St Maarten and St Kitts are Caribbean islands that are next door neighbors and they are separated by only 81.3 kilometers.
A direct flight between the two destinations will take about thirty minutes.
In this article, we review these two destinations in several categories such as night life and beaches to help you decide which one is better for your Caribbean vacation.
As a general rule, St Maarten is ideal for a visitor who is looking for a bubbling nightlife atmosphere, white sand beaches and to experience jet blast at Maho beach. On the other hand, St Kitts & Nevis is the destination of choice for visitors interested in forts and Caribbean history.
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.
St Maarten Vs St Kitts- Which Destination Is Bigger
In terms of landmass, St Maarten is significantly smaller than St Kitts being 13 square miles.
St Maarten had a population of 43,907 persons according to Worldometer at the time of publication.
Furthermore, St Maarten is a unique destination in the Caribbean as it shares its landmass with the French island of St Martin.
On the contrary, St Kitts is more than double the size of St Maarten being 32 square miles.
According to Worldpopulationreview.com, the population at the time of writing was 53,544.
The highest point of elevation is Mt Liamuiga which stands at 3,792 feet.
St Maarten Vs St Kitts- What Are The Official Currencies
Both destinations use different currencies for day to day financial transactions.
The Eastern Caribbean dollar is the currency used in St Kitts.
It 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.
Several persons from each of the Caribbean island work at the central bank.
Furthermore, St Kitts is the most crypto friendly destination in the Caribbean with Bitcoin cash readily accepted by vendors especially in places such as the cruise port at Port Zante.
Contrastingly, the official currency of St Maarten is the Netherlands Antillean Guilders or Florin.
The Antillean Guilder exchanges at the rate of US$1 equivalent to $1.80 ANG. The Guilders is also the official currency of Curacao.
Despite the difference in currency, US dollars is accepted everywhere on both islands.
ATM machines in St Maarten dispense US dollars. US coins are also accepted only in St Maarten.
St Maarten Vs St Kitts- Can You Hop To Other Islands
As both destinations are close to each other, it is easy to access these islands via ferry services.
Makana ferry service provides a seamless and affordable option to travel between these two islands.
So visitors can arrive in St Kitts and travel to St Maarten via ferry. From St Maarten, there are onward ferry connections to Saba, St Eustatius, St Barths and Anguilla.
St Maarten Vs St Kitts- Which Destination Has Better Beaches
In terms of beaches, St Maarten is the better of the two destinations. One of the favorite and well-loved beaches is Mullet Bay Beach.
This beach has white sand, clear turquoise waters and great landscape.
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.
St Maarten is well known globally for Maho Beach. 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
Alternatively, Cockleshell bay and Banana Bay are some of the must visit beaches in St Kitts.
St Maarten Vs St Kitts- 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.
Lotus Night Club is one of the leading spots for dancing and partying on the island in Simpson Bay.
Ocean Lounge Bar in Philipsburg is another venue that attracts visitors as well as business professionals with live music, wine, cocktails and a delicious tapas menu.
At nights, the Frigate Bay the region in St Kitts that comes alive.
There are a various range of restaurants and bars in this area of the island.
Three of the most common restaurants in this area are The Shiggidy Shack Beach Bar, Rock Lobster and Cathy’s Ocean View Bar and Grill.
There are also casinos on the island as well as several golf courses.
There are four of golf courses on the island with Robert Trent Jones course at Pinney Beach in Nevis and Royal St Kitts Club located between Half Moon Bay and North Frigate Bay in St Kitts.
St Maarten Vs St Kitts- Which Destination Is Better For Shopping
If shopping is your priority while visiting the Caribbean, St Maarten is the destination that you should choose.
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.
There are duty free shops available in St Kitts at the Robert L Bradshaw International Airport and Port Zante in the capital city of Basseterre.
Generally, items such as t shirts, souvenirs, watches, jewelery, sunglasses and leather goods can be bought at these stores.
St Maarten Vs St Kitts- Unique Things To Do In Each Destination
Ride The Flying Dutchman, St Maarten– this is the steepest zipline in the world.
The ride gives you a scenic view of St Maarten while passengers sit in an aerial tram.
The service is offered by Rainforest Adventures and one gets to fly at an elevation of over 2,800 feet.
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, St Kitts– this location is magnificent for panoramic views of the island.
The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a 17th and 18th century military fort that is of historical, cultural and architectural importance on the island.
The fort officially became a UNECO World Heritage site in 1999 and was built by African slaves to protect the island from attacks.
On a whole, St Maarten is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is duty free shopping and riding the steepest zipline in the world. Alternatively, St Kitts is an excellent choice for a traveler who loves forts and wants to ride on the last railway in the West Indies.
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