic landmark, Pigeon Island and hiking the Piton. On the other hand, Martinique is ideal for persons seeking white sand beaches with turquoise waters and exceptional diving and snorkeling sites.

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